The most effective subject line ever will spell your doom! [Tip]

Just have a look at this eye-opening slam-banger from Twitter Counter:


Holy cow, so you mean a staggering 53 people unfollowed our brand? But who and why? Never fear, Twitter Counter to the rescue! A click on their email link is all it takes to learn who all of those people are and when they decided to jump ship. I mean, crikey, 53 unfollowers out of the blue, there must be a reason for this!

So why did they unfollow you?

They didn’t.


At that time, a whopping 2 people unfollowed us (against 5 new followers). Pretty normal behaviour I’d say.

But that subject line?…

Just a ruse to get us to open the email and click through. We didn’t actually believe Twitter Counter would go for such an ill-advised practice, so we chalked it up to a mishap on their merge codes. I mean, surely they would fetch the actual number of unfollowers for each Twitter Counter user and automatically plug that number in the email subject line (the result in our case would be something like “2 people unfollowed you on Twitter. Learn who they are!”). That’d work as both a strong call-to-action and a terrific showcase for the “track unfollows” feature they were promoting.

But a quick Google search made it obvious the horrifying “53 people unfollowed you on Twitter” subject line was used across all emails they sent out! I really hope they had a dramatic, never-before-seen uptick in opens and clickthroughs because they sure as heck won’t get any more of those from us. This is now what flashes through our mind whenever we see an email from Twitter Counter:

Still, we have to give it to Twitter Counter – they came up with one of the most effective subject lines we’ve ever seen! It really hit close to home, especially if you manage social media profiles. Just a pity they went the wrong-headed way to do it.

So will you block emails from Twitter Counter from now on?

Not at all (although the thought crossed our mind when we realized we’d been duped). Their service offers some really nice tools and stats for Twitter users. Plus, they seem to have caught wind of how poorly received the original subject line was, as a subsequent email on the same topic was simply (and much more sensibly) titled “Who unfollowed you on Twitter?”.

The lesson? Tread carefully when considering using those highly “sizzling”, can’t-help-but-click subject lines. There’s a fine line between click-whoring and downright lying. Even though your subscribers may be willing to forgive you for it… they’ll never forget :)

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