NEW YORK: Email marketers recognise the importance of a good subject line when seeking to engage consumers, but intriguing new research suggests cultural and national stereotypes also play a role.

Persado, a tech company that specialises in AI-generated marketing language, examined more than 3,500 subject lines from emails sent by 142 brands – including British Airways, Gap and Dell – to 1.54m consumers in the UK, US and continental Europe.

It emerged that British consumers are more likely to react to messages that evoke anxiety or guilt; Americans respond best to messages emphasising achievement (but also anxiety), while Europeans engage with language that offers gratification and gratitude.

Persado cautioned that it isn’t yet clear whether these emotions are influenced by ongoing events in each nation or region – for example, whether Brexit has made UK consumers more receptive to anxiety-inducing messages – but its research identified some key phrases for each group.

Both British and American email recipients respond well to anxiety messages that give them a wake-up call or alert them to something of importance.

For example, British consumers react to “don’t forget” while Americans do the same when asked “did you forget?”

However, UK consumers are also likely to interact with a guilt message that advises or implies they will feel regret if they don’t take action, such as “don’t miss out” or “it’s too good to miss”.

By contrast, Americans love being praised or rewarded for an implied accomplishment, with phrases such as “you’ve earned it” and “you are being rewarded”.

Meanwhile, continental Europeans feel excitement and interest related specifically to value and financial gain, with subject lines like “we are treating you” and “get a gift on us” proving effective.

They also respond well to messages that express appreciation and gratitude, such as “we appreciate your loyalty” or even a simple “thank you”.

“These data points lay bare the fact that there is more than an element of truth in some of the broader stereotypes associated with consumers across the UK, USA and Europe,” said Assaf Baciu, Persado Co-Founder and SVP Product & Engineering.

“Of course, while this should prove useful at a top level, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Marketers should look to put themselves in a position to share a message that resonates not just by country, region or town, but on an individual basis.”

Sourced from Persado; additional content by WARC staff