Posted November 1, 2007 8:05 am by with 14 comments

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If you send email to customers, what can you do to get more people to open your email? Focus on the subject line. This isn’t new news but still it’s something that email marketers shouldn’t ignore. When it comes to internet marketing the words you use, the font, where they are on the page, and other details can make an enormous difference.

Here are some quick tips to see better open and click rates for the email you send:

  • Personalize the subject line with the recipient’s name

It turns out one of the most important factors when it comes to email is to personalize the subject line. So use the person’s name you’re sending the email to in the subject line and you’ll get better open rates, according to a MailerMailer study. That’s because people look at the subject line quickly and decide if they’ll read or delete your message.

Here’s an example of a personalized subject line: Andy, Don’t Miss our Halloween Savings!

Note that not only have the open rates gone up when this principle is applied, but the click rate went up significantly. That means people clicked a link in the email, which means you have their attention.

Do Not

  • Send out emails from different groups in your company. This should be coordinated (73% judge who sent the email—the “from” line and 69% judge the “subject” line to determine if your email gets deleted or reported as spam).
  • Be vague in the subject line—be specific and clear about the offer or benefit.
    “A December 2006 study by the E-Mail Sender and Provider Coalition and Ipsos confirmed how crucial ‘from’ and ‘subject’ lines are. About seven in 10 US Internet users said they judged these lines when deciding whether to report an e-mail as spam.”

Also noted is that while open rates continue to drop since 2004, click rates are holding more steady.

  • excellent! nice!

  • Zen

    Interesting, though kind of frugal. There is much more to e-mail marketing than meets the eye. Kudos on the linkbaity title! 🙂

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  • Personalization encourages participation.

  • Janet, thanks for posting a note referencing our latest email marketing metrics report,

    We also recommend testing email messages using different parameters to identify what works best. Our report documented general trends but there are always cases in which doing something completely different gets great results. We periodically post tips in our blog at in case you or your readers are interested.

    All the best,

    Raj Khera
    CEO MailerMailer

  • Presonalizing the subject line definitely works, I know it does with me!

  • It is becoming harder and harder to send out a good professional looking email marketing campaign that isn’t hammered by spam reports that keep your email from reaching the intended target in the first place.

    thanks for the post, interesting information. Scott

  • I agree completely that you need an informative and enticing subject line. However, I disagree regarding personalization.

    Maybe I’m the oddball in this respect and all the research shows otherwise, but I am more inclined to ignore a message if it has my name in the subject line. Why? Because no human being (that I know of) would ever put my name in the subject line. Name in subject line = unsolicited commercial email = deleted without opening.

  • Most nowadays just think and breathe spam spam spam and delete it faster than flash edison. fjord

  • I don’t send out email advertising myself, but I have noticed that if someone sends any to me and my name appears in the subject I’m a little slower to delete.

    The email still generally ends up in the trash, but seeing my name does get my attention and has gotten me to open a few emails I was pretty sure I didn’t want.

  • Great points and I do agree, however, there’s also a crucial factor that unfortunately is not often identified (or taken note of) in industry reports. While creating a stellar subject line may increase open rates on one email, constantly delivering timely, meaningful and relevant email content and keeping subscribers happy will allow for consistently high open and click rates!



  • I subscribe to quite a few aweber lists, which all go to a dedicated email address. At the moment I have 370 emails unopened. Just looking though the list, examples of opened emails include “We’ve had over 40 emails about this” & “my boss was such a dufus, is yours?” which both made my curious to open the email and read it.

    Curiosity will encourage most people to open emails in my opinion & experience.

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