I know. Writing subject lines can be tough.
But here’s the thing:
Writing subject lines ain’t no big secret. There are tons of proven ways to do it. And in this article, I’ll show you some simple techniques to writing subject lines your list all but can’t ignore.
I’ll give you some easy-to-follow templates to get you writing deliciously clickable subject lines… as early as tonight.
But first, a quick note:
The subject line has one job and one job only.
This is where some people get lost. They think their subject line has to sell their product, build their brand, make people laugh, and do a zillion other things.
It’s just not true.
The only job of your subject line is to get your prospect to open your email and read the first sentence… the job of the first sentence is to get them to read the second… the job of the second sentence is to get them reading the third…
And on and on.
Because the deeper they get into your email, the more likely they are to click the link. If they click the link, they’re more likely to buy.
But that’s not the only reason to get them reading. There’s another huge benefit to get them reading. And that’s:
If they read one email and find it interesting and useful, they’re more likely to read your next email. And if they read that one, they’re more likely to read the one after that. And if they read the one after that, they’re more likely to read your 108th email and buy.
So never “trick” them into opening your email.
Which means not writing deceptive subject lines. Ones that don’t have a “payoff” early in the email.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use “ethical clickbait”. You can and should use lots of curiosity in your subject lines (and throughout your email as well). It just has to have a payoff.
For example, I recently sent an email to my list with the subject line “Copywriting lessons from the satanic panic”, which is a curiosity-driven headline (their is also a hinted at benefit with “copywriting lessons”).
But immediately in the email I talk about the satanic panic of the ’80s, and how that relates to copy. In other words:
I’m training my list to open my emails.
Because they know that when their curiosity is piqued by my subject line, I’ll “scratch their itch” very quickly.
Ok, ok. I know. This is philosophy. You want tactics.
But the truth is, the tactics are gobbledygook without the underlying philosophy. The philosophy is your life jacket.
So before I give you the templates, I want to make one more note:
Always tailor everything to your market. Which means writing about what is interesting to them. Talk about their problems. Talk about their dreams and desires. Be in their world.
Ok, with that in mind, dive right into this gooey nougat of fun:
Subject Line Template 1: What not to do--
This template works like bottle rockets to get attention. And, it’s monkey simple. All you have to do is write something like “What not to do when the stock market crashes”… or “What I never do in the gym…” or “3 things entrepreneurs do wrong when writing subject lines…”
This template works because it targets problems, pain points, and insecurities. It can even hit FOMO. And if you think it’s unethical, well maybe your product sucks. Because if you have a product or service that solves the problems you wrench on… you have a morale duty to get it into their hands (i.e. help them solve their problem).
Subject Line Template 2: Authority--
Human’s are “hardwired” to believe authority figures. It goes way back through our evolution to the earliest days of society (and probably beyond). You can play off that in your subject lines to get better response.
For example: “Warren Buffet’s ‘Cockroach Strategy’ For Getting Rich In The Stock Market”… which was an incredibly successful headline written by A-List copywriter Parris Lampropoulos (using Warren Buffet, a huge authority in the investment world).
Here’s another I wrote for my list: “The 7-part headline formula that helped one copywriter sell over 700 million for his clients”… (which uses 700 million for his clients as the “authority figure). Again, tailor it to your market. Which means using authority figures they like, know, and respect.
Subject Line Template 3: Challenge their beliefs and assumptions--
This one is nasty-effective because it creates tension. Tension between what they believe and how you’re “challenging” them. Again, to challenge their beliefs, you must first know what they believe.
Here are a few examples I wrote: “Why Eugene Schwartz was wrong about ‘novel copy’”… there challenging a seminal figure in advertising. And: “Why You Should Stop Worrying About Email Open Rates (And Three Ways To Bump Them Up)”… which challenges an “industry norm” and is a story I wrote for medium. You can read it here:
One more note on that that last headline:
You’ll notice the headline contradicts itself (I say ignore open rates, but then offer to show you ways to improve them).
This is a fantastic technique because it massively ramps up curiosity and tension. You don’t have to do it in one headline either. You can do it over time.
So if you’re in the health niche and you always talk about how carbs are bad, then you might use: “The case for eating lots of carbs”… Or if you teach others to blog, it might be: “Why blogging sucks”… or whatever it is for your market and brand. Just remember to have that payoff early in the email.
Go forth and write! I hope this article gave you the courage and tools you need to write some highly-clickable subject lines.
For more subject line templates (and a whole lot more on writing emails), you can download a free copy of my book, “Email Emperor” which teaches a simple email system to writing profitable emails in 30 minutes or less.
To get it, head over here:
Psssst… This is part a “brainstorm” for a kindle book I’m writing: “The ‘Foolproof’ Guide To Writing Highly-Readable Emails… Even If You’re Not A Good Writer”. To be notified when the book launches, click the link above and put your info in the box.