The Perfect Marketing Email in Focus

A new study from Retention Science is shedding light on what makes up the perfect marketing email message.

The study is based on an analysis of more than 1 billion emails resulting in 60 million orders over the past two years. According to the data, conversion rates are higher when emails include percent-off deals rather than dollar-off deals. In fact, 38 percent of customers are more likely to click on an email with a percent-off deal and 47 percent are more likely to convert when compared to emails with a dollar-off deal.

What's more, the data found that that punctuation marks impact open rates by nine percent. Question marks are particularly effective, with the data finding that open rates are 44 percent higher than subject lines with exclamation points. The study also found that subject lines with six to 10 words rank highest for open rates (21 percent), followed by subject lines with zero to five words (16 percent). Open rates tend to fall when subject lines reach the 11 to 15-word range, with emails for this length of subject line only opened 14 percent of the time.

"Consumers are sifting through tons of emails a day and making at-a-glance judgments about which to open and which to trash, so it's vital to be descriptive and brief," said Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science. "While six to 10 words is the sweet spot, our clients experimenting with even shorter subject lines, those in the one to two-word range, are seeing even more impressive results."  

It is also important to note that the data found click rates are the highest at the beginning of the holiday season, reaching 30 percent in October and 27 percent in November. Surprisingly, conversion rates actually peak in July, with rates 21 percent higher than average. Coming in second, however, in December, with conversion rates 10 percent higher than average.

Additional data reveals that unsubscribe rates tend to be at the highest in August and at the lowest during the holiday season. Moreover, subject lines that mention novelty items typically generate more interest, resulting in a 6 percent lift in open rates. In the body of an email, however, marketers should stick to featuring familiar items, as the data shows that common goods have a 10 percent higher click-through rate than novelty or specialty items - even when the novelty item is featured in the subject line.