Creative Headlines and Introductions – Hooking the Reader’s Attention


Keeping up with the necessary changes in email marketing is essential for the marketer who wants to compete in this ever evolving marketplace. Dan Zarella of Hub Spot offers some surprising suggestions about headlines, timing and frequency of emails and design of the message.

  • Headlines:

Beware of “salesy” headline and message copy. Words intended to establish urgency turn off today’s internet readers. Be careful of words and phrases like “today only” and “now”, fast” and “important.” Zarella found much lower click through rates for these types of words.

Through analysis of billions of email messages, Zarella advises emotional, even passionate headlines: surprisingly, extremely negative as well as extremely positive headlines have significantly higher CTR than do more neutral subject lines.

  • Use lots of links

Zarella’s analysis showed that the higher number of links in messages, the higher the CTR. So place links liberally throughout your messages. Analysis also showed that the higher the number of links, the lower was the rate of unsubscription.

  • Relevance

When answering the question of why a reader subscribes to a mailing list, the most common response was relevance. Readers expect content that relates to them and that is particular to them. Special offers for subscribers tend to increase CTR and lower the rate of unsubscription.

  • Details of Message Design

Use of the words “click here” or “go” result in a significantly higher CTR than does the use of buttons. And when asked about content versus images, over 65% answered that they preferred images; therefore design your messages visually with relevant images.

  • Timing and Frequency of emailing

Traditional wisdom about the best days for sending a broadcast message for a new campaign has been that early Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are best. Zarella’s data revealed a surprise. Messages sent on the weekend had a significantly higher CTR than did messages sent at the traditional mid-week time. An interesting confirmation of the finding was that Tuesday had the highest unsubscribe rate.

Using the concept of “lead nurturing”, Zarella found that the marketer who sent more messages had fewer unsubscribers than did the marketer who mailed infrequently. Checking email may be similar in concept to doing their homework so that the very best subscriber is the newest; that individual is much more likely to respond to special offers.

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