A question asked very often in email marketing is what makes a great subject line? Unfortunately there is no silver bullet. Our simple answer comes threefold; An email that is timely, relevant and relates with the reader.
Our work and personal email accounts are open communication channels and will be utilised very differently.
At work we read our emails because we have to, but if it’s non-essential work related content or in our personal inbox, what will drive us to open and read them? We come back to the email being timely, relevant and relatable.
Let’s start with some general facts and figures about email marketing subject lines:
- A rough 33% of subscribers opened an email just on the subject line alone
- The most common length for subject lines is 41-50 characters
- Around 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based on the subject line
- Interestingly emails with the word “You” in the subject line were opened 5% less
- Emails with “Free” in the subject line increased open rates by 10%
- There was an 18.7% decrease in open rates when the word “Newsletter” was used
- However, an increase of 61.8% in open rates with the word “Alert”
- Using words such as “Daily or Weekly” in subject lines tend to boost open rates, whereas “Monthly” has the adverse effect
- Subscribers viewing emails on mobile devices may not be able to see the full subject line so it’s important that you have your CTA (call to action) stated at the beginning of the subject line
- There is no real conclusive evidence to suggest shorter subject lines are more successful
- Subject lines with personalisation are more likely to be opened by a rough figure of 22.2%. E.g. First name
- Subject lines that have a sense of urgency in them can achieve an increased open rate by 22%
- In pricing related emails, subject lines containing symbols such as “%, $, £” have below average read rates and are more likely to end up getting caught in the spam filter
- Excessive punctuation can result in your email ending up in the Spam folder
We say this all the time but it’s true… you should split test your subject lines and our multivariate testing is an invaluable tool and comes as standard for all Campaignmaster users. We took a very small number of prospect data, (300 records to be exact), and conducted an extremely, simple subject line test. No other content was changed, not even time of day.
Version A’s subject line was ‘Start sending better email’
Version B’s subject line was ‘Send better email marketing campaigns’
The results speak for themselves:
So the upshot is that we can swot up on facts and figures but fact is, if a subject line is meaningful to us then we are more likely to open it.
Not familiar with split testing? Read our guide here.
Furthermore, with Campaignmaster’s Advanced Spam Analysis tool you can test your subject lines against the main email filters to analyse your content and get a breakdown of any potential red flags in your subject line and your content too.
Here is one of my inboxes and it is overflowing (I am an email marketing geek after all!). I’ve highlighted the emails I will definitely open. Guess why? They appeal to me and it’s got nothing to do with the subject line length or the time of day that I received the email. So yes, I’m planning my summer holiday and am partial to a glass of lovely wine and ready to buy now (or very soon!).