Quick Tip:
Use the 3/40 Rule to Write Compelling Subject Lines

In the world of email marketing, your first job is to get your email opened. It's a lot easier when you apply the 3/40 Rule to your subject line.

According to email marketing powerhouse DoubleClick.com, you have 3 seconds and 40 characters to grab your prospect's attention with your subject line.

Why 3 seconds? Your prospect's email box is jammed with stuff he'd rather delete than read. So your subject line copy must be compelling … while getting through the many spam filters it faces along the way.

Why 40 characters? Because most email applications only show that many characters for incoming email. Forty characters works out to around 6 words (including spaces).

So if you want your email message to get read, it's vital to make the most of your introduction via the email subject line.

It's an old sales cliche that still holds true in the fast-paced world of cyberspace: Lead with your best offer. Get your prospect's attention right away. Right up front, tell him about:

  • your biggest benefit
  • your deepest discounts
  • your fastest delivery
  • your biggest idea

It's even better if your offer is time-sensitive.

But remember the 3/40 Rule when writing the subject line. You have 3 seconds and 40 characters to get your prospect to decide to read your email.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: March 26, 2007

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