Don’t feel bad if no one opens your emails

It’s happening to all publishers as open rates continue to drop across all industries. Luckily, the email service providers have stepped in to shed some light on the situation.

Two of the most important delivery rate factors are the “from” address and the subject line. However, if you want your emails to get opened, your subject line has two tests to pass: the spam checker, and the email checker. You want your email to get delivered, but you also want it to get opened.

According to one of the leading email providers, MailChimp, benefit headlines don’t seem to be working anymore for email newsletters. Which isn’t too surprising, and we’d recommend you save the sales pitch for your promotional emails. However, it’s intriguing that 17 out of the 20 top email subject lines (with a 60%-87% open rate) included the company name.

On their list of subject lines, these were the top 7 performers:

  • [COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter
  • Eye on the [COMPANYNAME] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)
  • COMPANYNAME] Staff Shirts & Photos
  • [COMPANYNAME] May 2005 News Bulletin!
  • [COMPANYNAME] Newsletter – February 2006 [ *|FNAME|* *|LNAME|* ]
  • [COMPANYNAME] and [COMPANYNAME] Invites You!
  • Happy Holidays from [COMPANYNAME]

The evidence here is certainly undeniable that adding your name to an email newsletter adds credibility. JupiterReseach backs up this claim by saying that adding a company name to the subject line can increase open rates by up 32 to 60 percent over a subject line without branding. Users are so tired of spam these days that you may be wasting your brain cells trying to think of the most creative subject line. Instead, the subject lines that inform subscribers of what’s in the email are clearly the winners.

Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.

Mailchimp has also done some specific testing on promotional email subject lines. One test was for their client, and the promotion was for free shipping.

Out of the two subject lines, the simple non-salesy approach worked better as well:

  • “Free Shipping this Easter – Offer Code Inside” (13% open rate)
  • “Free Shipping – Happy Easter” (16.6% open rate)

Email provider MailerMailer also has metrics that show how the recommended 45-characters for an email subject line might still be too much. They showed open rates of 5.1% higher on emails that had a subject line of less than 35 characters.

Of course, you will always need to mix it up in order to keep from boring your subscribers. Make sure you keep a “good” and “bad” list in the office to keep track of your successes. But most of all… test, test and test some more!


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