Customers ask for advice on how to write killer email subjects. We review their campaigns, provide feedback and 'best practices' to get them pointed in the right direction.
But 'guidelines' – whether for email subjects or any other topic – are meant to be a first step to point you in the right direction. Never underestimate the importance of measuring your campaigns in order to fine tune results. Split testing with a few variations can easily help you double the final response rates. In this entry, we look at empirical data from email campaigns to see how the top strategies match up against actual results and discovered some interesting data points. In all we reviewed hundreds of campaigns and tens of millions of emails to see how customer campaigns measure up. In general, the advice and guidelines are spot on, but we also found that for every rule, consistently there's an exception.
Start out with tried and true best practices to come up with a handy of email variations. Then use split testing to determine which variation will yield the best results for your specific audience and offer.
With that – here are the email subjects associated with the best and worst email open rates. We've taken the liberty to critique the 'worst performing' ones, and added some analysis at the end of each post. Note that click-through and closure rates would be better measures – but are more difficult to analyze objectively.
Email Subjects with Best Open Rates
"Company" Sales & Marketing Monthly Newsletter
"Company" Newsletter – January 2009: "Teaser Subject / Topic"
[Webinar]: N Tips to Improve Email Responses
"Company" Webinar: Case Studies – Join Us Feb 15
"Webinar Topic" – Webinar Slides Available
This Week's Phone Call / Meeting (Personalized note from sales rep to prospects)
"First Name" – 8 Customer Service Tips that Work
Exciting Update from "Company" – IBM Approved Supplier
Reminder: Storage Survey – Your Input
Invitation – Breakfast on "Topic"
"Company" or "Topic" means use the company name or topic- without the quotes. In the example with [Webinar] – we actually used the '[' and ']' characters.
The Ideal Email Subject Line Length
Here's an important tip – the length of your email campaign subject (in characters, including spaces and punctuation) should be between 40 and 50 characters. In summary – shorter is better. (although being too short – fewer than 30 characters for example, makes it extremely difficult to create a meaningful, targeted subject line.)