Ideas to Make Your eDM Email Subject Lines Work

By | Blog, ecommerce, Uncategorized | No Comments


The bitter truth: The vast majority of email newsletters, promotional campaigns, and email blasts never make their way past the crowded in boxes of their recipients.

Those that did manage to get views did so thanks to how users evaluated email subject lines and sender information.

Successful emails reach users who are confident enough to open them, and the keys to this are clear, easily recognisable sender information, and concise, well-written subject lines. Both factors help users make informed decisions on whether or not to open or bypass an email message.

Web usability experts the Nielsen/Norman Group (NN/g) put together some guidelines on how to create effective subject lines that should increase the chances of your emails’ success with users.

  1. Incorporate content into subject lines

With the mad rush of information reducing web users’ internet attention spans, email subject lines should let users know the kind of content the newsletter contains. Users want to know what’s in a message right away through the headline, and while it may seem like a good idea to tease users into reading a message, this is not the case with emails.

The argument against being too direct with subject lines is that users might not open an email newsletter if they see the content in the subject line right away.

NN/g however, notes that it’s much better to keep users informed and allow them to make a decision instead of forcing them to open the message only for them to have no interest in it. Most users may not even bother doing this, deleting the message instead. The interaction cost is simply too high with no clear benefit to the user. fail

We at Enform agree with NN/g’s assertion  that it’s much better to have some messages fail to be opened by some users, than risk penalizing them with opening messages they don’t like.

However, be aware that Junk mail and anti-SPAM filters look at subject lines very closely so go easy on the “killer sales” language.

email subject

  1. Place keywords into the subject line and limit it to 40 characters

For optimal viewing of subject lines, it’s best to stay within the character limits set by email programs. Because character limits vary between programs (not to mention they can change over time), it’s best to stay within the safe limit of 40 characters.

The most important content should be placed right at the beginning of the subject line to prevent it from being cut off. Keywords that carry the most information and are the most descriptive should take prime real estate. Avoid the common mistake below:

(Company Name) Newsletter: The Annual Clearance Sale is Here

The first 3 words in the subject line above could have been put to better use, replaced with more meatier keywords such as the discounts being offered in the sale, the date of the promotion, what products are on sale, and more.


  1. Avoid redundancies

We already mentioned how important it is to select the right keywords for the subject line, so by all means, don’t repeat things like the sender information in your subject line. While it’s important to let users know whom their newsletters are coming from, don’t waste valuable space repeating information that could’ve been replaced with something important.

Remember, you have less than 15 seconds to get the readers attention with your email or eDM message, make it count.


Spamming is Legal for Australian Politicians

By | Announcements, Comment | No Comments

spam federal election Australian politicians legal

Open Season for Spam Emails in Australia as During Australia’s Federal Election.

With the recent federal election in Australia, it came with an expected onslaught of campaign messages both in your mail and electronic inbox. With email addresses not thoroughly protected under law, it’s practically open season for politicians and parties as far as sending electronic campaign messages go.

Chances are, during the campaigns you’ve received spam from the Palmer United Party, led by polarising businessman/politician Clive Palmer. The party has been busy shooting off its campaign emails everywhere, with multiple users across Australia reporting to have received messages on various .org.au, .edu.au, and .gov.au email addresses.

Even generic addresses used by several Senate committees haven’t been spared, with reports saying some addresses have gotten 3 or 4 messages daily.

spam clive palmer federal election


It’s clear that messages like this:

Men and Women of Australia:

“Australia’s debt is increasing at $3 billion every week. It’s time for a fundamental change. Our debt has gone up $30 billion in the past 10 weeks. Palmer United has a positive policy to turbo-charge the Australian economy…”


“An urgent reform of Australian food labelling was required to keep profits at home and protect local jobs, the federal leader of the Palmer United Party Clive Palmer said.

Mr. Palmer said that if elected, his part would ensure uniform food-labelling reform in Australia to promote the endeavours of local producers and boost employment.”

…are spam emails, so the question is, are these emails legal, and more importantly, just how did the Palmer United Party get a hold of so many email addresses?


The bad news, at least for recipients of these messages, is that such emails are actually legal. In fact, they’re not even recognised as spam by Australian law. The Spam Act of 2003 notes that “commercial electronic messages” are to be sent only with the recipient’s consent, and that they should identify sender and come with an unsubscribe function that stops you from receiving messages.

