How important are subject lines to your email campaign? How much time do you spend on deciding an appropriate subject line for your email campaign? How do we go about analysing how effective subject lines are?

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You may regard your email content for your campaign as the one that matters and the most important, however, if your subject line is not effective then there’s a chance that your email won’t be even read. In today’s fast paced world where people receive hundreds of emails, it is imperative to have an attention grabbing subject line so as to get the users to make that all important decision to open the email. A good subject line is essential for Email Marketing. So what makes a good subject line?

Short and clear- Studies show that the best performing subject lines tell people what they want to know in few words. The ones attracting the most opens and clicks are generally less than 50 characters.

Uniqueness- Having subject lines with a unique hook will persuade users to open the email. Subject lines with common words or clichés will most likely get no attention from recipients. On the other hand subject lines which poses a question or which has a humorous content to it, will entice recipients to learn more by opening the email.

Value Proposition- A good subject line will offer value to the recipient. You need to let them know that by opening your email, they will be able to find out matter that interests them.

Personalization- Personalizing subject lines with recipient’s first or last name will help improve open rates.

Credibility– Spelling and grammar mistakes in your email subject line will harm your credibility. Such mistakes could result your email to end up in the trash bin before it is even read.

There is lot of time spent on creating dynamic email content for marketing your emails, so don’t let an ineffective subject line ruin your chances of getting them read. An innovative subject line will go a long way in increasing your open and click through rates.

Defining success of a subject line is another key question. Many marketers consider open rate as the most important metric to consider while rating a subject line, however focusing only on open rates for subject line tests would be a mistake. The overall objective of the campaign needs to be considered before making decisions based on the metric. The following metrics can be leveraged to define success of a subject line:

  • Open Rate: This metric is considered when the intention of campaigns is to raise awareness. Open rates is an ideal metric for maximising subscriber impressions. Unique opens indicates the overall reach of a campaign whereas total opens gives perspective on whether recipients are opening the email more than once.
  • Click Rate: Focus on click rate when the goal of the campaign is to drive traffic to the destination pages. Unique clicks indicates the recipient’s exposure to the website and landing pages whereas total clicks gives a good indication of how engaged the subscriber is.
  • Click to Open Rate: This metric determines whether the traffic coming into the email was qualified and engaged. High rates indicate that well qualified subscribers are engaged.
  • Conversion Rate: A high conversion rate for a subject line indicates driving high quality traffic to the website. Testing for conversion rate ensures the right subscribers are engaging with the email.

The Goal of all subject lines is to drive subscriber engagement, but one needs to also review metrics that indicates subscriber dissatisfaction. For example subject lines which drive more opens but also contribute in having a high number of unsubscribes may strain relations with both the subscribers and ISPs. These problems should be carefully reviewed to avoid long lasting and detrimental effects for email campaigns.

Jose Stevenson

Business Analyst

Kenscio Digital

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