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Published on March 23rd, 2016 | by Tori Tsu


From Subject Lines to Email Lists, It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Email Marketing Efforts

It’s spring cleaning season — time to air out closets, clean house, and switch your wardrobe for warmer weather. It’s also a good time to air out your subject lines and freshen your email campaigns with seasonal flare.

Just as you’re ready to be done with being bundled up in a winter coat, hat, and scarf, the folks on your email list might be getting tired of the same old subject lines. They’re probably also ready for something light and refreshing in their email inboxes after the months of hard selling they endured during the lead-up to the end-of-year holidays. Spring gives you a chance to breathe new life into your email campaigns. You can do this with subject lines that capture attention as well as the spirit of the season, and with compelling campaigns that capitalize on what people are experiencing as the seasons change.

Breathe fresh air into subject lines

Anyone who’s ever engaged in email marketing — or opened a promotional email, for that matter — knows subject lines make all the difference in getting your message opened and read. An eye-catching, curiosity-piquing subject line convinces recipients to open your email. Dull ones mean the recipient will delete your email before the next one in the queue loads on the preview screen!

Spring clean your email subject lines with these four tips:

1. Lighten up with some humor

The dark days of winter are slipping away and the bright colors, sounds, and scents of spring are here. People are feeling lighter, and they’re ready to enjoy a chuckle — or a belly laugh. Give it to them by infusing humor into your subject lines. You can do this in a number of ways, from connecting together two things that don’t normally relate, to poking fun at current events like the presidential primaries. (No dearth of material, there!) For more advice on how to infuse humor into your subject lines, check out our blog 25 Comical Subject Lines + Tips for Funny Writing.

2. Try out some new action words

All marketers have their go-to words that they rely on to create interest and excitement in their subject lines. You probably have some too, but spring is a great time to try out some new action words. Active verbs and vibrant nouns capture the reader’s attention and encourage recipients to open up your email. Need some ideas for fresh word choices? Check out our blog on choosing words that sell.

3. Tug on their heart strings

Sure, Christmas gets the accolades for being the most joyous time of year, and Valentine’s Day is all about love, but spring is also full of some very emotional cultural events. With Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations, and Father’s Day piling up throughout spring, speaking to recipients’ emotions is a great way to freshen up your subject lines during this warm, fuzzy season! Read up on how to write emotionally evocative subject lines.

4. Move things along faster …or better

Spring is a great time to practice making your subject lines shorter and pithier. A Marketing Sherpa study found that subject lines of 61-70 characters (about 15 words) get read the most. However, the second-highest read rate goes to subject lines of 91-100 characters and 51-60 characters, and the third-highest for shorter ones of 10 characters or less. What do these wildly divergent results tell you? Generally, brevity is better but if you’re going to go long, be brilliant! Practice honing both skills this spring with our guide to Successful Subject Lines Deconstructed.

Spring ahead with seasonal email campaigns

Whatever your product or service, chances are there’s a seasonal element to your business. If you’re in retail, maybe your emails in the last quarter of 2015 were full of special offers and sales pitches. If home repair is your bag, you might have spent the end of last year sending informational emails on common winter maintenance tasks. While if you’re an accountant you probably barely have time to read your email, let alone send any out, between Jan. 1 and April 15, once tax season dies down you might turn your attention to financial education.

Spring means it’s time to seasonally adjust your email campaigns to give recipients information that’s relevant to them at this time of year. Here are three ways to spring ahead with seasonal emails:

1. Update the look

Email providers like VerticalResponse offer a variety of templates to choose from when you’re crafting your email campaigns. If you’re still using the same template and colors you chose for winter promotions, why not switch things up by trying something new? A clean, fresh design in brighter or lighter colors will fit well with seasonal content.

2. Offer something relevant to the season

What’s on your customers’ minds this spring? Are they thinking of buying or selling a house? Getting a child ready for graduation? Enjoying some time outdoors on their decks or working in their yards? Finding just the right gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day? Tie your email campaigns into what’s going on in their lives this season. For example, an email newsletter with spring cleaning tips or an offer for a Mother’s Day discount on select merchandise will appeal to customers with information that’s relevant to them at this time of year.

3. Work on freshening your mailing list

Spring is a great time to freshen up your email list to make sure you’re sending to valid addresses and to ensure you’re reaching the right customers with the right offers. If your website doesn’t already have a page where new and existing customers can sign up to receive your emails, it’s time to add one. If you already have one, review how well it’s doing. Is it compelling? Is it easy to find on the site and does it make enrollment simple? Check your open, read, click through, and bounce rates. Weed out bounce backs and send out a ping email asking subscribers if they’re still interested in receiving email from you.

It’s also a good idea to revisit how you segment your list. Are there new ways to crunch customer data and organize customer groupings to reach new groups with fresh information? Consider targeting based on different common demographics, from geographical location to buying habits.

Before you know it, the light, refreshing days of spring will sizzle into summer. Taking steps now to freshen up your email marketing efforts can help ensure you won’t have to sweat to get results come summer!

Ready to get started on your spring email campaigns?

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© 2016, Tori Tsu. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Tori Tsu

is Content Marketing Manager at VerticalResponse, a Deluxe brand. She believes in the power of small business and providing owners and entrepreneurs the information and tools they need to help their businesses thrive.

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