But a wide range of organisations are exempt from many of the act’s provisions, including  registered political parties — as well as government bodies, registered charities, as well as educational and religious organisations.

In other words, PUP is free to send you emails if they have your address. Chalk it up to the wonders of democracy.

How’d They Acquire your Emails?

It’s easier than it looks.

For starters, the federal government and states actually have access to online directories that list key persons and generic email addresses. It’s quick and easy to compile a mailing list with access to these directories.

What’s more, there’s an even easier way to put together a good list of addresses: renting or better yet, buying an existing one. Try running a search for “email lists Australia” and you’ll likely find various companies that are more than happy to fire off your messages to your desired demographic. Multiple organisations have decided to sell their email databases for the right price; the only exemption being those that have explicitly stated that they won’t share addresses.

At Enform, we like to inform our partners and clients that their email addresses are by no means a secret, nor are they truly protected. Every person and organisation you’ve ever emailed knows it and in the case of the latter, probably keeps it for “safekeeping.”


Want to increase your revenue per email by 900%?…..

By | Automailer, Blog, eDM, Research | No Comments

….Restaurant.com did

Image from Contactology

For many years, Restaurant.com enjoyed growing revenues bolstered by the ‘Batch-and-blast’ email strategy. Readership remained until 2011, when subscriber engagement fell down by as much as 35 percent. Even with the appeal of “certificates”—essentially digital versions of coupons—that can be exchanged for discounts across the restaurants under their system, the company’s generic emails failed in engaging customers.

Time for a Change

Restaurant.com shifted gears with its email campaign, overhauling its program in just 1 year. Instead of going with a “firing and forgetting” strategy, the company employed a sophisticated system that combines both automated and targeted emails.

The new strategy can be broken down into a 6-step process:

  1. Building internal support – First starting with home, Restaurant.com took measures to gain support from its investors, IT department, and creative team.
  2. Laying a Foundation – Restaurant.com had to change its database infrastructure to address new goals of their email campaign. Matching customer behaviour and interactions from the channels they came from, for instance, initially proved impossible, calling for a new system to be put in place. Likewise, a new eDM analytics system was set up because of this very reason.
  3. Rethinking the Marketing Strategy – One of the first things Restaurant.com did was to reduce the frequency of its emails, cutting the previous monthly volume of 22 emails in half. The focus should be on quality, not quantity. For example, A/B testing  is a tool that tests the essential factors of email marketing significantly eliminating ‘trial and error’ resulting in emails that are both interactive and effective.
  4. Lifecycle-based Automated Emails – Restaurant.com. launched a new system of automated emails or “auto-responders” that reach out to customers they predicted were mostly likely make a purchase of certificates—these are subscribers with data showing they already made a purchase.
  5. Behaviour-specific Emails – Restaurant.com also formulated emails that perform specific actions, such as reminding subscribers of items abandoned in the shopping cart, encouraging them to participate in social media promotions, and more.
  6. Quality Control – Restaurant.com also made it a point to test every aspect of the campaign thoroughly before launching it. Different campaigns were tested, and each aspect scrutinised before making a database-wide change.

The Results

Implementing these solutions provided a higher ROI than using the batch and blast strategy that was previously used. Despite having attractive coupons on their eDM, their method lacked strategy.

Using an A/B testing tool, the user is able to target specific groups and identifies what engages their intended audience more effectively. Changes made by Restaurant.com to its email strategy have been nothing short of stellar. The conversion rate of the new emails over the old generic ones rose by 150 percent. Likewise, the company saw a 900 percent revenue increase for every 1000 emails sent (that’s $200). And both figures are for the automated emails alone.

The benefits when utilizing this type of testing system is the accuracy it is able to deliver making email campaigns more purposeful and less clumsy, eliminating the ‘firing and forgetting’ strategy.

Fortunately Enform Automailer has most of the elements talked about as standard features allowing for targeted, strategic eDM campaigns with effective ROI. Essentially, the main purpose of creating an eDM is to engage and interact which in turn generates results. So why waste the effort?

You can read more about this case study at Marketing Sherpa. There’s more info about Enform Automailer service on our site, or contact us on 02 8999 1900 if you’d like to discuss.