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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

How To Write an Awful Email Headline

Written By: Carol Roth | Comments Off on How To Write an Awful Email Headline

stop signAs individuals continue to become overwhelmed with the volume of professional and personal emails that they are receiving, they are becoming more selective about what emails they read.  That means that writing a killer email headline has become more important than ever.

I recently received an email with this headline:

The ASW site is shutting down

So, naturally I assumed that the ASW site was shutting down.  However, in trying to delete the email, I accidentally opened it (multitasking often doesn’t work so well).  Here’s how it started:

Dear Member, 

We have some exciting news! In just a few weeks, ASMALLWORLD as you know it will be temporarily shutting down—and coming back better than ever, with new services and offerings we think you’re going to love…

Had my multitasking accident not happened, I would have thought that ASW was shutting down as a company.  I would have deleted the email and never gone to the site again, because, well, why would I?  It was shutting down. That’s what the headline said – no additional information needed.

They could have chosen:

Exciting News – a NEW ASW site is coming!

Wait until you see what ASW is doing for you…

ASW’s temporary shutdown means that you get more future offerings!

First, it wouldn’t have given the impression that the site was going away (not a good impression to give your users or customers).

Second, it teases that there is information that is of interest, creating a reason to open the email.

Last, the second and third options also tune into everyone’s favorite radio station – WIIFM (aka “What’s In It For Me”).  If there’s something in it for me, I am more likely to open the email.

When I send out my own newsletters (which you can sign up for here), I make sure to put key topics in the subject line.  That gives the reader information above and beyond “Carol Roth’s Newsletter,” “Blog Update” or other generic headlines.  This headline helps the reader decide whether or not to spend their time exploring what you have to say any further.  If your email states that the content is an update, or worse, alerts of a shut down, you lose potential opens.

Communicating with customers is a privilege and a competitive privilege at that.  Make sure that you are taking advantage of the opportunity as best as possible.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a former investment banker, entrepreneur and author of the new book, The War on Small Business and the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth