Top 10 Subject Line Words That Get Opens

by Dana_W 37 replies
Top 10 Subject Line Words That Get Opens | WebProNews

Interesting. Does this jibe with y'all's experience? Any other email subject line words that you find are very successful?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #line #opens #subject #top #words
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  • Profile picture of the author indexphp
    Interesting, but I think the biggest thing about getting opens is the relationship you have with your subscribers. "Who" it's sent from matters alot more than a particular subject line. Sure, headlines have their place but you can't take away the relationship component.
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    • Profile picture of the author hbixler03
      Originally Posted by indexphp View Post

      Interesting, but I think the biggest thing about getting opens is the relationship you have with your subscribers. "Who" it's sent from matters alot more than a particular subject line. Sure, headlines have their place but you can't take away the relationship component.
      Totally agree. I find when I address my subscribers by their name they are more likely to open up the email I sent them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Liquification
    Great list Dana. Wish i saw this when i started building a list. Would have saved me a lot of time. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author Sfrew
    I would have to agree with indexphp. The "who" factor is the first thing most busy people scan for in my experience -- and if I mess up on making that clear in my from address and in they way they are used to seeing it, it usually doesn't get opened, no matter how compelling my subject is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anna Johnson
    Thanks for the heads up Dana. The problem with a list like this is that it's derived from all kinds of emails used by all kinds of companies in all kinds of markets. Some would be B2B or B2C, some would be in the travel market, some would be in the computer software market... you get the picture. And as mentioned above, the 'who' is the most important factor in getting your emails opened. Even so, it's an interesting list and I note that the old 'stand-bys' such as 'free' and 'news' are in there.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by Anna Johnson View Post

      Thanks for the heads up Dana. The problem with a list like this is that it's derived from all kinds of emails used by all kinds of companies in all kinds of markets. Some would be B2B or B2C, some would be in the travel market, some would be in the computer software market... you get the picture. And as mentioned above, the 'who' is the most important factor in getting your emails opened. Even so, it's an interesting list and I note that the old 'stand-bys' such as 'free' and 'news' are in there.
      I agree, it's not universally applicable. I would love to see studies done in the internet marketing field, the weight loss field, some other more specific fields.

      Although in the IM field - I suspect that if you send an email and your name is "Frank Kern", THAT gets the highest open rates!
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    This jibes with my experience. People don't like to miss-out
    on current events.

    I'm surprised "funny" didn't make the top ten - for me
    sending the occasional comic relief shows very high
    open and clickthrough rates.

    I never do it in a duplicitous way. One marketer sent
    out an email saying "strangest marketing video ever..."
    or something like that in the subj. line. It was Frank
    Kern playing his guitar which was slightly unusual but
    not provocative or weird at all.

    Anyway - people like to get-in on the latest stuff. Not
    buy your offer du-jour, but they like to know what's
    happening in their world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Don-James
    You know, Dana, that is pretty interesting. I'm going to go back to my email list and see what I've opened and what I haven't (being the pack-rat that I am, I keep all emails and don't open every one). It's probably subconscious on my level but may shed some light on even how I perceive messages.

    One thing to think of is that my Inbox doesn't show the entire Subject line of any email from a campaign - which, I think, has a direct effect. Marketers should think about what words are in the first 12 words which is all that I see in Windows Mail.

    Interesting....
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  • Profile picture of the author TeddyP
    I checked out the list and am a bit surprised. I thought things like free and sale would trigger thoughts of spam...it does for me.

    I am too cynical for my own good though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      Hi Dana

      I have to go with the consensus and agree that it's nearly always the sender's name that determines whether I open an email. In fact, there are some entries on the list you reference that would actually put me off; such as "free", "sale" and "holiday".

      Having said that, being a language-lover, I think I'd find it impossible not to open emails containing any of the following words in their subject lines:

      Mellifluous, Serendipity, Bountiful, Omniscience, Libation, Kate Beckinsale.





      Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    According to MailerMailer's latest studies

    Subject Lines – Yet again, emails with subject lines shorter than 35 characters were opened more than emails with subject lines longer than 35 characters.

    Personalization – Personalization can be good. Data shows when only the message is personalized, there are more opens and clicks. However, emails with only the subject line personalized garnered the least amount of opens and clicks.

