Monday Memo: Read Me, Please!


By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — You DO regularly communicate with an opt-in email list…right? Few opportunities to engage are more powerful than the ongoing conversation you have with listeners. It’s a relationship that Pandora and Spotify and your robotic AM/FM competitors can’t emulate.

Any email you send is worthless if it doesn’t get read  

And you yourself demonstrate why, every time you open your in-box. True or false: You delete some (lots) of messages unread, simply based on the subject line?

Something else you do: Open your snail mail over the wastebasket. I say “open” even though you don’t.  Based on a glance at each envelope, you decide whether to bother. So…

Fuss over the subject line

Tips, from E-Mail Marketing Coach and Constant Contact CEO Gail F. Goodman:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Keep subject lines under 50 characters, including spaces. A recent study showed that subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had open rates 12.5 % higher than those with 50 or more characters.
  • Be specific. “The Green Thumb Newsletter: September 2007” doesn’t convey a benefit. Better: “The Green Thumb: When to Bring Outdoor Plants Inside for the Winter.”
  • Write it last. When you’re done with the body of your email, read it over and pick the nugget that’ll entice your readers to learn more by opening your message.
  • Take some time. Write several — at least three or four — before choosing which to use. Run them by a friend or colleague and see which they think is most compelling.
  • Test it. Got two strong subject lines? Split your list in half. After a few such tests, you’ll get a sense of what works for your list. And the better you know your audience, the more effectively you can communicate with them.

Holland Cooke is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available exclusively from Talkers books and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America.  Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke