Email subject lines people will open

Getting people to open your email is tough. You’re competing directly against the bazillion other things each of your recipients could be doing when they get your email. So instead of scrolling Instagram some more or looking out the window, they choose to open your email and read it.

But there is a very simple protocol for writing email subject lines that get people to open.

  1. Determine what the irresistible reason for opening is. What I mean is, what is so compelling about the content of your email that the receiver must open it to see what’s inside? Maybe it’s a piece of information that unlocks something the receiver dearly wants. Maybe it’s a discount so good that the person receiving it would be irresponsible to not open the email. Figure out what the reason for opening is.
  2. Write the reason for opening in as few words as possible. So if the reason for opening is “You’ll learn something in this email that can help you make more money” then the shortest possible way of saying that is “Learn how to make money” but you can go even shorter to “How to make money” but you can take out the how to and just say “Make money.”
  3. Add in action words. Now that we have our shortest possible line of “Make money” we can add an action word. So for example “Make money now” or “Passive ways to make money” or “Make money fast” “Now” “Passive” and “Fast” are just a few of the action words you could use. Be careful though, do not add too many words here. If you add too many words your subject line can quickly get out of control and become too long.
  4. Add in pronouns and adjectives. “How you can make money now” “I made money in this easy way” “Jeff made money with this simple method” we’re adding in pronouns or proper nouns in the case of a name, and we’re adding in descriptive words like “How” “Can” “Way” to spice up the subject line. We are still aiming for using as few words as possible with the subject line. Remember, people anchor on to the reason why they are clicking, in this case to “make money” and that’s what really matters, you are simply adding in the rest of the words to make the subject line more compelling and unique.

Remember that when it comes to writing subject lines, practice makes perfect. I will often write out 10-20 iterations of a subject line, starting with just a word dump, then going down to the shortest possible version, and finally adding back in words to make it compelling.

When in doubt, go shorter, shorter subject lines are better.

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