How to Grab People with Catchier Subject Lines

Too often, B2B marketers agonize over the text and graphics of their email campaign, only to slap on a subject line almost as an afterthought. Since the content is often technical, their subject lines get technical too, which might not entice people to read. So how do you grab people with catchier subject lines?

• Brevity is important. Try hard to keep the subject line to 50 characters or less. Think about those poor mobile users.
• Pay attention to keywords that are trending with your target audience. It might be the name of regulation or a hot issue like “cyber hacking.”
• Give a benefit. Make the audience smarter, faster, better.
• Put the most important words up front—the meat of your subject line can easily drop off the end of your mobile phone inbox.
• Pique their curiosity. Put in a fact the reader might not know. Try a play on words since everyone loves wit. Tee up what they will learn. There is a reason you see lines that read like this: “5 Ways to Engage Your Board.”
• Use the word “New.” Sounds simple but it causes people to pause, as they are afraid they are missing something. But make sure the content is truly new.
• Make it actionable. What should they do after they read the content? Change a corporate policy, call their advisor, or sign up for a seminar, to name a few.
• Pose a question. A question engages the reader to stop and consider the subject.

Of course the challenge is always getting it done in 50 characters. Who knew Twitter’s 140 would seem like a tome.

Brain Food: The Business Case for a New Website

Updating an old website is an attractive idea, and not just for public facing purposes. If your CMS (Content Management System) is outdated or non-existent, then you are missing out on a lot of opportunities. A modern CMS functions as the central brain of your website allowing publishing, editing and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface.

How smart is your brain?

However, not every CMS is created equal. The technology has come a long way, and the capabilities of an outdated CMS compared to those of a contemporary one are very different. A good CMS can empower marketing communications, direct business development activities, proposals, and much more. If you are not yet convinced that a CMS update is a good idea, check out the following list of modern CMS capabilities.

Business development

A modern CMS can power a firm’s business development program and house all the content and information you rely on. When you update this information on a capable CMS, it will allow you to control and push the appropriate content to your various channels. For example—if you update a biography you can publish a shorter version online, a longer version on your intranet, and a third version can be exported to a Word document for a proposal. Having one centralized CMS ensures the right biography is always used and maintained.

Experience module

Most firms opt to have this in place as you can capture professional experience in a format that can be customized for internal and external audiences. By allowing you to designate fields that are only visible to internal audiences, a modern CMS enables you to tailor search results for each visitor.


Simo Ahava’s “Modern CMS: Top 5 Features” explains that a good CMS will adjust to accommodate your needs. You should be able to hide or show features in the software, set areas of your content as restricted, make mass edits and redesign easily. If you reach a tough spot, extensions, plug-ins and widgets are constantly being created and updated to help tackle any challenges you may face.

Social media integration

Social media can also be integrated with the CMS allowing visitors to follow the firm on appropriate platforms and connect through LinkedIn. 67% of buyers of legal services, for example, use LinkedIn daily or weekly. Once the numbers come in for CFOs, they will likely be just as high. Not to mention that a site with a well functioning social media connection will rank higher on search engine results.

A modern CMS can also:

  • power a proposal generator;
  • allow for easy posting of virtually any type of content (video, PDF, photos, text);
  • pull quotes to draw visitors to the site;
  • allow changing and adapting content through a password protected and secure web interface;
  • and significantly reduce yearly developer costs.

It’s not brain surgery

The bottom line is that a modern CMS allows maximum control over your content and how it gets published. In addition to just making your life easier, upgrading to a contemporary CMS centralizes the intellectual capital that is needed for quick and efficient business development. It’s a no-brainer, if your current system does not measure up, you should strongly consider updating.

Leading by Example

As brand experts, we always cite the mantra, “Live the Brand.” I had an opportunity to see a company, DaVita, which takes this mantra so totally to heart it is awe-inspiring.

DaVita cares for people with kidney problems and much more. My family is very much a part of the healthcare community, so I know their stellar reputation. They run dialysis centers around the world, and they run them with soul. Named one of Fortune’s Most Admired Healthcare Companies, DaVita ranks #3 overall and #1 in innovation and quality of products in the Health Care Medical Facilities category.

Yesterday, I got a glimpse of the culture that drives the DaVita experience by visiting their Denver headquarters; compliments of our commercial real estate client, CRESA. Thank you Phillip Infelise and Karen Galvin for the opportunity.

DaVita’s leadership teaches us to embed the firm’s mission and values everywhere, and not to make it boring. They channel the Three Musketeers and their mantra, “One for all and All for One,” to capture what they believe.

Take notice of how their values are not inwardly focused, but are about how DaVita fits into our community at the highest level:

  • Building a Community
  • To Build the Greatest Healthcare Community the World Has Ever Seen
  • Being a Role Model for American Health Care
  • Sending Forth Ripples of Citizen Leadership

DaVita’s work is serious and life saving, but they inject joy into the workplace. Everyone responsible for leading a company or managing a brand would do well to study DaVita’s approach and track record.

How Far Have We Come

Some years ago I gave a tongue and cheek speech at a law firm retreat on the history of legal marketing as seen by those of us in the trenches. Recently when a new legal marketer seemed frustrated about partners not willing to be on LinkedIn, I assured her that we’ve actually made progress. So we’ve decided to actually pull out the time capsule and share our 30-years of war stories from here at Right Hat. So stay tuned for the Right Hat documentary!

1980 I can’t believe they want us to carry a business card? Everyone at my country club knows who I am and what I do.
1984 Clients push back on phone and fax charges
1986 Firm brochure just published crisp A-Z (antitrust – zoning) 60 pages
1989 Logo for a law firm?? You won’t see Cravath stooping that low.
1995 Web page – cost $10,000 but buried it as IT expense.

And that is just the start…..

Paying Off Your Promise of Value

Paying off a promise of value on your website is always a challenge. Kudos to Volvo Trucks which promises efficiency and then gives visitors the site tools to back up their promise — including a fuel calculator and companion iPad version. These are involved tools but simple checklists can provide the same benefit.

What can you add to your website to back up your company’s promise of value?