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  • May 24, 2007

AM Inbox: Specificity vs. branding-only in subject lines

RetailEmail.Blogspot monitors the email marketing campaigns of more than 100 of the top online retailers. Here are highlights from our inbox this morning:

HPshopping, 5/23 — Your HP Home & Home Office Store Deals - Week of May 22, 2007
It looks like HPshopping is reverting to this old style of “fill in the blank with the date” subject lines. They used this kind of subject line all the time prior to April, but last month HPshopping began using more descriptive subject lines for each email. Here are the subject lines they’ve been using:

5/16 — HP Pavilion Desktop Starting at Just $329.99
5/8 — Life at Your Fingertips, with the HP TouchSmart
4/26 — One Shrek of a Deal From HP
4/17 — Exclusive Savings on HP Ink, Toner and Paper
4/10 — Super Deal on the HP Pavilion dv6000t
4/6 — Introducing Stylish New Desktops from HP!

I’m a little surprised to see them revert. I would have thought that the more descriptive subject lines would have encouraged more opens. And since they keep the “HP” branding in every subject line, subscribers still would have had that additional confirmation that it was an email from HP. I wonder if there’s more of a hybrid that they could use, similar to what AbeBooks does, starting its subject lines with “The Avid Reader:” (the name of its newsletter) and then calling out content in the email—something like “Your HP Home Deals: Pavilion Desktops $329.99 and up.” EB Games uses the same subject lines all the time too, without calling out content in the issue. You have to test what works for your subscribers, but I would be surprised if they don’t respond to subject lines that are more descriptive about what’s actually in each email.

American Eagle Outfitters, 5/23 — Sale. Our favorite four letter word.
Bellacor, 5/23 — Friend, Memorial Day Sale plus Free Shipping!
Jo-Ann, 5/23 — Memorial Day savings start today.
Gap, 5/23 — Memorial Day Weekend Deals
REI, 5/23 — Memorial Day Savings On Now at REI
ShopPBS, 5/23 — The National Memorial Day Concert
Macy’s, 5/23 — Free Shipping - a Memorial Day Sale email exclusive!
Harry & David, 5/ 23 — Internet Exclusive: Save an extra 10% during our Memorial Day Sale!
Neiman Marcus, 5/23 — FREE SHIPPING + Heartfelt gifts your graduate will loveGloss, 5/23 — 3 Hours TODAY Only: 4 Samples + Makeup Bag + Shipping with our compliments
Brookstone, 5/23 — Summertime essentials make it easy to relax by the pool.

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