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  |  September 29, 2008   |  Comments

Top tips for making sure your "from" name and subject line have the biggest impact.

If you're reading this column, my point is already made. The sender name and subject line are, unequivocally, the most important elements of your e-mail campaigns, today, tomorrow, and moving into the mobile future.

It's kind of crazy when you think about it; one small name and an accompanying phrase can actually impact an entire effort or campaign. That said, it also makes sense in the context of our digital lives. Think about any of these scenarios:

  • You're at work, and have 10 minutes to scan through your e-mail before the next meeting. How do you determine which message you will read?
  • You're at your child's soccer game and have 20 minutes more to wait. So you start checking your personal messages (either on your mobile phone or e-mail device). How do you decide which to open first?
  • You're at the airport, just getting off a five-hour flight, and your BlackBerry and iPhone are filled with messages. How do you decide where to start? Do you scroll through the messages you just received to check for emergencies?

Regardless of who you are, you consume e-mail the same way everyone else does: by giving it attention and prioritization based on the urgency or interest of the content in the sender name and subject line.

I've listed the top recommendations for making sure your sender name and subject line have the biggest impact. (While you're probably reading this column because you want to improve your e-mail marketing, I would like to point out that the next few recommendations hold true for personal or business e-mails too.)

  • Read your sender name and subject line together. I once received an e-mail with the from name of "XYZ Business" and the subject line was "Do you know about the Business World?" In my e-mail account this read like this: "XYZ Business, Do you know about the Business World?" I found that to be quite funny where as another person may have thought the message was not directed to them. So please, make sure it makes sense.
  • Don't personalize your subject line with a first name. That is so yesterday. Plus, nothing scream out "marketing message" more than a personalized first name. Would your mom every e-mail you with a subject line of "Jeanniey, I have good news"?
  • Create compelling reasons to read the e-mail. Being tricky used to work, but if the reader has to think too much, it will backfire. Stay away from "Bag it up this Halloween" and move toward "Halloween Bags for Sale; Limited time."

These tips and tricks should help you move forward with the best strategies and efforts for your e-mail program. The more people who open, the more opportunities you'll have to get people to click.

As always, please share your successes, challenges, or failures with me. It would be great to share those in a future column.

Oh, and I didn't forget your free magazine for reading. Just go here to pick it up.



Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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