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Abbie's Column : Email Marketing

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Artificial Intelligence Spikes Email Opens

By Abbie Drew
May 18, 2016

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Yes, Artificial Intelligence has now come to email marketing
and the results so far are astounding.

A recent Salesforce case study discussed how an email marketer
applied machine-learning technology to optimize their company's
emails. They used, Persado, a machine-learning technology platform
to test and improve their email subject lines.

The more the marketer used the artifical intelligence to study
their emails' content elements, the smarter and better it became.
The results so far, working only on subject lines, has been an
average 24% increase in open rates and an average 46%
increase in click rates.


Email marketing can have tremendous results. Even if your
business can not use artifical intelligence, email is so
effective your business can still compete. How?

You can copy the success of others and test.

A Return Path study, The Art & Science of Effective Subject Lines,
investigated 9,313,885 emails to determine what works and what

Let's review their finding of the top 3 subject line performers
vs. the worst 3 subject lines types.

Top 3 Subject Line Types

1) "Urgency" subject lines out performed all others.

Letting people know they only have a certain amount of
time to act on your offer succeeds at getting your emails
opened at an above average rate.

Here are the top performing urgency key word phrases:

* "Still Time" increases opens by 15%
* "Limited Time" increases opens by 3%
* "Expiring" increase open by 1.6%
* "Last Chance" increases opens by 1%

2) "Command" subject lines also perform well.

When you tell people what to do, such as stating in your
subject line - "Open this email", you improve your open
rates over the averages as well.

Here are the top performing command key words:

* "Register" increase opens by 7%
* "Open" increase opens by 1.7%
* "Add" increase opens by 1%

3) "Benefit" subject lines improve open rates.

The traditional ad copy rule of writing benefits rather
than features holds true with subject lines. Avoid stating
that your product is the "Best" as this generic word
actually decreases open rates. However, if you focus on
using other ". . .est" benefit adjectives in your subject
you do increase your open rates.

Here are the top performing benefit key words:

* "Fastest" increase opens by 5%
* "Prettiest" increase opens by almost 3%
* "Easiest" increase opens by almost .5%

Worst 3 Subject Line Types

1) "Clickbait" subject lines negatively affect your opens.

You might think using your subject line to evoke curiosity
will get your messages opened. In reality "why" questions,
"secrets of" and "announcing" don't work to get your emails
opened. Avoid trying to provoke your readers to open the
email to learn more, as they'll just leave your email un-opened.

Here are the worst performing clickbait key words:

* "Secret of" decreased opens by almost 9%
* "Shocking" decreased opens by 1%
* "See" decreased opens by 2%
* "Announcing" decreased opens by 1.5%
* "Introducing" decreased opens by 1%
* "Why" decreased opens by 1%
* "Won't believe" decreased opens by almost .5%

2) "Discount" subject lines also hurt your open rates.

You would think letting your subscribers know you're running
a sale would improve the open rates on your emails. However,
fatigue from constant price reductions has lead to discount
subject lines under performing.

Here are the worst performing discount key words:

* "2 for 1" decreased opens by almost 7%
* "Clearance" decreased opens almost 4%
* "Half Off" decreased opens by 1%
* "% discount" decreased opens by 1%
* "$ discount" decreased opens by 1%

3) "Pronouns" in your subject lines fail.

The idea of personalizing your message by including
"You" or "I" in your subject does not increase your
open rate. The Return Path study as well as a SideKick
study both have found using "You" in your subject line
just doesn't work.

Here are the worst performing "Pronouns":

* "Mine" decreased opens almost 2%
* "It" decreased opens by almost .5%
* "You" decreased opens by almost 5% (according to SideKick)


Final Secret Sauce Recipe for Subject Lines

The best tactic to consistently write good subject lines
is to let your subscribers know what's inside the message.
Make your email subject descriptive and state clearly
what your reader will find when he/she opens the message.

Abbie Drew
DEMC Editor

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