New rules for sexy subject lines

  • Previous
  • 1 of 8
  • View as single page

The most valuable real estate

After reading this, my hope is that you will walk away and pull a Justin Timberlake on your email marketing programs by bringing sexy back -- and it all starts with the subject line.

Why the subject line? Well, it is your first line of impact no matter what device or inbox type it hits.

  • It sets the tone.
  • It aligns expectations.
  • It drives significance and importance.
  • It creates engagement.
  • It delivers on the relationship.
  • It is your first level of interaction.

A well-written subject line makes me want to do something. So often we have missed the art of writing a quick, impactful, on-brand, to-the-point subject line.

Get connected. Want to meet up with the companies that are leading email into the future? Check out the exhibit hall at ad:tech New York, Nov. 3-4. Learn more.

The best way to show you who is and who isn't bringing sexy back is to dive into some of the brands that I track closely.

Here are some examples of people nailing it -- and others that need some work on their subject line engagement. We can learn from both.



Dana Kichen
Dana Kichen August 23, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I certainly agree that these are great teasers and make me want to "see more". However, I think that only plays well when the brand is well known. If a company is building a brand, those subject lines won't mean a thing nor get the receiver to open the email and see what's inside. Also, I thought that too many exclamation points throws the email into "junk". Finally, I have to agree with Alex...iMedia Connection is great at practicing what it preaches! Keep it coming!

Dana Kichen
Desert Sage Seminars
Director of Marketing

alex czajkowski
alex czajkowski August 23, 2010 at 12:47 PM

Maybe it's absent to avoid self-congrats, but frankly the most consistently compelling email subjects I ever see in my in-boxes are on the iMedia Connection emails themselves--including this one! Someone there is really practicing what we all preach! Kudos to them! (sorry for the exclamation marks--BTW I make my guys pay $100 for every one they use in an email--keeps the abuse down).

Kimberly Snyder
Kimberly Snyder August 23, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Dylan -

I truly appreciate you pushing email marketers to "bring the sexy back".

The Swell examples push the envelope to the edge yet resonate with their core surfing sweet spot like no other.

When reading your post I immediately thought of The Zoe Report as another brand truly "bringing it" when it comes to subject lines like "TZR: The Coast Is Clear" which featured Alexandra Von Furstenberg's Acrylic Coasters. Or another "TZR: How Long Can You Go?" promoting a Rick Owens Full Length Skirt.

I think every email marketer should "bring it" when crafting a subject line or subject line test.

Kudos Dylan,

Kimberly Snyder
Bronto Software
Director of Strategic Services
twitter: kimberlysnyder