This post is based on an initial article written by Andy Thorpe titled, “The Anatomy of Email: Subject Lines“ and a response that I wrote to his post.
I originally read about using promo codes in the subject line in an article from Jordan Lane over at Email Moxie towards the end of last year. A few weeks before I read Jordans article, I was speaking with Mike Cayelli, the CEO at Cuff-Daddy about ramping up for the upcoming holiday season.
Cuff-Daddy is one of the leading retail websites specializing in cufflinks. They have a home grown opt-in list that get’s an incredible deliverability rate. They have relied on Email marketing to help grow their bottom line and they notice a significant jump in sales during email campaigns. We were discussing different ideas on how to increase opens and clickthroughs to drive more holiday sales. We came up with a bunch of ideas that we began executing immediately which seemed to be moving things along in the right direction.
Some of the ideas were content related, time related, adding personalization, and a snazzy new template. It’s important to note that the above mentioned ideas were implemented before testing the promo code in the subject line. They had already begun seeing an increase in opens and clicks prior to testing.
I sent Jordan’s article to read and told him that we should give it a try in their next campaign. He agreed, and the results were very positive.
They saw a 4% increase in open rates, an 8% increase in link clicks and a 12% increase in sales. These were exciting stats as we weren’t expecting a big bump from something so simple as highlighting the promo code in the subject line. Because of these results, Cuff-Daddy has taken this simple task and added it to their marketing efforts for 2011. The best part about this tactic is that it’s easy to implement, takes no integration whatsoever and is very, very low risk.
I think that this test was successful not only because the promo code had extra visibility in the subject line but it was this idea coupled with other ideas outlined in Andy’s initial article that made it work. Since the subject line is the “first impression”, it’s important to find a good balance that works for your organization. My best advice is to test, test, test and then test some more. A good way to test this theory would be to use an A/B split to see if adding the promo code works for you. Since Cuff-Daddy’s success, we have been talking to our other retail clients about implementing this and they have all been receptive to giving it a try. If you implement this, please let me know your results for a follow-up post in the near future.