Email subject lines; clarity trumps brevity


Here’s some startling wisdom from Dela Quist of Alchemy Worx, an email marketing agency that “eats, sleeps and breathes email”:  the vast majority of emails sent by marketers don’t get opened, no matter who they are and no matter what they do.

Get over it.

Email-marketingYour job as an email marketer is to connect with an interested and relevant audience. Would you rather have 1,000 people open your email and do nothing, or 139 open it and engage with your offer?

Email subject lines are critical to shaping your subscriber’s behavior. Extensive research indicates that emails with short subject lines are more likely to get opened.

However, this research has generally failed to measure the correlation between the length of the subject line and the relevance to the recipient.

Alchemy Worx took this extra step in an exhaustive study that demonstrated that the most successful subject lines, regardless of length, are those that communicate the relevance of the message.

When you’re optimizing for clicks, shooting for an arbitrarily low number of characters  in your subject line (often targeted as 50 or fewer) misses the point entirely. An ambiguous subject is easier to ignore. It’s easier to bounce, too, because even if opened, it may be of no interest.

By adding clarity to the subject line, according to Quist, you’re telling people that the email is either something that’s relevant or something that’s not. They can take action based on a fuller understanding of the implicit message.

A successful email subject is one that clearly states the proposition. If it can be done in 30 – 40 characters, that’s great. But crafting your email subject line for maximum effect, relevance, and results is what matters.



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