Email Subject Line Questions Boost Performance

According to research conducted by Litmas and MailChimp (infographic here) and confirmed by Salesforce’s Pardot, using questions in subject lines boosts performance time and time again compared to similar subject lines that were phrased as statements.

I’m going to go ahead and admit that there’s really no such thing as the perfect subject line—or, if there is, it must be hiding with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. After running subject lines through A/B split tests every month in our own newsletter, we’ve yet to find the secret formula (or even a statistically significant result).

However, there are a handful of tactics that ARE handy to know.  Some people will tell you never to ask a question in your email subject line.  That simply isn’t what research has shown.  Subject lines framed as questions actually perform better. Consider your audience’s needs, interests, or the types of questions your content might answer.

[Example]: What’s your dream adventure?

“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.” -MailChimp

Well, there you have it.  There’s no silver bullet for subject lines.  However, asking questions that are targeted, consider your audience’s needs or interests and are short and sweet is about as close as we can get to the proverbial “secret formula.”

Infographic Available

Check out the Litmas infographic summerizing MailChimp’s research on , “How to Write the Perfect Subject Line“.


Email Statistics
Email Subject Line Questions Boost Performance
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About the Author

Justine Jordan
2 articles
About / Bio

Marketing Director for email testing and analytics service, Litmus, Justine is a recent transplant to Boston from Indianapolis. Her secret formula? Mix together equal parts email marketer, designer, writer and customer relationship manager with plenty of passion, beer and yoga.

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