Best Email Subject Lines of the Week

#fastlain feature: “Flop or Fly.”

I get a lot of email. (100+ a day!)

I delete most of it, but a few grab me. Every week I will be announcing 5 winning and losing email subject lines, and why they worked or flopped. Stay tuned to soon start to seeing a pattern — and to review your own subject lines with a more critical eye.


#1: “Learn How to Drive Conversions Using Sniply”

From: Snip.ly

Why it works: Simple. Direct. Value-driven. What’s not to love?

How you can use this: Start with a clear value statement. Sometimes that’s all you need for a great subject line.


#2: “This is why I got sent to the principal’s office every week”

From: Nagina at MasalaBody.com

Why it works: Why WOULDN’T you open this? Personal story + intrigue = CLICK.

How you can use this: Got a great story to share? Give a hint and then DELIVER. (Remember, though, that it should tie into your overall message and provide value to your reader.)


#3: “Fail Your Way To The Top!”

From: Buck Books

Why it works: I love the counter-intuitive value provided here.

How you can use this: Turn common advice on its head.


#4: “Your audience is not your ATM”

From: Melanie Duncan

Why it works: Melanie’s bold statement also ties into a common annoyance — treating your email list or your market as your “money tree.” So I was glad to see her address this!

How can you use this: Take a position! Be bold! And protect your people. 🙂


#5: “This 26-Year Old Spends Her Days Inventing New Candy Flavors”

From: Fast Company

Why it works: So many good things going on. “This 26-year-old is compelling;” we want to know WHICH one. This works so much better than simply using her name. And inventing candy flavors? Fun, entertaining, and unusual.

How you can use this: Think about leaving out key pieces of info to up the curiosity quotient.


Now, the flops:

#1: “Baratunde Thurston published in Noteworthy by Medium Staff”

From: Medium.com

Why it flops: It has no interest and makes no sense to me.

How you can avoid this: Give people a reason to care.

My rewrite: “He’s got something to say — and you should listen”


#2: “Announcement: You’re eligible for a chance to earn ink rewards”

From: Staples.com

Why it flops: Duh, of course it’s an announcement. And making a big deal about a program I’ve participated in for years is just silly. It’s not news.

How you can avoid this: Don’t email unless you have something interesting, new, or different to share. Otherwise, why bother?

My rewrite: “Earn 2x Points on Ink This Week ONLY”


#3: “5 Things No One Tells You About IVF”

From: a parenting site

Why it flops: This is like a negative-10 on the relevance scale.

How you can avoid this: Again, make me care! Give a hint as to what the “secret” is so even someone who’s not in the IVF market would be interested.

My rewrite: “IVF made me a blonde” 


#4: “Do you use [insert specific software program]?”

From: online marketer

Why it flops: I don’t use that specific software, so I deleted.

How you can avoid this: Don’t ask a question people can answer with a “no.”

My rewrite: “[Software Program] Can Save You 10 Hours a Week — Why Aren’t You Using It?”


#5: “The Millionaire Mindset”

From: an Internet Marketer

Why it flops: Trite. Vague. Could come from ANYONE.

How you can avoid this: Write a subject line only YOU can write.

My rewrite: “How One Simple Change in Thinking Generated Seven Figures in One Year”


The upshot: If you don’t have something interesting to say, don’t email!

Got your own submissions? List them in the comments below!

Best Email Subject Lines of the Week

#fastlain feature: “Flop or Fly.”

I get a lot of email. (100+ a day!)

I delete most of it, but a few grab me. Every week I will be announcing 5 winning and losing email subject lines, and why they worked or flopped. Stay tuned to soon start to seeing a pattern — and to review your own subject lines with a more critical eye.


#1: “Tasty Keto Breakfast Alternatives”

From: WickedStuffed

Why it works: This one hits right at the value it provides. I love that it’s upfront and clear. You don’t have to guess at what you’re going to get when you open.

How you can use this: Remember: “Clarity over Clever.” Share your value clearly and your readers can’t help but be attracted to your offerings.


