Improve Newsletter Open Rates with Better Subject Lines

Nika on May 23, 2018

You can think of a subject line as the first impression of your email. When people are scanning their inboxes, they're deciding whether or not to open an email based on the sender and the subject line.

Although writing a subject line seems easy, it's actually both an art and a science. Try these strategies to improve your subject lines and your email open rates, and remember that it's an ongoing process of experimentation.

Use A/B testing to find out which subject lines are most effective

An easy first step towards improving your gallery's email open rates is A/B testing, which is available through email marketing services like MailChimp.

In an A/B test of subject lines, you'll come up with two versions of a subject line for your email campaign, test them on a percentage of your list, and send the winning version to the remainder of your list.

A typical A/B test would look something like this:

  • 20% of the list receives subject line A
  • 20% of the list receives subject line B
  • The remaining 60% of the list receives the winning subject line

An example of an A/B test in MailChimp:

Example ab test in MailChimp

Personalize the subject line by including clients' names

Dale Carnegie said, "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

The same is true in writing, and including recipients' names in the subject line can draw their attention to your email when they're scanning their inbox. You can do that by including a first name merge tag in your subject line.

Putting people's names in subject lines can be very effective; the trick is to use it strategically rather than all the time.

You'll also want to keep in mind that you probably don't have the first name of everyone on your mailing list. Fortunately, MailChimp and other email marketing services will let you set an alternative word that can be used in place of the first name when it's not available.

Get creative to stand out from other gallery emails

Unfortunately, many gallery newsletters have very similar subject lines. Use your creativity to come up with more original ideas. Some suggestions:

  • Incorporate emoji relevant to the subject line
  • Play with the wording -- include puns or rhymes
  • Reference well-known holidays or events
  • Ask a question

The key to improving your subject lines - and email open rates - is to experiment with different approaches and find out what resonates most with your clientele.

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