person holding phoneA few words can determine the success or failure of your email campaign. Are your headers making your email header fail?

Email Headers That Lose You Subscribers

“Do You Hate Me?”

I got a message with this header in my inbox a few days ago. It didn’t come from anyone I knew—which relieved me.

Wanting to know who would be so misguided as to choose such a header, I opened the email. This shows that on a superficial level, the message worked. It turned out to be from someone who was leading a course for which I hadn’t registered.

She began by saying she hoped I would tell her why I hadn’t registered. Towards the end of her message, she said she knew I didn’t really hate her (in fact, I was beginning to), but she hoped I would respond.

I did not. Furthermore, I unsubscribed from her mailing list.

This is Not an Exception

This email header message was one of the worst I’d encountered, but plenty of bad ones have arrived in my inbox. Here are some examples.

“The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

I doubt it. The title is meant to play on the title of the third book of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, no one who hasn’t read that trilogy is going to get it, and those who have know that there is no answer. So, either way, it falls flat.

“The Mossy Glen March Begins With: Dragon Saga Box set and Ruby Chocolate KitKat S . . .”

What? Seriously. I don’t know what the Mossy Glen March is or how a Mossy Glen Marches. I’m quite familiar with KitKat Chocolate, and I never heard that it involved rubies.

Worst of all, this email header is so long it runs out of room. Never do this. If you’re in doubt, send yourself the email, open it on your phone, and see what happens to the header. It should be short enough to read easily. phone showing email numbers

In a crowded inbox world, your header has to grab attention quickly. But if you find out about that Ruby Chocolate KitKat, let me know.

Better Examples

“From Manuscript to Launch: The Nuts and Bolts.”

This header is short and informative. It tells you exactly what the email is about, and it promises practical informative. I know that the sender is an expert in writing good emails and headers.

“Create NFTs in Minutes.”

Again, this is short and precise. It offers a powerful benefit. You may not be interested in that benefit, but those who are, will open it.

“Smash Facebook Into Tiny Little Pieces.”

Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, this header delivers a very clear and passionate message. I don’t know who the target audience is (I end up on some strange lists), but I’m going to guess that the sender does.

In Summary

 Don’t ask people if they hate you.

  1. Don’t use possibly obscure references.
  2. Keep headers short and catchy.
  3. Where appropriate, name the benefit the reader can get by reading further.
  4. Make your header catchy.
  5. Read your email headers aloud.

Pat Iyer started using email when It was common to send jokes by email. Fortunately, those days are over. Join me for a video filled with tips on email.