How do you choose the right subject line without coming across as "spammy"?
My husband and I just got our first food truck on the road. We have done zero marketing up until this point. We both share a lot of contacts from our previous professions and also have access to a long list of email addresses that live in the area. What type of subject line could we shoot for that introduces us to the community, without bugging our contacts with another email? Thanks for any advice!
Look into A/B testing in small batches before your big send always helps.
Hi Heather, congratulations on your new business! You have already received a lot of great answers. From my experience, while it is important to be creative in order to get the attention of your subscribers, it is just as important to have relevancy in your subject lines. You should aim for your subject line to summarize what the content of your email contains. That way, no one feels tricked into opening your email as you've seen people mention on this thread. Since this is an introductory email to your subscriber list, I would make sure there is a clear unsubscribe option and then you won't have to worry about coming across as "spammy".
You are asking the absolutely right question since email marketing is a no-cost way to market and the subject line is the most important part of being successful.
I'm a systems and processes guy, and there are the right processes and wrong processes for writing an effective email. I would consider it as an ad and utilize this 4-step outline:
1. Interrupt (your subject line and probably the first line of your email),
2. Engage (the next line of what you say),
Figure out who your target market is as specific as possible and then get into their heads and determine what they want and what their frustrations are so that you can determine their "hot buttons". Make sure your subject line mentions one of their hot buttons. For example, "Do you want your favorite gourmet food brought to you?"
The engage line is to let them know that you are going to take care of their want or frustration. This step is often forgotten. For example, "Read and learn how you can easily obtain great food that you want without having to go miles away and wait to be served."
Educate means that you help them make a good buying decision. For example, "Here is why getting food from a mobile source is the preferred way to eat..."
Offer means that you move them to the next step in getting them as a customer in the lowest risk possible way. For example, "Come to ____ on _____ and obtain a free sample plate of our great food."
Hope this was helpful. If it is of interest to you, I made a video of the 3 biggest mistakes small business owners make, which you can find at this link: http://bit.ly/1diY1RP
I agree that you should start with being genuine. I would also test several subject lines and look at your open rate. Then choose the best and iterate on that one. Try it a few more times until you are happy with the open rate and only then send out your message to a larger group.
If I were to choose the subject line that would speak of my passion for my business and attract the customers, my recommendation is "FROM HEATHER AND HUSBAND WITH LOVE".
Like many people are saying, you need to give your contacts a reason to open the email, maybe even a reason to be excited. If your business is new, why not plan a launch party and invite your contacts to attend. I'd probably be interested in an email with a subject like:
You're Invited to our Exclusive Grand Opening!
If you just wanted to spread the word, it gets a little more difficult. When you say you don't want to come across as "spammy" I get the impression you mean you don't want your email and subject to sound like a sales pitch, but that's exactly what it is. Many of us have a built-in detector for these emails and they go right to the trash bin so it's important to give your contacts a reason to open the email that will resonate with them.
If the people you'll be emailing are friends and close contacts, you can be direct and get right to the point:
Help Support our New Business
For example, it would get people's attention and let them know right away why you're reaching out to them.
Aside from that, if you have an email account you've probably received a lot of spam yourself. Think about which subjects made you delete emails immediately and which ones actually sparked your interest. You can definitely use that for guidance.
Congratulations! You have 2 seconds to use 2 words to get your email opened today.
Use compelling words in a short subject line. Never say "Monthly Newsletter" or "Weekly Roundup", never! Without knowing exactly what you're saying in your email, I would make sure you get your subject from the content. Don't make a headline first but remember people have short attention spans. The shorter the better. Use an email marketing service, not your regular email provider to create a professional-looking message and make sure there is a picture relating to your topic and place your logo to the left or center. Mobile won't read if it's on the right side of your message. Keep your colors and fonts simple but match your brand. Consistency is key. Google "SPAMMY" words and avoid them. Also WHO it's coming from is a big deal. You said you have emails from your previous professions so I would think they know you by personal name and not the company name. So make sure the reply name includes both your name and the company. You cannot go wrong with that combination.
Here are some introductory headlines for food truck service:
-Finger lickin' good (similar)
-New truck on the block!
