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

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

in InfoSource, Trends in the Marketplace

Do your email campaigns sizzle or fizzle?

The distinction could reside in your subject line. Emails with the word “alert” in their subject lines have a 38.1 percent higher-than-average open rate and 61.8 percent higher click rate, according to marketing firm Adestra.  The keywords “free delivery” and “bulletin” also performed very well in the email campaigns analyzed in The 2013 Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report, which was based on a review of more than 2 billion global emails.

Researchers conveniently broke out keyword performance by B2B, B2C and commerce audiences.  Use this guide as a checklist for your email-marketing efforts.

B2B Emails

  • The words “alert” and “breaking” in the email subject lines of B2B emails performed well.
  • B2B customers seem desensitized to words such as “reports,” “forecasts” and “intelligence.”

B2C Emails

  • Review,” “update,” and “special” all did well in the subject lines of B2C emails, as did “video.”
  • The use of question marks in B2C subject lines had a negative effect.

Retail and Commerce Email

  • “Free delivery” performed very well in retail and commerce email subject lines.
  • Consumers love a “sale” and specific offers such as percent off.
  • Generic offers, such as “save” and calls to action, such as “buy,” had a negative effect.
  • “Cheap” and “free” also resulted in lower-than-average performance.