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Trends Q: One-third of all resort email subject lines include this, but does it work?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Depending on your email copywriting philosophy, it may come as a bit of a surprise that 37.7% of emails sent by resorts last year all had one thing in common: they had their own name included in the subject line. With most “from” labels already including the resort’s name, we wanted to find out if this was wasting space or if reserving subject line characters for your own brand would increase email open rates.

The Sample
This isn’t some new trend. Emails we looked at from 4-5 years ago had showed a nearly identical pattern. So, instead of just taking one massive, multi-year sample, we decided to look at just the emails that were sent during the 2011/12 winter season by ski resorts to see if it is working now rather than if it was working then.

Over 60,000,000 emails sent between November 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 were analyzed. We excluded resorts that didn’t send at least 50,000 emails that either included or didn’t include their name in the subject line. Here’s what we found.

yoy-resort-name-2012

The average open rate for emails that included the resort’s name in the subject line was 20.12%. For those that didn’t include it, the open rate was 18.23% – a difference of 1.89 percentage points and 10.4% overall.

What This Means
We were a little surprised by this on two counts. First, we didn’t realize that nearly 40% of emails included the resorts name in the first place. Maybe because of this we were caught off guard to see that it made such a difference. If you’re worried about making your subject line too long, remember that medium-length subject lines often get the fewest clicks.

It’s important to note that not all resorts saw an increase in clicks when they used their name. Overall, averages were clear, but your resort may be different. The next time you send an email, try a quick split test like this:

Version A: Summer Carnival Starts July 14th!
Version B: Brundage’s Summer Carnival Starts July 14th!

Find out if it works in your resort’s situation and go with it.

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