Bad Subject Lines Are Killing Your Marketing Emails

By: Jeff Nolan | June 12, 2018 | Smart Messaging

One of the great things about modern marketing technologies is that they are built on top of a technology stack that tracks everything. This gives professionals the ability to measure return, and also discover with a degree of accuracy what is and isn’t working.

Email marketing is a proven strategy, however with yields in the teens or at best, low twenty percent range, marketers need to blast out huge volumes of email to get the response levels they require for meeting their objectives.

Here’s the rub, the critical link between your campaign and an email open is the thing that gets the least amount of attention as the campaign is created – the email subject line.

Research based on campaign email open and click rates has revealed that most emails are ignored. What we’re starting to learn, when you go beyond the headline, is how severe this problem is. Most people decide to delete your hard crafted email in just 2 seconds. A more troubling statistic is that 61% of recipients won’t even open your email because it isn’t interesting to them.

Let us take a second to consider the implication of the two data points above. The 2 seconds it takes for someone to delete your email is predicated on them actually opening it, but 6 out of 10 people won’t open your email based solely on interest level. Then you have to get through a gauntlet of other reasons why they won’t open it, which helps explain why email open rates are perpetually in the teens to low twenty percent rates.

We live in a 140 character mindspace where people make snap decisions about engaging in marketing channels. Marketers continue to improve targeting and promotional mix, thanks in no small part to the arsenal of technology available to them. Regardless, messaging content remains a challenging task that marketing teams struggle with.


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Author: Jeff Nolan

Jeff Nolan is a proven Bay Area based marketing executive with a track record of transforming marketing teams and strategy in enterprise software growth companies. Jeff leads the marketing team at Kahuna, which includes the four corners of successful marketing teams: content, product marketing, demand, and brand.

With extensive experience in security technology and CRM companies, and a founding partner at SAP Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of SAP AG, Jeff is well-equipped to manage the complex tactical and strategic marketing challenges facing companies today.

Fun fact:

Bay Area native, Jeff lives with his family on the mid-Peninsula where he has transformed his home into an urban farm featuring gardens, orchards, chickens, and a thriving beekeeping operation.

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