Email marketing can be tricky when you don’t do it right. Just sending thousands and thousands of emails will result in nothing if your recipients don’t even open your emails to see what’s inside your emails.
When you are starting an email marketing campaign, you should focus more on your email subject lines that compels your recipients to open your emails. A thorough analysis of more than 40 million marketing emails by a leading email service provider (ESP) revealed that straightforward and descriptive email subject lines had the highest open rates.
The survey by the leading ESP also revealed that “salesy” email subject lines had the lowest open rates. For example, subject lines like “It’s Still Summer in Tahoe!” and “Last Minute Gift – We Have all the Answers” had the lowest open rate.Meanwhile, the email marketing subject lines that performed the best had open rates between 60% and 87%. Few examples of those top performing email subject lines are “October 2005 Newsletter”, “Website News – Issue 5.”, and “Invitation from (Company name)”.
So, what makes you put that extra effort to really open an email? Usually, it is the subject line that entices you to put that extra effort and actually open the email you just received. Since it is your first impression of the email you just received, and from it, you will try your best to judge the content within the email.
Although, it has already been said so many times that one should not judge a book by its cover. But when it comes down to opening an email, people don’t seem to have a problem with making a snap decision.
The subject line of an email is the only text that you write that your subscribers see whenever they receive your email in their inbox. This small text (usually a line) can mostly determine whether your marketing email is going to be opened by your subscriber or moved directly to the trash.
The words in of your email subject line can have a huge impact on whether or not the extra effort you’ve put into creating your email marketing campaign will pay off.
And putting a little extra effort on your email subject line will help you to avoid the spam folder, improve your email open rate, and get your email in from of the right audience.
Being an email marketer or someone who send email marketing campaign on behalf of your organization, you don’t want to be one of those ignored or moved to trash by your subscribers. Instead, you should ensure that your subject lines are the best ones,
Majority of the people instantly scan the email subject lines before making a decision which emails are worth their attention and time. Meanwhile, with so much pressure just on the email subject line to entice the recipient, we analyzed how much of a difference just a single word can have on an email marketing campaign’s open rate.
We considered the email subject lines in specific industries and within general industries. Following is a brief rundown of our approach and criteria;
- Remove any special character or symbols and convert your subject line only to lowercase. And for any given word, calculate the average for the performance of all related email subject lines and then perform tests to find high-impact words.
- For each email subject line being tested, build flags for the presence of high impact words. Then perform a correlation analysis on word presence to identify which words are usually used in combination. Then go on to create additional flags for the most used combination of words.
- Execute a linear regression analysis to accurately find the impact each word has on standardized email campaign open rates when you are accounting for all the other tested words. Then repeat this entire process on industry-specific data sets.
The merge tags provided by the ESP lets the senders include the first name ([%first_name | Default Value%]), last name ([%last_name | Default Value%]), or any other value like the city ([Sender_City]), etc, in an email subject line or email bodies. The result of this strategy has already been debated before, but the general consensus is that it has a positive impact on email marketing campaign results. Our analysis clearly identified that personalization surely does improve email open rates. Among our findings, the most interesting finding is that the use of both the first name and last name in quite uncommon, but it has the most positive impact on the open rates of an email marketing campaign.
During our analysis we also found that personalization with the first name is used quite frequently than the personalization with last name or full name, then we decided to analyze how the impacts varied by industry. And we identified that there are several industries among which the use of personalization with the first name has a huge positive impact. However, the most interesting
finding is that personalization with the first name has a significant negative impact on the email open rates for the legal industry.
Does adding the word “free” in your email subject lines entice your subscribers to open your email? Even if it does entice your subscribers, but not always. Although, the true impact of using the word “free” in an email subject line was identified to be positive and statistically quite significant for certain industries, and it was smaller when looking at all industries on a higher level. Surprisingly, using the word “freebie” was found to result in a much larger improvement in email open rates.
During our finding, we found that using the word “free” in your subject line doesn’t have a big impact, and when we did analysis at the industry level to see if this result is consistent across the industries. We identified that senders in the travel, medical, and retail industries should always avoid using the word “free” in their subject lines. Meanwhile, the entertainment and restaurant industry can surely benefit from using the word “free” in their email subject line.
But, before you send your next email marketing campaign, consider the following 12 subject line tweaks;
- Cut it down:
What the point in creating a good subject line if your subscribers can’t read it? So, ensure that your email subject lines don’t get cut short by keeping if it under 40 character limit or between five to seven words. Your subscribers will want to scan through their email inbox quickly. Sometimes, even the email subject line that has just a word or two can stand out better and receive the most engagement.
- Remove anything spammy:
The email subject lines that are mostly salesly are usually most likely to be marked as spam. It means that you should always refrain yourself from using loud punctuation like multiple exclamation points and all caps, as well as using highly promotional words like “free” or “buy now”.
Instead, try to offer your expertise and sending information that your subscribers will appreciate.
- Ask a question
Asking question in email subject lines is proven ways to grab your subscriber’s attention and pique their curiosity. Since a question feels incomplete on their own and using a question in your email subject line entices your subscribers to open your emails looking for the answer of the question asked in the email subject line.
- Include a deadline
When considering a scenario where there is no shortage of distractions between you and your subscribers, sometimes just a deadline is what you need to become a priority in front of your subscribers.
Any successful email marketing strategy, either for a special offer or an event, will more likely have a series of emails. First, you can send out an announcement email campaign to let your subscribers
know about an upcoming date. Then, send out the second email campaign for the follow up with a reminder and the last email campaign when the deadline gets closer.
Don’t get afraid while making the turnaround time as short as 24 hours. Since “Now or Never” types of deadlines usually are the most successful ones.
