RBT Threadwatch 3 (Nov – Dec)


Most of this is old, but I got sidetracked and never posted. Still some good reads here.

That last article is definitely worth a read if you send email to customers for any reason. The biggest takeaway is that you are not nearly as smart as you think you are. In point of fact, people want straightforward, easily understandable subject lines that clearly identify your email. It makes sense: if you feel like you need to get tricky in your subject line just to get people to open your schlock, that indicates that your newsletter is probably crap. If you have a good one, you just need a subject like “[Your name] [month/season] newsletter.”


  1. Subject line has the biggest impact. If you’re only going to test one thing, this would be it.
  2. Fewer words = more clicks; More links = more clicks. The lower the ratio of words to links, the higher the CTR. Roughly speaking, CTR peaks at about one link per sentence and that holds true even for large numbers of links in the email.
  3. Transactional emails have much higher open rates than “marketing” or “sales” emails so confirmations, receipts, etc are your best chance to get someone to open.
  4. Straightforward subject lines that include the company name massively outperform “cutesy” subject lines. According to numbers from a large data set from MailChimp:

  • highest open rate examples (up to 87%): “[CompanyName] Sales & Marketing Newsletter,” “Eye on the [CompanyName] Update (Oct 31 – Nov 4)”
  • worst open rate (as low as 1%): “Last Minute Gift – We Have The Answer,” “Valentines – Shop Early & Save 10%”

Pretty much tracks with how I read my email.

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