2004-09-30    -    [ Internet ]
Get Your Readers to Order Today

Your e-mail hits the inbox, and in no time at all it scrolls off your recipient's screen into the netherworld of "Maybe I'll get to it one day..."

As most e-mail results occur within the first 48 hours of broadcast, "one day" may never come.

So how do you get your reader to pay attention now?

Karen keeps a "swipe" file of e-mail approaches worth emulating. Not all are business-to-business (B2B) e-mail messages, but many can be easily translated to business products and services.

Here's a list you can put in your own swipe file:

  • By Noon this Wednesday, Urge GOP to Put "Conserve" Back Into Conservatism. This e-mail is an action alert by the Center for a New American Dream, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help Americans consume responsibly. The Wednesday noon deadline captures attention and hopefully moves members to action.
  • 5 Reasons to Register This Week. If you're interested at all in registering for this event, you'll probably click on this e-mail to find out why you should do it this week, rather than wait until some time later. Of course, there must be some sort of a payoff, such as a special offer.
  • If you're not booked with clients tomorrow, you can't afford to skip this. The immediacy of this subject line from business coach Michael Port is hard to overlook, particularly if you're not booked with clients the next day.
  • Stop Dilly-Dallying! It's Mother's Day, for Pete's Sake. This last-chance subject from 1-800-FLOWERS.COM is one of our favorites. It strikes fear in the heart of anyone who hasn't yet ordered flowers for Mom.
  • Karen, Proflowers Secret Sale for E-Mail Customers Only. This personalized subject line is for another flower company, Proflowers.com. Of course, it appeals to anyone who wants to be let in on a secret deal. Inside the e-mail, there's a cute graphic of a clock with the hands going around quickly to show time is running out for this one-week-only sale. We also like subject lines that say "e-mail exclusive" as it implies you can't get the deal anywhere but your inbox.
  • ONE DAY Sale -- July 23rd ONLY! Save on a Comprehensive Report. This same-day e-mail from D&B Small Business Solutions was sent on July 23. Clearly, it was designed to inspire immediate action. If you're working to make a monthly sales quota, try an approach like this to see if you can shake a few sales loose.
  • Score Season Tickets -- And Sneak A Peek At Sunday's Circular. This subject line from Staples offers two enticements: season tickets if you're lucky and the chance to preview the Sunday circular on Friday. If you're thinking about shopping for office supplies in the upcoming week, this is an enticing offer.
  • Are You Today's Winner? Play Now. Karen wrote this subject line for a toy company for an instant win contest. The reader's only a click away from knowing if she won, which makes it a compelling subject line for toy buyers.
    More Approaches to Get Prospects Moving
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Just a few spots left at this event

  • Less than 2 weeks left
  • Last chance...
  • Last call...

Whenever you compose a subject line, ask yourself what it will take to move your reader from thinking, "Maybe I should do this some day," to, "I've got to do this today." You'll have a winner.