- The most successful email subject lines for U.S. and U.K. recipients evoked anxiety, according to research from Persado made available to Marketing Dive. For U.S. audiences, achievement was the second most successful email subject line emotion, while guilt worked for U.K. audiences. European email recipients were more positive overall with gratification (specifically related to value and financial gain) topping the list followed by gratitude. The key takeaway from the study was marketing messaging driven by anxiety was 6.5% more successful in 2017 compared to 2016 while achievement-based messaging fell by 8%.
- The study included 3,527 email subject lines sent by 142 brands to an average of 1.54 million people between June and November this year. Persado's customers include companies such as Gap, Verizon, Microsoft and American Express.
- The findings support some broader stereotypes associated with consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, said Assaf Baciu, co-founder and SVP product & engineering, Persado, in a statement. However, marketers should learn what resonates best with their audience down to the individual level rather than rely on broad trends that apply on a national level, he said.
The big picture finding from the research is interesting in that it provides marketers with an overall mood in the three regions as well as offers a starting point in how to best message those audiences. Whether or not local events influence which subject lines work best was not studied but is something worth considering when crafting email marketing strategies. For example, has Brexit made British consumers more receptive to anxiety? Or has the Trump presidency made Americans want to feel a sense of achievement?
Persado offers advice for how to evoke the emotions that resonate most in each region. For anxiety, phrases such as "don't forget," "important update" can get a response. For guilt, try "don't miss out;" for achievement "you've earned it" is one possibility; for gratification lines such as "we are treating" can be effective, and for gratitude try "we appreciate your loyalty."
However, Baciu is correct in saying that a study on millions of email sends can't inform marketers how their own audience will react to different emotional tones in the messaging. Given the ease of testing built into most email automation software packages, marketers should constantly test subject lines and other email elements to find out what resonates with their specific email subscriber lists.