Email should be one of your main sources of communication with prospects and customers. And as such improving the open rate, read-through rate, click-through rate, etc… must be on the top of your focus list.

Over the next few paragraphs I’ll be sharing with you everything I know about subject lines and improving the performance of your emails. Whether you’ve just started building an email subscriber base or you have thousands of contacts already on your list. Using one or multiple of these tricks below will result in higher conversion and consequently increase your bottom line.

Let’s dive in…

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  • The Opening

With mobile now passing the tipping point and smartphones being the preferred device of usage, over 65% of emails are read on a mobile device. Which means you now have to peak curiosity and get right to the point in the first few words of your subject lines.

Just as you would write the Headline in a sales page or ad copy you would treat the Subject Line along those lines, BUT focus on getting your message across and curiosity in the first few words.

For example, consider these two:

“Discover the secret technique to double your open rates”

“Double your open rates with this sneaky trick”

“Discover the…” is normally used as a headline opener but with the second example you know what the email offers right up-front. You get the concept?

The key takeaway is to make sure the sexy part is front and center or mobile users won’t be hooked.

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  • You

“You” an incredibly powerful word when used as part of your subject line.

How YOU can make an extra 5K

You can do this

You will learn how

I will show you the process I used

You won’t believe the response

With you being one of the 5 most persuasive words in English, it’s not a surprise that whenever we implemented it in our email subject lines our open rates were always higher.

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  • Curiosity

One of my favorite techniques to use in a headline, subject line, ad… to get the attention of the targeted audience and then sell them our message.

Why is it so effective? Think about it!

Driving down the street and on the other side of the median you see flashing lights and what looks to be a possible accident with police officers and an ambulance. What do you do? You SLOW DOWN, you look… and sometimes as stupid as it sounds you might ask your friend, wife, … in the passenger seat “what happened” (:) I do this a lot as if they’re psychic)

Why? CURIOSITY, we have a deeply curious nature!

Let’s look at a couple of ways you can do this.

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The Trick/Secret Method


We all like to think that someone out there has the secret sauce of doing things better, faster and we need to discover it, for example:

Subject Line Trick Doubles Open Rates

Simple Secret To Boost Sales

This Ad Tick Make Me $3,588

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The Reality Shift Method


Whenever a reader can’t process what they’re actually reading, it forces them to question it and continue on reading.

The Elephant Told Me…

DO NOT BEND: Photo’s enclosed!

But be careful with these as you need to make sure whenever you use this kind of subject lines you have to back it up immediately and tie it in with the message, or you’ll fail miserably.

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  • Questions

The goal of all subject lines should be to interrupt the contact’s pattern while scanning through their messages. Asking questions is a great way to make the contact pause as it causes them to think, about your email.

Ask them questions that spark curiosity, questions they would like answers to and even questions that might confuse them.

Did you get the package?

2 minutes a day?

Have you seen these results?

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  • Specificity

Use specific information like percentages or dollar amounts as it gets the contact to be more interested in what you have to say, couple examples below:

72% Increase in CTR in under 2 minutes

How To Decrease Facebook CPC by up to 90%

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  • Lists

You’ve probably seen samples of these all over the place because they work. And they work especially when giving away a free pdf report and will increase the click through rate of your emails.

12 Tips For Writing Better Subject Lines

5 Steps To Getting Up Earlier

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  • Single Words

We’ve tested using single words now and again and it seems to have a higher open rate. If your market is used to receiving emails with long subject lines for example then using a single word as a subject line will stand out when they’re scrolling down their inbox. Even if it goes against conventional wisdom that the subject line must sell the opening.



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  • Controversial, Shocking or Negative

Only use these if it’s part of your persona and if your market will accept it. If you’re selling a product or service that will get your prospect’s kids into the highest level of education possible like MIT for example, then the last thing you want to be doing is telling the mom that her kid is stupid.

Your marketing sucks: Here’s the new Facebook Strategy

You will FAIL if you don’t’ take these steps

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  • Brackets

Not only do we use it in the email subject lines but have tested it in Facebook ads as well, this is a great way of framing what to expect in the email once opened.

Your 12 Step Process To Writing Headlines [PDF]

Your 5 Step Guide to Getting UP Earlier [VIDEO]

Please note that all these simple techniques are meant to be used by mixing and matching and not sticking to just one on every single email; otherwise it will lose its effectiveness.

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  • Humor

If you look at all the content that usually goes viral it usually has either an element of shock/surprise or humor. Most emails you receive are boring and adding a bit of humor will peak the curiosity level enough to be opened.

Touch Me! Mobile Interaction Design Tips

Do Gamers Dream of HTML5 Sheep?

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  • Personalization

Combine some of the elements I’ve mentioned above and add in personalization and you have the number one way to increase open rates. I’ve seen many marketers turn away from this over the years but if your target audience is of a specific niche, personalization wins hands down.

Mike, here is your free report [PDF]

Mike, your download is ready

You are invited Mike, can you make it?

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  • Scarcity

When you have a promotional sale in your business, if you look at your stats, when would you think your sales are made?

I bet the majority of your sales are made in the first and last day of your promotion. Why? Scarcity.

BUT here’s the thing – it has to be REAL.

You never want to use scarcity advising your market “I have 10 items left” or “this offer closes at midnight tonight” when in reality it will always be open and you have 100s of items left.

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  • Action Verbs

If you’re looking to convey a sense of emotion and to give the subject a sense of purpose try an action verb. For example instead of saying “Mike walked on to the stage” you should say “Mike exploded onto the stage”. It’s a different feeling isn’t it?

Think about where you can replace a word, a couple of words or an entire sentence with a more powerful word or phrase.

Well that’s it for now. If you’re like me you probably have received 1000s of emails over the years and I’m not sure if you do this yet but you should. Any subject line that grabs my attention or ones that stand out from the rest I save in a swipe file and I encourage you to do the same.

Also, if you really want to learn from the masters, the ones that actually get paid day in and day out to crank out great headlines, subject lines and copy, then you should head on over to The National Enquirer Site.

And, when trying anything out make sure to split test your subject lines on a small percentage of your list then send the winner to the rest.

Would love to know your favorite subject lines, just leave me a comment below.

Mike Abou Daher

Mike Abou Daher has been involved in Sales and Marketing for most of his working career. He truly feels he has some outstanding strategies and systems that could help you, and he'll do everything he can so you learn about them and act on them. "My Success Is Only Driven By Your Success" This has been his philosophy with everything he does.

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