If you master how to write great subject lines, you’ll be able to make more money from an email list than by mastering just about any other skill.
Writing strong subject lines is more important than writing good copy.
It’s more important than storytelling, it’s more important than using power words, it’s more important than writing compelling call to actions. It’s the skill to learn.
Writing good subject lines will get your content opened and read. That means more clicks and more sales.
So how do you write great subject lines?
10 Tips for Writing “Off the Hook” Subject Lines
- Personalize. Marketers often get tired of personalization and think it’s stopped working. It hasn’t. Split tests in most industries show personalization outpulls non-personalized emails in almost every test.
- Vary things up. Use different “styles” of subject lines, or people will start to filter out your emails.
- Experiment with lowercase and upper case. Sometimes writing in all lowercase is actually more attention catching, especially when everyone else is writing in sentence case.
- Don’t underestimate short subject lines. A simple “check this out” could get more opens than “My Simple System for Earning a Six Figure Income.”
- Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are their deepest desires? Address those desires in your subject line.
- Visualize someone in your market waking up in the middle of the night, smacking their forehead, saying “Gosh, I just wish ______________.” Fill in the blank. Use that as the basis for a subject line.
- Use numbers and symbols. They catch attention more than text. But use it sparingly, so it doesn’t look like spam.
- Write when you’re inspired. If you come up with a subject line spontaneously, chances are it’s a good one.
- Browse Twitter for ideas. Writing for Twitter is similar to writing headlines, as they have similar space constraints. See what other marketers are tweeting in your industry.
- Split test. Different kinds of headlines work better in different markets. Split testing not only gives you results, but teaches you about your market.
At a loss for ideas?
Use these subject line starters to…
- How to avoid __________
- X Tips to ______________
- Incredible Proof That __________ Does __________!
- When you’re _________, you’re ___________ (Example: When you’re relaxed, you’re powerful.”
- You’re invited to __________
- Whoa, did you know ___________
- It’s not too late to _____________
- Things have changed: Now _______________
- Announcing _____________
- Breaking news! _______________
- The #1 principle to ____________
- X mistakes to avoid when _______________
- I love when _________
- Did you know that ___________ ?
- I was shocked when I found out ______________
- When _________ BACKFIRED
- Do you hate _________? (E.g. “Do you hate cardio?” “Do you hate working a 9-5 job?”)
- A strange trick that ___________
- I’m __________ … Are you with me?
- If only you know _______________
- Please don’t hate me, but ____________
- I need you to know, ___________
- The cure for ______________
- Feel free to copy my _______ inside
- Last chance: Claim your copy of __________
- Only _____ hours left to _________ !
- My personal advice for __________
- Why most ___________ fail at _____________
- (action required) ______________
- It’s crazy, ___________
- Two words: __________ (Example: “Two words: Guaranteed. Profits.” “Two words: Easy. Workouts.”)
- [New] ______________
- I’m sick and tired of __________
- I asked and I received: _____________
- Finally, ___________________
- What if I told you ____________
- Instant ___________ you can start immediately
- Wow, it worked! ____________
- Ever wish you could __________ ?
- Hooray, you _______! … Now what? (Example: “Hooray! You setup your website! … Now what?”)
Here’s Another Handy Reference Guide:
Next time you’re stuck for a subject line, just refer to this handy reference guide:
The Big Benefit: You already know to emphasize benefits over features, but are you placing your biggest benefit in your subject lines? Try it and if the benefit matches a major desire of your list, you’ll likely see your open rate go through the roof.
How-to: This one is easy and effective – use your subject line to indicate you’re going to reveal how to do something they are likely to want to do. “How to lose 5 pounds today,” “How to make $100 this afternoon,” etc.
The Urgency Factor: Create some anxiety and get your email opened. You can do this two different ways – first by showing them what they gain by taking immediate action, such as gaining a free Kindle book today only. Second by demonstrating what they lose if they don’t act, such as losing entry into a program that is closing shortly.
The Numbered List: There is something almost magical about using numbers in subject lines and headlines, plus it gives you a road map to write the content that follows. For example: “Top 10 reasons why you’re doing email marketing all wrong” or “5 ways to get your children to behave.”
Keyword Bait: If you’ve built a targeted list, then there are certain keywords that will likely get your emails opened by that list. For example, if your list is made up of horse lovers, then you’re going to want words like horse, colt, foal, mare, riding etc. in most of your emails since they act as triggers for your readers.
Discover Astounding Secrets: Benefits plus curiosity are always a winner. Use words such as discover, secrets, amazing, astonishing, etc.
Ask a question: A question irresistibly compels the reader to think and answer. “Is he the right man for you?” “Would personal coaching help you achieve your goals?”
The Eyebrow Raiser: If you can get them intrigued enough to raise an eyebrow, they will open your email. For example: “Why chickens are master gardeners,” “The couch potato’s guide to weight loss” and “5 foods that make you LOSE weight.”
The Story Starter: Everybody loves a good story, so if your subject line sounds like it’s leading into a story, people will click it. “This morning my son asked me where babies come from” and “My client was hopping mad.”
The Curiosity Raiser: You’re not telling them much of anything in the subject line, yet you still make them curious enough to open it. How? By raising their curiosity. “This is B.S.,” “Never again,” “What was I thinking?,” etc.
For more subject line starters, just start your own swipe file. Create a new email account and signup for as many email newsletters as you can. Learn to write great subject lines and you’ll turn your newsletter into a virtual money machine.