    And to answer your question Dana, I have tested various words in the subject line and found these to be very powerful:

    (VIDEO)
    (Members Only)
    (FUN)

    Those are just a few...

    Mike Hill
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  • Profile picture of the author Trieu
    thanks for the post. Will bookmark it
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    • Profile picture of the author edhan
      Personally, I do believe that curiosity sort of headline will get better result nowadays.

      Example: bad news ...

      This had caused me to open up to check what is going on or has happened...

      It has got my attention and makes me curious to find out what the content is about. So I do believe if the subject line can draw some curiosity, it will be able to catch anyone's attention to give a look.
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  • Profile picture of the author sf_Imtiaz
    I do believe in the power of statistics and it sure tends to improve your chances at anything you imply it at but this list of words just doesn't sound right, i would agree with indexphp its more about who sent it while subject lines are important too but narrowing it down to a list of words doesn't seem very useful for an individual marketer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    I personally tend to open emails if I think there's something in the email that will benefit me. When I first started in IM, I'd open up all the "How a lazy one-legged half blind high school dropout earns $9652 every month doing only half an hour of work every day" emails. And I even bought a few of those products.

    These days I'm more likely to open up emails from people who regularly give away good information for free. Tiffany Dow comes to mind. Marlon Sanders. Bob Bly. etc.

    So I guess another factor in what makes people open emails in the IM world is how long they've been doing it .
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  • Profile picture of the author winebuddy
    so if I use this as a title...

    Newsletter - Free Party News this Week, Holiday Sale Update!

    I should get just about everyone to open it?

    or how about:

    My Free Party News Newsletter with a Holiday Sale Update
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  • Hi Dana,

    The words are all good, but please add winner, shocking, guaranteed and trial offer
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  • Profile picture of the author SullyUI
    Party...now there's a word that should be used more often in headlines!
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  • Profile picture of the author ppcpimp
    Been mailing for 7 years. Free will get you blocked rather quickly these days. Esp if it is in the subject line.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adrian Jock
      Originally Posted by ppcpimp View Post

      Been mailing for 7 years. Free will get you blocked rather quickly these days. Esp if it is in the subject line.
      That is just a myth. Only some combinations of words that contains the word free are penalized by spam filters (and certain spam looking spellings like F.R.E.E.)

      You don't have to believe me (even if I've been mailing for more than 7 years ) ... but MailerMailer is a reputable email marketing company not an individual with a very limited experience (for example, for the study above they analyzed over 300 million messages )
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Adrian,
        That is just a myth. Only some combinations of words that contains the word free are penalized by spam filters (and certain spam looking spellings like F.R.E.E.)
        Absolutely. The word 'free' is not especially heavy in spam weightings any more, and hasn't been for years. If you use the phrase 'free membership,' however, you're going to get tagged for a few points right there. That's very common in porn spam, and not very common in normal emails.

        Breaking the word up as you have, or with constructions like Fr*ee, will get you hit for much more than just spelling it normally.

        What 'free' in the subject line will do, however, is increase the number of people hitting the 'This is Spam' button. In that way, ppcpimp tends to be right.


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        • Profile picture of the author Adrian Jock
          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

          What 'free' in the subject line will do, however, is increase the number of people hitting the 'This is Spam' button. In that way, ppcpimp tends to be right.
          Paul, if you don't mind ... that is just an assumption ... On the other hand, MailerMailer report and conclusions are based on real facts, on analisys of millions of emails sent to people who opted in for newsletters. With all my respect, I don't think you have a similar amount of data for your own analyze so that to be able to conclude that they are wrong and ppcpimp "tends to be right"

          Usually when you opt in to receive a newsletter, if you're a responsible person, you don't hit "This is Spam" button, no matter whether the subject line contains the word free or not.

          Indeed there are a lot of newbies (or very old people, and many other types of person, etc.) out there ... Some of them don't hit that button only for "free" in subject line, but sometimes for everything. You cannot take them into consideration and say that "free" is a word that make people hit that button. Whether it's free in subject line or any other word, if they feel that are not interested in that topic they may hit "This is Spam" button. That's a fact.

