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How Not to Write Email Marketing Subject Lines

In my last post, I talked about how not to do email marketing.

This time round I want to look at the subject lines that you use when sending out your emails.

They are the first thing your recipients see, so it’s essential they have the right impact.

Rather than launching into a lengthy post I’ll get straight to the point by listing below a quick run down of 8 top things that should be avoided.

1. Getting personal

Addressing the recipient by name within the email is a great idea, but don’t also personalise the subject line, especially if you’re sending your emails to a ‘cold’ list.

Of course, in a an ideal world you wouldn’t be sending emails to a bunch of people who haven’t opted in to your mailing schedule.  But having their name in the subject line is often seen as a step too far and can look spammy.

2. Asking for money

This one is mainly aimed at charities.

Granted, you have fundraising targets to hit (not to mention a great cause to support), but research by MailChimp suggests that asking for money in your subject line (either using the words donate, helping or fundraising) will lower your click through rate. Obviously, words such as ‘help, ‘helping’ and ‘fundraising’ can be used in contexts other than those directly related to asking for cash, just be careful how you use them.

3. Limited offers

You already know that limiting your offers by number or time is a great way to encourage people to buy. But it would appear that by using a term such as ‘last chance’ in your subject line really cheeses people off. You’ll need to find a different way of getting that across such as ‘the clock’s ticking’ perhaps.

4. Capital idea

This is one of my pet hates.

Why do people think I’ll take more notice of their email if their subject line is in capital letters?

The same goes for exclamation marks. Both scream spam, so don’t use them.

5. Failing words

There are some words that just seem to switch people off emails: join, speaker, press, social, invite and assistance are just a few.

Why are they such a turn off? Perhaps because they don’t overtly offer the recipient anything obvious of value?

6. Be vague

If you want someone to open or act upon your email you have to be specific.

Using a vague subject line won’t inspire anyone to open your email, but if it’s concise and to the point, it will.

7. Length

More and more people are viewing their emails on smart phones, so it’s never been more important to keep your subject lines concise. Make sure they are no longer than 20 – 30 characters.

8. No tricks

You’ve probably already seen this type of email; they are the ones that use the prefix FW: or RE: in the subject line to try and create the illusion of familiarity.

It’s downright spammy and people won’t be fooled.


Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd


Do You Really Think English is Easy?

The English language is a tricky beast to master.

If you don’t believe me have a read of this email I found on Facebook. It’s written by a retired English teacher and it fantastic. It beautifully illustrates how complex English is to such an extent that it makes you wonder how any of us are able to communicate with each other.

This took a lot of work to put together!

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t giveUP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.

When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP,
for now my time is UP,
so…….it is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.

5 Mistakes Freelance Graphic Designers Make During Start-up

Avoid mistakes when becoming a freelance graphic designerEvan Fischer is a contributing writer for The Web Shoppe –Fargo Graphic Design, handling all of your website design, marketing, and content management needs.

The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of FreelanceCopywritersBlog.com. If you are interested in producing a Guest Post for this blog, please get in touch with your ideas.

If you haven’t worked in the freelance marketplace before, you are probably excited by the many benefits of leaving the office and the 9-5 behind.  No more morning commute, micro-managing supervisors looking over your shoulder, or noisy co-workers disrupting your workflow.  And you can decorate and paint your home office any color you like rather than spending all day staring at a mind-numbing sea of gray cubicles!

So far, so good.

But it’s not all wine and roses.  You are now managing your own business (by yourself), and that means you have to wear a lot of hats in order to keep the operation running smoothly.  The enterprise fails or succeeds solely because of you.  So here are just a few common mistakes that many in your position make and how you can avoid them.

1. Not treating it like a “real” job

As a freelancer you have the freedom to set your own hours, pick and choose the jobs you take, and virtually be your own boss.  But if you get in the habit of waking at the crack of noon, working a couple of hours, and then taking a siesta before showering up to go clubbing with your friends all night, well, you’re not really doing all you can to make your business venture a success.

So set work hours for yourself and stick to them!  And when you’re not working on a project, find ways to self-promote and bring in new clients.  There’s always work to be done when you’re self-employed.

2. Foregoing contracts

The other name for freelancer is contractor, which implies that you need a contract in order to do work and get paid for it.  Without this basic document trading services for payment, you have no legal leg to stand on should clients decide they simply don’t want to pay you (for whatever reason).  So draw up a basic contract (use templates online or seek legal services).  Even a comprehensive purchase order will do.  And consider demanding half of your payment up front; if clients make you chase them for the balance, at least you have a partial payment.

