What email headlines really work?

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mailchimp blog posting
mailchimp first name
It helps to personalize, but the best way to do this is by using both first and last names, and avoid first name only in the legal sector

I enjoy MailChimp as an email service provider. Lots of useful tools, an easy-to-understand interface, and plenty of irreverent humour.

However this MailChimp blog posting touches on something rather important to anyone who wants to achieve email marketing success: The headline words that work, and those that don’t.

Here are some observations:

Personalization works (but) . . .

Using names of recipients in your email makes sense. But what is more interesting is that it seems using both the first and last name works best. More surprisingly, while using the first name only is the most common technique, that works best if you are communicating with government, but if you want someone to open a legal-related email, you will have a negative correlation (in other words fewer people are likely to open than the norm) with the first name.

“Free” can be useful, but can be a disaster. “Freebie” is much better.

Yes, use Free if you are providing a restaurant deal, but avoid the word like the plague if your topic is travel and transportation. But maybe try “freebie” instead.  It seems to work much better, everywhere.

If it’s urgent, say it in your email header. If it isn’t urgent, maybe it can be “breaking” or “important”

Urgency is effective in conveying the importance of opening the emails.

“Announcement” works much better than “announcements” but if you cancel something, expect few opens.

I suppose this makes sense. If something is cancelled, you can tell the news often from the heading, and in any case, it may be cancelled because no one is interested, anyways (however, “cancelled” works well in the restaurant sector. Go figure.)  But stick to one announcement at a time. The plural (s) costs in readership and openings.

If you want people to donate money, don’t tell them “donate” in the headline

They won’t open your email.

PLEASE USE ALL CAPS IN YOUR SUBJECT LINES

Don’t do this. maybe this, though.

Really, ALL CAPS GET BETTER RESULTS THAN normal stuff where you might use some Caps and not Others. Go figure.

There are loads of other gems in this blog posting which, I think, is one of the best email marketing power trips around.

Yes, I’ll receive a small account credit if you decide you want to use MailChimp from this link.

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