Personalize Subject Lines to Double Your Cold Email Open Rates [Original Study]

Personalization is regarded as the cornerstone of sales outreach.

Just open your LinkedIn and see for yourself — from top sales influencers to rookie salespeople, all are raving about the positive impact of personalization.

Not just this, the recent State of Sales report by LinkedIn shows that 47% of buyers would consider brands whose sellers engage in providing personalized communications.

But why does personalization actually work, scientifically speaking? Research indicates that personalization influences the decision-making process of customers as they interpret any information that relates to themselves as meaningful. Any reference to the self will act as a hook that grabs their attention and makes them engage with that particular information.

When it comes to email personalization, it makes sense to focus on personalizing the subject lines of your cold emails first because prospects look at your email’s subject line first in their inbox. Their inbox is constantly filling up with emails jostling to get their attention, but yours with the personalized subject line will be the attention-grabber.

But, does subject line personalization really work? Is it backed by numbers? 

We decided to find out. 

Here’s what we did:

To study how personalized subject lines impact the open rates of emails, we analyzed over 100,000 emails sent using Klenty, its subject lines, and corresponding open rates. 

To begin with, we looked at the difference in open rates between sales emails with personalized subject lines and those with non-personalized subject lines. No prizes for guessing which one had the highest open rate.

So, personalizing your cold emails is certainly important for the success of your cold email campaigns.

Personalized subject lines doubles email open rates

We found that emails with subject lines that did not have any personalization had an average open rate of only 16.67%. That means, out of 100 emails that were sent with non-personalized subject lines, only around 17 get opened by the prospects.

On the other hand, emails that had personalized subject lines had an average open rate of
35.69%. That’s around 36 emails getting opened out of 100 emails sent with personalized subject lines.

So, subject line personalization does indeed work and we have the numbers to back it up. But, we didn’t want to stop here.

We went ahead and studied the difference in open rates between three different types of personalizations you can make to your subject lines: 

  • Using the prospect’s name, 
  • Using the prospect’s company name 
  • Addressing the prospect’s pain points.  

What kind of personalization works the best?

Among the three, personalization using the prospect’s name had the highest average open rate – 43.41%.

Personalization using the First name in the Subject Lines

Examples:

  • Stop, {Prospect Name}.
  • Check it out, {First name}
  • {Prospect Name}… 

This is followed by personalization with the company’s name, which had an open rate of 35.65%.

Statistic image presenting Personalization using Company name in the Subject Lines

Examples:

  • Best tools for your {Company name}
  • How to scale X for {Company name}?
  • Partnership | {Prospect’s company} <> {Your company}

Personalizing the subject line using pain points had an open rate of 28%.

Examples:

  • Is your digital roadmap on track?
  • How do you stop employees from quitting?
  • Reduce up to X% of your company’s {specific cost}

Final words

From our study, we conclude that your email open rates will at least double if you personalize the subject lines. When it comes to the type of subject personalization, including the prospect’s name yields the best results, followed by their company’s name and pain points. 

Including the names of your prospect or their company’s name falls under the basic degree of personalization. Ideally, you should be able to go beyond just including names to ensure that the open rates of your cold email campaigns remain high.

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