Email subject lines have always been tough to master. But they’ve become even trickier since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and shifted consumer behaviors — possibly for good.
People aren’t just shopping differently. They’ve also changed the way they perceive brands and advertising. According to the Edelman COVID-19 Brand Trust Report, 65% of consumers say a brand’s response to the pandemic will highly impact their likelihood of purchasing from them, and over one-third have also started using a new brand because of the way they’ve positively or sensitively responded. McKinsey & Company also found that 75% of consumers tried a new shopping behavior or brand during the crisis, often because of convenience or availability.
That’s why it’s so important for email marketers to nail those subject lines by appealing to their new and evolving preferences.
To help, let’s look at four winning email subject lines and break down why they were so successful in reaching audiences during a pandemic.
Petco - “See you in about an hour?”
Animal supply brand Petco promoted its accessible curbside pickup option with some casual copy that looks like it could’ve been a text from a friend: “See you in about an hour?”
The writing isn’t just catchy, either; it also appeals to consumers’ growing need for convenient shopping methods. As McKinsey & Company reported, consumers are adopting safer, low-touch services such as curbside pickup. This way, they can make purchases from the comfort of their own homes and gather them quickly at a nearby store without leaving their car.
Postmates - “News with a side of distraction.”
People want to stay informed during a crisis — and they want brands to help. According to Edelman, 84% of consumers said brands should be a reliable news source during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 54% said they’re not paying attention to brands unless they’re helping with challenges brought on by the pandemic.
Food delivery service Postmates met both of those needs with a simple but telling subject line: “News with a side of distraction.” This quick teaser let readers know that, inside their email, they’d find some helpful information as well as some engaging stories to keep them both on top of the news and entertained during such an emotionally draining time.
Hulu - “Hulu has whatever you’re feeling.”
Good advertising doesn’t tell people what to feel; it acknowledges what they’re already feeling and meets them in that mindset with relevant products, services, and solutions.
Video streaming platform Hulu did just that with its subject line, “Hulu has whatever you’re feeling.” Especially during a pandemic, emotions can be varied, heightened, and unpredictable. Brands should be sensitive to that and go for the soft sell. As Edelman reported, 83% of consumers want to see brand messaging that shows compassion, empathy, and support for their struggles.
Uncommon Goods - “You care about what you buy. We care about what we sell.”
According to Edelman, 77% of consumers want brands to only promote products if they can show that they’re aware of the crisis and how it impacts people’s lives. And 89% want to know how the brand is attempting to help.
That’s why e-commerce retailer Uncommon Goods used this subject line to go beyond product promotion and connect with consumers around its efforts to give back. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic as people have been eager to understand how they can have a more positive social and environmental impact — and how their favorite brands are making big strides to do the same.
Make the most of your emails
Email is now more important than ever as brands and publications rely on digital channels to form and sustain direct relationships with customers. Yes, email subject lines get people to open your email. But once they’re in, you have to deliver with relevant messaging and engaging ad opportunities.
That’s why PowerInbox helps you deliver hyper-targeted content in the most trusted and high-converting channels, including email. You can engage audiences with personalized newsletters and monetize those emails with real-time ad placements to increase revenue and interaction.
Ready to make the most of your email operation? Get a demo today.