Email research: subject lines

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Subject lines

Adestra recently did some research on subject lines length and content. I found some of the research interesting and endeavour to test a few myself.

For B2B

  • 6 – 10 word subject lines have high opens but not a lot of clicks, where long subject lines (over 16 words) help clicks and opens
  • Avoid using B2B, business, industry, ROI, free and exclusive. However words with monetary symbols and phrases including news, profit, revenue, turnover, referral, acquisition, and deal have better click to open rates

For B2C

  • a subject line with 20 words is the optimum
  • mentioning video will significantly help you
  • avoid ‘free’ and ‘half price’, instead use ‘% off’

In their overview of the publishing sector, I found it quite interesting to see what content words had better open and click-throughs. The words which didn’t perform so well on click to opens surprisingly included newsletter, research, report, forecast, intelligence, issues, alert, and special. However the successful content based words were video, interview, bulletin and exclusive.

View article and the report.

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Email coding tip: curved edges for boxes

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How to make curved edges for boxes and speech bubbles

I was getting sick of my speech bubbles being square as they don’t look nice, so dug about and managed to find a code for making bubbles rounded in emails.

It doesn’t work for all email clients i.e. most outlook versions, but if it doesn’t it reverts back to square edges (I tested it in Litmus).

Instead of using padding and a background colour for speech bubbles like this:

<td width=”403″ style=“font:13px normal Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;color:#58595b;line-height:19px;padding:9px 9px;” bgcolor=”#e6e6e6″>

I am a square box  </td>

I wrote this into the code:

<td width=”403style=”font:13px normal Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;color:#58595b;line-height:19px;border-radius: 9px; -moz-border-radius: 9px; -webkit-border-radius: 9px; border:3px solid #e6e6e6; background-color: #e6e6e6; padding: 9px;”>

I am a round box (well in most browsers)</td>

Email rounded box html coding example

Now you have a rounded box!

Simple tips/reminders for marketing emails

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Test, test, test!!

I keep finding it so painful seeing emails that haven’t been tested before being sent out. The most recent one I received included an image that hadn’t been re-sized before placing it into the email body, which then stuffed up the whole format of the email. Some email systems will show the emails properly but others won’t, so make sure you test your email in as many email systems as possible i.e. Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail etc.

The other thing that frustrates me is New Zealand businesses email campaigns not including a unsubscribe option, which is mandatory as part of the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.

Businesses should create a checklist and go through it before sending out marketing emails. Below are a few quick things to check and make sure you have done correctly. These points are really for small businesses that don’t have the budget for proper email campaign software.

Include a unsubscribe facility

This can be as simple as stating that if you wish to unsubscribe from further communication to reply with unsubscribe in the subject line. I would also suggest merging in the recipients email address into the email (i.e. you are subscribed as bob@xtra.co.nz) as many people have other email addresses forwarded to them especially if it’s a business email. Please do not make the unsubscribe button as an image as if a recipient has their images set to off they will not be able to see it.

Place recipients in the BCC field

If you are sending out a bulk email from a standard email address and not a specific email campaign system make sure you put all recipients in the BCC field and not the TO field.

Resolution and Image size

Re-size images to the size you want before placing into your email and make sure the image resolution is low/small (around 92 dpi). If you do not have Photoshop or similar software, you can easily do this in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. To re-size images on Microsoft Office Picture Manager click on Picture, then Re-size and to change the resolution select Picture, then Compress Pictures.

Emails set as an image

Do not make your whole email one big image as not everyone will be able to read it (my gym constantly does this and sometimes the picture is quite pixellated and hard to read). Many people have their email settings set to not show images, and if they receive an email as a full image, they may not even bother to click on the view images button.
Subject line – do make sure you include text in the subject line and make sure it doesn’t say something like ‘Test Email’. You would be surprised how many emails I have received that have made this careless mistake.

Spelling and grammar

Check your spelling and grammar and don’t just rely on your computer spell check. If you were writing a letter you would check these things, so make some time to proof read your work. Ideally print it out and get someone else to proof read it.

Test, test, test!!

Make sure you test your email in as many email browsers as you can. Do all the links work? Do you have your contact details? Do you have a unsubscribe facility? Have you balanced text to images? Can you view the email in several email systems? Have you checked your spelling and grammar?

There are many other aspects and issues when you are sending out marketing/promotional emails, so this is only a taste of what you should know and check. For example, you should not send out bulk emails from your Outlook address as you are on the track of getting your IP address blacklisted and you don’t get any statistics on who has opened your email, but that’s a whole different topic for another blog post.

If you want to see some great examples of poor emails and more tips on the do’s and don’ts of email marketing, you should check out Jericho’s blog.