Getting your promotional email opened and read depends on a few key factors.
Making it mobile-friendly—including keeping the subject line concise—hovers near the top of the list. (We published previous guidelines here )
According to Campaign Monitor , about 53 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices. A study by Return Path found that open rates were 12.5 percent higher when subject lines contained fewer than 49 characters, though data were based largely on the retail industry.
Though Mailchimp states that the subject line length doesn’t actually matter , it recommends giving attention to length based on how email subject lines display on mobile devices. Zurb has a free tool for testing how subject lines display on popular mobile devices.
Pay attention to the preheader text. Many mobile email providers show a short line of text to add some context for the recipient and to allow them to screen the email before opening.
The intersection of timing and subject matter
Say you’re sending an email about coffee consumption. It might resonate best if sent in the morning, when someone is more likely to be drinking coffee. Your email service provider (ESP) can provide details about the best time to send emails based on your industry and unique company data.
On a similar note, subject matter should be relevant to your list. Make sure that you’re using various segmentation tools to divide up your audience, and ensure that you’re only ever sending them the most relevant emails.
Be consistent with email frequency. The Database Marketing Institute found that the open rate was highest when companies send two emails per month. Don’t give customers the chance to forget about you by waiting too long between email sends. Similarly, don’t annoy them by sending no emails one week and four the following week.
Campaign Monitor reports that 68 percent of Americans base their decision to open an email on the sender name.
Here are a few tips from Act On :
- Avoid using a person’s name, unless he or she has a strong association with the brand.
- If you do use a person’s name, include a comma afterward and then the company/brand name.
- Avoid using a faceless no-reply address.
- The email address should include your company’s domain so it looks legitimate to recipients.
Once you’ve settled on an approach for your perfect email subject line, do an A/B test. Send half the recipients on your list (or test segment) one type of subject line, and the other half a different version. Alternatively, try changing the order of words to see if one subject line converts better than another.
Monitor which one has the best open rate, and apply that information to the next email.
A version of this post first appeared on Orbit Media’s blog