Media Ad Sales: Ryan’s Top Tips for Successful Email Subject Lines


Score! Sales Coach Ryan Dorhn shares his tips on successful email subject lines.

So much of sales is about building relationships. Has faceless email has ruined the sales process?

I could NOT disagree more.

In my ad sales training workshops I teach that email is an amazing sales tool.  If used in the right way it can truly help the media sales professional win and grow business.

Here are the first 5 of my top 10 email subject lines that have been getting me results in the last 30 days or less: [Read more…]

Tame the Email Beast to Sell More Ads!


Does your Monday email inbox seem like this? Here’s some ways to tame the beast.

An ad sales pro’s best friend and most evil foe is……   

Let me explain. We looovve emails because we can very quickly communicate with lots of prospects and clients without ever picking up the phone, right?

The downside with emails (and your massive inbox) is that they are a HUGE distraction from selling. What do I mean? Often the first thing an ad sales person does in the morning is sit down and respond to the latest email. It’s a slippery slope from there. Then, trance-like, they follow the string of recent request and discussion emails. Before long, they’ve spent an hour or more emailing back and forth and not accomplishing much of anything. It’s suddenly almost lunch time. Step…away…from…the…screen! [Read more…]

Why Email is Madonna and Facebook is Lady Gaga in e-Marketing

We know this to be true:  Everyone’s inbox is exploding! Daily messages come from email, Facebook, Google+, texts, Youtube, Pinterest, Linkedin and more, more, more.


Maybe they are not as different as they seem.

Facebook gets a ton of attention, but when you go beyond the hype and the hoodie you find that, for publishers, it is remarkably similar to an old communication standby……..the email.

Digital marketing adviser and author Jay Baer was our keynote speaker recently at the Niche Digital Conference in Nashville.  He shared with us a few of his insights so we can gain some clarity on how to use, and combine, these two marketing platforms. [Read more…]

The Essential Building Blocks of Marketing for Niche Magazines


Build your niche media company’s strategic marketing program!

Are you overwhelmed with the dizzying array of new marketing tools and social medias?  Then you have come to the right place.  It’s baby steps, people.  Or just knowing the right steps to take.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Jeff Rohrs, VP of Market Research and Education for Exact Target and all-around Social Media and marketing expert. He knows how niche magazines can best use targeted marketing programs to get the results they want. We will be posting some of Jeff’s wisdoms over the next few weeks.

NMHQ:  What areas are important for niche magazine publishers to focus on right now?

JR:  It’s all about building your audience. Niche magazines must think beyond growing only paid subscriptions. There is a BIG difference between your paid subscribers and your marketing audience.  Social Media will expand your marketing audience. Take a look at your social media program and figure out which media work best for your niche. Think of attracting fans vs customers. 

It’s also important to determine how you will manage your social media, given your resources.  Often niche magazines are run by a few people wearing many hats.  Who within your organization is going to manage and stay focused on the social media program? 

NMHQ: Is email still an important part of marketing strategic plan?

JR:  An email program is still very important.  A few years ago, a publisher of a small travel magazine was leaving a session of mine and said he wished he had attended it two years ago. Why?  Because he thought everyone was supposed to focus on developing a social media program and that is what he’d been doing for the last two years.  Yet an email program is still very much foundational.  There is a direct ROI to be tracked with emails.   And if you have the funds to blast, just be careful you don’t get too monotonous in the long term or people will tune you out.

NMHQ:  What should niche publishers stop doing in terms of their marketing strategy?

JR:  They should stop any marketing designed to get the sale.  Now that sounds odd, but niche publishers need to design to get the sale AND get the audience build-up.  Niche publishers need to always serve those two masters.

 For the longer term, stop being one thing to all people. Niche publishers have a great advantage over more general subject magazines like Newsweek because they can use their own subscription information and leverage that data.  Niche magazines have that depth and the expertise about their niche and they need to use it.

NMHQ: Can you give us an example of how publishers can leverage their subscriber data?

JR:   It’s possible for niche magazines to “sculpt” their email program to really target their audience.  You have a passionate audience already there; it’s about finding the niches within your niche.  Also, email service providers have become much more sophisticated and can help you with that targeting.

Think of the different types of messaging you can send to different types of audiences within your niche.  It is also important HOW niche publishers apply that curated, sculpted content to future email campaigns. Keep your content dynamic and always, always curate.  Publishers have to learn to prioritize emails and make sure they resonate with their audience and are responsive to their audience. 

