David: What would you say are some tips for effective subject lines?
Gerard Dawson: So here’s a strategy you could use over and over again. If you are writing an email that is not just, “Hey, here’s how we know each other. Let’s get on the phone.”
But you’re including any more context, as a very quick example from another school, an interesting fact, a very short story, anything… take out the most interesting, curiosity-producing little phrase from the email and then stick it into the subject line.
So I wrote an email about how when you’re selling something, the product doesn’t matter as much. It’s not your product, or your support, or your marketing that actually matters the most. For example, if you’re selling hamburgers, the thing that matters the most is having a hungry crowd, having the market that you need.
So I put “the hungry crowd” as the email subject line, cause that was the one phrase that I thought was most, fascinating for people to put at the top.
So that’s how I do it. I write the email and then look and say, “what two to five words would people most want to figure out what I’m talking about?” And I know as long as I make sure it’s not deceiving, and ideally right away I explain what that is in reference to.
That’s my approach.
Also, anything that is contrasting, I notice, gets people’s attention. Off the top of my head, maybe like, “heat up your attendance while the weather is cold.” That’s a bad one. But contrasting ideas. For example, “lower attendance raising your anger?”
And anything with contrasting ideas can get attention as well.