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Subject Line Vs. Origin

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday March 30, 2012 )

Which is the more compelling reason to open an email – the subject line or the company that sent it?

In response to the question: “What makes you decide to open an email from a business or nonprofit?”..

.. 64% of those surveyed in December 2011’s Chadwick Martin Bailey Consumer Pulse said the organization that sent it. 47% said the subject line.

So a strong relationship with your subscribers coupled with a strong subject line makes for high open rates. I guess there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering in that revelation.

But even with a killer subject line and a subscriber base familiar with your company, you can certainly wear out your welcome. One of the top reasons for deciding not to open emails from businesses or non-profits was if the organization is sending too much email.

Not reading the emails is one thing, but what about why people go as far as unsubscribing? The top reason there – again, too much email (69%).

How much is too much? Well, that’s the $64,000 question; the answer to which I feverishly searched the survey report for, but alas, to no avail.

I guess it depends on *what* you are sending. For example, I imagine a pure sales pitch sent daily could make even the most loyal subscriber go hunting for the unsubscribe link. Even in that scenario it would depend – if what you’re selling is something that your subscribers might buy daily – like lunch; it might not be such a big deal and possibly very smart. Your guiding indicators will be opens, clicks .. and unsubscribes.

Other top reasons for unsubscribing:

The content is no longer relevant – 56%
The content wasn’t what I expected – 51%
No longer a customer or supporter – 48%
A bad experience with the organization – 42%
General email overload – 34%
Person heard negative comments about the organization – 10%

The last point is a little unsettling as it doesn’t involve something the organisation has done to the subscriber, but something a subscriber heard elsewhere; which may or may not be true.

Reputation is such a fragile thing, particularly nowadays with every moron with an axe to grind having a huge digital playground in which to throw their tantrum.

Download the full ’10 Facts About Why and How Consumers “Like” and Subscribe’ here.


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