Stu's October News: A Subject Line Special

Stu's October News: A Subject Line Special

This month, we'll be focusing on how including a few key words in your subject line can impact on your campaign's open rate.

This month, we'll be focusing on how including a few key words in your subject line can impact on your campaign's open rate.

Stuart Morris
Stuart Morris
Published: 6th October 2017

It might seem odd to begin October's edition of Stu's Edu-News with an analysis of August's campaign results, however it takes me a few weeks to pull these stats together (I do have other jobs I've got to do as well you know!).

I've just finished comparing the success of our clients' campaigns this August to last August, so I want to share those with you first. Then I'll be taking a closer look at subject lines and, in particular, what impact certain words have on open rates.

1) August 2016 Vs August 2017

Even I didn’t expect this! The graph below shows a clear contrast in open and click through rates for the month of August when compared with the same month last year. There’s been a real increase in engagement this year and in a month that most education businesses tend to avoid like the plague. The open rate is up by over 6% this year, with the click-through rate also increasing by over 6%. Make sure you give August a bit more attention next year if you gave it a wide berth this year!

August 2016 Vs August 2017

2) Using the word 'Free' in the Subject Line

This is a really interesting one. Lots of our clients offer free resources with their email campaigns to schools (we're big advocates of that here at Sprint) however they often grapple with the question of whether or not to include the word 'free' in the subject line.

Up until now I'd have always erred on the side of including it, the idea being that the increase in opens as a result of making it clear you're offering something for free will outweigh any negative impact on deliverability. However, the graph below shows that in reality it makes very little difference overall, although it appears that subject lines including the word 'free' achieve a slightly lower open rate than those without it.

Free Subject Lines!

3) Using 'RE:' in the Subject Line

When you're sending a follow up to a recent campaign, it's a neat little trick to prefix the subject line with 'RE:'. And judging by the graph below it looks like it really works! Our average open rate is currently 25.12%, however subject lines prefixed with 'RE:' achieve an average open rate 2.59% higher.

RE: Subject Lines

4) Using the word ‘Meeting’ in the Subject Line

Often, the final goal for our clients is a face to face meeting with a key contact at the school. And the great news is that it looks like this is equally appealing to teachers and school staff! As you can see below, using the word ‘meeting’ in the subject line actually performs above the average at 25.26%.

This might sound like a relatively small increase but I think this is actually really impressive! If you think about it, everyone who is opening the email knows that you want a meeting with them so you already know that they are potentially willing to take time out of their day to chat with you about what you offer.

Meeting Subject Lines

Here’s a rundown of what’s going on in the Education sector now that the 2017/18 school year is in full swing!

University Tuition Fees

At the start of this month, Theresa May announced two major changes regarding university tuition fees.

The first of these was that yearly tuition fees will now freeze at £9,250. Tution fees saw a sharp increase a few years ago with the cap rising to £9,000 per year, with many universities opting to charge this maximum fee. This has since increased to £9,250, and was planned to raise again next year to £9,500. However, this rise has now been scrapped. Whilst the ‘freeze to fees’ comes as welcoming news to students, it is not clear how long this will last.

Secondly, students will now not start to pay back their student loan until they reach an earning threshold of £25,000. Previously, graduates have started to pay the loan back after reaching £21,000. Furthermore, there may be some re-examination of the interest rates paid on student loans, which rose to 6.1% earlier this year.

School Funding

A study by the Parent Teacher Association has found that 4 in 10 parents have been asked to contribute to funding in state schools. Whilst teachers are unable to charge for anything within school teaching hours, contributions by parents can be made for extracurricular activity.

Although the study was carried out on a relatively small scale (1,507 parents were asked), this could be seen as a sign of the times. No parent is required to contribute to their child’s education, however with schools feeling the pinch on money and resources, this approach to generating funding seems to be on the rise.

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