Q&A from our "Get More Opens with Great Subject Lines" Webinar

Caitlin_M
Administrator

In the inbox, you have just a few milliseconds to capture someone’s attention and convince them to open your email. Beyond the relationships you’ve been building with your contacts, subject lines determine whether someone reads your email or moves it to the trash.

 

In this free one-hour webinar, we’ll provide tips and examples to get you writing subject lines that capture subscriber attention. You’ll learn:

  • Tips for writing a great subject line
  • Ideas for getting creative
  • Data-driven subject lines that work

 

About our guest: Jaina Mistry is an email marketer with nearly 15 years of experience in the industry and has worn almost as many email hats. When she’s not fine-tuning Litmus’ email marketing program you’ll find her baking up a storm in the kitchen.

 

 

 

Resources mentioned during the webinar:

 

 

Subject Lines and Preheaders:

 

When sending out a monthly newsletter email, is it best to use the same subject line consistently so the content is instantly recognizable?

In some ways, this can be good. But in most cases, we suggest using a unique subject line for each one. If someone isn't opening the email, it's likely they will continue to ignore your emails. Give them a reason to open this one.

 

How important is it to keep subject lines and pre-headers short? I tend to have longer ones and have about a 35% open rate.

If the majority of your audience consistently opens your emails on mobile, it’s better to keep the subject line short since most mobile email clients show a very short preview. Test to try a shorter subject line and see if it performs better. The bigger question is: Are they taking the action you want them to take when they open the email?

 

Is there value in reusing a subject line over and over (ours is “History in Your Inbox”) when the preheader text already provides information about the subject we’re covering? We can use "History in Your Inbox: Lindbergh's Local Visit" as the subject line but it seems too long.

In some cases, an existing audience may already be looking for the recognizable subject line in their inbox. Test this with your own audience. Try A/B testing your normal subject line vs something like "Lindbergh's Local Visit" to see which one performs better.

 

Does the preheader text have to contain the content from the email body?

No, but you want your email preheader to compliment your subject line nicely, and not simply repeat the same information.

 

Does the preheader text interfere with the Greeting tag?

No, there should not be any interference. A name or personalization tag can be added to your subject line, but there is also a greeting tag that can go in your email as a (Dear John for example.) They are working in different areas.

 

What are power words? Is there a good list of power words to use in a subject line?

Power words are words used to trigger a psychological or emotional response in a reader. Here's a good list of power words from OptinMonster.

 

If you use an emoji is there a higher chance of your email going to the recipient's spam folder?

Generally, you want to keep them to a minimum otherwise the overuse of them can trigger spam filters. See our best practices for using emojis in a subject line

 

I’d like to use emojis but our campaigns cover more serious and professional topics. I am wondering how to incorporate these into the subject line.

You could think about an open book emoji, lightbulb, or even some different colored book emojis. 

 

How do you access the emoji library in Constant Contact?

We have a library of emojis available in the editor. If you are looking for a wider selection, try Emojipedia.com and you can copy/paste them into the subject line.

 

How do we change the subject line when the email is being sent out to those who didn't open it the first time? Do I just change the subject line right after the first one is sent out?

You can change the subject line when scheduling a resend to non-openers during the initial send. If you did not schedule an RSNO send, you will need to copy the email and make changes to the subject line then.

 

Any suggestions on subject lines for nonprofits? We work primarily with children from around the world. We send monthly newsletters but would like to get some ideas on how to get more people to open the updates we send.

This blog article can help with creating engaging subject lines for nonprofits. Using a donor's first name creates a more personalized feel in the inbox.

 

 

A/B Testing:

 

What is A/B testing?

When creating an A/B subject line test, we will automatically separate your list into three groups. Subject line A is sent one group of selected contacts, while a second email with subject line B is sent to the same size. After a specified amount of time, the subject line with the most opens is declared the winner. The winning subject line is automatically sent to the remaining contacts that were selected to receive your email but weren't a part of the initial A/B test population.

 

What percentage of my list would get subject line A?

When creating the A/B test, you determine the percentages. When a winner is chosen, it will send the winner to the remaining people on the list.

 

Constant Contact says not to do an A/B test if the list is under 1000 contacts but I have 935. Can I still do a test?

