Please read me. (I’ll beg if I have to.) – SCN Encourager 11/6/2013

Do your emails blast off with “rock star” subject lines?

Mine do.

Unfortunately, the only people who really notice are fellow fans of Herman’s Hermits!

We share a warped view of what defines “rock star.”

This probably explains why my subject lines of “Power to the people, bro'” and “Tell it like it is, mama!” garner such feeble “open rates.”

Even if you’re a superb 21st century emailer, 99.3% of the experts “online” will advise you to always make every effort to create an effective subject line.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 4.04.57 PMSubject lines are critical, especially if you want your message read.

Great subject lines are well… subjective. And as my “please read me” subject line clearly proves, I struggle in this area.

Luckily, there are lots of articles about this topic googleable on the web. (Here’s one.)

The article I linked up is decent… but frankly, it wasn’t much help to me.

If ever I dreamed of earning respect from you for my internet savvy—or getting appointed as the Ambassador to France, failing that — it seemed necessary that I conduct my own research into what truly characterizes an effective subject line.

So, for the last two weeks, I took special note of the subject lines in my “in box” that quickly drew my attention and triggered an unthinking, instantaneous “open.”

Here are several subject lines that came my way. (Honest!)

They may not be the most powerful and compelling subject lines ever penned—

But they sure hooked me.

Maybe they would’ve had the same affect on you.

Here goes: 

Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe
Yep. I jumped at this one. Couldn’t resist. It was right next to the subject line that blandly requested “Post this to your professional learning network.” If any email could wait until later in the week to be read, it certainly was this PLN one. And don’t even try telling me you wouldn’t have opened the food-related one first as well.

Delete my prior email. I goofed. Didn’t mean what I said. Only read this version.
Well, I actually didn’t open up this particular email. Rather, I scanned my in-box like a maniac to find the “prior” email. That’s the one I didn’t want to miss!  So now I’m adding this tactic to my email arsenal. It’s simple enough. You send out the email you actually want people to read… and then quickly follow it up with another email leading with the tantalizing “Don’t open up what I just sent you previously” subject line.

Time’s up! You’ll need these jail waivers. (Sent by the State of Michigan)
I’m a wimp. Any email from the State announcing that time’s up and here’s how to obtain your “jail waivers” is going to receive a speedy-kwik response from me that would put Jimmy-John’s to shame. Like you, I wear many hats in my school duties. This email pertained to my additional role as my district’s GED test center supervisor. The GED is changing to all electronic testing in 2014 except for testing at jail and prison sites, which will still allow the use of paper with a “jail waiver” approval. (Sure seems so boring now, doesn’t it?)

Dad, promise me you won’t freak out when you see these photos.
Yikes! What parent would delay in opening up this email? I sure didn’t — and I’ll admit that I held my breath while reading this message from my oldest daughter. What I viewed in the email was my daughter and her fiancé posed in a variety of different wedding-like photos… all dressed up, both looking romantically into each other’s eyes, and looking much happier than any time they’re just hanging out with dear old dad. “Don’t freak out and get weird, Dad,” my daughter repeated in her note,”We didn’t elope or anything. My friend from grad school is starting a wedding photography business and she wanted some practice.”

Whew. This all made perfect sense.

But seeing my daughter in the wedding photos still rattled me.

So I’m glad I never made the promise she was hoping for.

Freaking out and getting weird is what this father does best.

Tom Page, SCN
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