Subject Lines Live – Best of June 2021

Another month, another roster of high-performing emails from Spotler customers. Take a look at June’s top five, as well as a few thoughts on the rest of the field.


Overall top 5

Download the Key Risk Indicators White Paper 81.82
Claim your FREE gift! 55.32
Here is your #[CONTENT/MERGEFIELD1]# download 50
#[Person/FirstName]#, are you ready to get started? 33.72
Essex Partnership University NHS safeguard their community based staff with Protect 33.46


Download the Key Risk Indicators White Paper

The trickiest balance to strike in marketing is the one between production and distribution. However, it is also a balance that is critical to get right. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put into researching, writing and designing your white paper if you don’t tell your audience to come and get it. Alternately, if you drive plenty of traffic to a new resource, but the quality isn’t there, you’ve set an expectation that you will struggle to recover from, even if future content is much better.

One thing we frequently bang on about is having a clear Call-To-Action (CTA) in your emails, and they don’t come much clearer than this. While every so often a witty or surprising subject line can help your engagement levels to spike, WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) subject lines attract attention in a more sustainable way over the long term.


Claim your FREE gift!

Whether words like “free” or “buy now” have any place in email marketing is a debate that could fill an entire white paper by itself. Some marketers swear by urgency and emotive language, some won’t touch it with a barge pole. The fact that a free gift subject line has made the top 5 for 2 months running suggests the argument isn’t settled just yet

From a different sender than last month’s entry, this free gift was a branded mug, given away to celebrate a client reaching Diamond Partnership status. Celebrating customer successes in this way is a powerful statement about your brand and how you value the relationships you create and the values you focus on.

While it might seem dull, a mug is a smart choice of gift. As we said last month, whether or not a gift will actually be used is a key consideration. A mug will definitely be used, and it is likely to sneak its way into webinars, and even photos of “office life”. Getting your brand seen in as many places as possible = smart marketing.


Here is your #[CONTENT/MERGEFIELD1]# download

At Spotler, we stand by the logic of delivering your resources via email. It’s one email that you know for certain your lead will genuinely want to receive, and a good way to earn permission to be in their inbox. You should use an easily recognisable domain and sender, ideally the same one that your sales-y emails come from, so that you will be white-listed rather than consigned to the dreaded Junk folder.


#[Person/FirstName]#, are you ready to get started?

We’re all busy. That was true even before the seismic shifts of the pandemic. And so sometimes we just need a little nudge. How often have you signed up for a webinar or online course with the best of intentions, only to see it pushed down your to-do list? I expect a personalised nudge such as this one would have helped.

The tone of this particular nudge is just right. “Get started now” comes across as too pushy, while “You haven’t started [course] yet” manages to be both passive-aggressive and weak. Instead you have a motivational type of phrase, encouraging without being bossy.


Essex Partnership University NHS safeguard their community based staff with Protect

“Nobody cares what your product does, they care how it helps them.”

Case studies are some of the most powerful and effective content you will ever produce, so why not use them in subject lines as well? A testimonial from a happy customer is more persuasive than anything your marketing team can say.

In this example, focusing on how the product helps protect key workers is an angle that speaks positively to the reader. Marketing generally is under pressure to deliver on ethical goals as well as financial ones, in part because it bears some responsibility for driving consumer culture.


The best of the rest

Who uses emojis these days? Not email marketers, that’s for sure! Not a single one of our top subject lines for June made any use of emojis. Whether to follow this trend or be bold and stand out with an emoji or two in a largely emoji-free space is up to you.

The length of the highest performers remains unchanged from May, with just over one-quarter in the 41-50 character zone.

The level of personalisation is also unchanged, coming in around 1 in 6 subject lines. As discussed in our podcast with Phrasee, pulling somebody’s name into a subject line is only a basic level of personalisation. Personalising the actual content of the email is a trickier art, but is more effective for the very reason that it shows you have put in some effort.

Only 10% of the month’s highest performers included a company name. While “personal brand” may be simply a buzzword, it is well-known that people establish relationships with people over brands, even in the context of B2B purchasing.

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