The folks who send me email appeals have finally saturated me with so many that I believe I can no longer be swayed by their subject lines. You find them in your inboxes too, I’m sure: lines that are supposed to grab your attention or sound so shocking that you can’t help but open the email and learn more.
Well, they don’t work anymore for me. Why? Because I know that every last one is going to end with an appeal for money. The sole purpose of the email is, plain and simple, to solicit my financial support by describing a situation about which I should feel strongly enough to want to throw my weight behind. I’ve come to the point where I really don’t care what the issue is that brings the email to me. I’m going to delete it without even opening it because I know that the last thing I’ll read is, “Can you chip in $5.00 or more?” or worse, “Can you make that a $5.00 A MONTH donation?”
So, what are some of the subject lines intended to shiver my timbers and shake my foundations? Here are a few actual subject lines selected from just the past month’s mailings. They are presented here exactly as they were received, complete with capitalization errors and all:
Let’s begin with the least offensive ones, the ones that try to sucker me in with subject lines that make it sound as though I’m going to get something for nothing or that I’m in line for a special honor:
Karl Urgent – Please collect your $1000 Gift Card (from firstname.lastname@example.org)
Have you claimed your $50 gift? (from email@example.com)
[Look at those email addresses. Don’t they look like reliable senders? (Yeah, right.)]
> Karl, congratulations! You have been nominated
> No Wait, No Limit Dental Plans
On the political front.
> SHOCKING news from Senator Elizabeth Warren
> Trump is going to LOSE IT (read why >>)
> Can Karl sign? (it takes 30 seconds!)
> President Obama just lit a FIRE inside us, Karl!
> need Karl’s signature to protect voting rights
> we can’t believe this …
Some try to get me all worked up because of the urgency of the appeal. “This must be done NOW!!”
> SEEKING URGENT RESPONSE FROM 19904
> midnight tonight!
> last call in 19904 [Karl?]
> The Squad needs you now!
> Please read, don’t delete
> bad news (re: Donald Trump)
> please, Karl
> it’s over, Karl.
Then there are the ones that come to me on bended knee, sounding desperate, intended to reach into my heart and pull out some money:
> please read this, Rev. Dr. Karl
> Choking back tears, Karl
> RE: BEGGING with you, Karl
> Karl, I’m asking
> This is a crisis. This is where we need you.
> no time, please read
> Just a few responses short on this critical poll …
The ones I find easiest to delete are those that sound overly demanding, like, “Do this. Just DO this — NOW!”
> Sign the petition: The United States Postal Service provides a crucial service to Americans
> Sign to Demand Secure Elections
> Karl, we need your signature
Others try to come in the back door by getting me to think that I’ve been misunderstood and must immediately straighten out the problem:
> Karl – voting for trump?
> you DON’T want to sign President Obama’s card?
> Karl ignored this?
A few are honest enough to say that they want to reach into my pocket:
> asking for $5 (please)
> Your Support Needed: 2X MATCH ALERT
And there are even those that out-and-out lie:
> NOT asking for money (I actually opened this one out of curiosity. The very last thing they did was include an appeal for a donation. How unscrupulous can you get?)
No, my eyes are fully open now. There’s no way that a subject line can grab my attention so strongly that I’ll be forced to open it because I now know that regardless of the angle it’s taking, it will always end with “Send us money.”