Email is an effective means of communication with your customers, and one that – when managed appropriately – can help bring cost efficient and effective results. But there’s one element we don’t generally spend a lot of time on – and that’s the Subject Line.
The Subject Line is the introduction to your email that appears in the in-box of your email recipient, and – much like a billboard as you’re cruising down the highway – has about a 3 second chance of convincing the recipient to take action – specifically to Open the Email.
It’s worth paying attention to. Subject Lines represent one of those often-ignored marketing levers that can greatly influence ROI. We all do it: spend time, money and effort in the planning, designing, and manipulating of the body of an email marketing release, and then casually throw a Subject Line up during testing – the point when we’re reminded we need to add it.
In reality, your Subject Line can be as impactful as the body of the email. It’s important that you put some time and thought into the development of the Subject Line. Case in point:
- Use specific spam-filter unfriendly words and your message won’t be delivered.
- Use exclamation points and excessive capitalizations and your message will be ignored as spam, or even caught by spam-filters before it’s delivered.
- Use a Subject Line that has nothing to do with the content of your email – and risk confusing your audience – or worse yet, leaving them feeling deceived.
- Use a Subject Line that’s irrelevant or flat, and your message is ignored.
On the flip side, when used effectively, Subject Lines can have great impact on driving Open Rates up – your primary objective when setting a Subject Line. Some techniques to think about when setting yours:
- Be Direct – Tell your recipient what you want them to act on.
- Connect the Subject Line with the promotional messaging in the body of your email.
- Avoid capital letters (no SCREAMING!).
- Avoid excessive exclamations or punctuations.
- Keep number of words limited: Let your recipient see the full Subject Line in their in-box.
- It’s not mandatory that you include your brand name in the Subject Line. Consider and use appropriately.
Some examples that I’ve received recently which represent the above strategies:
- Great for Giving: Monogrammed Gifts (William-Sonoma)
- Last Chance – Only One Day Left to Save (Cellar 360)
- Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers (In Wine Country)
- 15% Off Personalized Wine Gifts - 4 Days Only (Windsor Vineyards)
- Just Arrived: Perfect Holiday White, 91 WS under 11 bucks (Wine Library)
- Free Shipping. Brilliant Gifts. (Crate and Barrel)
- Thoughtful Gifts for Everyone on Your List (Room & Board)
There are plenty of examples of what NOT to do. In the interest of protecting the innocent, I’ll leave it to you to scan your own in-box and see what catches your eye. In the end, Subject Line development isn’t an art. It’s an easy – and necessary – consideration point in your Email Marketing strategy.
For some additional thoughts on this subject:The above was originally posted on the REThinkWine blog in 2008. Thanks to IBG for the repost rights..
The following was originally posted on the REThinkWine blog in Oct 2008. Thanks to IBG for the repost rights..
No one doubts that when it comes to electronic commerce and e-marketing in the wine industry, wineries with a tasting room have a significant advantage. The visitors that walk into the tasting room immediately become customers or well-qualified prospects that can be added to a winery’s “contact list” for future outreach. But if you don’t have a tasting room, building a contact/customer list is a much more daunting task. But if email marketing and online sales is part of your direct sales strategy, then it’s a task you must take up and address.
Here are just three creative strategies for building customer and contact lists that have been successful for other wineries without tasting rooms.
1. Business Teaser Cards: A few wineries, when printing business cards for all their employees, have used the back of the card to offer the holder a 10% or even 20% discount on their first purchase. Often each card has a code on it that buyers can use to assure their online discount and to track who’s business card led to the sale. It’s a creative way to invite new acquaintances to the website when without the discount/invite you’d only be handing out a business card with no call-to-action.
2. Event Giveaways: One Sonoma winery with no tasting room but with a guest house on their property always brought a sign to the tastings they attended announcing that following the tasting a drawing would take place for a weekend getaway at the winery’s guest house. The sign carried beautiful pictures of the guest house and the property. All the attendees had to do was drop their business card in a fishbowl or fill out a simple slip of paper with name, state and email. Within a day of the tasting the winery did their drawing, contacted the winner and set up when they would visit. But more importantly, the winery would also contact via email every single person who entered the drawing with a “thank you” message and an offer of 15% on their first purchase. Their list continues to grow.
3. Contests: A number of wineries without tasting rooms have found that contests are a fantastic way to draw prospective customers to their website. The best contests should be easy to enter, but also give the entrants a feeling of participation or connect with the winery, winemaker or brand. One winery has used its back label as a canvas for the contest by inviting entrants to design their own 100-word back label on a specific subject. The winner had their entry published on the label when the wine was bottled! The contest was announced with a press release and an ad, and the winner was announced on the website and in a press release. They received hundreds of people visiting their site to participate, all providing their entry of back label copy along with their e-mail address. The winery grew their mailing list and customers were able to engage with the brand. Win-Win.
Prospecting and building your email contact list must be an ongoing project if increasing online sales is part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t have a tasting room, you’ll need to think creatively. The time and effort that goes into a very creative customer prospecting program will pay off in an enhanced email list, and ultimately increased sales.