- Try a teaser
Just think about why most people love watching a movie trailer, but on the other hand hate watching commercials. There’s so much power in drawing people within a preview, rather than providing the punch line in the beginning.
So, try to come up with something that will clearly hook your subscribers and spark their interest.
- Give a command
Meanwhile, many people respond better to direct instructions. And if your email subject line has a direct CTA like encouraging your subscribers to buy tickets for an upcoming event, don’t be afraid to use that in your email subject line.
- Add a list:
People just love lists as it allows people to make more sense of very big and highly complicated concepts through series smaller parts. So, using a list in your email subject line is always a great way to let your subscribers know that your content is very well structured and easily digestible.
- Make an announcement:
When you have something exciting and new to share about your company, try to channel that enthusiasm into your email subject line. Sharing an exciting announcement with your subscribers will make them feel exclusive as they are the first to know and it will motivate them to open your email and read all the details about your announcement.
- Be unique:
To write a good email subject line, you have to understand two things- who your subscribers are, and what your company can provide them which they cannot get elsewhere. Just think about what your company is famous for and then try to highlight the same in your email subject line.
Again, don’t be afraid to add your company name in the subject line itself. Most of your subscribers will open your emails just based on the sender name alone. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to reinforce your brand.
- Say something unexpected:
It could be anything from an eyebrow-raising statistic, a little know fact about your industry, or something people aren’t used to hearing.
Writing something unexpected means your readers will want to read on and will also have more chance of remembering your email later on.
- Use multimedia
Adding a video that links to a podcast or presentation or adding a helpful guide is a great way to make your email content unique and more engaging.
So, if you are making the effort and going beyond plain text emails, ensure you are telling your subscribers right from the subject line so they don’t miss out.
Following are examples of the best performing email subject lines;
- A classic video I want all of you to watch (emoticon)
- Want to be a part of my next book? Open this email (emoticon)
- A must watch new movie I just put out on YouTube (emoticon)
- The Complete Solution for your Online Business
- Only Two Hours Left: Try Rainmaker for Free and Save Big
- 62 Premium Website Themes at One Crazy Low Price
- A proven tool to help writers find more clients
- This email could change everything
- Here’s something different to consider
- 3 strategies worth your time
- Upgrade to Authority and save $100 (this week only …)
- TWO HOURS LEFT … Last Chance to Upgrade for $100 Off
- TWO HOURS LEFT: It’s Your Last Chance to Get Our Big Black Friday Discount
- Big Discount Ends Today! 62 Premium WordPress Themes at One Crazy Low Price
- Black Friday Sale: Save Big on Our Best Products
- Why Businesses Fail
- The Secret to Charging $2,500 (or more) Per Hour
- Fix one of these “conversion killers” to increase sales today
- Do it once. Use it forever.
- I have four epic brand new videos for you guys (emoticon)
- VIP-only opportunity to test a brand new app I’m working on
- Tell me what you want to get out of this email service
- Facebook video is blowing up. Have you seen my channel yet??
- 7 secrets of wildly successful entrepreneurs
- Ten of you will get 80% off of my next speaking event in NYC. Hurry!
- A new article, a new shirt, and tons of new videos for you
- The #AskXYZ audio podcast is now live on iTunes!
- How I Got 26,778 Subscribers In 13 Months
- The Proof: 18 people. 18 problems. 18 success stories.
- The Deal of a Lifetime on my Biggest NYC Event Yet!
- $100 off my biggest event in years, just for my VIPs
- We get it. We want you to get it too
- This is what our clients are saying about us
- Check out what’s next in 2017
- 3 ways to accelerate business results
- See how we help clients boost ROI
- Why outsourcing xxx could be a better choice
- Free webinar on XYZ
- 17 reasons why they joined (which matters to you?)
- How to Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers (new webinar)
- The Secret Behind A Seven Figure Online Business
- Guarantees boost sales. Here are 39 you can copy and paste
- What’s a client REALLY worth? (plus Yes Engines reviews)
- Get more sales with THIS technique
- Yes Engines is now open (but it closes Friday)
- 3 secrets for selling online courses (plus the deadline tonight)
- Struggling to make more sales? Follow these 2 steps…
- Get to Yes: How to Make People Buy
- How to gain more sales in 2017
- Smart ways to leverage xxx
- 24% off for next 24 hours
- Hey! Where did you go?
- Still deciding?
- Sign up for your free trial today
- 5 strategies that will get you better ROI
- How does your xxx rate?
- We get it. Good decisions take time
- Thanks for checking us out 5.Did you know we offer free shipping?
- Did you forget about me?
- Not quite sure?
- It’s still in the bag … er, cart
- Nice of you to stop by
- Thinking about it?
- Have any questions?
- Shopping around?
- Hate to see you leave without me
- Waiting patiently for you
- We’d be better together
- We dare you to take another look
- Let’s try that again
- No pressure, but this sale ends in 24 hours
- You might like these too
- can you explain THIS to me?
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- This is a little embarrassing…
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- LAST CHANCE: Discount for Pro plus All-Theme Pack Ends Today
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- Struggling to make more sales? Follow these 2 simple steps…
- I’m PUMPED! Here’s why…
- If you sell online courses, open this (if you don’t, burn it with fire)
- Join us for another webinar on XYZ.
- Did you catch that? (Reference a stat in the webinar)
- Check out our client success stories
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- You’ll think I’m crazy…
- What’s Coming in Rainmaker (Don’t Miss Out) …
- Ends Today: 62 Premium WordPress Themes at One Crazy Low Price
By the way, shorter email subject lines are better. And we’re not just talking about words, but also about characters.