Things to Avoid in Your Email Subject Lines at All Costs

Things to Avoid in Your Email Marketing Subject Lines at All Costs

Email marketing is simple and effective

How to conduct the most effective email marketing campaign? Learn these simple tricks. No matter how good your data is, or how robust your lists are, if you are using content that doesn’t get opened, you are getting nowhere. When you are putting together subject lines, convey information in a way that will get you clicks.

1.) Avoid punctuation: You probably know that “!” is a SPAM filter trigger, but it’s a good idea just to skip the punctuation altogether. Any cutesy “extra” p.u.n.c.t.u.a.t.i.o.n. is not doing you any favors. Work on saying what you want to say more succinctly.

2.) Never talk “money”: Phrases like “fast cash” or “double your income” are very likely to get you dumped. In fact, work on avoiding the “money conversation” entirely in your marketing. “Income,” “cash,” “selling” — all of these are words better left unsaid. Instead, work out a way to imply financial gain while avoiding conspicuous trigger words.

3.) Avoid the “no”: You’ve all seen the emails with promises of “no more” this or “no more” that. SPAM filters have seen them too … and found them distasteful. So, even if your product or service removes something you know your client will want gone, try using the positive result — not the lack of the negative — to connect. Turn that fear trigger around and transform it into a positive desire, a result that will motivate your prospect to click.

4.) Skip the calls: Calls to action are vital to any successful marketing campaign, but you don’t want them in your subject lines. Anything that tells the customer to “go” or “visit” or “click” is not likely to get major responses.

5.) Stop yelling: Using even carefully positioned ALL CAPS is another subject line mistake. Whether you want to offer something for FREE, or you only have ONE DAY to decide, you can bet the YELLING will get your message 86ed in a heartbeat. Instead, think of clever word play that creates curiosity and encourages clicking rather than demanding it.

To summarize: avoid buzzwords, and take as much time developing your subject and headlines as you do crafting the rest of your article. These two elements are, without a doubt, the two most important elements of your message. And be certain to keep excess punctuation, money talk and ALL CAPS out of your headlines.


Follow these tips for developing your subject lines and you should see responses to your marketing messages increase.

David A. Steinberg is Chairman of Zeta Interactive, a Big Data, Customer Acquisition, and CRM company that integrates data, technology and marketing services to help leading brands acquire, engage and retain customers. The company was named one of America’s most promising companies by Forbes Magazine.

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