Email doesn’t work unless the recipient gets the message AND opens it. Sounds simplistic, but poor email open rates can prevent achieving your business goals even if you have great list. One of the busiest email service providers recently analyzed over 200 million emails sent from their customers. They found open rates ranged from 93% to a dismal 0.5%.
Why such a big disparity between the best and worst? To answer that question, researchers scrutinized the subject lines from a subset of the highest and the lowest performing emails. All of the emails had been sent to at least 100 recipients.Â Here’s what they discovered:
- Subject Lines with Highest Open Rates: Of the emails with the highest open rates, 100% subject lines included the company name, 65% indicated a newsletter, 20% indicated an invitation or event and 15% described specific information for staff as the content of the message. (See examples below.)
- Subject Lines with Lowest Open Rates: Among the worst performing email subjects lines, 90% were blatantly promotional, like headlines from advertisements. The other 10% were described as boring or confusing. (See examples below.)
- Three words to avoid. Email marketers are familiar with avoiding words such as “free” that tend to trigger spam filters. However, researchers have also identified seemingly harmless words that won’t trigger a spam filter, but will negatively affect your open rates. The three worst offenders are: Help, Reminder, and Percent Off (or % Off).
Conclusion: When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.
Best Open Rates (60%-87%)*
- Eye on the [Company Name] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)
- [Company Name] Staff Shirts & Photos
- [Company Name] May News Bulletin!
- [Company Name] Newsletter – February
- Happy Holidays from [Company Name]
- ATTENTION [Company Name] Staff!
- Invitation from [Company Name]
- [Company Name] Jan/Feb Newsletter
- Upcoming Events at [Company Name]
- We’re Throwing a Party
Worst Open Rates (1%-14%)*
- Last Minute Gift – We Have The Answer
- Valentines – Shop Early & Save 10%
- Give a Gift Certificate this Holiday
- [Company Name] Moves You Home for the Holidays
- It’s still summer in Tahoe!
- [Company Name] endorses [Company Name] as successor
- [Company Name] Holiday Sales Event
- [Company Name] for your next dream home.
- You Asked For More…
*Source: MailChimp email study