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Question: Got any great subject line tricks?

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Answer:  A good subject line could be the difference between a winning mailing and a monumental flop. Clever and eye-grabbing subject lines don’t have to be difficult. A little creativity and a lot of testing will go a long way.

  1. Put numbers in the subject line. For some reason people respond to subject lines that contain numbers. Subject lines such as "Top 10 Ideas," "50% Savings" or "3 Marketing Tactics" tend to grab readers’ attention. Don’t believe me? Check out the cover of any magazine at your favorite newsstand. Prominent numbers pull in readers.
  2. Promote the last story, not the lead story. Editors have a tendency to reference the newsletter’s first story in the subject line. Try using a subject line that promotes the final story instead. Readers will be much more likely to scroll through the entire message looking for the item. Watch your click rates rise on every item, all the way down the newsletters.
  3. Test subject lines with Google AdWords. Google AdWords are those text ads on the right hand side of every Google search page. You can buy ads for as little as $5. Before you send an e-mail campaign, test your subject lines by buying the same phrases in Google. For pennies per click, you can find out which subject lines work the best. Best of all, results usually come in within the hour. When you are sending a mailing to hundreds of thousands of readers, it’s worth the couple of bucks to have the most effective subject line possible.

Andy Sernovitz is CEO of GasPedal, an e-mail consultancy that helps major marketers improve and implement e-mail marketing campaigns. He’s also CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, http://www.womma.com/. Sign up for GasPedal’s free white papers and newsletters at http://www.gaspedal.net.

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