Email Subject Lines That Reduce Spam Rates

July 1, 2020
Sporting Goods & Outdoor

Key Takeaways

While segmenting email audiences typically yield positive results, do not overdo segmentation: In previous reports, we showcased the benefits of email segmentation. However, in Atmosphere’s case, with their small email list size (under 50K subscribers), overly segmenting their audience could result in either very small audience segments or the chance that a customer fits in multiple segments--this could lead to them receiving multiples of similar emails and reporting your brand as spam.

Tactic —  Insert enough branding into your subject lines so readers know who the email is coming from: When Atmosphere sends generic subjects with no brand-related keywords, their email spam rates is much higher than their average (1.2% vs. 11.7%). Have enough brand-related keywords (i.e. “Camping”, “Explore the outdoors”, “Trek”, for Atmosphere) in your subject lines so readers know what to expect and who to expect the email from.

Atmosphere has the smallest list size, out of its closest Canadian competitors, at just under 50K subscribers as of August 2020.

Email List Size
Time frame: Past 6 Months

At the same time, Atmosphere is one of the few competitors who saw an increase in email list size this month, at +27% MoM.

Email WebTraffic

Atmosphere also has the lowest spam rate % of their competitors, with a 1.2% spam rate (average) over the past 6 months.

Spam Rate
Time frame: Past 6 Months

A best practice that Atmosphere follows that attributes to their healthy spam rates is their control over email send frequency.

Number of Email Campaigns

Aside from March, Atmosphere has kept the number of email campaigns they send out fairly consistent, averaging around 12 email campaigns per month.

Number of email Campaigns

Also, unlike brands with larger email list sizes, Atmosphere does not overly segment their audiences, sending their emails to an average of 87% of the email list each time.

Percentage of Email List

Aside from March, Atmosphere has kept the number of email campaigns they send out fairly consistent, averaging around 12 email campaigns per month.

Atmosphere - Percentage of Email List

Breaking Down the Strategy:

  • Atmosphere has roughly 40K subscribers, the lowest amount of subscribers amongst competitors (in comparison, Sport Chek has 1M while Decathlon has 9M)
  • Overly segmenting a small email list can sometimes lead to certain customers receiving multiples of a similar email through the day and/or week
  • Too many emails will eventually repel subscribers, leading to low engagement, spam complaints, and low open rates
  • By landing a high percentage of emails in spam, you start to breakdown your IP reputation, and in turn, lose “trust” with ISP filters, making it more likely that your emails will be auto-flagged as spam

Taking a closer look at the email campaigns, there is a common trait amongst email campaigns that have high spam rates for Atmosphere.

Email List

Although the content of the email campaigns are similar (all sales-focused), the spam rates differ greatly.

Content of Email Campaigns

The common trait between high spam rate emails and low spam rate emails is the subject lines.

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