Email campaigns have continued to grow in popularity among companies of all sizes, and it's easy to see why. With a single click, a company email can provide valuable information, coupons and deals to new and returning customers, thereby driving numerous website visits and sales. The trick, of course, is getting customers to open your messages.
"Email marketing remains one of the most effective and lucrative digital marketing strategies, but there's always room to improve and capitalize on emerging trends," said Jerry Jao, CEO of retention marketing firm Retention Science. "Subjects lines are arguably the most critical component of any campaign, as they're the first thing people see in their inbox, and what they consider when making the decision to open or trash an email."
Based on an analysis of 540 email marketing campaigns from the past six months, Retention Science found that the following tactics led to the highest success rates: [10 Email Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
- Keep the subject line short. Most consumers receive emails on their mobile devices, and Retention Science found that customers open and read 35 percent of those emails on the go. A brief, concise subject line is ideal for mobile marketing strategies, as most smartphones only display the first several words of the email subject. According to the study, six to 10 words is the optimum length: consumers opened 21 percent of emails with this subject length, whereas subject lines with 5 words or fewer (16 percent open rate) and 11 to 15 words (14 percent) did not perform as well.
- Include the recipient's name. People opened 2.6-percent more emails that included the recipient's first name than those without a name. Use your email marketing platform's code to generate a personalized subject line that will attract the attention of recipients and engage them with your email.
- Use pop culture. While you may not want to overuse this tactic, including timely, relevant bits of pop culture in your subject line could improve your open rates. People opened emails with subject lines referencing movie titles and song lyrics more frequently than those with more traditional subject lines.
- Avoid inbox overload. Retention Science found that the email campaigns of flash sale sites, which utilize subject lines of 20 words or more, consistently underperformed compared with campaigns from other brands. In addition to writing lengthy subjects, flash sale brands typically send out emails four to eight times per week, which accounts for their low open-rates. Stick with two to four emails per week to avoid flooding your customers' inboxes.