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Which subject line increased open rates by over 100%?

Then, with a few editions of the new format under our belt as a benchmark, we decided to do some split testing with different subject lines.  So, without prejudice, we came up with four different types of subject line – the first posing a question (often thought to be the panacea of subject lines); the second offering an event; the third delivering a clear business benefit; and the fourth stating the name of the newsletter alone.

Then we pressed send.  Within an hour of sending, there was a clear leader.  And within three days, one of the options had achieved a staggering 130% greater open rate than the other three (which were all lounging around at the normal open rate).

So, which subject line made us spill our coffee?  The answer…?  No frills, no offers, just plain and simple ‘Security Newsletter’.   A fluke?  Maybe not.  We’ve just done another split test for Microsoft via Avnet, and a simple title of ‘Microsoft LDI Training’ versus a subject line which contained a concise benefit of attending.  The former achieved an open rate of over 300% more than its rival.

Just goes to show, maybe we try too hard sometimes, or maybe we try to be cleverer than we actually need to be?

As I put away the latest variant of golden syrup into my cupboard – chocolate flavour no less – to appease my daughter, I can’t help but think that many brands and marketing practices should come full circle back to an original way of doing things.  Simple subject lines are a perfect example of just that.


Based in Battle, East Sussex, United Kingdom and employing a team of experienced channel marketers, purechannels offers strategic as well as operational channel-focused marketing services to IT vendors and their channel partners.  For more resources to support your channel marketing strategy, visit
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