          And finally, I'm sure you know very well that a few idiots (or inexperienced people, or ..., etc.) that hit "This is Spam" button when they receive something they requested ... simply don't matter. The deliverability of your emails is decreased if the ESP receive more such "complaints" (a certain percentage out of the emails you sent, a percentage that depends on each ESP/ISP policy).

          The things are not that easy indeed, but if I have to choose who to listen to between ppcpimp and MailerMailer, I still choose MM. (no offence to ppcpimp ) Of course that I would prefer to make my own tests but I cannot compete with a study made by a big email marketing company

          No intention to argue with you on this topic, this is just my opinion
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by ppcpimp View Post

      Been mailing for 7 years. Free will get you blocked rather quickly these days. Esp if it is in the subject line.
      Which explains why a lot of IM people these days spell it "phree" or "fr@@" or other weird variations.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedMatrix
    Using Fwd: or Re: are great!
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  • Profile picture of the author hangtimenino
    I can understand the word 'free' gets opened, everyone is always interested with freebies. But it still matters to me, where its coming from.
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiliace.com
    Great Post Dana.

    It looks like short, sweet, on topic and personalized is the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    I don't think you can make any assumptions about how effective those terms will be for you - you don't have any information about the context in which they were used.

    For example, the word holiday - could've just been messages about the authors holiday - or contests to win a holiday - without the context the words have no weight to deduce open rates from.

    Also, like others have said - the relationship with the list has way more impact. I only open emails from people I know the name of.

    Then there's the fact that as someone in this field myself, if I see anyone using trigger words in a lame or ignorant way I just delete the email (and often unsubscribe too), so if I see a headline that starts "bad news", "open fast", "you must read this" or any such rubbish that is obviously trying to play me, I delete it and don't read.

    Then there's the stuff I always keep because it's someone I like/trust/respect (like Martin Avis) which I'll happily dig out of any anti-spam filters to ensure I receive it.

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    I don't use so much of those lines but i try to develop a strong relationship with my subscribers. As my lists are quite recent i am starting to "feel" some of the lessons do work in diet niche and others just work in IM niche and so long.

    Since I have a radio dj background, I understand very well the difference between group ages and markets, but it's very interesting when aplying this to web niche marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
    I think it's fair to say that without knowing more data about the collection of that top ten list, they are fairly meaningless to us.

    One of my own personal bests in the gaming niche is a subject line with the word ThankYou included... but in the weight loss/dieting/fitness niches... it is useless (for me)..

    On top of that, you need to factor in your personal,or non-personal relationship with your lists and a whole host of other variables.. I'm the kind of guy who only likes one set of stats, and those are the ones produced by my own team call me cynical, but I only trust my own numbers.

    It's interesting to see these kind of lists, but almost always, it is much better to do your own in-house testing to find what will (or won't) work for you.

    Peace

    Jay
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Usually when you opt in to receive a newsletter, if you're a responsible person, you don't hit "This is Spam" button, no matter whether the subject line contains the word free or not.
      [sigh]

      Dude, I'm not going just on my own data here. I get information from a lot of sources that do the kinds of analysis you're talking about. They don't all publish that data, but it's available if you know where to look and who to ask.

      That aside, I can say quite confidently, from my own experience, that people who subscribe to lists and confirm those subscriptions (so-called 'double opt-ins') do indeed hit the 'This is Spam' button. And some of them are what most of us would consider otherwise responsible people.

      If you don't believe that, watch the discussions in this forum on the topic, and see some of the people you'd normally think are sane and experienced who do it.

      In this market, the things they hit it for are exactly the opposite of what you would expect. And yes, it is reliably subject dependent.
      And finally, I'm sure you know very well that a few idiots (or inexperienced people, or ..., etc.) that hit "This is Spam" button when they receive something they requested ... simply don't matter.
      How are you "sure" of what I know? How can you state such a thing so confidently and be so wrong?

      Define "few." If it's any number larger than 1 in 1000, you're wrong. It varies with the provider, but that's where deliverability begins to be impacted.

      And, before you start on about MM and I disagreeing, I haven't seen the data for that. It's certainly not in the article referenced. They are talking about open rates, and I am talking about spam complaints. It may interest you to know that it's quite common for both to increase or decrease based on the same factors.

      If you use a subject line that's more effective in getting attention, you're going to get more action. It does not necessarily (or even logically) follow that the action will be consistent across the group of respondents. For instance, the articles I send out that have strong opinions in them always draw more positive comments, more forwards, more unsubscribes, and more spam complaints.


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      • Profile picture of the author Adrian Jock
        Paul, I was expecting such an answer from you and that's why I said that I don't intend to argue with you on this topic.

        I would like to add only a few considerations, and then I'll stop. There is no problem if two persons cannot agree on a certain topic, and on the other hand ... continuing the debate may not add any value for the others.

        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        And, before you start on about MM and I disagreeing, I haven't seen the data for that. It's certainly not in the article referenced.
        Sorry that you "haven't seen the data for that" but this doesn't seem to be my fault. Or is it?

        In your own wording,

        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Dude, I'm not going just on my own data here. I get information from a lot of sources that do the kinds of analysis you're talking about. They don't all publish that data, but it's available if you know where to look and who to ask.
        That's why ("I get information from a lot of sources that do the kinds of analysis you're talking about") I assumed that "you know very well", but you're right ... it was a wrong assumption. Sorry Indeed I'm not sure of what you know and I cannot be sure of what a certain person knows. My bad wording, my mistake.

        Behind that article, there are obviously (for me ) ... more info. I did NOT refer to that article. If you read once again my previous post you'll notice the word "report" (not "article")

        In the report I'm referring to (and others), that "it's available if you know where to look" , you'll find more info such as MailerMailer's emails deliverability (according to SenderScore) for the emails sent during the period of time analyzed by that report, when they got that conclusion (Subject Line Trends - Most Popular Words) and you'll also find other interesting conclusions such as "Deliverability – For the second year now, deliverability continues to increase and bounces continue to decrease. This means more messages are reaching recipients’ inbox."

        It worths to be added that not all spam "complaints" are equal and if you protect yourself by following some strict "good reputation practices", then you won't have problems created by the word free in your subject line, even if there are people who will push "This is Spam button" (they will do it anyway, no matter what your subject line contains). That's why I said that "a few idiots (or inexperienced people, or ..., etc.) that hit "This is Spam" button when they receive something they requested ... simply don't matter."

        Adrian

        P.S. Finally, as I already mentioned, there is no need for you and me to agree. That's why I'll stop here this debate. If you reply to this post (no assumption this time ), I'll respectfully read your opinion, but I won't continue back and forth the debate. Sorry.
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    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Sorry that you "haven't seen the data for that" but this doesn't seem to be my fault.
      I would be happy to see any data from MM - or anyone else - that suggests that people who subscribe don't hit the TiS button in numbers that matter. I have never seen any study from any reputable entity that suggested this in a serious way.

      Cite, please?

      There is exactly zero contradiction between the idea that deliverability is increasing overall for ESPs and the contention that subscribers do, in fact report requested email as spam. If they do so in numbers greater than 1 in 1000, that matters.

      The deliverability field is fairly complex, and made more so when one looks at smaller senders. Many of those individuals and companies don't have access to things like whitelists and feedback loops. (As in, aren't allowed in them, even if they know they exist.)

      For those senders, MM's data is substantially less relevant or meaningful.

      I run into this same error in discussions with many of the spamfighters I know, on a regular basis. They think only in terms of ESPs, and forget how many small mailers exist, and how different their content can be from the "Offer a day" types.

      They're the same people who say things like, "If someone doesn't confirm a subscription, they won't buy anything either." Demonstrably false, but the argument is still made.

      I am becoming convinced that the understanding of context is a rapidly declining function in current society.


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  • Profile picture of the author ppcpimp
    This top 10 list are not the best just the most used. If you look at the word cloud on the blog it also has Christmas on it. They pulled words that the MOST POPULAR not the ones that get the most opens.
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  • Profile picture of the author RobertAxelsen
    Thx for sharing, Dana! I will do some testing with these "powerwords"
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Originally Posted by RobertAxelsen View Post

      Thx for sharing, Dana! I will do some testing with these "powerwords"
      Let me know how that works out!

      And just to clarify - this isn't a blog post that I wrote - just one I came across that I thought was interesting and potentially useful.
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