The Most (and Least) Effective Email Subject Keywords

Email Click ThroughEmail remains a staple of bike shop marketing but most dealers have seen a drop off in performance over the last five years, likely due to cluttered inboxes and on-the-go mobile reading of emails. One of the best ways to increase email performance is through effective subject lines.

According to a recent study by British marketing firm Adestr, emails with the word "alert" in their subject lines have a 38.1% higher than average open rate and 61.8% higher click rate. The keywords "free delivery" (+50.7% higher open rate, +135.4% click rate) and "bulletin" (+15.8%, +12.7%) also performed very well in the email campaigns analyzed.

On the other hand, "report" (-23.7% average lower open rate, -54.8% click rate), "learn" (-35.5%, -60.8%), and "book" (-4.6%, -25.4%) had a negative effect. "Newsletter" showed a marginal effect on open rates (+0.7%), but had an adverse effect on click rates (-18.7%.)

The charts below show additional email subject line keyword performance broken out by B2C and commerce. For complete results and analysis check out the full study, The 2013 Adestra Subject Line Analysis Report, which was based on a review of over 2 billion global emails.

B2C Emails

  • "Review," "update," and "special" all did well in the subject lines of B2C emails, as did "video."
  • The use of question marks in B2C subject lines had a negative effect.


Retail and Commerce Email

  • "Free delivery" (+35.9% higher than average open rate, +81.3% higher click rate) performed very well in retail and commerce email subject lines.
  • Consumers love a "sale" (+10.7%, +26.7%) and specific offers such as percent off, (+6.1%, +17.7%).
  • Generic offers such as "save" (-4.4%, -27.4%) and calls to action such as "buy" (-19.3%, -59.1%) had a negative effect.
  • "Cheap" (-67.2%, -71.6%) and "free" (-23.7%, -34.8%) also resulted in lower than average performance.


Source: MarketingProfs

About The Author

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan is a proven marketing professional who entered the cycling industry in 1994.