How to write winning subject lines

If you’re trying to raise funds through email, you should be testing to learn what works best. And the most impactful and easy thing to test is subject lines.


That’s the very sensible advice at Email Marketing blog, Subject Line Testing in Email: Just Do It!


You’ll also find also some in-the-trenches information about what tends to win out in subject-line testing:



On the winning side, you’ll notice the subject lines are pretty straightforward. They’re not very salesy or pushy. On the losing side however, notice how the subject lines read like headlines from advertisements you would see in the Sunday paper. They might look more creative but their open rates are horrible. It’s as if those email marketers assumed that subject lines have to jump off the screen and GRAB THE READER’S ATTENTION! Unfortunately, most people get so much junk mail in their inbox, anything that even hints of spam gets removed immediately.

It seems the very things that work in other media tend to do poorly in email subject lines.


But you don’t really know that until you test it.


Thanks to BeRelevant! for the tip.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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