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Find Out What Type of Subject Line Works – Google Sheet Included

Email Marketing just like every other part of Digital Marketing, is crucial to any Business and their success. And every tiny detail can either make or break your email campaigns. This is especially true when it comes to Subject Lines and Preview Text. A Subject Line can be the one thing that can land you on a user’s “Top Promotions” section of their email (a Gmail thing!) or their Spam Folder. 

About two years ago, I encountered a book that made me think about Subject Lines differently and how to elevate my insights about them. I’m talking about Email Marketing Rules: Checklists, Frameworks, and 150 Best Practices for Business Success by Chad S. White. In his book, when it comes to subject lines, Chad gives us many pointers about the elements of a perfect subject line and how to measure subject line a/b tests correctly. He also introduces us to the CUE DIVE method and says “Subject line and preview text content can be Contextual, Urgent, Emotional, Detailed, Intriguing, Visual and Earned.”

Subject Line Categories

Contextual – Contain personalized elements such as name or location.

Urgent – Contains words such as deadlines, holidays, limited-time, or limited quantities. 

Emotional – Connects with the user on a deeper level because it taps into their aspirations, lifestyle, charity, etc. 

Detailed – Gives away a bit of what the user will see in the email. 

Intriguing – Sparks the user’s curiosity through humor, mystery or even weirdness.

Visual – Captures the user’s attention by using emojis or spelling things differently for example. 

Earned – Incorporates reviews, UGC or media coverage.

A/B Test Measuring: Open Rate vs Click-Through Rate

When we are setting up a A/B Test to measure a winning Subject Line, it is so easy to assume that we should be measuring Open Rate. And that’s one way of looking at it! But consider this. A winning subject line measured by Open Rate doesn’t necessarily equal a click or a conversion. That is why many leaders in the Email Marketing, including Chad S. White encourage measuring Subject Line A/B Tests using CTR as the winning metric. This data will show you the subject line that is more likely to generate an action (meaning click or conversion) from the user.

Google Sheet: Email Subject Lines Performance

Based on my learnings, I created a google sheet that I’m hoping will be as helpful to you as it was to me. In it, I’ve been able to gather data on all my Subject Line A/B Tests and insights on what seems to work.

Tab 1 –  Type your subject lines in this section keeping in mind the length and the type of Subject Lines you are aiming to test on an A/B Subject Line Test. Make sure to select the Subject Line Category from the Drop Down (Column D).

Subject Lines Categories - Performance - Tab 1

Tab 2 –  Keep an eye on the Avg. Open Rate or CTR (up to you which metric you want to use) per Category and optimize accordingly! Yes, it’s that easy and will helpful continue understanding your buyer’s persona.

Subject Line Categories - Performance - Tab 2

Click Email Subject Lines Performance to view Google Sheet. To use this Google Sheet go to File > Make a Copy.

What kind of Subject Lines seem to work for your Brand or Industry? Share them in the comments section below. 

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Jayleen Nazario

Jayleen Nazario

Digital Marketing Specialist