The scissors are on the table. The  hand is in his pocket. The weather was nice.

I’m bored already.

If you’re prepping an email campaign, then you already know that if you don’t have an interesting subject line, you’re dead in the water. There’s more to email campaigns than “Laptops Are On Sale.”

Strong active verbs help make your subject lines taut and exciting. If you’re cold emailing a sales lead, or following up with an existing customer hoping for follow-through sales, strong action verbs are absolutely essential.

What is an action verb?

An action verb is simply that: a verb that denotes an action. The opposite of an action verb is a passive verb, a verb that doesn’t denote an action. Jump is an active verb. Punch. Explode. Grab. Run. Scream. Smile. Active verbs do something.

Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. Those are passive verbs. They don’t do anything. They just sit there. You have a five to ten word subject line to get your readers’ interest, and passive verbs won’t get the job done.

Why is an action verb better than a passive verb?

Active verbs do exactly what you want your customers to do: act. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your marketing email appears. It doesn’t matter how many animated .gifs you put in, how many links to your Facebook page you add, how much you paid your graphic designer to make it look like Saul Bass designed the piece. What your customer sees first is the subject line, and that email is just as easily deleted as it is opened based on these few words.

Passive verbs simply lack the ability to inspire readers like action verbs do; to grab the reader’s attention in less time, engage with rich content and ultimately take action.

How do active verbs help my email campaign?

Active verbs function to strengthen the most vital, and hardest to dizzy up, part of your marketing email: the subject line. You cannot add graphical pizzazz to a customer’s inbox. The only tool at your disposal is the English language, and you can only select a few simple words. Make those words count.

In short, you can strengthen the value of your marketing email by using action verbs in your copy, and especially in your subject line. An action verb is easy to remember: it’s a verb that does something. If you want a call to action, then you need to drive your customer to do it with an action verb.

About amy:
Associate Editor and Blogger, eConnect Email; Business Consultant, HMG Creative; Texas Ex, PR Grad, Not-too-shabby chef, Hearts mini chi weenie, Snoopy D. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKauffman