You know all those “gurus” saying email marketing is dead?
Don’t believe ‘em!
If we’ve learned anything from watching the ups and downs of Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, MySpace, and every other social media platform, it’s this:
The most reliable way to connect with your audience is via your own email list.
So how do you make sure your subscribers actually OPEN and READ your emails?
It all starts with the subject line.
Think of it as a headline on a news article. If the headline doesn’t grab the reader, they’re not going to read the article.
And if they don’t read the article, they’re not going to take action.
And if they don’t take action, you’ve lost out.
That’s why today I want to share some of my most successful subject lines of the past 12 months (as well as a sneak peek behind the scenes into why they work!).
Top 20 Subject Lines: Deconstructed
Ready to review 20 of our best performing subject lines from the past year?
Feel free to use these as inspiration for your own emails, but don’t just cut and paste blindly… read on to find out WHY they work, and HOW you can alter them for your own audience.
I’ve divided these subject lines up into five themes:
Let’s dig into these themes in more detail:
“Fear of Missing Out” (or FOMO) is a real thing, and it can help you drive opens for your emails, like these examples:
1. Major Opportunity
2. TIME SENSITIVE: The Doors are OPEN!
3. Early action bonus: Don’t miss out!
4. We’re closing the doors…
Fear of Missing Out’ is a real thing, and it can drive email opens.
No one wants to miss out… especially when something is “major!”
If you lead with curiosity you can often inspire people to open your emails to find out what’s inside.
Some of our most effective subject lines have been just one-word curiosity inducers, like these examples:
5. Oh no! 🙁
6. Sorry 🙁
7. Bye ;-(
Call these “Small but Mighty!”
These are some of the shortest subject lines we’ve ever used… but don’t let their brevity fool you. The combination of the one (or two) words with a sad emoji led to huge results for us.
They spark curiosity and seem like an email from a friend.
Value subject lines do several things well: First, they promise valuable information. Second, they include specifics (dollar amounts, time frames, etc.).
These “value” emails are perennial high performers:
8. FREE: ASK Method Step-by-Step (PDF Blueprint Inside)
9. CASE STUDY: $17.50/hr to $25K/ mo in < 1 Year
10. Q&A: The ASK Method vs. Other programs (pros and cons)
11. CASE STUDY: From “Struggling” to $470K… in just 5 days…
12. REPLAY: Guided Tour – the NEW ASK 2.0 Masterclass
No one can pass up a detailed case study or step-by-step guide!
Questions as subjects lines almost demand the reader to answer, at least in his or her head. But not only that, they hint at the content included in the email… and lead to great open rates.
Take a look at these high-performing examples:
13. Wanna work with ME and my team directly??
14. ASK Coaching & Mentorship: Got QUESTIONS??
15. Wanna get CERTIFIED in the ASK Method?
16. Are you making 6 figures or more? (Y/N)
Think about the questions you can ask to get people opening your emails.
Using “Special” words that evoke emotion or disrupt people’s patterns can be hugely effective. I mean, how can you scroll past something marked “URGENT” or that includes an “over-the-top bonus” or a “special gift?” Most people can’t… which is why the open rates on these emails are so high!
These top-performing subject lines of ours all contain “special” words:
17. URGENT: Over-the-top bonus alert…
18. Knock knock, special gift coming your way…
19. Peek inside the ASK vault
20. A secret behind 5 billion dollar success
My Favorite Subject Line of All Time
Now, I promised you 20 subject lines, but I love to overdeliver… which is why I’m ending this list with my favorite subject line of all time:
21. Do You HATE Me?
Talk about evoking emotion! It also asks a direct question and is on the short side. Combine all those elements and you’ve got a real winner. Time and time again, it performs for me and for my ASK Method students.
And once people open and read it, they move on to provide you valuable information about why they didn’t buy your product (or take you up on a special offer).
This idea of ASKING people for their feedback and constantly keeping a client-centred approach is central to the ASK Method.
Here’s what a sample text for this email might look like:
Subject Line: Do You Hate Me? 🙂
I need your help real quick, but first I need to ask you a question.
Do you hate me? 🙂
(Note: The 🙂 is important to let your reader know what you’re saying is “tongue-in-cheek”)
I’m asking because the other day I gave you a chance to get OFFER XYZ, but for some reason you passed.
Did I not do a good job of explaining something?
Did I not do a good job of touching on a specific hot point that matters to you?
Maybe it was because of me. . .
Something I said, something I didn’t say.
In other words, do you hate me?
If you could just do me a favor and click on the link below to let me know. . .
What was the biggest reason you decided not to try XYZ product/service?
It would mean the world to me.
Here’s the link:
===>Click here to let us know
This leads to an open-ended survey form, or you can just ask them to *HIT REPLY* to the email.
And even though the “hate” part is tongue in cheek, the combination of using the word “hate” and implying that someone might hate you gives people the urge to respond.
Because even the suggestion that they might hate you often prompts your audience to leave you long and detailed answers in an attempt to show you that no, they don’t really hate you at all.
The ‘Do You Hate Me’ email might be a little scary to send at first, and you do have to know your audience (I like to use the winky emoticon to lighten it up for certain markets), but the feedback that you get will be worth it.
The ‘Do You Hate Me’ email might be scary to send, but the feedback is worth it.
How to Write Killer Email Subject Lines
Subject line inspiration is EVERYWHERE.
Ads. Magazine headlines in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Article headlines from places like Alltop, Reddit, Buzzfeed, etc. Emails you receive.
To keep track, create a “swipe file” email account, subscribing to the top marketers and copywriters in your niche and others. Then, when you need ideas, you can flip through this account and get inspired.
When in Doubt, Test
So many marketers I know DON’T split test on a regular basis… and that’s a HUGE mistake.
How do you know what your audience will respond to if you don’t constantly A/B test? And it’s not something to do just at launch time. You need to be testing all the time, so you can build a stash of your highest performing subject lines to use when you really need them, like during a launch.
3 Tips for Testing Subject Lines:
1. Keep an archive of your best performing subject lines: Yes, we do this, and no, I won’t be sharing the full list – we keep this in a vault. I do share some of it in my ASK Method Masterclass and Coaching community.
2. Pay attention and mine those subject lines for trends: Common words, structure, formatting, length, punctuation, trends that point you in the right direction for what to focus on.
3. Test the hypothesis: Test a subject line against something radically different.
So… your turn!
What is YOUR favorite or top performing subject line?
Do you regularly test your subject lines?
Have you sent out a Do You Hate Me email yet?
Sound off in the comments below!