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Email Marketing: Creative Subject Lines Can Pay Off

email marketingOne of the most important elements of an email marketing message is the subject line. In fact, many people would say this is the single most important part of your entire email campaign. That’s because these few short yet critical words will determine whether the recipient is intrigued enough to open the message, or instead hits the delete button.

It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your messaging is if your subject line doesn’t immediately engage your reader. All of your effort in crafting the contents of the message will be wasted if you don’t achieve your goal with the subject line.

With all of this pressure to deliver so much from those words, it’s not surprising that many marketers are reluctant to take any risks with the approach to their subject lines, instead preferring to play it safe and stick with traditional (if not very original) wording.

Yet when handled correctly, a creative approach to subject lines can be exactly what makes your email campaign a huge success. The key is to think about who your target audience is, and what motivates them. Of course, you also need to take their personalities and tastes in mind. With some audiences, a more casual and quirky style will be a hit, while other groups will react better to a more conservative approach.

Regardless of exactly what approach your wording takes, thinking creatively and trying something a bit different than your normal routine can often pay off. (This is true for subject lines and your overall content in general.) No matter what type of industry you and your customers may be in, there is likely a lot of room for you to be creative or perhaps even funny while still remaining professional.

An example of this is illustrated in the MarketingSherpa case study entitled, “B2B Email Marketing: Daring subject line gains 72 product launch email replies, 25% open rate.” Influitive, a cloud software platform company whose product helps marketers connect with their fans, created an email campaign that relied upon creativity to help catch readers’ attention.  The overall tone was casual and funny, but there was one specific element of the email that really stood out. The subject line read: “So I’ll pick you up at 7?” While it may initial seem a bit too suggestive, it made sense once the reader opened the email and saw the rest of the messaging.

The result, as you can see from the title of the case study, was that the email had an impressive 25% open rate.

Of course, if you use A/B testing to compare the results of using a creative subject line versus something more standard, you will be able to clearly see how your particular readers feel about this approach.

KEO Marketing can help with the messaging for your email marketing campaigns and all of your content needs.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.