When your copy is being blasted out to millions of people at a time, little details can generate a lot of added stress. Are you more of a gray or grey brand? Is the Oxford comma classy or antiquated? Is that third exclamation point too much?

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While all of these details are important, there’s one thing that stands above the rest. The email subject line. Why is this the most important part of your email you may ask? When you consider that 35% of recipients open emails based on the subject line alone, it becomes no question that it’s a very important email element. 

So when you are looking at your email stats based on industry benchmarks are you coming up short, hitting the marks, or blowing them out of the water? Well, if you find yourself in the first bucket (and don’t worry, you’re not alone), improving your email subject lines might just be the boost you need.

Is your email marketing campaign hitting the industry benchmarks? If not, a great place to start improving your open and click rates is with your subject lines. Identify areas of improvement and start testing out so new tactics and see how it affects your metrics. Image courtesy of Smart Insights

To get you started, let’s take a dive into some of the subject line trends that seem to outperform others. 

The Email Subject Line

Now, it’s no surprise that the subject line of an email is the first thing that your readers see. As digital marketers, we’ve all been using email in our marketing strategy for almost as long as we can remember — so we won’t preach how important it is to make a great first impression. 

Welcome emails are important to your overall subscriber acquisition plan. If your subject lines aren’t designed to convert, you’re missing a huge opportunity to create new and loyal customers. Now’s the time to take a step back and make sure you’re subject lines are click-worthy. 

Instead, let’s look at a few different stats around how a few copy changes and some out of the box thinking can improve your open rates. 

Improve Your Welcome Subject Line

Because welcome email campaigns are an important part of keeping your subscriber list active, we thought it was a great place to start. When a potential customer fills out a form on your website, they are telling you they want to hear from your company. This means that you need to welcome them with open arms to your subscriber family. 

You do that by sending them welcome emails and encouraging them to visit your site and interact with your brand. Welcome emails help to warm up your new subscriber and help move them through the funnel — so it’s important that your email subject lines are on point.

To prune away any blossoming email inferiority complexes, we at Listrak have quantified three welcome email trends by examining over eight hundred subject lines. Here’s what we’ve found:

 The vast majority (almost 98%) of brands seem to avoid any kind of greeting eating up valuable subject line space but, for those who do, “Hello” seems to be the popular pick.

Generally, when you meet someone new it all begins with a hello. That is true for the majority of welcome emails. It helps to make the experience feel a little more personal and also lets the subscriber know that you acknowledge this is the first time meeting — via email of course. 

But could you be wowing your subscribers by saying hello in a more eye-catching way? Try A/B testing your emails with various content in the subject lines. Think about what would stop them in their tracks when scanning emails and test it out. Don’t sound like a robot sending the emails, mix it up and you won’t be disappointed. 

Speaking of wasting words…the subject of your email probably doesn’t need to self-reference. If they’re receiving an email, you can probably opt to just say “Thanks…” instead of “Here’s an email to say thanks!” Instead, save all those extra characters for making a stellar first impression, unlike almost 8% of the emails we reviewed. 

Email subject lines need to be short and concise. You want to get to the main point in as few words as possible, but you also want to make sure those words are enticing enough for people to click. Don’t forget, only a limited number of characters are visible on a mobile device – make them all count.

Here are a few stats to consider: 

  • Subject lines between 1 and 20 characters have the highest average open rates at 18.5%
  • Subject lines with 61+ characters yield a slightly higher open rate than those with 21-60 characters
But what words really make a difference to the recipient? From what we can tell, including the recipient’s first name seems to be a vetted approach by a significant portion of brands. 

When you look at the facts around personalization in email marketing, it seems to confirm this point. 52% of people say that if there is no personalization in their content, they will go elsewhere for the products they are looking for. 

While using the recipient’s name as a form of personalization is only one small step in email personalization, it’s a great place to start and get your feet wet.

Get Out There and Start Wowing Your Email Subscribers with Better Subject Lines

Email subject lines will always be one of, if not the most, important part of your email marketing campaign. If you’re not spending time to make them the best that they can be and testing new tactics, you’re missing a big opportunity. 

So, are you guilty of some existential blasts? Have you found increased engagement when adding a quirky “Howdy” instead of the common “Hello”? We’d love to hear about it.