As a result, I thought it would be instructive to dedicate this week's column to subject lines and catalog how different lines are used from list to list, and from brand to brand.
Top categories for interesting subject lines are the dating field and the loan/insurance referral market. Let's take a look:
Here are the different subject lines for a single dating brand as it moves from list to list:
Big Time Bargains gives us "Singles looking for you." Choice and Value on the other hand brings a little more intrigue into play: "Could LOVE be looking for YOU?" - notice the use of capital letters for emphasis.
CJB Marketing is a little more direct: "Date, Chat or Find Romance Now!"
Some like Destiny Web and Discounts Only date emails such as "Singles Mingle 10/01/03."
First Cup Marketing is much more creative in its use of subject lines: " I would Like To Meet You!" or the Cyrano de Bergerac version "My Friend Wants to Meet You!" or more of the stalker approach: " See Photos of Your Potential Soulmate!." And always with the emphatic exclamation point!!
Flipside (now part of Vendare) asks the tantalizing question: "John, Did you get my IM, what's your answer". Notice the personalization, but also the lack of proper punctuation and spacing. In fact all of Vendare's lists are big on personalization but weak on punctuation: " John, Have a partner for the Holidays", "John, We know you've got a favorite type", "John, Do I look good to you?", the poetic "John, RE: You and Me" and the cryptic " John, There you are" .
Giveaways.net's subject lines sound like a movie marquee: "Friendship, Love, Romance."
GlobalPoint Media gives the power of pure numbers: "Choose from 8 million Singles!" or for those who have trouble with that many choices, the more contained: " Meet and Chat With Singles In Your Area."
Matebox takes a more transformative approach: "Change your dating experience forever," while Medtay takes a slightly creepier approach with no capitals or punctuation: " view photos of singles in your area" .
According to Offer Magnet, there is apparently a feeding frenzy centered around you: "Millions of singles looking for you."
Opt In Enterprise seems to be making a case for the whole industry when it proclaims: "Online dating sites work 2029."
Pickle Patches seems to be longing for the hey day of Tin Pan Alley when it writes: "Would You Like to Mingle with 10 Million Singles?" or the more abbreviated version " Would You Mingle with 10 Million Singles?"
Search For Dollars puts it all up front: "John, I am your Date, Please Reply."
Seed Corn Advertising sees you for the lonely loser you really are with a Jewish Mother approach: "Start Dating Now!"
Super Dupper Deals starts out with the "Singles are Waiting to Meet YOU," but soon gets more emphatic: "Singles are Waiting to Meet YOU TRULY!"
In addition to these legitimate third-party mailers, this dating advertiser has a few less scrupulous distributors as well who are using fake return addresses and spammers' favorite first word, "re" in "Re: Singles In Your Neighborhood."
I don't know about you, but I find this all fascinating. There is a real need to study these incantations to examine closely which work, and which don't throughout a whole industry. And if you don't think subject lines are important consider this: I found out that many people deleted one of my Email Insider columns by mistake and without reading it. The reason? The article was entitled "As Seen On TV."