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What offer types work in email subject lines?

Chart of the Day: How to not get lost in your customer's inbox

Subject lines are important to email marketing, but they are a complete pain in the arse. (And don't get me started on pre-headers!)

I spend a good portion of my time toiling with subject lines. Testing how they look in email clients, making sure I don't include any spam words and working on the actual copy. A common practise email marketers use, is to include a promotion in the subject line, but does it have any effect? That's what the below chart discusses.

If we look at the average for all the offers compared to no offer at all, it's clear to see that the subject lines with no offer work better with the Click-to-Open (CTO) of 9.4% compared to 7%! This disproves what email marketers have done for years. But if we think about it, it's not surprising. Our customer's inboxes are full of legitimate and spam emails with subject lines offering discounts, or free items. Inboxes are the stuff of nightmares.

So how do we get our customers to open our emails and not our competitors?

  1. Good copy - no one wants to read garbled text that takes minutes to read. Your customers are busy, get to the point quickly.
  2. Brand reputation - if your customer expects rubbish offers, with little insight or offerings they will ignore you. A few spammy offers can trash your brand.
  3. Personalisation - make your offers tailored to your customers. Don't send them information about a new dog product if they don't own one.

Have a question about subject lines or preheaders? Leave a message in our email marketing community.

Performance of Offer Types in Email Subject Lines

Kim Greenop-Gadsby

By Kim Greenop-Gadsby

I am the Email Marketing Manager for Smart Insights. I manage all our email marketing and our automation platform. I get very excited about all things email because I'm just a #EmailGeekUK. I was born and bred in South Africa and have over 16 years experience in web development and digital marketing. When I'm not being an email geek, I spend my time with my husband, two sons and our menagerie of pets.

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