A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Simple, Straightforward Info Best Approach for Email Subject Lines

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Great piece a week or so ago from MailChimp about email marketing subject lines. The summary: too clever by half is a bad idea. Or, more simply put, keep it simple, stupid.

The article lists 20 subject lines with open rates between 60% and 87% – great numbers even not knowing the context of sender, audience, relationship or message.

Those banana-fueled folks show 20 subject lines with open rates a dismal 1% to 14%.

Examples of the Good

  • [COMPANYNAME] May 2005 News Bulletin!
  • Invitation from [COMPANYNAME]
  • [COMPANYNAME] Jan/Feb 2006 Newsletter
  • Upcoming Events at [COMPANYNAME]

and even

  • [COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter

So much for the need to be clever to entice your audience to open. Seems that the more transparent you are, the more trust you gain. No surprise there.

Some of the Stinkers

  • You Asked For More…
  • Technology Company Works with [COMPANYNAME] on something-we-offer Efforts
  • Last Minute Gift – We Have The Answer

Not a whole lot of detail or specifics or anything familiar to latch onto in most of the examples. Even in the middle example, another firm’s name comes first, which I would assume throws many people off. With no relationship to that firm, recipients may not bother to read or scan further and wind up hitting delete before they ever realize the message is from a (presumably) trusted source.

Most of this seems like common sense, but it’s always nice to see data to back up what you think is the best approach.


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