-Come and get it
-(Type of food) in the 'hood
-Hit the streets with us
-Did you see us on your street in the (color) truck?
-Coming to your neighborhood on (Tuesday?)
-Now in your neighborhood...
-We're not the ice cream man but...
-Dancin' in the streets
-Strolling down your street on (dates)
-What are you waiting for?
Wow, I would love to see the final email product. Best of luck with your new venture!
Hi Heather! Congratulations on getting your food truck on the road! How exciting!
It's been my experience that when reaching out to a list of personal friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors that it is important to send the first email (even if you batch it) to look like a regular email. So that they are not "subscribed" to a list without their consent.
So send them all an email letting them know about your venture and give them the opportunity to click to avoid sending future emails.
Make the subject line something authentic and from the heart, one of my clients used "thought of you..." to announce her new yoga retreat business.
After that first email, you can move on to a regular email newsletter. The most effective format for that I have run across is a linear design with a few sections like this:
-Letter from the owners/CEO with some sort of personal insight on what's going on or coming up
-Deals/new menu items
-Relevant article or blog post that educates and provides value
Hope that helps :)
And again, mega-congrats!
Be genuine, be excited, be informative, be yourself - stay away from cliches. Best of luck with the new venture.
Be REAL, be TRANSPARENT, be HELPFUL... that's what get's opened today. Trickery and too much sizzle will hurt you. Promise too much, they will be disappointed. Trick them to open when it isn't that content or isn't that depth, and they won't come back.
You should avoid overused or sales related words. Most people know to avoid words like "free" in their subject lines because they trigger spam filters. But you should also avoid common words that are associated with sales, like “help,” “percent off,” or “reminder.” These words don’t always trigger a spam filter, but many subscribers will ignore them. Subject lines should be 50 characters or less. Messages should be personalized with a recipient's first or last name to improve open rates. In order to increase open rates, even more, you could use some motivating subject lines that create interest. "The Biggest Opening So Far This Year Is..."
Some other things you should make sure to do are:
-Proofread your copy
-Create a compelling call-to-action
-Design your emails to work for multiple inboxes and devices
Hey Heather. I have made very good experiences with high open rates, choosing subject lines that speak to your potential customers directly and personally. If you want your subject line not to sound spammy, avoid exclamation marks, capital letters or a over promotional speech. Something like "[Name], have you tried our chickens at [City] already?"
This will do 2 things: Talk to the subscriber using his name, which will give a big boost in the open rates, and then the subscribers local area he will find your food truck in. Or something like "I have good news if you live near [City]". This is an e-mail that speaks to the subscriber's curiosity and could also work very well!
Try not to speak too company-ish in e-mails, but talk to your customers in a personal way. I even recommend this to big companies. They should communicate using a real or virtual representative to talk to their customers.
Much success with your food truck Heather!
How about as your subject "We're Doing Something New!"? This is an opportunity to introduce yourselves to new folks and to give an update and re-introduce yourselves to your existing contacts.
The "Something New" piques their interest; you have to deliver the follow-through by telling the compelling story of why you're changing careers, what will make this new venture special, and how people can contact you or get more information.
Because this is a change in the context of how people already know you, you have to give them an opportunity to step away. This is OK because you really only want engaged and interested followers. Use this e-mail as an opportunity to create a new list. Offer the incentive of a discount or a free blah-blah-blah for joining your new list.
Good luck on your new venture,
Congrats on the new venture. My recommendation for getting started with email marketing is defiantly doing an intro email that announces your opening, who you are and why you went into business. Also, include contact info and where you can be found.
For emails thereafter, I would pick 1-2 messages you are trying to communicate and build an eye-catching and relevant subject line that tells people what the email is about.
Depending on the topic of your emails, here are a few examples:
-For truck locations: "Locations for the weekend, come and get 'em!"
-For new menu Items: "Try our latest take on finger foods!"
When it comes down to email marketing the more personalized and authentic you are, the more success you will have.
Best of luck!
Heather, speak from your heart and speak to their bellies. Think I'm kidding? Not at all. There's a good chance that someone will find your e-mail to be the last straw. What can you do? Just go with your instinct here - it's the very best you can do. You can think it over until the "cows come home" but here's to your success.