We make a regular practice of testing subject lines in e-mails, looking at things like urgency (Last Chance!), feature/benefit statements, and price. Recently, however, I learned about how long subject lines have a tendency to pull higher open and click through rates. So, I thought, why not give it a try. Funny thing is, it did have a positive effect on open rates. The longer subject lines had higher open rates, slight but noticeable. Why is that? Maybe because the gist of the e-mail was in the subject line.
But, before going off and putting the entire contents of your e-mail in the subject line, there are a few things I learned as I researched this. The key areas to keep in mind when creating subject lines are brand, time, category, and benefit. With that said, there are several subject lines you could easily create, just by switching the order:
brand>time>category>benefit category>benefit>time>brand benefit>brand>time>category time>brand>benefit>category brand>benefit>category>time time>brand>category>benefit . . . and so on.
Our highest open rates are when we use time first, creating a sense of urgency (4-days only, Last 3 days to save). During this test, the highest open rate was the combination of time, brand, benefit, category: "4-days only! Upgrade to ACT! 2010, save $XX PLUS receive additional X% discount." Wow, that's a mouthful.