The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines

The article “The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines” by Ayaz Nanji did a great job of showing email marketers what words really resonate with consumers and which words hurt click through rates and lower the percentage of open rates. Over all, it seems that consumers are not as drawn to words such as “free” and “cheap”, despite what marketers may believe these words do. Additionally, different words resonate with different groups. Words for B2B emails have a different effect than B2C emails or even retail and commerce emails.

The first key take away from this article is that over all, email subject lines with the words “alert” in the subject line resulted in higher open and click through rates. This seems like such a small part of email marketing, but what marketers need to realize is that if having this one word in the subject line results in a 38.1% higher average open rate, this word needs to be included in the subject line.

The second key take away from the article is that customers within the B2B market have become desensitized to words such as “reports,” “forecasts,” and “intelligence.” In fact, the word that seemed to have the highest effect on B2B customers is “breaking” and even “editor.” It is important for email marketers to understand and know what words customers are not reacting to and can result in emails being looked over without any consideration of opening. Therefore, knowing that the words, “reports,” “forecasts,” and “intelligence” have almost no impact on the B2B customer means the email subject line needs to contain more striking words.

The third key take away from this article is that the retail and commerce customers are basically “normal” customers in a sense that the words “free delivery,” “sale,” and percentage off campaigns highly entice customers to open the email and click through the information. Additionally, research found that the words “save” and the call to action word, “buy” highly decreased the number of open and click through rates. Because of this, email marketers need to be more consciences of the call to action words that are being used within the subject lines of email. Furthermore, email marketers should also take into consideration that although consumers like to save, does not mean that seeing the word will drive someone to open and email and click through it.



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