The subject line ?Free Direct Mail Encyclopedia? outpulled ?Boost Sales, Increase Profits, and Expand Market Awareness? by 25%.
Three lessons we can learn from this:
1. Just changing the subject line can dramatically increase e-mail response rates.
2. You never know which subject line or headline is the winner until you test it. (The reasons some of you gave for why A would win seemed to me equally as valid and strong as the reasons others gave for B.)
3. The increase in response from the pulling power of ?free? more than outweighs any decline in response that may occur from ?free? triggering spam filters.
To download your free bonus prize ? my $29 report on improving online marketing results — go to www.bly.com and click on Reports.
By the way, this is a classic example of A/B split testing: test two approaches, and see which works best.
Don?t debate the merits of copy by arguing around a conference table. Test it and learn definitively which headline works best.
This is the basic philosophy that separates direct marketing from general advertising ? and by the way, it?s completely in keeping with the Cluetrain and blogging philosophies of marketing as conversation:
Don?t tell the market what you think sells. The market will tell YOU what they will buy.
P.S. If you guessed B instead of A, don?t feel bad. I often guess wrong on these challenges myself ? which is why I encourage clients to test more than one approach.