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Author - Sarah Gemmell
Category - Email marketing
Posted - 05/03/2011
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How to write the best email subject lines
With the ability to track nearly everything you do online these days, many forms of marketing previously considered "an art" can now be considered "a science."

chart.jpgA little while ago I wrote a post on the best timing for tweeting, blogging and Facebook posting. Though some of the findings are hard to believe or counter-intuitive, they're backed by pure data. So in order to get the best bang for your buck when engaging in social media, you may need to change your marketing habits.

In the same way, writing the subject lines for your email marketing campaigns is also much more of a science than an art. In a blog post by the Mailchimp team they unveil the best practices for writing email subject lines -- based on 200 million emails.

Among their findings, I thought the most surprising was that splashy or catchy subject lines perform the worst, while the short and to-the-point (borderline boring!) email subject lines perform the best. This might be hard to swallow, but it's backed up by pure data!

Here are some other findings by Mailchimp:

  • Subject line length: Generally, subject lines that are 50 characters or shorter perform the best.
  • Subject line content: Your subject should always accurately describe what's in the email. Raise expectations too much, and you'll get a frustrated customer who may even remove themselves from your mailing list.
  • Localization: Including a city name helps open rates. Conversely, including the recipient's name in the subject line does not.
  • Repeated subject lines: As you may have guessed, it's not good to repeat the same subject line in multiple emails. Even if the emails have the same content (ex. upcoming event reminders), change up the subject lines to get a higher open rate.
  • Promotional emails: Contrary to what you may think, promotional emails generally perform worse than newsletter-type emails full ofEmail_subjects_with_highest_open_rate.png timely and valuable information. Keep the subject line non-salesy, and opt for a subject line phrased as a question for the best open rate.

Just to prove that the best performing subject lines are not what you'd think, Mailchimp displays the best and worst in a table. Take a gander at the best performing ones -- boring right? But a 93% open rate -- you can't beat that!

Are you a frequent email marketer? Have you noticed any patterns in your subject line technique?

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Author - Sarah Gemmell
Category - Twitter, Facebook, Email marketing, Blogging
Posted - 03/30/2011
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When to send emails, when to tweet, when to do everything!
Yesterday I watched a great webinar put on by Hubspot called "The Science of Timing," and hosted by social media "scientist," Dan Zarrella. It focused on how important timing is in tweeting, Facebook posting, blogging and sending out email blasts. Here's some of what I learned in the webinar:

social_media_networks.jpgTiming for Twitter
  • You'll get the most retweets on your tweets between 2 & 5PM EST
  • You'll get the highest click-through-rates on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When it comes to exact hours of the day though, click-through-rates remain pretty steady with no real high point or low point.
  • Thus: Tweet more. It's ok to tweet the same article multiple times each day, just include a different quote or thought about the article each time you do so.
Timing for Facebook
  • You'll get the most shares on the weekends, specifically Saturday.
  • During the day, you'll get the most shares between 10 & 11AM EST and 1 & 2PM EST.
Timing for Emailing
  • You'll get the most opens and the most clicks on Saturday and Sunday but...
  • You'll get the most bounced emails and abuse reports on the weekend too. (This is because people spend more time reading emails on the weekend.)
  • You'll also get the most clicks in the wee hours of the morning.
  • Thus: Experiment with sending email blasts on the weekend, but only to your best clients and customers -- people who won't mark your email as SPAM. 
  • to_blog_or_not_to_blog.jpgEmail is also a great way to do some lead nurturing. 1-3 days after someone signs up for your email list is when they'll be the most receptive to your emails. So send them your best offer or promotion to get them to buy.

Timing for Blogging
  • You'll get the most page views of your blog posts on Monday, and the least on Saturday but...
  • You'll get the most comments on Saturday.
  • During the day, you'll get the most views if your post was published between 10 & 11AM EST.
  • You'll get the most links to your blog post on Monday and Thursday, between 6 & 7AM EST.

Want more? Check out Dan's answers to 5 questions asked after the webinar in this blog post.

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