Email Marketing – 10 Worst Performing Email Subject Lines

We lately examined a number of hundred million e-mails as well as hundreds of B2B e-mail advertising projects to establish what the most effective as well as worst executing e-mail advertising topic lines are. In this brief post we have actually summed up the 10 Worst executing e-mail projects topics in addition to quick remarks regarding why the subject line does improperly.

Ten Worst Performing Email Campaign Subject Lines (Not in order)

Join Us for a FREE Webinar on April 2 2011!
– Webinar regarding what? Why? From Whom? Aren’t most Webinars FREE?

Shop Early as well as Save!
– Oooh. Yet an additional advertising e-mail. I’ve just got 219 of these today. – What will I be buying? Early of what? Save just how much?

Register to Win Your complimentary iPod!!
– I currently have 4 iPods.
– “Free” as well as “iPod” created several of the e-mails to be filteringed system. The e-mail web content for this e-mail really did not assist either.

Security Spending
– Huh? I have no idea what this has to do with as well as I do not have the passion in clicking to get more information.
– Better yet – I’ll include this firm to the listing of obstructed domain names – that will certainly instruct them!

Post-Trade Show Webinar: Expert Insights Into Key Trends as well as Observations from the Trade Show Floor
– This subject line was longer than some e-mail bodies. – Response price efficiency normally drops-off past 55 personalities for the heading.

(Company) Announces Partnership to Work with (Other Company)
– Who cares? I do not recognize Company A or Company B as well as what will their collaboration provide for me anyhow?
– Make certain your e-mail topic as well as introduction paragraph highlight the advantages for your recipient.

European Lakefront Elegance
– There isn’t a lake within 1,000 miles. What’s this gotta do with me?

Product Launch: New “Widget” Available (no mention of company name)
– This leaves the recipient wondering.. Who are you? The company name isn’t included.
– In most cases, the body of an email like this included the company’s press release, verbatim (see below)

Full Press Release Titles such as “(Company) Announces New Widgets”
– I’m too busy to be curious and click to discover what a “widget” is and why I should care.
– Even if I opened the email, why would I want to read a press release? Tell me about your widget’s benefits

Real Estate, Feb 2011
– This was a real subject line for a series of campaigns. Unfortunately it is too short and non descriptive to get the attention of most recipients.

TIP: Our analysis of the worst performing subject lines also uncovered the words most likely to cause the recipient to report the email as SPAM (note – this is not the same thing as saying ‘phrases a SPAM filter is likely to block’):
–> Confirm, raffle, requested, rewards, 10% (or any % in the subject), coupon, discount, savings, offer.

What Else Can We Learn from These? Summary of Recommendations

The above ‘worst performing’ subject lines are great potential learning experiences. We may not be the world’s greatest experts at pattern matching, but there are a few things we observed from these representative poor subject lines along with our additional analysis. For example:

Brief, matter-of-fact subject lines obtained better open rates than ‘sales pitches’. In fact in other testing we’ve found that the ideal email campaign subject length is 40 ~ 50 characters.

That said, a subject line that is also short (like #10 on the list), is not likely to score well – primarily because within such a short subject, it’s too difficult for the recipient to determine if the email is relevant for them.

Email subjects (as well as bodies) that are vague as well as non-specific, typically under-perform.

Email marketing campaigns that offer “value” or resources vs. ask for an order generate a better response rate, at least based on open statistics (ie you are giving vs. asking to take).

It’s important to note that these are headlines associated with best / worst performing campaigns, and we are only judging based on the open rates. Many e-mail clients have a 3 sentence preview pane – so the open rate for each campaign subject above is heavily influenced by the quality of the email introduction text.

That said, if the subject stinks the email probably does also.

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