Email Subject Lines That Work

A new report on email subject lines from MailChimp is full of things you would expect–the word ‘urgent’ increases open rates–and not expect, like including a person’s first and last name has a far greater positive impact than either first or last name alone. How about all-caps subject lines? A small increase. The word free in subject lines? Very little impact.

email subject line

Other findings:

  • Reminder and cancelled affected open rates negatively.
  • Using any instance or combination of first and last names = better open rates.*
  • Freebie helps open rates.
  • Breaking, important and alert create engagement.
  • Donation had the most negative impact among all the charitable-action words. The least? Helping.
  • Sign up hurts engagement; last chance even more so.

*Exception: Use of first names hurt the legal industry. (Maybe because people don’t want to feel a false sense of intimacy with what is commonly thought of by outsiders as the most hated profession.)

Be sure to check out the full report for an explanation of how the testing of 24 billion emails was conducted and charts showing the standard positive and negative deviations:

Subject Line Data: Choose Your Words Wisely.”

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