E-news open rate: My 17% boost

Split testing subject lines can boost your e-news open rate. Learn about 5 subject line variables to test

E-news open rate
Yesterday it was the floppy Frisbee, today it’s the squeaky tennis ball. Which toy will our dog Selkie play with? It’s unpredictable.
When I take Selkie to Prospect Park to run off leash I bring a backpack with at least three dog toys. First I pull out the floppy Frisbee — if she spurns it, I move on to the next dog toy. Soon she picks the one she wants to retrieve, gets her workout, and then sleeps all day.
Much like Selkie and her choice of toys, the results of an e-news subject line split test are unpredictable.

How split testing boosted my e-news open rate

Split testing compares the effectiveness of different subject lines for the same email. The most effective subject line will have the highest e-news open rate.

Get our quick 1-page E-news Checklist

Split testing is a feature found on most major e-news services, like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or the one I use, Emma. 

My 17% split testing win

Here’s an example of an actual split test I ran.
My e-news article explored two related subjects:
  • How to make your healthcare brand feel bigger
  • How a bigger healthcare brand helps with payer negotiations.
By split testing subject lines, I found out which subject motivated my users the most.

Here are the 3 subject lines I tested and their open rates:

  • Payer negotiations: Build a bigger brand and succeed: 19%
  • Negotiations: Your branding advantage: 22%
  • How to build a bigger healthcare brand: 36%
 And the winner:
 How to build a bigger healthcare brand with 17% more opens – a big difference!


Test these subject line success factors

    • Length
      Short subject line vs. long subject line: Most of the time, you want to use the fewest words possible while still getting your point across. But if you have compelling copy, split testing might show that you should break this rule.

Learn more about our healthcare content marketing and SEO services ››


  • Personalization
    Should you use recipient’s names in the subject line? Test it and find out!
  • Branding
    Should you use your company name in the subject line? It might make sense from a branding perspective, but it can turn people off
  • Content
    How do you say it? There are many formulas for subject lines, including number lists (“4 steps to..”), “How to…”, “The secret of … “, “Here’s a quick way…”, etc. Test them to find out what works for your users.
  • Appearance
    Capitalization and punctuation can influence your users. You can also test bracketed words like [VIDEO] or [BREAKING].

About us

LevinsonBlock is a Brooklyn-based healthcare marketing agency that specializes in mid-sized organizations. Our clients include healthcare providers such as FQHCs, disease foundations, and healthcare technology firms.
Click here to subscribe to Brandscape, our twice-monthly newsletter on healthcare marketing.
# [white

Let’s Talk