Here are two methods that are particularly effective at accomplishing this objective – and one that isn’t.
Method 1: Highlight the Potential Loss of Not Opening (Loss Aversion)
Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman demonstrated people’s strong preference to avoiding loss rather than seeking gains. This simple insight earned Kahneman the Nobel Prize in 2002. An important feature of loss aversion is phrasing, [but] as with anything, a respectful approach should be used. Bottom line: using loss aversion to get opens should be subtle and relevant to the recipient and the email’s content. If you come on too strong, you risk ruining the long-term relationship.
Method 2: Use a Name (the Cocktail Party Effect)
Déjà vu? The use of a name is not only effective for grabbing someone’s attention from the other emails filling the inbox, it can also be used to get an open. The first part of the “cocktail party effect” is the sudden reallocation of attention when an emotionally salient word, especially the person’s name, is spoken or written. This method requires creativity. An effective subject line might be “Hey NAME, we clipped this for you.”
Method 3: Use Humor (Note: This Method Doesn’t Always Work)
A common misconception bordering on cliché is that humor somehow makes advertising, marketing, and even education more effective. The fact that its use in driving action is not as effective as many marketers have grown to believe should cause you to think twice about using humor as a crutch.
A very useful article. We’re always looking for methods to increase our clients’ open rates, and what it appealing about this article is the science behind the first two methods. Worthwhile to incorporate into your Subject Line approach.
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