8 Tips for Optimizing Your Business Mailing List

By: Kathryn Beach


Besides the Can-Spam Act rules (*see below), you have your own agenda for your business mailing list.

Your subject line has to get past spam filters. You have to reach an audience that believes it receives too many email offers, convince them to open your email, and offer a good impression of your business.

You have 15-40 letters (roughly three to six words) to accomplish this. The shorter and simpler, the better. How many seconds do you spend deciding whether to open or to trash an email?

Shorter subject lines are easier for your business mailing list to scan (when scrolling through their inboxes) and determine if they want to open the email. Many email clients cut off subject lines at 50 characters, including spaces.

  1. Offer the recipients something they want, and hone your words to a fine point. Focus on the benefits to your readers, not the features that are important to you. Be very specific.
  2. Personalize your subject lines. Don't use the word "you"; do try to make it sound like the subject of a personal email.
  3. Pique their curiosity. Use a question mark, don't use an exclamation point.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Put your most important words first.
  6. Avoid what seems like slick sales talk. Don't use words like "limited time," "free," "opportunity," "low price" and "only."
  7. Be personable and friendly; develop and show your own particular style and personality.
  8. Write a subject that creates a strong first impression, one that inspires your business mailing list prospects to begin imagining or visualizing themselves enjoying the benefits of your product or service.
*In regards to commercial emails: the Can-Spam Act prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.

© 2006. Kathryn Beach. All rights reserved. Permission to publish online or in print granted provided the article and byline are printed intact with live links.