Email Marketing Subject Line Critiques and Tips

  • by Andi Whiskey
Email Marketing Subject Line Critiques and Tips

Let's talk subject lines. These are some subject lines for spirits industry brands that I've received this week, and I have some notes as to why they might be good and why they might not be.

Email marketing subject lines

1. Seasonal Cocktail Recipe, Discount on Multiple Products

Subject: A romantic champagne cocktail for Valentine's Day

Secondary line: Save up to 25% on glassware, barware, and more, and try a unique cocktail recipe.

Great because it tells you clearly what you're going to get when you open the email, a cocktail recipe. That's value that I might be looking for as a spirits brand customer.

And the secondary line gives a little discount incentive to open.

And the email is clearly encouraging use/consumption of the product, meaning it's a goodwill email that can lead to transactions.

2. End of a Sale

Subject: Last Hours - 25% OFF almost everything! 

Secondary line: Grab some for your sweetie and some for yourself...

Great. Discount is clear, with exactly what amount you get off, and a little encouragement to open quickly because of the urgency of "last hours".

More info is in the secondary line, but it's a bit lengthy and could use to get to the point quicker. We prefer to put here whether there's a discount code or no code, to really help customers get a clear idea of what's up from the first view.

3. New Product Release

Subject: Fall in love with our NEW Deluxe Sampler Pack

Secondary line: New recipe included!

Fabulous because it's a new product release, and I got that immediately from the subject line, so now I'm curious to learn more, especially if it's a brand I've liked to purchase from previously. The secondary line provides extra incentive with more value for the customer.

4. Vague, No Value Evident, What?

Subject: January's Already Over?!

Secondary line: we'll drink to that.

Better if you don't do this. Why should I open this email? What will I get out of opening this? What are you providing me for my time? I'll never know, because I'm not going to open it.

That subject is focusing too much on the "what" (trying to be clever) without the "why" (being clear). There is no evident purpose behind their email marketing besides to constantly tell you to buy buy buy.

For us, we always tell our clients that the purpose of email marketing is to build relationships with your customers and fans, and provide them value in exchange for their personal info (their email) that they gave you. That's the WHY in email marketing. 

How We Recommend You Write Subject Lines

Our marching orders for our email marketing team include the following:

  • Make the subject line is clear and concise.
  • Make sure the emails provide VALUE for the customer.
  • Make sure the subject line conveys that value clearly.
  • Make sure the secondary line provides more incentive or explanation to increase open rate
  • Never ever ever use vague subject lines about what time of year it is. People know. (This is a legit rule in our SOPs because for some reason, everyone wants to do this. We've talked so many clients off of this idea. Don't do it!)
  • Never leave it up to their imagination about what they'll get if they open the email. Be clear.
  • Did we mention make sure the subject lines are clear?

Exceptions to the clarity rules are when we sometimes use mystery to encourage an open. Ie. 'You're going to LOVE this new product we just released'. It still conveys the type of value you'll get when you open the email, it's just less clear on what exactly that is.

Your subject line should always answer one of these questions:

"Why should I open this?"
"What will I [the customer] get out of this?"
"What will I enjoy learning about from this email?" (The subject line for this email answers that question)

And answer those questions honestly with your subject line.

Customers don't care about your awards. They don't really care about your family owned business history. They care about why that matters to them, though. If you can spin those details so that it is something that hits the customer in their needs/feels/desires, then great. 

If you need help with your email marketing, let's talk. We take clients from 20% open rates to 55+% open rates. If you want better numbers and more ROI on your emails, let's make it happen.

Book a consultation call with us today!

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