The British newspaper The Guardian reported in 2019 that office workers receive an average of 121 emails per day. Other research cites that the average office worker receives 140 emails per day. Although the precise number is debatable, these figures come as no surprise. We’re all too aware that our inboxes and outboxes are brimming with ‘kind regards’ and ‘best wishes’ and senders who hope their emails find us well.

The response is often to ‘shoot the messenger’ – that is, to avoid using email as a communication channel altogether. But according to HubSpot, email is a super powerful way of getting your message out, generating $42 for every $1 spent, (that’s 4,200% ROI), making it one of the most effective communication channels available.

The problem for us in insights is that the vast majority of our emails are terminally dull. How often do we really think about the power of the language we use in our emails?

The fact is, in addition to new channels like Yammer, Slack, or knowledge-sharing platforms, for the majority of insights teams, email remains the key tool for sharing insights across the business. Emailed information has the potential to transform decision-making for relevant stakeholders. With so much at stake, insights teams can’t afford for their emails to go unread. It’s essential that they get the content right to engage key audiences.

The first step to ensuring engagement is the email subject line. This is your chance to engage with your stakeholders, win their attention and ensure they read more. All too often at Keen as Mustard, we speak to insights teams who have given little or no attention to their choice of wording for this powerful tool. Typical subject lines are: ‘Results of tracker Q4 2019 GR/FR/UK’ or ‘Wave 8 of concept brand eval’. It’s no wonder that these communications are not viewed.

So, how can you approach writing effective subject lines that will entertain and raise open rates? We have tailored the results of a 2015 study that analysed the content of 69,907 headlines produced by four major global media corporations during eight consecutive months. The study authors extracted features from the text of the news headlines to find out which ones attracted clicks and came up with five types of headlines that attracted the most clicks. We have adapted these to the headlines for insights communications, with impressive results. Indeed, our research shows that in insights there is one sure way to get the audiences’ attention. Do get in touch if you want to know more.

Header Image: Stephen Phillips –

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