Short Subject Lines Revisited

September 10th, 2008
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I browse dozens of eretail newsletters each week. And FreePeople.com’s subject lines stand out the most because they are *routinely* super short.

Thirteen out of their past 20 subject lines have been four words or less. And most of those 13 have employed either two or three words. Further, many of the subject lines have 14 or fewer characters (including spaces).

Here are five quick examples:

o “Top Coat”

o “Lacey Layers”

o “Better Off Red”

o “Seeing Shells”

o “Tanks A Lot!”

Better yet, it appears that the brand keeps them short not for the sake of just keeping them short. They go long when they feel necessary. Here’s a recent example that runs 49 characters with spaces: “Last Day for Free Shipping. Plus Multitasking Sweaters.”

At the same time, it appears that the subject lines likely work because they still manage to convey a product-driven concept. For example, every one of the five examples above relays the image of a certain kind of merchandise or design.

And then the curiosity about what kind of clothing is being offered must kick in big time. Their opens and CTRs among their teenage girl demo are probably outstanding. To me, this reinforces that it doesn’t matter how long or short the subject line is.

What matters is how the number of words is used and how they plug into the sensibility of one’s customer base.

A final thought: They surely didn’t stumble across their use of subject lines. They must have tested, tested, tested and tested some more.

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Ecommerce Eretail, Email Marketing, Online Advertising, Online Marketing Tags: , , , ,



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