Over the last 10 months, I've gotten to see firsthand how well certain email subject lines perform.
That's because I've been sending out about 1-3 emails per week during that time. I track open rates. I track click-thru rates. It's easy for me to see when a subject line is a winner... or a loser.
With that in mind, I would like to share with you a snapshot of some subject lines that have worked and some that have not worked.
I've taken a screen capture of my email system. You'll see the subject line, followed by the number of opens, then the number of clicks. The number of clicks may be off because I've occasionally made mistakes using that feature.
==> Click here for Email Subject Line screen capture (opens in new window)
As you'll see from the screen capture, one of the better subject lines is: "instant copywriting business for [first name]"
Why does this work?
It uses the word "instant." It uses your first name. And it's targeted. The word "copywriting" is a perfect match for my list of copywriters. Finally, there is a big promise of financial gain.
Let's look at another one:
"[first name]'s 2nd sale"
I believe this one worked so well (141 opens) because not only did it use personalization, it also looks like notification of an affiliate commission.
A lot of folks are "casual affiliates" and they get super excited about making a sale. Because this subject line looks like one of those notifications, it got a high open rate.
What about "secrets to full-time copywriting"...
This one worked because of the word "secrets." Everyone wants to know secrets. Again, there's a perfect word to market match with "copywriting." And this time, it goes a step further by saying "full-time copywriting." If you are an aspiring copywriter, and would like to have enough freelance work to keep you busy full-time, you will open this email.
Now, let's look at a flop: "the leapfrog theory"
What happened here?
I thought the subject line would arouse curiosity and get people to open it. But it didn't perform nearly as well as I expected. Only 73 opens compared to 141. That's a huge difference.
My guess is the subject line was simply too far removed from what my subscribers are interested in reading about, which is copywriting.
The content inside the email was how to "leapfrog" your competition and charge more for your services... but my readers wouldn't have gotten that from the subject line.
Ultimately, for email subject lines to work, they must use powerful trigger words (like "instant" and "secrets"), appeal strongly to your readers' primary interest, and/or look like official email correspondence (like a shipping notice or affiliate commission email).
Of course, email marketing is changing all the time. It's a tough field to stay afloat in, especially with so much legitimate double opt-in email being blocked by so-called "spam" filters. Hopefully, this brief lesson in email subject lines will help you improve your response.
What the heck... I've decided to give you some more subject lines. Here's another screen capture with even more recent data:
==> Email Subject Lines - Screen Capture 2 (opens in new window)
Do you see the two subject lines that have worked best over the last month? One of them I sent yesterday, the other one I sent on August 24.
- this is NOT for everyone... (108 opens so far)
- [first name]'s Complimentary Advertising Report (122 opens)
Between these two subject lines were a whole string of so-so subject lines. I suspect part of the reason is due to the time of year. Late summer is slow.
I suspect another part is due to spam problems. Jason Moffatt, a friend of mine, told me all of my emails are going into his spam folder.
Nevertheless, these two subject lines pulled WAY better than the rest. Why?
The first subject line worked because of takeaway selling. Take something away from someone and he will try to get it back—even if he never had it to begin with. :-)
The second subject line worked because it promised something of value for free. Free almost always works... so long as you don't actually use the word "free" in your email. It's a spam trigger. That's why I chose the word "complimentary."
So there you have it... a few "bonus" subject lines to spark your creative juices.