When I was a bigwig in the direct mail world, we always told each other we must be more customer-centric. We would spend time opening our own direct mail packages and recognize the very few seconds available to capture a prospect’s attention at the mail box of our professional medical web design agency , which is mandatory for our business and practices, in sense of making our services enhanced.

Now that most businesses have turned to email promotions, they are so enthralled with the low cost and efficiency of email communications, that they have forgotten (or never learned) the principle of customer-driven messages. There is only one way to identify what your customers really want and that is to watch their actual behavior opening emails, reading and clicking through them, and pulling out their credit card and buying.

Professional copy writers like me, prefer to test headlines, subjectlines, price points, whole selling appeals, photos, length, or format rather than guess or generalize. If you think you can rely on your own common sense…..WRONG! The way prospects behave is frequently counter-intuitive. Just because you sort your emails one way, doesn’t mean that most people behave that way. Trust me. Twenty years of direct mail and email testing prove it.

Most Neglected Promotional Element: Your Subjectline

There are many places to start when it comes to email testing, but let’s start with the subjectline. Start with the fact that your brilliant offers and salesmanship are not even seen by worthy prospects because, ah, they NEVER OPEN IT UP! If you aren’t’ watching your open rate report (or logs) closely, you may be wondering why your emails have so little impact. There are many other reasons we can explore at another time, but the subjectline is frequently neglected or tacked on at the ll th hour before the big “blast”.

The subjectline deserves almost as much attention as the whole body copy of your message. I create about 30 possible “headlines” for the subject box and then trim it down to my favorite dozen to share with my client. They usually have a few favorites and then, ultimately, ask for my recommendation.

Craft 30 Powerful Subjectlines Using as Much Time as You’ve Spent for the EMail Body Copy Itself

Before I decide which subjectline will be best to test, I send my top three favorites to myself. Then, I can see exactly what the words look like in a real email “in” box. Do they have impact? Should the headline be rewritten so the high-impact words are closer to the beginning of the line, rather than the end? Should there be a word replaced that might be shorter or more intriguing? Should I try it as a question? Will it bother spam-o-meters? Is it specific enough to grab interest? Is it beefy enough to have credibility?

Choose Three Subjectlines to Email to Yourself

Once you have two favorites, and you’ve decided this is what you want to test (if you have two test panels or lists to email, then you really can only test one element at a time because all other variables should be the same). If you think the subjectlines could demonstrate remarkably different open rates, then test them. If you think they are more or less two good subjectlines saying the same thing, then don’t test them. Just choose your favorite.

If you decide to test two subjectlines, then test two that are relying on substantially different appeals. For example, maybe one is based on the “Avoid Pain” motivation to open it. The other is very positive. For example, “Say Good Bye to Back Pain” was always a winner in my day. One might test that against, “Imagine a Flexible Spine.” (I know which one of those would win, heh.)

If not contrasting a benefit from its dark and light sides, you might find two very different appeals and test those. Maybe one is financially based and the other is emotional. If you’ve chosen well, you hope to see at least a 30%, if not a 200%, increase in your open rate. Once you have the scientific answer, it may influence what you say in your body copy or even your next offer.

Worth the Hassle: Testing Answers Strategic Questions Better Than Surveys

Always ffind something to test so you build up a knowledge base of what makes your prospects open emails and buy your product or service. Your test results become proprietary knowledge and even a future asset when you sell or franchise the business. You will be all the wiser six months from now, for the trouble you take today. Never neglect your subjectline again!