Jun 9, 2015

Are Trendy Subject Lines Right for Your Business?

It’s that time of year again, when retailers remind you to buy gifts for “dads and grads.” Ah, seems like just yesterday we were “falling into great savings.”

As usual this spring, I started seeing "dads and grads" popping up in my inbox. I’m interested in random copywriting trends, and Father’s Day is right around the corner, so I asked our data science team to run a quick scan of subject lines to see how popular the phrase really is. Here’s what they found:

* Last year, 2,211 MailChimp campaigns had “dads and grads” in the subject line.

* This year, our users have already sent 2,005 “dads and grads” emails.

How’d the campaigns do? “Dads and grads” emails had an average open rate of 18% and click rate of 1.5%. Those numbers aren’t bad, but as you can see from our email marketing benchmarks, they could be better. That said, this particular phrase isn’t the point—the takeaway is that some people respond to salesy copy in a subject line, but others would rather know exactly what’s inside the email. It all depends on your customers and the kind of content you send.

Increasing your open and click rates could be as simple as rethinking your subject lines. MailChimp makes it easy to find out what kind of subject lines your subscribers respond to with a quick A/B test. And if you do change the way you approach subject lines, keep an eye on your reports—particularly subscriber engagement over time—to see how people are responding.

If you’re thinking of sending a campaign with a trendy subject line like “Gifts for Dads and Grads” (or one that references "sizzling" summertime deals, which I imagine is coming to my inbox soon), I won’t stop you. But I will encourage you to test it against one that’s a little more straightforward. Try something like: “Our annual apparel sale starts now.” Not every customer enjoys a marketing slogan.

Plus, if the straightforward subject line wins, you can always get creative with your headlines in the body of the email. Or you can try a happy medium: a descriptive subject line with personality. You can add a lot of personality with emojis too, now available in subject lines.

Looking for more subject line stats? Check out our comparison study and this helpful post about subject line data. Our subject line researcher can help, too. When you’re setting up your campaign, click "How do I write a good subject line," and tell us the words or phrases you’re considering. We’ll do a scan of all the subject lines we’ve sent and show you which ones we expect to perform best, using a five-star rating system. There’s more info about the researcher and some general subject line tips in this Knowledge Base article as well.