Brittney Borowicz

Brittney Borowicz is an integrated marketing professional with a strong communications background specializing in journalism, public relations and social media. Originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Brittney has spent the past few years working with entrepreneurs and small start-ups in the Chicagoland area to enhance their marketing and social media efforts.

Prior to her current role as the marketing manager for a computer networking company, Brittney realized her affinity for all things media and marketing while working in radio and television and as a professional presenter. Later, she began working at a couple of small marketing agencies in Chicago as a Public Relations and Sales Director and Account Manager, which required her to be well-versed in coordinating specialized public and media relations strategies, creative marketing initiatives and cohesive sales process implementations.

As a strong believer in intimate consumer/brand involvement, Brittney helps her clients create content that engages and educates brand audiences while establishing each individual or company as a thought leader in their industry.

This is not a personalized subject line.

The other day as I was catching up on some neglected email, I came across this...

Click to enlarge.

... and immediately deleted it. At first glance, this looked like a mass email from a lazy marketer who forgot to include a subject line. (Yes, it does have my name in the inline text, but as marketers know, different email programs will plug individual names into mass emails for you by including a specific code in that email.)

It was to my surprise when I received a follow-up email this morning with the same subject line! It was even more surprising to see that the service this person was trying to sell was for... well... email personalization?

Click to enlarge. Original email shown on bottom as a forwarded message from the sender. Follow-up email from the sender shown on top.

Now I'm just confused. Is this a lazy marketer who forgot their subject line? Or was this subject line intentional?

Maybe I just don't get the humor of the subject line, but I don't understand why someone would send an email about email personalization with the subject line, "This is not a personalized subject line."

As I mentioned above, my first instinct upon seeing this email was to delete it. Nobody wants spam, especially not from somebody who isn't going to bother with including a subject line.

So what makes this subject line so bad? (Assuming this subject line was intentional.)

  1. No sense of urgency. Without a sense of something needing to be done, recipients do not feel compelled to act, especially not immediately. In this case, it didn't even compel me to open the email.
  2. No specificity. When recipients read your subject line, they should know what your message is about and why it's relevant to them. In this case... just... what?
  3. No call-to-action. Although not every email subject line needs a call-to-action, it's sometimes helpful to inform the reader of what their next step should be. In this case, the call-to-action would have made me aware that there was some sort of action required on my part even if it was just responding to the sender.

What is the worst email subject line you've ever seen?