Controversy Meets Email Marketing: Is Clickbait a Dying Breed?

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Like it or not, the prevalence of clickbait in modern marketing has transformed the way we perceive and write our headlines. Whether we’re mulling over our marketing message or simply crating a subject line for our next email blast, it’s natural to stop and ask ourselves: “does this sound like clickbait?”

For example:

“You’ll NEVER Believe the Latest Email Hack…”

“Email Marketers HATE HIM for Revealing the Secret…”

“How I Turned ONE EMAIL into $$$ With Just…”

Clickbait represents the “easy way out” when it comes to grabbing the attention of potential readers and encouraging click-throughs. At its core, though, we can give clickbait some credit as it often does tick the boxes of what makes a strong subject line, such as:

  • Immediately piquing the curiosity of the reader
  • Building a sense of urgency for the reader, driving the need to act now
  • Emphasizing exclusivity, as if you’ll miss out on something truly awesome if you don’t click through

Historically, articles with clickbait titles do garner discussion; however, much of that discussion revolves around (you guessed it!) how misleading the title was.

When it comes email marketing, however, you should avoid clickbait titles like the plague.

Why Clickbait is a Dying Breed

Plain and simple, users are fed up with clickbait and marketers are taking notice. For example, Facebook recently announced the roll-out of an algorithm update that hides dubious or misleading headlines from users’ news feeds.

Similar rules apply for email marketers: clickbait is one of the many sure-fire ways to get your emails deleted.

Why?

Tricking readers with bogus headlines ultimately betrays their trust and prevents them from wanting to click through your emails whatsoever. Clickbait doesn’t represent creativity: it represents spam.

Today’s users are much savvier than many marketers are willing to give them credit for. For example, a 2015 email marketing study found that phrases such “shocking” and “secret of” within a subject line performed significantly worse than non-clickbait titles.

Listen: there are no shortcuts to navigating you users’ inboxes.

Modern email marketers should instead rely on tried-and-trusted ways to grab the attention of readers without sounding like a spammer.

Make sure to focus on the value that you are offering the subscriber.

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What Should I Do Instead?

Crafting the illusive, “perfect” subject line for your emails can be incredibly daunting. After all, you could have a killer deal and immaculate design inside your email and still watch your campaign bomb as the result of subject lines that stink.

Fear not. It is possible to craft subject lines that grab readers’ attention without having them feel like they’ve been duped.

YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE THAT SUBJECT LINE TRICKS THAT WORK EVERY TIME…

Okay, just kidding.

Instead of focusing on one, singular subject line strategy, start by thinking about the sort of emails you see among your competitors.

What sort of language are they using in their own campaigns?

How can you take their message and ultimately do it better?

Always remember the “big three” traits of killer subject lines that leave a lasting impression, which include:

#1 – Personalization

Put yourself in the shoes of your audience: sometimes it does feel like we’re swimming in a sea of spam emails, doesn’t it? Break through the noise by personalizing your emails to include the first name of the recipient in an attempt to foster a relationship with your audience. Thankfully, Sendlane offers personalization options so you don’t have to tailor each and every email to your list during a campaign.

Example: Jim, we’d really love to hear from you.

#2 – Use Numbers

Numbers help readers organize information quickly and subconsciously, helping them understand your message at a glance. Incorporating numbers can help your emails stand out and strike your readers simultaneously.

Example: Finally: the 3 simple steps to smarter SEO…

#3 – Be Brief

Subject lines force us to be economical with our words, which can thankfully help us avoid wordy clickbait headlines. By keeping your subject lines under 50 words, you ensure that your emails don’t get cut off in-browser or lose the attention of your readership.

Example: Hey, Joe. Your order is being processed!

Crafting subject lines can be incredibly tedious; however, they remain one of the most crucial components of any email marketing campaign. To get the most out of your efforts, write out as many versions of your subjects as possible to visualize what your message will look like on-screen and narrow down the options from there.

Building buzz for your email marketing campaign shouldn’t have to rely on controversy or clickbait. Instead, focus on crafting emails that stir the interest of your readers and deliver worthwhile, relevant content when they decide to click through out of trust, not deception.

Now that you know how to write effective headlines and avoid clickbait, you will need a great autoresponder  to organize and automate your message and deliver it to your clients consistently.

Don’t let any more opportunities pass you by. Make sure to sign up for your free 2 week trial of Sendlane™. Start growing your business and your audience today!

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Jerrik Neri

Jerrik Neri

Jerrikis a Sendlane warrior by day and an avid and aspiring Web Developer ninja by night. His passion for programming and technology which has cultivated since he was young, has landed him in this company - helping people and fixing code.
When he’s not helping out and fighting for Sendlane’s cause or staring hard at long lines of code, you can find him at the gym trying to lift heavy things, or at home, trying to be the next E-sports gaming professional.
Jerrik Neri