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Targeted Email Marketing Subject Lines

Targeted email marketing is a numbers game — there are several junctures at which the person you’re emailing might decide to not do what it suggests. You have to make them open the email, read the email, click the link, and then decide to heed the directions on the website.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who has ever had an email account, the number one place to lose a recipient is at that first question: will they open the email? Every day, literally 180 billion emails are sent, and according to some very high-end studies, as much as 73% of that — 131 billion emails — will go unopened. Many of those are spam so blatant that it gets caught in filters and no one ever notices that it exists until they’re told they’re out of storage space and need to empty their trash.

So how do you avoid that fate? First of all, design your emails to avoid automated spam filters — but just as importantly, design your emails to avoid manual spam filters. Manual spam filters are the ones that engage when someone looks at the subject line of an email and says “That’s not something I want to bother reading.”

This decision is so split-second that by the time we’ve even registered that we made it, we’ve already skimmed past several other titles and decided if any them are worth reading. Most modern email readers can tell you who an email is from without looking at the ‘From’ field — the subject line alone will give them enough of a reason to ignore an email. That’s not hard when the subject line says “HOT BUYS – 2 Days Only!” (Much less “p3n.is 3nLARG3.m3nt.”)

So, perhaps it’s unsurprising that the latest study of <a href=” http://www.contactmonkey.com/blog/114-free-infographic-best-subject-line-for-salespeople-2″>effective email subjects</a> from Contact Monkey shows us that the number one most effective email title is…


Yes, that’s the whole thing. “Re:” earned itself a whopping 92% open rate, followed closely by “Re: Follow Up” and “Re: update.”

Now, there are strong arguments to be had that this kind of subject line might lead to more unsubscribes than conversions, because it’s basically bait-and-switching the reader, which tends to annoy people. But the basic principles — keep your subject lines short, generic (non-marketing), and use ‘Re:’ — seem to apply almost universally.

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