We may know these things intuitively but the stats prove it out.  A dual-focused marketing strategy on social media AND email programs is critical. Drill down into the subscriber data you already have to create NEW niches within your niche. Comments or questions? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.


jeff_rohrs-packshot-1Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Marketing Research & Education, ExactTarget

Now: A recovering attorney, bacon-lover & Cleveland sports victim, Jeff Rohrs leads the Marketing Research & Education Group at ExactTarget. In this capacity, Jeff co-authors the award-winning     SUBSCRIBERS,FANS &  FOLLOWERS Research Series—an ongoing examination of how today’s online consumers interact with brands through digital channels such as email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Past Life: Jeff also spearheads ExactTarget’s Connections User Conference programming and SUBSCRIBERS RULE! philosophy.


Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events –  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

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5 Great Email Subject Lines Prospects/Clients will Open!

No doubt about it–email can be your lifeline to your prospects and clients. It’s frustrating when you can’t seem to get a response. But these people are very busy and inundated with emails.

How the heck do you get them to open YOUR email?   The key is personalization.  Make sure you always begin the subject line with their first name. It grabs their attention.

Here’s 5 subject lines that really work.…

Frustrated Ad Sales Professional

Frustrated Ad Sales Professional

1. <First Name>, Great talking to you!
You should be following up after every sales call. The info they were interested in during the call will float away within a few minutes after the call. Your follow up email will remind them of the important information discussed. I use this subject line because it reminds them that they know me (so they open it) and has a quick action item in it.

2. <First Name>, I just sent you a voice mail
OK, I hate leaving a voice mail with a prospect. They probably won’t listen to it. But, at some point you have to leave one. This subject line works. Much better chance they will listen to the vm plus they get hit twice with a message. (And you better leave them a great idea and not “The closing date is blah, blah, blah….” It’s a double hit with them that works.

3. <First Name>, You don’t send me flowers anymore! OR <First Name>, Are you still alive?
This one is really effective! This is a situation when the prospect has promised they would get back to you for weeks and

you use guilt. Is it OK to use guilt? Heck yes, we are in ad sales, you gotta use whatever you got.

4. We’re covering <Product> in the March issue!
We would have product round ups all the time in our magazines. You mention that you are  featuring their product in your magazine and you need info–you’ll get a response in a heartbeat.

5. <First Name>, We covered you on page 63 this month!
Any time you do a company or product mention in your magazine or on your website you want the client to know about it

. And you want the ad sales person to be the hero and get the credit.So don’t get frustrated, get busy. These are just 5 easy subject lines that I use with great results. There are dozens more. I’d love to hear from you what YOU use that works! Share with us and all the niche magazine ad sales people out there on Facebook or Twitter.


Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events –  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ


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Test, Test, Test for Email Success!

By Ryan Dohrn, Digital Guru & Internet Consultant,

In order to communicate with subscribers, build a successful e-newsletter, or reach new online readers, you need to get people to open your emails. For media/publishing industry email blasts, Constant Contact reports an average open rate of 18.6% and a bounce rate of 8.6% with a click thru rate of 23.7%. (Source)

Many publishers fall far short of these numbers. So, what do you do to raise your open and click thru rates? Test for success!

1. Test your subject line:  A well written subject line out performs a generic subject line. Lists are also very popular.  Some great examples… “10 ways to grow your small business revenue”, “5 Hot Parenting Tips”, “10 Ways to market your business for under $100”. Review subject lines just like headlines.

2. Test your sending time: One way to boost your open rate is to look at when people who open your emails are doing so. Is it 8:00 am, Noon, 3:00 pm, 10:00 pm?  Try splitting your list in half. Send to half the people at your normal time, and to the other half on a different day or at a different time of day to see if one results in a higher open rate.

3. Check your “from” name: Most emails that are quickly ignored or deleted are those with an unrecognizable “from” name or address. Is your “from” name easily recognizable?  For publishers, try sending the email from the publisher’s name rather than or the name of the magazine.  Or, come up with a persona for your emails like Rex Reed or Mary Daniels.

4. Keep testing:  Use A-B testing often and really look and digest the results. Ask for detailed reports and testing from your team.

In the end, email will be a serious pat of your revenue plan. You and your team don’t need to invest much time, money, or effort to test your way to email success. All it takes is a commitment to start testing and keep testing.

This article originally is part of the June issue of Niched Out News. Full article list:

The Love / Hate Relationship with Email

Test, Test, Test for Email Success!

e-Marketing Tip: Fill Out Your Own Contact Form!

