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{Firstname}, Check Out What Personalized Subject Lines Can Do For Your Open Rates

January 28, 2010

Whenever we get the chance we like to run statistically valid tests with our clients.  They’re hard to do – most of us in the business world are happy to run a small test, not necessarily bound by the large sample sizes and constraints of statistical validity.  We’re happy with a directional sniff of where the winds are blowing and then make decisions based on that (not statistically valid) information.

Before writing this post, I trolled through Google and, while there’s lots out there about the efficacy or inefficacy of personalized subject lines, I couldn’t find one post that referenced any actual statistics.  So I thought I’d share some success that our friends at Mackenzie Financial had recently.  It’s also interesting to note that this is a B2B test. 

The firm launched a new mutual fund product and we helped execute an email campaign to let financial advisors know about the product.  We used two different subject lines in English and two in French.  The Open Rate on the personalized email was 28.5%.  On the non-personalized it was 23.7%.  When we ran the response rates and sample sizes through a statistical analysis package we were really pleased with this test — statistically significant at the  99% confidence level. This means that 99 times out of 100, subject line personalization to this audience will result in emails being opened anywhere between 2.9% and 6.7% more than emails with no personalization in the subject line.

Here are a couple of other good links about subject lines in emails:

1)  Signs your email program is behind the curve. This comes from an email marketing site so some of the references here won’t necessarily apply in B2B/corporate marketing case but the post is a good reminder of the things we should be considering regularly (if applicable) to stay on the “best practices” line of our email marketing efforts.

2)  Improve Your Email Subject Lines.  This post comes from the good people at Exact Target — it’s a good checklist and almost a primer of things to keep in mind while you’re writing your email subject lines.

3)  And then there’s the retail email blog:  https://www.retailemailblog.com/.  This is more good old fashioned business geek voyeurism into an industry that I personally don’t spend much time in (save and except as a consumer).  It’s really interesting to see the different campaigns, the creative, the calls to action, how the campaigns performed, deployment strategies, etc., etc.  There’s probably some good cross-over to the relationship marketing space.  It’s definitely an interesting read.

Happy to hear back from people and get comments — especially if people have links to other results that are anchored in stats.