Experiment With Email Subject Lines

Three different emails were sent containing the same body text but different subject lines. Here are the headlines and results:

Subject Line 1: “FIRSTNAME, November Client Attraction Newsletter out now”
Click through rate: 20.3%

Subject Line 2: “FIRSTNAME, here’s a new 7 Marketing Trends report for you”
Click through rate: 28.0%

Subject Line 3: “FIRSTNAME, 7 Marketing Trends I think you should know about”
Click through rate: 45.6%

The winning headline outperformed the second best headline by 63% and the worst headline by 125%!

Making this type of split test an integral part of your online marketing process allows you to ramp up your results by orders of magnitude on an ongoing basis.

SIDEBAR: Two factors that can influence the effectiveness of email subject lines are Personalisation and Proximity.

Personalisation: “FIRSTNAME, how to improve your profits” will perform better than “How to improve your profits”.

Proximity: Proximity means writing your subject lines such that they convey your message as quickly as possible (preferably in the first 4 or 5 words). Most email clients [eg. MS Outlook] only display the first few words of a subject line, so it pays to make them count. Subject Line 3 above communicates the most information the fastest, which is why I believe it performed best.

Source: Will Swayne’s blog – http://www.marketing-results.com.au/blog


A recent study done by email monitoring company Return Path showed that, “subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had open rates 12.5 percent higher than for those with 50 or more,” and that, “click-through rates for subject lines with 49 or fewer characters were 75 percent higher than for those with 50 or more.”

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