Keyword Effectiveness in 10 Common Subject Line Types

Posted by Jen Ribble on

Marketers are a creative group, and it’s natural that they would want to write original, clever subject lines rather than following established formulas. However, when writing subject lines and copy, your job is to convince the reader to open your email and purchase your product, or perform some other specific action. And while there’s always room for creativity, email subject lines tend to fall into a limited number of predictable categories.

As part of our recent subject line research, we looked at some of the most common keywords used in 10 basic types of subject lines to see how they influenced performance.

The selected keywords aren’t intended to be comprehensive, but represent some of the most common keywords used in the emails we studied. Performance is reported in relation to other types of subject lines sent from the same brands.

Overall, “Urgency” subject lines performed the best, followed by “Benefit” and “Command” subject lines. Keywords commonly found in “Clickbait” headlines hope to take advantage of the curiosity factor—and while these may work on social networks and news sites, they are far less successful in email subject lines.

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Want to find out more about the unique influence of email subject lines, and how to create subject lines that convert? Check out The Art and Science of Effective Subject Lines.


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About Jen Ribble

With more than 15 years of marketing and PR experience, Jen Ribble is passionate about the art of storytelling and the science of creating high quality, data-driven content. In her current role as Director of Public Relations for Return Path, Jen is responsible for elevating the company’s reputation in the marketplace, crafting engaging thought leadership content, enhancing customer relationships, and driving inbound leads. In her spare time, Jen is an aspiring chef and food lover, a movie fan, and a travel junkie.

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