3. Overspending

It’s tempting to blow your start-up funds on the latest equipment and software, but it’s better to stick to what you know when you’re first starting out.  There will be plenty of time and money later on to expand your setup and your repertoire, but until you have steady work it pays to save every penny.

4. Ending education

Just because you have a couple of loyal patrons, that doesn’t mean you can afford to rest on your laurels.  You need to continue to offer current and prospective clients the best possible services if you want to remain competitive, and that means staying on top of industry trends by learning new programs and techniques.

5. Plagiarism

Most people never intend to plagiarize the work of others, but the internet seems to foster an environment of “borrowing” that really crosses the fine line between inspiration and outright stealing.  So just be cognizant of the fact that if something you create looks too similar to a popular design that’s already out there, you could end up with embarrassed clients, angry competitors, and even a lawsuit on your hands.

Preparing for Client Meetings and ‘The Pitch’

In business, sooner or later you will be faced with presenting a pitch. Preparing for the pitch

For some people, that isn’t a problem. But for many, they would rather poke their eyes out with a red hot poker than face a potential new client.

As soon as the date is arranged they go into panic mode – hundreds of ‘what ifs’ pour into their head followed by sleepless nights and the inability to eat without feeling nauseous.

So what can be done to help you prepare for the pitch?

Preparation is the key

If you were hoping for a magic formula or a pill to take your anxiety away, then I’m going to disappoint you.

The only way to be confident is to prepare.

1. The phone call

During the phone call with the potential client, try and find out as much detail as possible about what they’re looking for. As a copywriter, I would ask what the project was, who was their target audience, what will the review process be, what format would it take etc.

But don’t just ask questions about the project, also ask:

•    Who will be at the meeting?
•    Where will it be held?
•    Is there any car parking at the site?
•    Are they meeting with any other copywriters (it’s always good to know if you’re up against any competition)?

Basically, at the end of that call you want to know as much information as possible about the project and the client.

2. A day or two before the meeting

Next is the research.

Take a look at their website. What sort of marketing are they doing? What is the style of their communication?

See what information you can find out about the people you’ll be meeting – not in a creepy stalker kind of way, but take a look at their previous experience.

Work out what you want to ask them – a great way to start your meeting is by asking an open question to get them talking. This will not only unearth a wealth of information for you, it will also give you chance to catch your breath and ease yourself into the meeting.

3. Before you set off

Check to make sure you either know where you’re going, or that your SatNav is charged up and working.

Have the name and phone number of the person you’re meeting in your phone so, should you get held up, you can ring and let them know.

Leave yourself plenty of time so you arrive calm and collected and make sure you have pens, paper etc.

Most importantly, before you leave, tell yourself you are the right person for this project. You are the writer they need.

4. The meeting

Once you’ve arrived (suited and booted), be calm, polite and confident.

Offer a firm handshake (but not one that will leave them with a crushed feeling), make small talk and then get to down to your first open question and let them tell you everything you need to know to show them you’re the right person for them.

5. Close

Often, you’ll meet with someone who is unable to make a decision there and then because it has to go to the board.

But if that’s not the case, close the sale there and then. If you leave them pondering you could be walking away from the money.

Once they say yes and agree to your payment terms, tell them exactly how you will proceed and what they can except to happen – and make sure you stick to it.

6. Yippee!

Congratulations – you got the contract and kept your nerves at bay.

Reflect on how you presented yourself and your business and remember the success for future meetings.

Finally, grab yourself a large glass of champagne – you deserve it.

Client meetings and pitches don’t have to be scary. A few nerves are good for you, but not to the point your stomach is in knots. Preparation is the key – granted, you can’t win them all, but being ready for anything will help your confidence grow.

Useful Websites You Should Know About

If you follow me on Twitter you may already have seen this information. But if you’ve not seen it grab a pen, you’ll want to make a note of what is about to follow.

Websites you should know about

The first website is http://gethuman.com/numbers/uk.

This one is fab for those of you who’ve experienced the frustration of trying to get through to a real person on a customer service line.

The site lists short cuts to a human voice for a number of UK companies. It will save a lot of time and frustration.

The second site is www.saynoto0870.com. Many companies use 0870, 0500 etc premium rate numbers which we pay through the nose for. This site allows you to search for the geographical equivalent number saving you £££££s!

So there you go – my handy hints for the day 🙂