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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.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen, a recognized women-in-business and tech, is known for her entrepreneurial style and her ability to build, shape, and grow brands into well-known dominant, successful entities. Jeanniey is a pioneer in email, mobile, and digital marketing; publishing; and brand-building. She now leads her own agency, YellowBean LLC, focused on assisting companies of all sizes with driving innovation and growth. Most recently, Jeanniey was the Global EVP, CMO, and subsequently Chief Growth Officer for Zinio, where she worked to define and implement strategies creating explosive growth through strategic partnerships with publishers, technology companies, brands, and consumers during her five-year tenure. Jeanniey has authored and contributed to multiple books, blogs, and magazine articles. She is a regular columnist for ClickZ, a blogger for Huffington Post, and a frequent keynote speaker. A serial networker, in 2005 Jeanniey founded the Email Experience Council, which was sold to the Direct Marketing Association in 2008. She sits on the Advisory Board for IndieFlix, and on the International Executive Council of the Internet Marketing Association. Jeanniey is recognized as both a Top CMO and Top Author on Twitter, and was most recently featured as Mover and Shaker by the Professional Woman's Magazine, and a featured Woman in Technology by The Legacy Series Magazine.

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