I’ve seen a few articles recently about how subject lines aren’t as influential on open rates as we all thought they were.
Like this one from Silverpop. Bill Nussey is saying that it’s the "From-Name" that matters. Basically, people need to recognize who the email is coming from before they’ll consider opening it. In fact, Silverpop was actually doing a study on subject lines and open rates, but they canceled the whole thing, because the results pointed to "from-name" as the most important factor.
I think there’s more to it.
When I’m at work, I get hundreds of emails a day from customers,
prospects, and the media. Their from-names mean nothing to me. I’ve
never heard of any of them. So it’s all about the subject line for me.
But I’ll admit, when I’m at home checking my personal email, I do tend
to look only at from-names. That’s because only a handful of friends
and family have my personal email address (and about 5 billion
spammers, but they don’t count).
So I look at from-names for friends and family, plus I look for brand
names from stores I’m subscribed to. Like GAP, Old Navy, Kodak Gallery,
etc. And those types of customers seem to be the types that Silverpop
caters to, so it makes sense (and it helps that those mega-stores can
afford email certification).
So my theory is that if you’re a mega-brand, yeah. From-name is probably all you need to worry about to get opens. People will recognize your brand, and trust the email. But if you’re a small business owner, you may have to focus more time on your subject line (here are some tips for writing effective subject lines).
But this is all theory. The only way to know for sure if to do some testing. And it just so happens we recently made A/B split testing your email campaigns extremely easy with the MailChimp Email Optimizer. With just the click of a button, you can test 2 different subject lines, or two different from-names. No rocket scientists or mega-marketing budgets required.