B2B Email Marketers to Focus on Subject Line Word Choice

In both their professional and personal roles, consumers are bombarded with email messages these days. Research shops have noted the importance of releasing emails on the right days of the week and right times of the day to optimize open rates. Another new report reveals that B2B marketers will be turning to the dictionaries to find the best subject line words to entice readers to open and review their messages.

In B2B email, the magic is not found in using a mid-length subject line. Adestra research shows that enterprises succeed best when they use short or long subject lines. For shorter subject lines, such as 30 characters or less, a marketer can experience an 11% relative click/open rate. This strategy succeeds for a transitional  or action-related message.  When a B2B marketer is trying to communicate benefits to a target, a subject length of 90 characters or more will generate relative click/open rates of over 20%.

In addition to subject length, Adestra confirms what other research shops have pointed out in their studies of email.  Promotional words don’t work as well in the B2B context when it comes to prompting targets to click on an email. In the B2C sector, consumers may be more likely to click on emails with a subject line that contains words like 'discount' or 'free'. In the B2B sector, the promotional word 'sale' prompts the best open rates.

B2B marketers also use email to release unique content to their target audiences. Those who include the right words in their subject line will win higher open rates. The Adestra study suggests that prospects and clients are more likely to click on messages that include the words 'research, issue, interview and video'. Lower open rates are associated with 'forecast, report, and whitepaper' – all of which imply that a lengthy read may be ahead. In addition, B2B email recipients are less likely to click on a release that includes the word 'news' in the title. They may be assuming that they’ll be looking at a rehash of a story they’ve already heard about. To make the content more intriguing, researchers encourage marketers to use the words 'breaking or alert' in the subject line.

With the email environment growing more competitive, it will pay off to spend a few extra minutes crafting a succinct and direct subject line.

[Source: Email Subject Line Report. Adestra​.com. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2012]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.