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Psst: Insider know how - exclusive offer... find out how to create the best headlines

Blog post -

Psst: Insider know how - exclusive offer... find out how to create the best headlines

A guest blog post by Danish PR pro Kirsten Dinesen, CEO of PR firm FrontPage PR & Communications.

The subject line on an email newsletter is crucial if you want your audience to read it.

Writing a catchy headline is something of an art. It’s a struggle which many journalists go through every day - yet that’s nothing compared to what newsletter-editors are up against. This is the reasoning behind Worldata website, which essentially puts your headlines to the test. The mechanics are based on data collected from over 1 billion newsletters and are cross-examined on more than 400 different parameters.

So what tips do they suggest to improve your subject lines?

I’ll let you in on a secret...

Do you have something exclusive to share with your reader? If you do, you should use phrases such as “Only, hush, top secret or shhh!” in your subject line as you’re almost guaranteed to receive a higher open rate.

You can improve your opening rate by 22 %, if you make sure your headline conveys a sense of exclusivity or secrecy. Or you can improve the opening rate by 34 % from the scratch by adding a “sense of urgency” with lines such as “today only, expires tomorrow”.

The life cycle value is actually 20 % higher on those who respond AFTER a deal has expired, typically because these are loyal returning customers, who really need the product. Keep in mind that they still respond to the “sense of urgency”.

Keep it brief is developed for the English language with its inherent potential for short and catchy subtitles. A subject line is in fact more effective if it’s kept shorter than 35 characters and if you avoid words longer than 8 characters. This is among other things due to the 87 % of recipients who read the newsletters on their smartphones.

Fitting all desired elements in a single short headline takes time and practice, but it is an investment which will definitely pay off in terms better sales or ROI.

Some days are better than others

It has always been a golden rule that Tuesday morning is the best day to send out newsletters. But not anymore. The optimal day actually depends on which type of device your audience is inclined to use.

Computer users in particular read their email between Wednesday and Friday.

Webmail services such as Gmail, Hotmail etc. are mostly read Friday through Sunday, maybe because private email domains are primarily read outside of work.

Smartphone users mostly read their emails Thursday through Saturday.

So what’s the best course of action? 35 % of all clicks from newsletter to landing page take place within 72 hours. But if you focus on the long haul and the recipients who respond to deals up to 5 days after the initial send out, you’ll find that they are in fact much more valuable. That makes Monday the best day to send out newsletters giving your readers a full five days to react.

Content is king

The recipient has to find the content relevant, that’s a given. Yet, there are certain subjects more effective than others. Consumers are more likely to open and respond to mails containing subject matter such as:

  • Free shipping
  • Exclusive deals/bargains
  • Discount on next buy
  • Gift on next buy

Business-to-business customers respond well to:

  • Download whitepaper
  • Landing page
  • Discount/trial subscription
  • Web events (webinar, Hangouts etc.)

Even though recipients may react to such content, keep in mind that content has no effect without quality, meaning that potential customers will vanish into thin air if the content of a whitepaper or web event is poor. The customers show their trust by signing up for newsletters or by downloading materials. So by delivering poorly produced or irrelevant content you are letting down your customers. Taking a closer look at the quality of content in your newsletter may very well be a game changer.

Try out the following headlines at and see if you can improve them.

Note: Being the talented businessmen that they are, they make you fill in your contact information on your second try.

  • Quick offer; Exclusive know how - Only free today
  • Read now; Exclusive know how - Free until tomorrow
  • What works; VIP info on direct mail



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