email-subject-line-best-practicesThis is fascinating.  Sometimes in the tech. world we can get caught up in the technology and forget about the human aspect of what we’re doing.  After all our main goal is to get a reaction from a human.  This reaction can be a sale, a reservation, a signup etc, but it’s just a reaction.  

So what kinds of words and phrases are more likely to get a reaction from the typical human?  We’re going to go over some very interesting data.  

Save vs. Sale

Which one of these terms is more effective?  Well it turns out if you use the word ‘sale’ in your headline your open rate increases 20% over using the word ‘save’.  This is according to Adestra’s 2013 report on subject line effectiveness.  If you want to really seal the deal make sure you mention the % off and ‘free shipping’, if you offer it and your open rates go up even higher.  Sony does an excellent job at this in their email below.



The next contender – Newsletter vs. Alert who will win???

It turns out that the use of the term Alert is many more times effective than newsletter.  So much for all of us sending out our weekly newsletters right?  The word newsletter is just lukewarm compared to alert.  Alert makes the reader think, “wow I better look at this!”

Webinars or Videos?

This one is interesting and goes right to the heart of psychology.  Webinar has an implied lengthy and time consuming theme.  Not surprisingly using the word video rather than webinar is much more effective to get a click or open.  Remember your readers have just as much going on as you do.  Do you have time to sit through ANOTHER webinar?  Maybe not, but if you just have to watch a quick video (remember we’re talking perception) you might go ahead an click on that email. 

How about the “question” subject line?  Most of us have heard of the tip that if you use a question in your subject you’ll get more clicks.  Well – it turns out to be true.  The norwegian auction site (Think Ebay for Scandinavia) did some heavy research.  

Question headlines are clicked on 137 per cent more often than non question headlines.  If you want to use the double whammy through in a little self – reference. (e.g. Are you, can you?  etc) Self referencing headlines (such as the one for this post) boosted open rates by 257% when compared to regular statement subject lines.  

We’re not saying this is something you should do on EVERY email or post, but it’s important to know the data.  When you need to really make sure your open rates are the best they can be always fall back on the data!