Niched Out Magazine of the Month: Hardwood Floors

Success Story: WEFTEC Goes Beyond Print with Tradeshow Media Partners’ Onsite YouTube Video Services

The Love / Hate Relationship with Email

By Carl Landau, Niche Media Grand Poobah

Sales reps love email because it’s a quick and effective form of communication. But there’s a huge battle out there for time and attention. The fact is that people are inundated – even overwhelmed – with email. You need to make sure that YOUR message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Here are my top 5 recommendations for your email sales messages…

1. Make it short. Short and to the point is the way to go. People just don’t have the time and patience to wade through a lot of words to find the key message. In our world this is the BENEFIT to the advertiser.  This needs to be front and center, so that even a quick scan can’t miss it.

2. This is not about you.  Emphasize the person you are writing to, NOT you and your magazine. Typically ad sales people will use their own magazine as the subject line and the whole message is about themselves and their magazine. Turn it around and use the word YOU a lot and the name of the prospect’s company and product. Use their slogan. Use their everything!

3. End the email with an action item. You will send them the research material they requested. Or a send a sample of the latest successful banner ads. Or you will call them on such and such day.  Be active.

4. Send at the right time! Best to send during the business morning when people are actively working. Your message maybe the only one that shows up at 10:15 AM during their automatic checking process. If you send at night or on the weekend your message will be competing with dozen of other emails.

5. Don’t forget the P.S. The most read part of an email is the P.S. I include one in all my sales messages. It’s the key action item. (P.S. This P.S. trick really works!)

And my final advice about your sales emails….

Enough with the emails already! You can’t rely entirely on email for your communications. It’s too easy for a prospect to turn you down via email. It’s not interactive enough to instantly overcome an objection. Pick up the phone for the close. Be smart with your communication and mix it all up with a combination of phone calls, face-to-face calls, and email to make the sale.

This article originally is part of the June issue of Niched Out News. Full article list:

The Love / Hate Relationship with Email

Test, Test, Test for Email Success!

e-Marketing Tip: Fill Out Your Own Contact Form!

Niched Out Magazine of the Month: Hardwood Floors

Success Story: WEFTEC Goes Beyond Print with Tradeshow Media Partners’ Onsite YouTube Video Services

Top 5 e-Newsletter Elements to A/B Split Test

Are you using A/B split testing to evaluate key elements of your e-newsletter? If not, you’re merely playing a guessing game when it comes to content and design decisions. No matter how big or how small your e-news audience, you should be taking advantage of this simple method of testing to fine-tune your e-news product and stop gambling on hunches and guesses when it comes to important e-marketing decisions.

If you’re new to A/B Split Testing—don’t panic—the concept is quite simple and easy to implement. When putting together your next e-newsletter chose one element that you’ve considered changing, but rather than just blindly going ahead with the change, send the altered version of your e-newsletter to only a segment of your subscriber list, then compare the response rates with those from your current unaltered e-newsletter.

If you have a small subscriber list (<5,000-10,000) you’ll need to do a true “A/B” split and send the altered test version of your e-newsletter to half of your list in order to have a reliable test pool. The larger your subscriber list, the more complicated A/B split testing you can experiment with in any one issue, as you can segment out multiple batches of control and test groups within your audience base. Check out this article from ClickZ if you’re completely new to A/B split testing:

Here are our top five most interesting elements that produced dramatically different results in recent A/B split test case studies:

  1. Subject Line: Possibly the most important element in your e-newsletter—if your readers don’t buy into the subject line, they’ll send your e-news offering straight to the trash before any of your fabulous content or design ideas even have a chance to win them over. This makes consistent subject line testing well-worth your time. My Emma recently tested a long-versus-short subject line; betting on the short subject line to win, due in part to the increase in views on mobile devices, they were surprised to find that a longer subject line had a 3% greater open rate.
  1. Button Color: Try a red or orange button color for your call to action—whether it is “Buy Now,” “Register,” or “Subscribe,” tests have found something as simple as bright colors increase response rates dramatically. GSM Mobile found a 5% increase in response after changing their “Buy Now” button from green to orange.
  1. Navigation Menu: Try testing the removal of your navigation menu or other elements that are cluttering up your e-news layout. You’ll be surprised how often less is more when it comes to design and layout. Yuppiechef recently saw conversion rates jump 100%, from 3% to 6%, when they removed their navigation menu.
  1. Pop-up forms: They may be annoying and you might have sworn you’ll never use them, but try testing before you make this decision. Visual Website Optimizer saw a 50% increase in response with the addition of a pop-up form to solicit subscriptions to their e-newsletter.
  1. Content Shifts: While content is the most time-consuming and resource-intensive element to test, it might just be the most effective change you can implement in your e-newsletter. Sensing that your topics are too stuffy and wanting to lighten-up the tone of your articles? Concerned that your content focus is leaving out large segments of your potential audience, but too worried about losing your current readers to experiment with new content? Try A/B split testing before you make any major shifts in editorial content and then you can tweak your editorial focus with confidence.

