GUEST ARTICLE - In a world where the average opening rate fell to 23.4 % and where Internet users receive an average of 39 e-mails per day, the subject line has become king.
But what strategies do email marketing professionals have at their disposal to develop objects that work every time?
We've listed six strategies that work (almost) every time, along with real-life examples.
Enjoy your reading!
The basic rules to respect concerning the objects
Before developing our six strategies, let's first recall some basic rules that apply to any newsletter object.
Rule 1: size matters
54 % e-mails are now open on mobile.
Therefore, it is imperative to provide objects whose important elements are visible on any type of device: computer, tablet or smartphone.
To make sure you stay on track, I recommend this site which allows you to preview your object (and your pre-header) on recent mobiles.
Rule 2: Optimize the pre-header too
Optimizing your object is good. Optimizing your object and its pre-header is better!
What is the pre-header?
This is the preview text displayed by most email clients and gives your readers an additional taste of the content of your email.
Think of it as one more opportunity to convince your recipients not to throw your email in the trash.
Rule 3: don't limit yourself to analyzing the opening rate
When analyzing the results of an email campaign, it is important to look at the performance of the email as a whole:
- What proportion of recipients actually received the email? (deliverability rate)
- What percentage of people who received it opened it? (opening rate)
- What percentage of people who opened it clicked on one of the links? (reactivity rate)
- What proportion of people who clicked buy? (conversion rate)
Analyzing all these factors together avoids a rookie mistake: isolating metrics without seeing their relationships to each other.
Let's take a simple example.
I use a very mysterious object that makes my subscribers want to open my newsletter. The opening rate is very high.
Unluckily, most of the openers are disappointed with the content and do not click. My newsletter finally generates a very low turnover.
This very high opening rate is not in itself a sign of success since, in the end, ushers are disappointed and do not buy.
Rule 4: Respect the spelling
You may have suffered from dictation in your youth.
Since then, you've been upset with spelling and grammar.
Unfortunately, your subscribers are probably very picky about spelling.
It would be a shame to start off with a bad impression.
Come on, after this detour through spelling, let's get back to the point: newsletter objects.
And let's start with the most common strategy.
Strategy 1: Follow the school method
The principle of the school method:
This method is as simple as can be. It consists in describing (coldly) by the menu what the newsletter contains.
It is very often found among luxury brands (which cannot take the risk of using objects that are too eccentric) and among marketplaces (which must be precise about the content of their e-mails because their base is so large and their subscribers have varied interests).
Personally, I did emailing at Rakuten for 2 years. We applied this method to the letter for all our newsletters.
Examples of objects applying the school method:
As you can see below, no risk-taking at A.PC and Lacoste (luxury players) and Brandalley (marketplace). By reading the subject line, we know exactly what the newsletter is going to offer us.
Advantages/disadvantages of the school method:
- Advantages: with this method we play it safe: no originality that might offend the subscriber or create confusion. This type of subject also has the advantage of avoiding unpleasant surprises for the openers. The person who opens your email knows what to expect.
- Disadvantages: these objects can be boring, especially for a subscriber who receives many newsletters of the same type. Eventually, your open rate may suffer.
Strategy 2: Try the mystery method
Principle of the mystery method:
The mystery method remains a classic. It consists in saying as little as possible. Not enough to really understand what it's about, but enough to make you want to open the e-mail.
With "En route!", Lancel says very little about the content of its newsletter, while 3suisses teases the subscriber with a crisp "True story". Two objects that say little about what you will find when you open the newsletter.
Advantages/disadvantages of the mystery method:
- Advantages: this type of strategy breaks the monotony of commercial newsletters and captures the attention of subscribers. It often allows to obtain a good opening rate.
- Disadvantages: using mysterious objects remains a risky strategy because you risk creating disappointment among the openers. In the end, if the disappointment is too great, the number of clicks will be low. And if this bad performance is repeated, you risk losing your subscribers forever.
Strategy 3: Make nods to pop culture
Principle of the pop method :
With this strategy, we go off the beaten track a bit, with a humorous object. The principle is simple: the object of the newsletter is based on a reference to pop culture, such as the title of a song or a movie. The idea is to evoke a familiar element, while creating a shift.
With this object which takes the title "Parti un jour" of the boy band 2 be 3, Asphalte makes for example a strong wink to the thirty-year-olds who were
traumatised marked forever by the group.
Advantages/disadvantages of the pop method:
- Advantages: with these objects, you are guaranteed to attract the attention of your subscribers and activate a positive reaction.
- Disadvantages: as with the mystery method, you may be disappointed at the end. Additional difficulty: this kind of object requires a real creative talent and a lot of thought beforehand.
Strategy 4: Play on emotions
Principle of the method emotions :
With the "emotion" objects, we will try to pique the subscriber's interest by appealing to his emotions or deep convictions.
The first example, from an email sent by responsible clothing brand Faguo, is typical. It touts a product that engages against climate change.
The second one sent by L214, an association that campaigns for animal welfare, uses an alarmist tone and mentions a countdown. These two elements guarantee an echo among people sensitive to the association's cause.
Advantages/disadvantages of the emotional method :
- Advantages: If the emotion is consistent with the brand identity, you have every chance of maximizing your number of e-mail openings.
- Disadvantages: But the exercise remains risky, especially for brands. Faguo's email, for example, could be accused of greenwashing and generate the opposite reaction of the one expected.
Strategy 5: Use an inspirational object
Principle of the inspirational method:
This method is a derivative of the mystery method (as a reminder, the objects where we say as little as possible about the content of the email). The difference is that here we refer specifically to a positive concept.
With "beautiful days", "a scent of summer", "take to the sea", the emails below refer to seasons, concepts and positive aspirations. These items remain vague (no pun intended for Jules & Jenn), but inspire something positive and calming.
Advantages/disadvantages of the inspirational method:
- Advantages: this type of subject line allows you to associate the email with a positive emotion and puts your subscriber in good conditions for the future.
- Disadvantage: but as with the mystery shopping method, it is not always easy to make the link with products to sell or with a message to pass on.
Strategy 6: Play on FOMO
Principle of the Fomo method :
What is FOMO?
It is the panic fear of missing something (Wikipedia definition here).
In emailing, you can exploit this trend by playing on the urgency or on limited quantities to convince to open and buy. This is a strategy that is most often found at the time of sales or with sites specialized in flash and private sales.
Clearly, we need to have a cool head to not succumb to the alarmist items below. "The end", "last hours" or "limited stock" are all items that play on our anxiety of missing out on something unmissable.
Advantages/disadvantages of the FOMO method:
- Advantages: from experience, these objects are those that generate the best opening rate.
- Disadvantages: be careful not to tire your subscribers with one FOMO email after another. Stress doesn't work every time.
And here are your 6 strategies. And you, which one is your favorite strategy for your newsletters objects? Mystery? FOMO? Emotions?
From our side, we recommend alternating between different types of objects to avoid tiring your base.