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Call me by my name: Why personalized email subject lines work


Written on 12/6/18 10:17 PM


Call Me By My Name Do emails with the recipient’s name in the subject line have higher open rates? The answer is yes, according to researchers at Stanford and Chicago Booth.

There are two schools of thought about including a recipient’s name in the subject line: one, people can’t help but be curious about the content of an email that calls them out by name, or two, it might feel disingenuous when the sending is obviously mass-emailing a list. That said, the research showed that emails that included the recipient’s name in the subject line dramatically outperformed those that didn’t.

In fact, the test email opens increased by 20% when the recipient’s name was included in the subject line. It also showed that fewer people were likely to unsubscribe from future emails – a 17% decrease. This boosts the audience for future campaigns.

What does that mean for marketers? Personalizing email subject lines can increase opens even when the content is not specific to the recipient, and keep them engaged in future campaigns, because consumers spend more time processing the messages.

Source: Research: Navdeep S. Sahni, S. Christian Wheeler, and Pradeep K. Chintagunta, “Personalization in Email Marketing: The Role of Noninformative Advertising Content,” Marketing Science, February 2018


by Jennifer Wiza