Personalize Your Email Subject Lines to Get More Opens and Clicks

Email Quality Assurance - Does your Process Empower Email-Marketing Success?
What can you do to get more opens and clicks for your email campaigns? There’s new evidence that shows personalizing subject lines can have a huge positive impact on email performance. Plus, see how subject-line length also plays an important role in influencing email open rates.

Personalized Subject Lines Have 50% Higher Open Rates

The success of an email campaign starts with a strong subject line that captures attention in the inbox and gets the click. What makes a subject line stand out? To help answer that question, Yes Lifecycle Marketing analyzed more than 7 billion emails sent during the second quarter of 2017. This study showed that:

  • Personalized subject lines had 50% higher open rates, 58% higher click-to-open rates, and more than twice the unique click rates compared to subject lines that were not personalized.
  • The types of information used to personalize the subject lines in this study included the recipient’s name, items from abandoned carts, previously purchased/browsed products, loyalty program attributes, and membership milestones.
  • Subject lines personalized with names had open rates of 21.2%, whereas subject lines with other types of personalization had open rates of 22.0%. This compares to open rates of 14.1% for subject lines that weren’t personalized.
  • However, only 2% of the emails in this study had personalized subject lines.

Will personalization work for your audience? Test different types of personalization to find out! A bonus: The increased engagement metrics you achieve by personalizing your subject lines may even help with your email deliverability.

But be sure that your personalization strategy doesn’t cross the line and come off as “creepy” to your subscribers. For example, 13% of respondents to an Adobe survey reported that too much personalization in email marketing was annoying and creepy. In other words, avoid including a lot of personal information about subscribers in your email messages; instead, use the information you have about them to demonstrate how your brand and products can meet their specific needs.

Shorter Subject Lines Also Had Higher Open Rates

This study also revealed some interesting email performance results relative to subject-line length:

  • Shorter subject lines (between 1 and 20 characters) had 31% higher open rates compared to the average of all emails sent.
  • Less than 5% of all subject lines were fewer than 20 characters, which may have helped them stand out in the inbox, especially on mobile devices.
  • 74% of all email subject lines were between 21 and 60 characters in length (including spaces and punctuation).
  • More than half of the subject lines were cut off when viewed on mobile screens, because 35 is the maximum number of characters visible on most mobile devices.
  • Subject-line length had the greatest impact on the retail and technology industries.

Although shorter subject lines performed better overall, other factors also influenced a subject line’s effectiveness, such as the type of message and industry. For example, browse-abandon triggered emails with subject lines fewer than 30 characters in length had open rates of 35.5%, whereas subject lines in the same category with more than 30 characters generated open rates of 40.6%.

In addition, when a special offer was used in the subject lines of triggered emails (e.g., abandoned cart, birthday, survey and product reviews), higher open and conversion rates were achieved compared to subject lines with no offer.

Preheaders—the snippets of text that appear right next to or below the subject line on most mobile devices and email clients—can also play a pivotal role in driving up open rates by complementing the subject line and more effectively conveying the email’s primary marketing message.

Are your email campaigns generating open and click rates that meet your expectations? Whether it’s your subject lines, preheaders, offers, design elements, or calls to action that need improving, FulcrumTech’s testing and optimization services can help take your email-marketing results to the next level. Contact us today to learn more!

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