The beauty of A/B split testing is the security you’ll feel in knowing your e-marketing decisions are backed up by solid data and not mere shots in the dark. Instead of your marketing team crossing their fingers and blindly hoping for good results, you can rely on testing results to feel confident in your e-marketing choices, and that confidence is well-worth the extra time and effort it takes to conduct A/B split tests on a regular basis.


This originally appeared as part of our Vitamin E e-newsletter for e-newsletters. All the articles:

e-Revenue: 6 Ways to Improve Your Ad Sales e-Newsletter

E-Newsletter Layout: Three Things that Should Appear in the Preview Pane View

Top 5 e-Newsletter Elements to A/B Split Test

How to Use Video to Increase e-Newsletter Revenue

Carl’s Capsules: Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Unconference

E-Newsletter of the Month: Condé Nast’s GQ Pulls off a Daily e-Newsletter with Simplicity, Style, and Sales Savvy


Re-run: Mastering QR Codes to Increase Subscriptions

Email Deliverability Tips and Myths: Part 1 of 2




By Jeanne Jennings
Consultant, Email Marketing Strategy (

Most email marketers have seen their deliverability improve in recent years, but getting the email you send to the inbox remains a challenge. A study done last year by Return Path found that only 87% of legitimate email messages sent in the United States reach the inbox (; another 8% are diverted to the junk mail folder and 6% go into a black hole. If 14% of the email messages you send don’t make it to the inbox that means that your return on investment is probably 14% less than it could be.

In this two-part article, I’ll address some myths about deliverability—and provide some simple and inexpensive things you can do to get more of your email delivered to the inbox.

1.    Tip: Check your email reputation on a regular basis

According to Return Path, 83% of deliverability problems are caused by reputation issues. Elements of your email reputation include your IP address procedures, spam trap hits and authentication (more on that below).

You should check your email reputation on a regular basis—at least once a month. It’s easy and it’s free—but many marketers still don’t take the time to do it. All you need are the IP address(es) that your email is sent from and the domain used in your “from” address.

Here are three sites I use with my clients:

All three sites are user-friendly and provide self-explanatory one-step forms for looking up your IP address—and they provide information on who to contact if you see an issue with your email reputation.

2.    Myth: Avoid using the word “free” in the subject line

This springs from the wide spread use of content filters like Spam Assassin, which analyze the words, design and programming of an email message and assign points for things which are frequently seen in spam emails. An email with a score of 5.0 or above is likely to be diverted to the junk mail folder or not delivered at all.

Using “Free” in the subject line actually earns you no points in Spam Assassin. Still not convinced? Look at your own inbox. Free shipping is one of the most effective offers used by the top online retailers—and it’s very frequently featured prominently in their subject lines.

Content filters were first used in 2003-2004. Back then they were seen as critical to inbox delivery. Fast forward to 2012—the technology used by ISPs to detect spam has come a long way.

Today you’re much more likely to be mistaken for spam due to issues with your HTML code, lack of authentication, or not properly warming up a new IP address. So while it’s still useful to do a content filter check, content alone is unlikely to have a significant impact on your deliverability.

3.    Tip: Make sure you have email authentication in place

Email authentication allows an ISP to confirm that the IP address delivering the email has authority to send on the “from” domain’s behalf. Once again, setting up authentication is inexpensive and simple, but a surprising number of companies aren’t aware they should do it.

SPF, SenderID and DomainKeys/DKIM are the email authentication protocols used by ISPs today. To learn more about the differences between them, read a three-part series I wrote for ClickZ back in 2005: ( While authentication has progressed in the last 7 years, this will give you the basics and discuss the differences between the technologies.

There are a number of free resources online to help you update your DNS entry to include an SPF record, which is what these protocols use to authenticate your email. You will probably need to involve your ESP or your IT folks. Here are a few to get you started:

In part two, we’ll cover one more myth and two more tips about deliverability.

Until next month,

Read more of Jeanne’s tips and myths next month in Part Two…


Check out these other articles that ran in the February 2012 Vitamin e! Newsletter:

eContent: 10 Fresh Content Ideas to Perk-up Your Next e-Newsletter


e-Spot: Is Your Facebook Page Configured to Capture e-Newsletter Opt-in Forms?


Carl’s Capsules:


e-Newsletter of the Month: Get Your Thrills at


(R)e-run of the Month: Top 6 Email Conversion Mistakes