A 54% Open Rate Using Just an Unusual Subject Line » Delivra
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A 54% Open Rate Using Just an Unusual Subject Line

Testing subject lines can make a tremendous difference in the overall success of your email marketing campaigns.  Delivra’s email marketing software offers the ability to test 3 subject lines at once in a matters of minutes.

Some general subject line tips:

  • If you can personalize an email with someone’s location, it makes the email more likely to be opened.
  • Keep the subject line to 50 characters or less but more importantly, use a distinct preheader for all of your emails. We do this in all of our client and prospect emails.
  • Make sure your From Line uses a person or company that the recipient expects to receive email from – many times this will be a company’s name like Delivra or Cody from Delivra, not simply Cody.

Use engaging text – love them or hate them, something must be said for how effective the Buzzfeed/Upworthy type videos at increasing clickthrough, engagement and open rates.  I would recommend testing subject lines in a similar fashion to how you see Upworthy videos or Buzzfeed articles written.

To get started, you might start the headline with -

  • “This is the…”
  • “You won’t believe…”
  • “When you see…”
  • “What happens when…”

Also, try to think outside the box.  For example, our average open rate at Delivra hovers around 20-25%.

We had a 54% open rate recently when I used the following unusual subject line for a webinar invite.

‘Webinar Reminder #17A47D1′

It had a preheader that read –

“Those alphanumerics don’t mean anything, but your attendance does.”

In an inbox full of sameness, simply being unique can make all the difference.

Another example, we had a 38% open rate when we sent a post webinar survey.  The subject lines was -

“We know what you’re thinking…”

It had a preheader that read –

“Actually we don’t. Please fill out our content webinar survey.”

These types of subject lines may or may not work at your company.  The main thing is – test, test, test and test some more.  Unless you do, you will never know how large of difference a unique subject line and preheader can make in your email marketing efforts.


Written by

Cody Sharp graduated from Indiana University with a history degree...which is now used only when he explains the entire history of marketing to anyone unlucky enough to get stopped at the water cooler. Currently, he is Delivra's Marketing Manager and has been working within the marketing industry for the last 5 years. He is married to Christine and they have two amazing kids - Sullivan and Adelaide.

  • Lauren King

    Great blog! It’s really amazing the difference a subject line can make.. especially when it’s witty like these examples :)

    • http://www.delivra.com/ Cody Sharp

      Lauren, you are absolutely right (well, I don’t know if they are witty or just silly), but it does seem like in either case, it made a difference. And while open rates aren’t the end all be all of an email – you can’t get people to convert on the content within unless someone opens it first.