subject line

The Subject Line Strategy That Gets 541% More Response

By Amanda Gagnon

The original title of this post was going to be Turns Out This Particular Post Title Sucks. Turns out, that particular post title would have sucked. See, as good marketers do, we recently sat down to analyze how well our approach has been doing – meaning, how well you guys like our posts.

Why Should You Split Test Email Subject Lines?

By Crystal Gouldey

Did you know split testing is actually part of everyday life? It can happen when you try on different outfits. Or if you try a different ingredient in your recipe. Or maybe you’re comparing ways to tell people you want to take one of those vacations to the moon so you know how you should break it to your spouse. Split testing is all about testing different options to find what works the best.

Learn How These 3 Businesses Get Their Emails Read

By Crystal Gouldey

>If you aren’t asking the question “How can I get more people to read my messages?” about your email marketing campaign, it’s time to start thinking about it! Even if you’re happy with your response rates, there is always room for improvement.

First off, it’s important to think about what influences a subscriber’s decision to read your message or not. Whether your end goal is a click or a sell, the subscriber won’t be taking any action until they actually open your email.

We’ll be looking at three different email newsletters that did a good job getting people to read the message, bringing in a unique open rate of over 50%, and then you can apply their strategies to your messages.

How the Messages Appear in an Inbox

These are what our examples look like in a GMail inbox:

These three businesses have some different and some similar methods for getting subscribers to read their messages. We’re going to take a look at how they approach the subject line and how they make the from line something the subscriber will recognize:

  • Lawrence Chan’s Tofurious mentions a new product that the subscriber gets for opening the message.
  • This type of approach is great if you have a free report to share, a sample page from a new report or ebook, if you have a coupons, or if you are promoting a new product.
  • Lawrence takes a personal approach on his site by signing his blogs and including detailed personal information. People like to hear from people, and signing his emails with his name will carry over that personal touch.

  • Gary Rosenzweig’s Macmost has a different approach for their subject, and it’s very straight-forward: it’s the new MacMost newsletter and it even gives the issue number.
  • This is good for businesses that send out newsletters that are meant to be more informative than promotional.
  • Gary from MacMost doesn’t have his name come up a lot on his site, so if he used his name in the from line then subscribers may not recognize who it’s from. This is why it’s good he used his company name.

  • Frederick van Johnson’s This Week in Photo uses the subject to pose a question. This can make the subscriber interested in knowing what the answer will be. Is it the end of medium format cameras? If so, why? They’ll have to open the message to find out!
  • Asking a question will make your subscriber curious, so try and find what question your message answers.
  • Frederick has others contributing material on his site, so his name is not the only name there. Recognizing he name would depend on what pages the subscriber has seen on the site. His from line should be his company name since it’s on all pages.

Branding In the Subject Line

You want to use your brand as much as possible so that when a subscriber looks at your message in their inbox they immediately know who you are and what to expect from you. All three businesses included their company name in the subject line. Might seem redundant, but it’s working!

Other Tests for Increasing Opens

The best thing you can do is split test your broadcasts to find out what gets the best results. Besides what we talked about here, you many also want to consider:

  • Time and day the message is being sent: There is no universally agreed upon day or time to send your message, so your best bet is test. For a look at your own stats, you can go to the Reports page and look at the “Opens over time” graphs.
  • Snippets: certain email clients show a snippet of text from the beginning of your newsletter. You can use this to your advantage by putting catchy text at the top so they’ll open it or mark it to read later.
  • Preview panes: certain email clients will also show preview panes that displays part of the entire message. You can test this out by putting catchy text in the upper part of your email, or moving images around if it was initially top heavy with images, and see if this changes your open rates.

How Do You Get Subscribers to Read Your Messages?

Of course there are still even more factors that will determine whether or not your message gets reads. For example, setting expectations plays a big part in your ongoing subscriber response right.

So what do you do to ensure your subscribers keep coming back for more? Share your thoughts!

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Do You Use Snippets For More Opens?

By Amanda Gagnon


Did you know that your “from” and subject lines aren’t the only inbox tools you have to convince subscribers to open your email marketing messages?

Some email programs also display an auto-preview of the top of your email, sometimes called a snippet.

That snippet could be the extra nudge subscribers need to open and investigate further.

The power of the snippet hasn’t yet been proven, so before you make any permanent changes, we encourage you to split test a few broadcasts. To get started, here are four ways to set up a snippet-friendly version in under five minutes.

Extend Your Subject Line

If your emails are topped with a line of text, those words will also display after your subject in the inbox.

So choose these words carefully. They’ll act as an introduction to your content, and you can also use them supplement your subject line with a tease of what’s inside.

Remember, snippet length will vary depending on each reader’s screen size, so frontload the important words.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook iPhone

Viewed on iPhoneViewed on iPhone

Relegate Requests to Sidebars

You may have housekeeping items at the top of your email, such as a whitelisting request or a link to unsubscribe.

To keep them from monopolizing auto-preview space, shift them slightly from the main body to the top of a sidebar. They’ll still be easily accessible, and they’ll give you room to put snippet-worthy text where it needs to go.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook iPhone

Sidebar example

Snippet-ize Your Images

Your message may be designed with a logo, header or other image at the top. These won’t show in a snippet, but if you set alt text, some programs will show that instead.

So write this text in a way that serves two purposes. It will need to stand in for the picture in case images don’t display, and it should also be able to pick up where your subject line leaves off.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook

Viewed in OutlookViewed in Outlook

A Secret Strategy: Slip It In

It’s possible that you’re thinking, “These ideas don’t work for me. I don’t want text or an image at the top of my design, and I don’t want to move anything. Can’t my snippet just disappear once the email is opened?”

Actually, in some places it can. There’s an easy way to make a snippet that doesn’t show in your email. The mechanics? Assign alt text to a tiny image – then render it invisible by matching it to your background color.

If you’d like more specific directions, they’re available here.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook

Viewed in GmailViewed in Gmail

Test It Out!

Send your originally planned broadcast to half your list and a snippet-friendly version to the other half. Do you notice any changes in engagement?

Let us know your results and your own thoughts on creating snippets in the comment section below!

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