2011 Subject Line Hall of Fame/Shame

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  1. PushSend

    PushSend VIP

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    Welcome to the Retail Email Blog’s sixth annual inductions into the Subject Line Hall of Fame, which honors retailers whose subject lines stand out in the inbox because of their creativity and originality. A great subject line can mean the difference between an opened email and a deleted one. While mentioning a fantastic deal in a subject line can generate great open rates, you may not always have killer deals to tout.

    Creativity in 60 characters or less can give your emails the edge. After reading more than 18,000 retail emails during 2011, here are my picks for the most outstanding subject lines:

    Bed Bath & Beyond, 10/10 — Shop here. Get your face licked.
    It sounds a little gross or kinky (depending on your disposition), but Bed Bath & Beyond turns that into an “ahh” moment in this email that promotes pet products.

    Urban Outfitters, 1/31 — XOUO
    Inserting their brand’s initials into the common expression of affection XOXO for this Valentine’s Day email’s subject line is a testament to the power of brevity.

    Frederick’s of Hollywood, 5/4 — What bra sold 10,000 after being seen on the Today Show yesterday?
    This subject line creates intrigue, evokes the herd mentality, and gains urgency and credibility from the news tie-in.

    Lands’ End, 6/8 — Starfish: you named it. You bought every last pair. We made more.
    The community involvement at Lands’ End is evident in the subject line to this email, which tells the story behind their Starfish Pants, which got its name from customer requests. The subject line makes you feel like you missed out not only on a product but a conversation.

    Brookstone, 10/25 — Forget about daylight savings
    While everyone else is telling you to remember to set your clocks back, Brookstone stands out by giving subscribers the exact opposite advice in this subject line for an email that promotes their TimeSmart Clocks, which set themselves and automatically adjust to Daylight Savings.

    Foot Locker, 6/8 — Dads: This Email is Not For You, Please Forward It To Your Family.
    There are many occasions when you’re really trying to reach someone connected to your subscriber rather than the subscriber—be it their mother or father, one of their siblings, or one of their friends. This Foot Locker email is in that vein, with the retailer trying to reach the family members of the dads on their email list. The forwarding request is right up there in the subject line, which really stood out among the other Father’s Day subject lines. And, of course, if you’re going to consider forwarding an email to your family, you’re going to want to read it first.

    J. Jill, 8/31 — Additional 30% off sale + free shipping. Our power may still be out, but our sale is ON!
    Sent in the wake of Hurricane Irene, this email expresses resilience with its subject line. It doesn’t make light of the storm, isn’t exploitive, and conveys that they’re in the same boat as everyone else.

    Drs. Foster & Smith, 8/11 — Save Your Pet's Life with a Nametag
    What owner wouldn’t be concerned about saving their pet’s life? The email then answers the question of how nametags save lives by including owner and medical information.

    HP, 7/18 — Check your next email on this: the HP Tablet!
    This subject line engages recipients by referring to what they’re doing at the moment (reading their email) to promote a tablet. And although the HP Tablet didn’t take off, tablets were big news during 2011.

    Lowe’s, 12/14 — Build Your Own North Pole. Save up to 50% on Tools
    This subject line is both festive and aspirational, challenging DIYers to take on Santa’s workshop.

    Subject Line Hall of Shame

    While 2011 gave us some inspired subject lines, it also gave us some poorly thought out and poorly executed stinkers. Here are the worst:

    Sephora, 7/11 — Introducing Sephora home delivery
    The subject line of this email is truly awful because it completely fails to convey what the email is about, which is the launch of same-day delivery in Manhattan.

    JCPenney, 2/4 — Don't Be A Stupid Cupid!
    Implying that customers are stupid if they don’t buy from you or take your gift advice seems negative, hostile and very off-brand for JCPenney.

    Victoria’s Secret, 2/8 — Go Ahead...Make My (Valentine's) Day!
    While it has become rather colloquial, the famous catchphrase from Sudden Impact seems like a pretty dark reference for a romantic occasion like Valentine’s Day.

    Brookstone, 4/18 — Are you overdue for a little hangtime?
    This subject line uses “hangtime” as a confusing pun on “downtime” for this email about hammocks.


    source: RetailEmailBlog
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012

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