Push to The Latest: No

Gregg Blanchard -- December 3, 2014

When you look at the top performing email subject lines, a common thread comes into play: they are all transactional emails.

Meaning, these are the emails that arrive a couple days before someone leaves for their vacation with helpful info on their reservation or stay and average 60% open rates across the entire industry some years. These are confirmations that something happened, alerts that an anticipated event actually occurred, appreciation for a vacation you just returned from.

But there's another concept hidden within those campaigns that isn't specific to time or transactions.

YOU vs THEM

Every email in an inbox is a battle of you versus everyone else. And in that context there is one thing that can help your email stand out from all the others.

They'll notice it if they're expecting it…if they're looking for it.

It's why you see your significant other when they get off a plane but not the 150 other people that just deplaned. It's also why you notice (and open) an email from a resort you're about to visit even though your inbox might be overflowing.

A Simple Twist

In each of these cases, the expectation is somewhat inherent in the activity. But this expectation can also be manufactured.

Take, for example, this email I just got from Copyblogger.

The offer is pretty impressive and one they've certainly been working on. But because I wasn't expecting it, the message and subject line simply blended in with the rest of my list of unread emails.

But what if during the last couple of weeks I had received just two other emails that looked like this.

Instead of expecting the big sale reveal just as much as that alert from Amazon, I've created the chance for it to stand out.

We know the power of deadlines, but you can harness that same effectiveness for start-lines too.

The Nugget

Not all emails carry the same level of importance. But trying to differentiate one from another with just a few different words in the subject line can be tough.

Using multiple emails – the first few acting as teasers for the big one – can help set apart an important email and, more importantly, create the expectation or even anticipation of receiving it.

And that, in a inbox full of other subject lines, can make a huge difference.

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