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Got something exciting planned for this weekend? Looking forward to the holidays? Anticipation can be a wonderful emotion, as it gets us focused on the thoughts of the good things that are about to happen.

Of course, anticipation is not just for social events! It can also be used to increase your sales and improve your business' bottom line.


When you use direct response mail or email as part of your lead generation program, one way to boost response is to use your subject line or outer envelop teaser line to create a sense of positive anticipation. Why? Because anticipation leads to engagement, and engagement leads to sales.

Here are four things you can do to build customer anticipation in your marketing messages:

Be Intriguing – Use an email subject line or outer envelop teaser copy that makes the reader curious about the rest of the message. Some examples from work I’ve done include…

Partition your servers while you’re out at lunch

Think your portfolio is diversified? Think again.

The paradigm shift that will ignite your recruiting

Give your customers a 30% discount…courtesy of Uncle Sam

Be Recognizable – For on-going campaigns, familiarity often creates anticipation. For example, many people tell me that they look forward to receiving The Plumtree Marketing Minute. When they see the familiar subject line, which always begins with “Plumtree Newsletter,” they look forward to opening the email and reading that month’s issue.

Be Generous – Everyone loves freebies. If you’re offering something for free – such as a free sample, trial, demo or gift – let the reader know right away! Just avoid using the word “free” in your email subject lines, because doing so can trigger spam filters.

Be Exciting – Sometimes creating anticipation can be as simple as changing the name of what you’re offering. Which would you rather receive: a fundraising letter or a donor appreciation package? A paint store sales letter or a free guide to redecorating and upgrading your home without busting the budget? As you can see, what you call things can have a significant impact on the recipient’s expectations and interest level.

What Others Are Saying

"Each time I work with Linda, I am reminded just how well she understands marketing. Linda understands the principles of marketing on a psychological level. She sees the bigger picture. She is pragmatic, insightful and incredibly fast."

Kristine Putt,
Owner and Brand Identity Designer, Paragon Moon