An effective marketing email subject

How many marketing emails go straight to the trash folder?  For me, it’s most of them. Stats from MailChimp have the average open rate as ~20% and the average click rate in the low single digits.

But a recent marketing email from my real estate agent caught my attention and motivated me to open it, because of the subject – “The Oscars weren’t the only ones to make a mistake…”

A clever marketing email subject: "The Oscars weren't the only ones to make a mistake..."
The Oscars weren’t the only ones to make a mistake…

I didn’t watch the Oscars and I have no upcoming real estate needs, so why was it so effective?

It’s human. By admitting a mistake, this email subject is a great example of Human to Human (H2H) communication, as coined by Bryan Kramer.  He wrote, “The delightful side of humanity holds with it empathy, understanding, and forgiveness, and when remembered in our communication, it ties us together as a common group.” This subject line helped a marketing communication appear as a real human communicating.

It taps into our inherent curiosity. Humans are curious, even Aristotle knew that. This email subject tells me that someone made a mistake, which I can empathize with as a human. What was the mistake? I had to open the email and actually read it to find out and I was curious enough to do so.

It’s timely. Even though I didn’t watch the 2017 Oscars, the Best Picture blunder was all over social media and this email arrived that week. If your content requires a lengthy approval process, then it won’t be timely enough to be effective.

These characteristics are important for all effective communication – even the Tech Comm world that I operate in. What makes communication effective for you?


P.S. Kelly Lambo gave me permission to use her name and marketing email example for this post, and she also happens to be the best real estate agent in San Diego.