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Posted by Stuart on May 15, 2013

There is a lot of industry research conducted on improving the effectiveness of email campaigns. BTI Brand Innovations stays on top of the latest trends so we can execute the best campaigns for our clients. Assuming that the offer (content, graphics, layout, fonts, colours, call to action) is great, the main factors that impact the results of email campaigns are subject lines, sender’s name, day of the week and time of day that the emails are sent. These 4 factors will greatly determine whether the recipient even opens your email. The recipient can only read our great content if they open the email. The content influences the number of people who act upon it – i.e. “Learn more”, “Sign up now”, “Buy now”, etc.

We recently came across an article discussing the strength and results of the Obama Campaign 2012 email tests. One of the findings showed that a subject line of “Hey” resulted in much higher donations to the Obama campaign when compared to other subject lines. After all, who wouldn’t open an email from the President of the United States calling out “Hey”. Since they spent a lot of effort and resources in testing various subject lines, we decided to conduct our own test since we’re not Obama.

We wanted to test both the subject line and the sender’s name using our own monthly newsletter. BTI’s March e-newsletter was sent from “BTI Brand Innovations” with the subject line of “Byte This News – The Power of Word of Mouth”.

Our first test was to change the sender’s name to “Parveen Dhupar” for the April e-newsletter to personalize it more. We noticed a substantial increase in open rate (24% better than the previous month) and click rate (47% improvement over March).





Open rate




Click rate




To assess the effectiveness of the subject lines, we conducted an A/B test for the April e-newsletter. Half of the recipients (over 500 recipients) received the email with the subject line “Hey” and the other half (over 500 people) saw “Byte This News – 5 Keys to Writing Engaging Content”.  Both A/B emails were blasted at the exact same time. The results were mixed here.


Group A –


Group B –

“Byte This News – 5 Keys to Writing Engaging Content”

  Sent April 25, 2:10PM EST Sent April 25, 2:10PM EST

open rate



average times opened

2.5 times

2.4 times

recipients who clicked



clicks/unique open



While the subject line of “Hey” yielded about a 9% better open rate at 33.6% vs. 30.8%, a more relevant subject line resulted in 9% higher click through. This is probably what you would expect. An email with “Hey” from someone you know and trust will yield a higher open rate. But when the reader connects with the subject line enough to open and read the email, he/she is more likely to follow through on the actions.

We didn’t touch on whether it’s ethical or legal to title your emails with “Hey”, as the subject line doesn’t reflect the content of the email and may be misleading. In some markets, this might be breaking anti-spam regulations.

In summary, a relevant subject line and a recognized sender name yield a more effective email campaign.

Leverage our experience in improving the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Call us to see how we can help.