Feel free to send to fewer contacts, but keep in mind that the smaller the list size, the more likely the outcome can be affected due to the smaller sample size

 

 

Reporting:

 

Is there an easy way to create a list of regular email openers that I could use as a segment? I know I can see the most engaged and least engaged, but how can I get a list that's easy to send to?

Once you create a "Most Engaged" segment from the contacts tab, you can add the segment to a list. Then you can send an email to the list.

 

Is there an analytics tool that can compare the results like open and click rate across all campaigns? I want to look at them in a format that allows me to see all the data.

You can do a side-by-side comparison of up to five campaigns from the Reporting Tab that displays the reporting in a graph form. If you are looking for a larger amount of data, you can download reporting for all campaigns into a CSV file. 

 

How accurate is the click rate data? I was reviewing the report of an email I sent and noticed a colleague I know clicked every link in the email. I called and asked if they clicked all of the links. They opened the email but didn't click any links. I believe some email clients perform some kind of test on links for spam detection purposes. Are you aware of this and how can I filter these out?

Yes, some security programs click links to verify that they are valid to protect the contacts. We are not able to filter these out at this time unfortunately but if you see clicks all happening within a minute of each other, there's a very good chance there is a security program doing this.

 

Have recent Apple privacy changes also affected click rates for emails?

Yes, with Apple Mail’s privacy changes, emails are more likely to be categorized as opened without any action from the recipient and this can lower the overall click rate. We've updated our email reporting and the way we calculate click rates in response to this. Previously, the click rate was calculated as the number of clicks divided by the number of opens (clicks-to-opens). We’ll now be calculating click rate based on the number of emails that were successfully delivered (or didn’t bounce).

 

 

Deliverability:

 

Do you have recommendations for words we shouldn’t use in a subject line to avoid spam filters?

This Knowledge Base article mentions words to avoid in a subject line as well as overall best practices for subject lines.

 

What tricks do you have for keeping your emails from going to the Promotions folder in Gmail? I work for an association and struggle with having that happen a lot when telling members about upcoming educational opportunities.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do. Your contacts would need to take an action on their end to adjust the settings on their end to prevent emails from landing in the Promotions folder.

 

I have heard some saying that you should send more frequent emails in order to get your emails more prominent in the recipients' inbox. I don't think this necessarily is right. Am I wrong?

You are correct. Multiple sends really have no effect on where the email lands as most inboxes are sorted chronologically. You can encourage your contacts to add your email to their mailing list or mark the email as important.

 

Take a moment to think about the frequency of sending emails. Imagine yourself in the contact’s shoes. If you sign up for a mailing list, you probably expect to receive one, maybe twice a month, depending on the industry. What would you do if you suddenly receive multiple a week? Receiving too many emails makes your contacts far more likely to unsubscribe. Keep the emails relevant and they’re more likely to be opened. It’s quality over quantity!

 

I created a feedback survey but few people are opening it and among them, there are not many clicks. Could my email be going into spam?

It's possible, especially with a lower open rate. However, look at the factors that can cause emails to not be opened in the first place. Does your From name create familiarity? Does the subject line draw the contact in? Both of these factors show even before the contact opens the email.



Other:

 

How many emails do you recommend sending out per month or week?

This can really depend on your audience and also what they expect. For example, if someone signs up for your weekly emails, they’re going to expect a weekly email from you. In general, you want to send at least once a month. Twice a month can be good to help keep your emails short which generally helps your open and click rates.

 

If you have a time-sensitive promotion, we suggest sending three emails in total: Announce your offer/event, remind them about your offer, and then provide a last chance reminder. In that case, the contact ends up with 4 or 5 emails a month in the inbox. The bottom line is you should test what works best for your audience.

 

If you have a recurring email that doesn’t change when it is sent, how often should it go out?

In most cases, we do not recommend sending the same exact email over and over. Instead, resend the email to non-openers and change the subject line when you do send it out again.

 

How are sole proprietors supposed to keep up with all of this? It seems like it's a full-time job, and we're already wearing 5+ hats.

Yes, this can be a lot to keep up with. However, when you're in a good place to grow, it can be helpful to hire a marketer or an email marketer. We've got a variety of services to help. If you're really strapped for time, we've got Marketing Managers who can do it for you. Check out this resource: https://www.constantcontact.com/services 

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