How to write the best email subject lines for different parts of the world

How to write the best email subject lines for different parts of the world

Email marketing remains one of the most influential forms of digital media at a marketer’s disposal. But with our figures alone showing that an average of 743,235 remarketing emails flood inboxes each day, how can you break through the noise and achieve email marketing success?

The number of email users worldwide is forecasted to rise to 2.9 billion by 2019, which gives brands the opportunity to reach a wider audience with their efforts than ever before. However, getting your message seen is only possible when email marketing hits the mark. This can be measured with key email metrics including CTR, conversion rate, open rate and average order value (AOV).

Achieving success relies on a host of factors, including brand identity and content. There is also a lot to be said for the power of subject lines, particularly when we look more specifically at email remarketing. A good email subject line gives consumers a reason to open. It’s your chance to make an impression amongst a sea of emails and in remarketing’s case, remind customers of their interaction with your brand.

How can you ensure you’re writing the best email subject lines for your target audience? We’ve analysed open rates (how many of the emails sent were opened) and conversion rates (how many of the emails sent converted) of 12 million consumer emails over a 4-month period to find what techniques make successful email subject lines for remarketing purposes in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Here’s what we found:


1. Overall findings: Open and conversion rates in Asia, Europe and the Americas

Our data shows that overall, Asia are most receptive to email remarketing, shown by an overall open rate of 44%. Customers in the Europe and the Americas seem to be receptive to email remarketing too, with both still achieving success with solid average open rates of 39% and 29% respectively.

When it comes to converting customers from email remarketing, Europe comes out on top with the highest conversion rate from email at an average of 10%.

Average remarketing email metrics

Key takeaway: Email remarketing is a successful technique across the board, particularly in Asia where it drives significant engagement. With high average open rates in each region, marketers should be utilising this channel for marketing and communications.


2. Personalised subject lines strike a chord in Asia

In all regions, we see an improvement in open rates when remarketing subject lines are personalised with the consumer’s name. An example of this would be; ‘John, thank you for your recent visit’. In Asia specifically, this technique is particularly effective and open rates hit a staggering 65%.

Average Remarketing Open Personalisation

Conversion rates also increase across the board through the use of personalisation, but again Asia leads the way with an open rate of 23%, compared to 9% on average for email remarketing.

Personalisation_ConversionAverage Remarketing Conversion Personalisation

Key takeaway: Personalised subject lines generate better remarketing results. With the large impact on conversion rates, these types of subject lines should be used primarily for purchase and sales messaging to help reduce basket abandonment and turn browsers into shoppers.


3.Customers in the Americas are looking for a bargain

Remarketing email open rates in the Americas jump to 40 and 41% when a discount of either 5 or 10% is offered in the subject line respectively. This is compared to an average open rate of 29% for remarketing emails. Conversion rates also jump up to 11% and 16%, compared to the 5% average.

In Europe, discounts have mixed results and overall, subject lines with offers generate fewer opens than average. 10% discounts are effective, far more so than 20%, with an open rate of 53% compared to 36% and conversion of 14% compared to 5%. The offer of a 5% discount has even more success, with conversion rate of 17%. In Asia, open rates drop to 34%, 10% below average, when email subject lines mention an offer or discount.

Average Remarketing Open Offers

Key takeaway: When marketing to customers in the Americas, discounts visible in your subject lines are a great way of increasing engagement and conversions from email. European customers, although in general receptive to the concept of discounts, don’t need as much persuading, so smaller discounts could work well. Be wary of offering too many discounts in Asia as it could do more harm than good.


4. Pick your language and tone wisely

When creating email remarketing to re-engage and convert customers, marketers have a choice to make when it comes to language and tone. Helpful language, for example the subject line ‘can we help you?’, works well in America with an average open rate 10% above average and conversion rates 4% higher. Asia and Europe on the other hand, respond better to more persuasive language with subject lines such as ‘hurry don’t miss out’ helping to achieve open rates of 47%.

Language with a friendlier tone, such as the message ‘thank you for visiting’ achieves good open rates across the board, but lower than average conversion rates - something which we’d expect due to the objective of the message.

Key takeaway: Tone is important and can influence email metrics and results. In general, when writing for an Asian or European audience, it could pay off to write more persuasively with urgency, whereas when targeting customers in the America, more helpful language could be preferred. Friendly, thankful subject lines always work well and are essential for building relationships and customer loyalty.


5. Our standout subject line

From the remarketing emails we analysed, ‘A message from us' is commonly used by brands across sectors the subject line 'A message from us' or 'A message from {brand name}’ is one of the highest performing subject lines and is commonly used by a range of brands across multiple sectors, including most notably travel and retail. The average open rate for this subject line is only slightly above the total average globally, however, conversion rates are significantly over 5% higher. 

Key takeaway: This subject line stood out as due to the frequency it was used by brands and the higher than average conversion rates. For marketers looking to write subject lines with a more personal tone, whilst also looking to convert customers, this style could be effective.


It’s clear that as we move across the globe, consumers in different continents have varying attitudes towards what makes a good subject line, both the choice of messaging and language. However, no one subject line will perform the same across the board so it’s important to A/B test different options and variations with your own customer base to identify what works and what doesn’t work for your target audience. By constantly testing different options and making improvements where necessary, you will have the greatest chance of email remarketing success.

We’d always recommend working with email remarketing experts who can use their experience in best practices to help identify what will work for your business. Whilst our data has outlined some significant findings and can act as a useful guide, the key to any remarketing is to focus on what works for your business and your customers.

Email Remarketing

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Posted by Emily Atkinson