How Groupon Broke The Mold With An Email Subject Line

Angela Cheong
Sep. 17, 2013 by Angela Cheong

Successful Email Marketing Strategies for Effective Email Marketing

There’s a case for using standard email subject lines for something like a newsletter, and when you want your subscribers to clearly recognize communications from your brand – especially if they are brand loyalists. Because these customers expect consistent email updates from you and are looking out for that standardized subject line, changing the subject line could well mean a decline in email open rates.

However, when you are used to seeing the same email subject lines day in and day out, you tend to start filtering or filing them mentally. For example:

Oh… here’s another promotional email from so-and-so retailer. Oh well, I’ll look at that later and see if there’s anything interesting inside….

Sounds familiar? I do that every morning when I check my email. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes on a busy day, it’s easy to forget about those emails that you initially thought might be worth looking into.

Enter the unique subject line. It’s a challenge at times to think of something truly innovative and still ensure brand recognition, but it’s definitely not mission impossible.

Here’s a great example of how Groupon did it (full disclosure, they are one of our clients):

There Are No Deals In This Email

When I receive daily deals emails from Groupon all the time, it takes a lot for me to sit up, take notice and click on email. I expect discounts, holiday deals and the like from Groupon, so when I see something like “There Are No Deals In This Email“, curiosity gets the better of me. I can’t resist and I just have to click to find out what’s going on.

For those of you who are as curious as I am, here’s what I see upon clicking on the email.

Groupon has 1000s of email

I have to say that this is one of the slickest examples of successful email marketing that I have seen from a brand and it definitely left an indelible impression on me (to the point where I flagged it for the sake of writing this blog post). By breaking away from their usual daily deal oriented subject line that subscribers are used to, and sending them the exact opposite of what they expect, Groupon was able to stand out from the crowd of their own emails and cut through the noise.

We’re used to seeing such ingenuity from Groupon when it comes to email marketing, as with their much publicized “Punish Derrick” video, where subscribers who decide to unsubscribe are made to re-consider. And it’s clear we’ll be seeing more great emails from them.

Forget the usual personalized subject lines and discounts – this is the way a brand wins the email game.

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