7 Ways to Woo Customers Through E-mail Subject Lines
Use small test groups for small lists and bigger groups for larger lists, Jenkins says. "If you have a million people in your database, you're going to want that sample size to be probably 10,000 to 20,000," he says.
Even experts find unexpected results. Jenkins chose to follow his own advice and check his e-mail prowess rather than preserve his pride by continuing to go with his gut when distributing his quarterly e-newsletter, The BrightWave Report. His gut said specific subject lines worked better.
"A specific subject line for BrightWave Marketing would be 'E-mail ROI Stats: White Paper on Deliverability and More' versus a general subject line, 'The BrightWave Report: Q2 E-mail Trends and News,'" Jenkins says. "We found that the general, 'BrightWave Report: Q2 E-mail Trends and News' performed better, in terms of generating opens and clicks, than the more specific one."
But some marketers do allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security.
"Don't adopt the mind-set of 'It works, so why fix it?'" Kajikawa says. "Test routinely." So what if open rates are holding steady? They can always get better. "As a best practice, routinely test subject lines to optimize response rates; marketers can test subject lines more easily than any other e-mail component," he adds.
3. Consider the Audience
No need to have lightening bolts hit consumers over the head if they've already opted in for e-newsletters. Soft-sell articles and tips to this audience, Kajikawa says. "Stay clear of offer-oriented subject lines, and keep subject lines straightforward and consistent," he advises, citing this distribution: "QuickBooks Newsletter—May 2008."
But the consumers who've asked for special offers and promotional e-mails expect to be wowed. "For that reason, a subject line that describes the offer makes more sense," Kajikawa says, citing a more forceful: "Introducing QuickBooks 2009. Savings inside."