If at first you don’t succeed…

3 minute read

…try, try again. I don’t wish to disappoint, but for whatever reason it’s quite possible that 75% of your subscribers are not going to open your email. You may well be doing better, or considerably better than that, but that’s an average across all emails across all sectors (according to our 2015 email benchmark report).

Subject line is one of key factors in whether or not people open an email, so if your first attempt isn’t successful it’s easy to try again with a different subject line.



I recently sent a smallish campaign, to around 3500 subscribers. After 3 days, at 36% open rate I was already above the benchmark (24.45%) but that still left over 2000 people who were missing out. Resending the same message to the non-openers but with an alternative subject line generated an extra 3% of opens and 0.7% of click-to opens. That might not seem a lot, but those additional clicks could be nice additional revenue for your business that would otherwise have been missed.

I did it manually – that is, after 3 days I used the post-campaign analysis to generate a new list of all those who hadn’t opened the original. This then became the recipient list for my resend with subject line number 2. The alternative would be to set up a marketing automation rule to automatically gather those who did open the campaign and then use this as an exclusion list from the original subscribers for the new subject resend a few days later. Either way works.

I guess you could go on and send a third and fourth version to an ever decreasing audience, but based on open rates of 36% to 9% for the original and first resend of my campaign it’s going to be a progressively smaller return for much the same additional effort.

One last thing. If you’re unsure about subject line you could also investigate split testing. It doesn’t address the resend process to first time non-openers but if you have a large enough recipient list it’s a great way of testing the relative appeal of different subject line options.

PS – It’s Robert the Bruce and the inspirational spider… never mind!