Posted: Apr 2, 2018
**Guest post written by Anitra Jay of TheCraftyMusician.com.
"Writing strong email content to engage your fans is not an easy task. With so many emails coming through their inboxes, you have to do something to really stand out. The first most important thing about a good email is its subject line. The majority of your fans will use the subject line to decide whether or not to read your content. So if you want to get your fans to open your email newsletter, you have to write appealing headlines.
General subject lines such as “Latest Updates” and “January Monthly Newsletter” will probably get you some opens, but you can significantly increase open rates with a smart subject line strategy instead. Try thinking like a TV producer would. The producer is always thinking about what’s going to get more ratings. That’s why news media outlets and TV shows promote sensationalism. They want to get as many ratings as possible. You should be thinking the same way when it comes to writing newsletters and most importantly subject lines.
Want to increase your email open rates? Here are 8 email subject lines that will guarantee opens.
Best and Worst of the Year. You might be on this list…
This creates suspense and even panic among your fans. I write these kinds of emails at the end of the year and it is among my most successful emails. I write about some of my best experiences and some of my worst experiences while performing or traveling. I try to go light on the worst experiences and pick events that don’t involve people on my mailing list so as to not offend anyone.
Secret Contest is Over. Are You This Month’s Winner?
Everyone wants to be a winner. This is another suspense driving headline. Your fans can’t help but to open this email because they want to know if they won and what the prize even is.
The reason reality shows like Big Brother and the housewives franchises remain on air is because we love to see drama unfold. For some reason drama and conflict is appealing. Why not use that to your advantage? Here are some email subject line examples that use drama to get opens.
You Wouldn’t Believe What This Fan Said to Me
People say stupid things all the time. People do mean things. Talk about a time you got heckled. Talk about a time someone told you to get a ‘real’ job. Or talk about a time a fan told you they weren’t really feeling your music. Talk about what you said or what you wanted to say. Drama sells.
The Dark Side of Following Your Dreams
If you’re always sharing great things about your music, switch it up a bit and share something awful that happened to you. Talk about obstacles and disappointments you face. Are there times you want to give up on your dream of pursuing music? Your fans have joined your mailing list because they want to support you. These sad situations are a great opportunity for them to support you - and they will. They want to know about your challenges as well as your accomplishments.
Here’s What I Wouldn’t Say Last Time
Don’t be afraid to leave cliffhangers in your email content. Cliffhangers are a great tool to generate suspense leading up to your next email. For example, there’s one email in particular where I talked about a very hard time I was having with some family members. However, I witheld some details. I alluded to that fact in the email and promised to share it later on. So in the following email I shared those details. That email represented the most opens I had ever gotten. If you’re going to tease, be sure to follow-through on it. Don’t leave them hanging or else they won’t believe you next time.
Are you noticing a pattern with sensationalism lately? News outlets are promoting more and more controversial pieces these days and we all have something to say about it. Likewise, your fans are probably interested to know your thoughts on these topics if you’re bold enough to broach these subjects. Here’s an example of a subject line I used relating to police brutality.
My Scary Police Encounter
I talked about when my husband and I got pulled over by the police for no good reason. I talked about my thoughts on racial profiling and my strategy when it comes to answering voluntary questions such as ‘Where are you going’ and ‘Where are you from’. My open rate for that email was the highest it had ever been.
As an independent artist you probably can think of several questions pretty much all fans ask. See if you can think of non-traditional answers to these ordinary questions and allude to that in a subject line. Here are a couple examples...
Why I Don’t Audition for TV Shows Anymore
You Didn’t Know I Got Started in Music This Way
Think about conversations you normally have with your fans and the typical questions they ask. You can use that as a starting point to build enticing subject lines and email content.
Don’t let your emails get lost in the inbox shuffle. Make your subject lines pop with enticing phrases that create suspense. Write your subject lines with the end user in mind. Ask yourself what would attract you to open an email from an independent artist you follow and let that be your guide."
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In addition to being a full-time touring singer/songwriter, Anitra Jay is the editor of TheCraftyMusician.com, a blog for indie artists sharing actionable tips and advice on how to promote, develop, establish a fanbase, and more. Her passion is to inspire other musicians and build a community of like-minded independent artists to encourage and promote successful careers in the arts. She appeared on HGTV's Tiny House Hunters in May of 2017 to share her music story and her Tiny House Journey with the world. Visit TheCraftyMusician blog for more practical DIY tips and tricks to advance your career in music.