The More Subject Lines Email Marketers Test, the Better
Email marketers who don’t test subject lines could pick one that performs 42 percent below their own average 10 percent of the time. And only testing two subject lines isn’t enough, either, says Dela Quist, founder and CEO of Touchstone Intelligent Marketing.
Granted, Quist runs a company that sells an email testing platform. So in his March 23 post on LinkedIn Pulse, he cites his company’s research, as well as a case study from machine-driven writing platform Persado.
Regarding Touchstone’s findings, Quist writes:
- “The data shows marketers who do not test subject lines at all face a 1-in-3 chance the one they use will underperform their average by at least 20 percent and a 1-in-10 chance that it will underperform 42 percent below average. A/B testing does improve the chances of success, but there is still a nearly 10 percent chance both will be 20 percent or more below average. Subject line ‘A’ is bad, ‘B’ is worse — bad beats worse, but they are both crap!”
- “A four-subject-line test is likely to result in a lift of 33 percent. By comparison, a classic A/B test is only likely to give a lift of 3 percent. Even if you run a [three]-subject-line test, your likely open rate lift will be seven times higher.”
Persado employed 32 subject lines for Air Canada and found:
- Emotion Worked Best: Anxiety performed the highest, driving 48 percent more opens. The top subject line was: “Sitting down, (person’s name)? We’re thanking you with this” — performing better than the control of “Craving warmer weather? Our Florida sale is happening now.” Other subject lines used exclusivity, safety, gratitude, intimacy and curiosity. Emotion, overall, was responsible for 60 percent of this campaign’s performance.
- Suggestions Worked Better Than Commands: “Click-throughs were almost 220 percent higher when Air Canada directed consumers to ‘see deals’ versus to ‘book now’ in the call-to-action button of the email.”
And as a bonus, Quist shared AlchemyWorx and Touchstone research on Monday showing marketers need to keep refreshing their email lists. The findings showed email marketers may have started with open rates above 22.5 percent, but by Month 100, the worn-out subscribers were opening emails more than 7.5 percent of the time.
What do you think, marketers?
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