Our Son Trayvon: Make your email subject lines as powerful as this one

Getting your emails opened is the most crucial part of your email campaign. Without that, there’s no hope of motivating the action your organization needs.

When I opened my email this morning to the usual overflow, my eyes were drawn immediately to this short but powerful subject line—Our Son Trayvon. I opened the email immediately.

The email (see it here in full), from Trayvon’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, focuses on the fatal shooting of their unarmed son, Trayvon, by a neighborhood watch captain. The possible bias behind this senseless killing, and the way the police are handling it, is spurring rallies and responses nationwide.

Trayvon is in our hearts and minds this week. So when his parents ask us to sign an online petition calling on the Florida attorney general to prosecute the self-confessed killer, we want to help.

This email subject line works because it:

1) Relates to what’s already top of mind. I’ve been hyper-focused on this killing, the lack of justice and the response for days now, so when I saw the subject line, I knew exactly what it was about. Since it was about what I was already thinking about, it hooked me. Try connecting a trending news story or holiday to your organization’s cause or campaign.

2) Is short—just 15 characters, so falls well under the 30 characters that can be viewed by all email users, even those who are going mobile.

3) Is direct, authentic and heartfelt. No parent could turn away. I don’t know Trayvon’s parents, but I feel like I do in reading this subject line and email.

4) Doesn’t overdo. It’s not overwhelming or heavy, which can make audiences turn away. It’s simple and conversational.

Of course, the fact that the email “from” is Trayvon’s parents is a strong success factor, as was the time it was sent (7am, first thing in the morning—before my mind was too crowded or I was too busy).

I hope that justice is done for Trayvon’s murder, and that there is some shift in the racial bias so endemic on our country. This email helps, and the subject line leads the way.

More ways to ensure your email generates opens and actions:

Email Subject Lines: 6 Cardinal Sins to Avoid

Unleash the Power of Your Email Signature — The Most-Missed Marketing Opportunity

How to Create Good-Enough E-Newsletter Content

Timing is Everything — Reach Your Audiences When They’re Likely to Read and Act on It

P.S. Get more in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing success in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz on March 22, 2012 in Email and E-Newsletters | 0 comments

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