How to Get Higher Email Opens By Split Testing Subject Lines
Subject lines are crucial because they are the very first thing people see in their inbox. If your subject line isn’t interesting or relevant, your subscribers may never open your emails.
That’s why split testing your subject lines is so important. With a simple split test, you can find out how to write more engaging subjects lines that get opened.
Ready to boost your open rates? Keep reading to learn common subject line split tests and the results from split tests run by the experts.
What are people testing?
ClickZ, a marketing blog, did a test (and a retest) of a consistent, repeated subject line for a newsletter vs. a subject line which varied each time and described the topic of that edition of the newsletter. The consistent subject line was “Subscriber Newsletter.” The changing subject line included the key theme of the newsletter in the first 25 characters (like “Prime Real Estate”).
Despite common advice that a consistent subject line helps open rates, ClickZ found the opposite:
More people were opening and engaging with the newsletter when they knew what would be covered. Though consistency was impacted by the change, the insight provided by the title allowed people to determine if it would be worth reading.
When people knew ahead of time that they would be interested in what the email had to say, they engaged more with the content as well.
Here at AWeber, we tested direct, relevant subjects against creative, sometimes ambiguous subject lines. The more direct subject lines were the clear winners. Though the creative subjects could be intriguing in the inbox, if people weren’t sure what they were going to gain from opening it, they were less likely to do so. These are the subject lines we tested, organized by style:
- Are Blacklisted Link Shorteners Getting Your Emails Blocked?
- Grow Your Email List 99% Faster: How One Site Did It
- 43 Free Animated GIFs For Your Email Campaign
- Email Timing: A Look At 6 Marketers
- Email Marketers, Here’s What to Watch For in 2012
- What Do Teens Really Think Of Email?
- Customer Spotlight ? SEER Interactive
- AWeber’s AWesome Anthony A.
- Selling Digital: The Perfect Last-Minute Christmas Gift
- Getting Earth-Friendly Beyond Email
- Threadless’ Frequency Alert: Hot or Not?
- Why You Want Your Emails Filtered
The clear subject lines outperformed the creative ones in every metric. These were the numbers:
What’s the next test?
The split tests above give just a small snapshot of what’s possible when it comes to testing your subject lines. Here are even more split test ideas you can try on your subject lines:
- Length (does shorter or longer work better for your audience?)
- Personalization (including their name or other details in the title?)
- Use of numbers (are they better spelled out or as numerals?)
- Question marks and other icons (Eye catching or annoying?)
- Humor (Do people respond well to jokes or do they prefer a straightforward approach?)
- Scarcity tactics (Do people act on urgency?)
Want to know more about split testing?
Check out our free Minimalist Marketer’s Guide to Split Testing to learn everything you need to know to become a split testing master.