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How to Get a 58% Email Marketing Open Rate by Including Lists in Your Subject Lines

Last updated on November 17, 2022

Did you know creating lists (numbered or bullet pointed) is one of the top ways to get people to share and read your content?

Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about why kids love camp so much. You could title your post, “Kids Really Love Camp!”, and that might get you a few readers here or there.

But if you titled your post with a list, like “Top 5 Reasons Kids Love Camp,” you will ALWAYS garner more interest than the generic example above.

Here’s an email marketing tip. Try using lists in your email subject lines. I’ll bet your open rate will be MUCH higher for those emails than your others.

Most email marketing companies let you compare and test things like this, so that you can use the data to continually improve your email marketing in the future. But when you’re doing your testing, be sure to ONLY test one variable (such as the email subject line) or you won’t get accurate results.

Here’s what I mean in real life — here’s an example from an email I just sent out to my own customers where I tested the email subject line to get people to sign up for my summer camp.

First I selected 500 random families on my email list who’ve been to my camp before, but who have not signed up for camp this year. I wanted to get them to re-enroll for this upcoming 2014 summer season.

So what I did was, I divided my list of 500 families in two sets of 250. Then I wrote the email itself, which I made CERTAIN was the same for all 500 families. (The entire body, pictures, text, etc. of the email was identical for everyone AND I sent the email at the exact same time on the exact same day.)

But even though all 500 families got the same email content itself, each group of 250 got a different subject line so I could test which subject line worked better.

For the first group of 250 families, the subject line was this: “Sign up for Camp Today!”

For the second group, the subject line was this: “Top 5 Reasons You Need to Sign up for Camp Today”

Guess what? 

The first group had an open rate of 29% — not too shabby by any means.

But the second group — the one with the LIST (“Top 5 Reasons…” in the subject line) had a whopping 58% open rate! It was amazing, and it shows that using a list in the subject line did the trick. (The reason I know this is because it’s the only variable that was different between the two emails.)

Try it yourself. Ask your email marketing provider if they allow A/B testing. (I use Constant Contact). If your email marketing vendor does not allow this type of testing, switch to one who does. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results!

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