Finding Subject Line Swagger: Welcome Emails

Finding Subject Line Swagger: Welcome Emails
Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on how to write an engaging email subject line in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

Sometimes it feels as though omnichannel marketing is more of a science than an art. With each split test, heat map, and cookie, marketing has become riddled with technical jargon and best practices. However, when every company imaginable is pushing out those “Top Trends for <Next Year>” reports in the winter, there’s a much foggier choice to be made: Should you follow the trends or purposefully not?

To date, there hasn’t really been a right answer to this question. However, if your goal is to make an email that is interesting to a reader, we may have just found a telling correlation.

Subject lines— the suit and tie of your email’s first date with a potential customer — can be notoriously lame. But does it really matter? We think so.

After tracking over 800 welcome emails throughout 2014 and flagging interesting emails as we went, we’ve found a positive link between the uniqueness of subject lines and reader interest. (And if someone can truly dub an email interesting after flipping through several thousands of them, you know it must be good.)

First, let’s look at the top words used in welcome series’ subject lines, as seen in the chart. Not the most inspiring list, yet together those ten words made up almost half of all words used in these 800+ surveyed emails.

When ten words make up almost half of the vocabulary, it’s not shocking that only 25.84% of all words surveyed were unique. Interested in how this would stack up, we investigated our well-stocked pile of over 125 interesting emails spanning from 2013 to 2015.
Not surprisingly, we see a huge jump between welcome emails and the average for emails dubbed interesting by Listrak employees. Coincidence? We think not. It seems, for subject lines anyway, sticking with the trends and typical phrasing could lower your chances of interesting a reader.

Moral of the story? While a subject line alone is likely not the sole justification for an email’s level of intrigue, there seems to be correlation enough to take a second look before sending another soulless “Thanks for signing up!” or “Welcome to your new account!” Make the most of your subject lines, and see how your engagement levels change of time.

Have you experimented with your subject lines recently? What did you find?

Human Emails: Some Great Examples

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on how retailers can humanize their brands in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

In a previous post, I spoke about the important of humanizing your brand through showcase your company culture and engaging with the external world. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a few great examples of this approach in practice. First, an athletic accessories company, Jaybird. In an effort to associate their goods with sports, they pair themselves with “Ambassadors” who promote and use the brand. Details aside, this week they added a new ambassador and decided to highlight that in their emails. From the subject to the images, the ambassador herself receives the priority. You’ll notice that background on this professional climber is then carefully mixed in with product information and images.
Next, a look at Lovesac reminds us that marketers like pop culture, too. The “Dad Bod”—a man who is not overweight yet carries too large of a belly to have visible abs –was a term that got a lot of attention late this spring. Coined by a student reporter at Clemson University, “Dad Bod” references rapidly polluted the nation as a comical and counterintuitive new ideal for male appearance. In Lovesac’s email, they show their social relevance by incorporating a reference to this in relation to their ultra-fluffy furniture. Their subject line read, “What do Pillowsacs and Fathers have in common?” By tying this into the upcoming Father’s Day and including an array of products at the bottom of the email, Lovesac really did a fantastic job.


Finally, here is a more political statement in solemn contrast to Rue La La’s usual colorful and lighthearted imagery. In this, Rue comments on the recent new stories about a massacre recently occurring in Charleston. Not stopping with drawing attention to Rue’s views, the message goes on to promote a new product for which nonprofits will receive all earnings. Providing information about the YWCA and The Martin Luther King, Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change at the bottom almost overshadows the small “Shop Rue La La” link lurking in the bottom navigation email. While strong social statements that ask readers to, “Join us as we pause in solidarity with the victims of racial prejudice,” could seem out of place in email marketing, Rue took a firm position and, for many readers, may have earned a new level of respect. Rue showed an impressive step towards corporate responsibility by contributing publicity and funds to several worthy non-profits.

 What do you think? Is email marketing engaging with current events a best practice or a rookie mistake?

The Golden Rule: Content-Rich Emails

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on what retailers should be doing to create emails that are rich in content to engage shoppers in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

Before even reaching double digits, we’re all taught about this enigmatic Golden Rule...the belief that “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

When we send marketing emails, we’re doing a lot of asking (or, depending on the quarter, begging) for engagement. We want dollars, birthdays, likes, friend’s dollars, friend’s birthdays, friend’s likes… In form alone, it’s a very one-sided conversation.

To build a level of interest, respect, or appreciation from your email subscribers, a little more giving could go a long way. While coupons and discounts are nice, sometimes some solid content can go even further.

For starters, here’s an example from Shoes of Prey, where the background images cycles through a woman trying on each pair of shoes until she finds her perfect heel. Besides the cute graphics, the brand provides an incentive for a click, gathers more data about the recipient’s preferences, and is likely to hide some more subtle product placement within the contents of the quiz.

Next we’ll tie in a case from Pegasus Lighting, representing a whole different industry. While far from impressive in terms of design, Pegasus seems to keep its handyman audience in mind when designing a diagram-filled message about perfect lighting for garages, and follows it up by suggesting specific products for each type.

Finally, here’s an example for the foodies out there. In their emails, Sur La Table really capitalizes on the content-rich world of food. By opening with a beautiful imagine and recipe overview, it begs for engagement to unlock the remaining information. Cleverly, the information featured with no click barrier falls to the bottom under the header “Get these to make the recipe”. Here, we see a wide array of product that connect with the given recipe. Overall, a very helpful email that shows a perfect balance of product and content.


What do you think? Let me know if you have any other great examples!