Email ReMarketing: The Subject Matters

Email ReMarketingIn this week’s blog, we’re going to expand on another topic touched upon in our email remarketing guide: the subject line.  To many, this snippet of text is nothing more than a preview of what’s in the email you’re about to open (or ignore).  To others, however, the subject line is an art, rife with its own set of nuances and particulars. As an email’s very first point of contact with a reader, the brief string of characters known as a subject line must inspire enough interest in your message without appearing too eager.  Regardless of where you stand, one fact remains: 47% of people claim that whether they open an email is dependent on the subject. If you’d like to resonate with that 47% and work to optimize your customer recovery efforts, read through a few important lessons to keep in mind when determining the subject of your next wave of remarketing emails.

Measure Up
The success of email remarketing campaigns is measured in three distinct values, the open rate, the click-through rate (CTR) and the conversion rate. As their names imply, the open rate is the percentage of the recipients that opened and viewed your message. The CTR represents the ratio of readers who followed your call-to-action.  The conversion rate is the percentage of consumers who complete the desired action. While some benefits–such as overall brand visibility generated by your emails–are difficult to measure, these values are three tangibles that give you a good idea of how your campaign is performing.  According to a study by MailChimp, open rates vary greatly across industries, but seem to settle between 20 and 45%. Historically, UpSellit has delivered an average open rate for online merchants of 47.2% for the first remarketing email in customer recovery campaigns.   With the right techniques, however, it’s possible to outperform the average and see some truly impressive results.

Stand Out
From the important emails your coworkers sent to chainmail sent by your new-to-the-Internet grandma, we read our way through a huge volume of emails each day.  When it comes to reaching out to customers via email, it’s exceptionally important that you make your subject lines relevant enough to stand out from the flock. There are a few great ways to do this:

  1. Personally. Although many companies have caught on to this tactic, addressing the recipient by name helps in drawing the eye immediately to your message.
  2. Geographically. Do you have the location data for your customers? If so, don’t be afraid to mention a location near the reader to establish familiarity. Including the recipient’s city generally yields higher open rates.
  3. Chronically. Sometimes, a small dose of urgency is just the right ingredient for a successful subject.  By mentioning a date, season, or holiday, you can make an email seem more pertinent to the reader’s life.
  4. Methodically. Use your website’s segment data wisely and send emails regarding specialized topics to consumers you’re sure will be interested. Use previous purchase history, browsing information, and advertisement performance metrics to pick the ideal candidates for specific emails.

Practice Makes (almost) Perfect
The “perfect subject line” is the white whale for many a marketer.  Some believe that there exists a formula, floating somewhere in the nebula of creativity and innovation, that generates emails so perfectly enticing that the average reader will be rendered helpless to its overpowering allure. Fairy tales aside, the one universal truth surrounding this mythical concept is that, sometimes, the least anticipated tactics yield the greatest remarketing results.  A shining example of this oddity was demonstrated just a few years ago.  For the duration of the previous Presidential elections here in the U.S., online fund-raising through email was the single most effective financial tactic.  Of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised through a barrage of emails, one jarringly simple subject title proved most valuable to the Obama campaign:


This one-word subject line was shockingly successful, pulling in multiple millions of dollars in donations.  While an informal greeting may not work for your company, the process by which campaign directors landed on such an idea will.  Through careful and extensive A-B testing, marketers (or politicians in this case) are able to select only the highest performing subject lines and tweak them slightly in attempts to further foster success. Don’t be afraid to try a variety of different subject lines for the same message to see exactly how well each does. Take lessons learned through repeated tests to create a consistent, effective style. Though much of subject-line generation is the product of trial and error, there are a few proven guidelines:

What We Know

  1. Bad Words : Recent studies have shown that there are a few particular words that should be avoided.  “Free” and “% off,” for example, appear spam-like and drive down reads.  “Help” and “reminder” also lower opens, as readers feel like these will require work.
  2. No Sale : It’s best to reserve the sales pitch for the inside of the email.  Attempting to jump-start your conversions by placing offer details in the subject line traditionally dissuades readers.
  3. Action! : Posing your subject line as a call-to-action or a question has generally proved beneficial.  Getting your audience thinking will generate much-wanted curiosity.
  4. Brand Appeal : Placing your company name, mascot name, or any specific identifier helps make your message’s intent clear and often results in more opens and conversions.

Although small in size, the subject line is a delicate piece of data. With repeated testing and careful consideration, your subject lines will be a huge boon to your email remarketing campaigns and customer recovery efforts.  For those of you feeling overwhelmed by the idea of ongoing testing and optimization, you can find solace in UpSellit’s 100% pay-for-performance email remarketing services. UpSellit develops completely custom email remarketing campaigns that leverage real-time delivery systems and industry-proven strategies to ensure your businesses realizes the highest open rate, click-thru rate and the all-important campaign conversion rate.

To speak with an email specialist about how UpSellit can improve your current email remarketing efforts, or get you started with your first customer recovery campaign, just click here to schedule a consultation.

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