#2: “How she dealt with bullying (now 25 million fans)”

From: Lewis Howes

Why it works: Lewis hit a couple of hot buttons here: The idea of bullying, which is a hot topic right now. Then there’s the social proof of “25 million fans.” And finally, intrigue by not naming names. We all want to know who “she” is!

How you can use this: We’ve talked about “layering” before. This is a great example of pulling in several triggers to make an okay subject line into a real winner. Once you have a clear, value-driven subject line, ask how you can add a few more elements to make it even more compelling.


#3: “This one trick can increase your conversions…”

Fromhttp://systems.ly/

Why it works: I’m a huge fan of ellipses (…). It provides the “open loop” without being too gross about it. Plus, it’s value-driven and simple (ONE trick… not 45!).

How you can use this: Use punctuation to your benefit, and remember: One trick people can use NOW is better than 24 they have to sort through.


#4: “The #1 Content Platform? (Cheat Sheet Enclosed)”

From:Pay Flynn of SmartPassiveincome.net

Why it works: Pat did a great job of combining several elements. We’ve got value (he’s going to answer a question we’d all like to know the answer to), plus a content upgrade (cheat sheet — hurray!). Finally, by asking a question he gets our brains involved. I’m immediately wondering, “Podcasting? Blogging? Videos?” And then I want the answer!

How can you use this: Ask a question that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Your readers’ minds will go into high gear trying to answer the question.


#5:“Is it too early for peaches?”

From: an online neighborhood message board

Why it works: This was so out of the ordinary I couldn’t help but read the email!

How you can use this: Sometimes, coming out of left field can be a huge pattern interrupt. If you can tie the non-sequitur to your message, go for it. But don’t be strange just for the attention. It’s got to work with your brand and message.


Now, the flops:

#1: “SaaS Website Mistakes: 6 Dire You’re Still Making”

From: an Internet Marketer

Why it flops: First, it doesn’t make sense. “6 Dire You’re Still Making?” Waat? Plus, I don’t have an SaaS website. And “dire” is a loaded word implying life and death. I have trouble believing any of the mistakes I’m making are really THAT bad.

How you can avoid this: Be relevant. Be comprehensible. And don’t overstate your point.

My rewrite: “6 Website Mistakes That Are Killing Your SaaS Business”


#2: “3 Steps to Success”

From: From a Udemy.Com Instructor

Why it flops: Zzzzzz…. Boring. Not specific.

How you can avoid this: Don’t be generic. Write an email that other businesses can’t write.

My rewrite: “You’re only 3 steps away from financial independence.”


#3: “PTO Starts now”

From: an Online Retailer

Why it flops: What the heck does it mean? I thought “PTO” was “paid time off.” but why is an online retailer sending me that? Particularly when I’m not an employee?

How you can avoid this: Make sense! Always.

My rewrite: “Vacation Starts Now. Let’s Celebrate!”


#4: “Become Atlassian product pros with training at Summit”

From: Altlassianevents.com

Why it flops: First, I never subscribed to this email list. Second. What is Atlassian? Third, this is grammatically incorrect. Fourth, who cares?

How you can avoid this: Be relevant. Don’t spam people. And give value, always.

My rewrite: “Join us in August and all your wildest dreams will come true.” I have no idea who these people are or what they do, so I figured I’d have some fun. 🙂 


#5: “My New Book….FREE!”

From: an Internet Marketer

Why it flops: I don’t care about your book until you MAKE me care about it.

How you can avoid this: People care about how your product or service can help them, not how they can help YOU.

My rewrite: “506 tips for improving your business — FREE!” 


The upshot: Remember the hierarchy of Clarity + Value FIRST. If you do that, you’re golden.

Got your own submissions? List them in the comments below!

The Perfect Cold Pitch Email

Okay, I lied.

This post IS NOT about the perfect pitch email.

That’s because you should NOT be emailing people cold and pitching them.

Wot??

Seriously. Knock it off with the cold sales/pitch emails. 

C’mon. You know what I’m talking about. It’s probably happened to you:

You publish a new blog post about, say, the best books for entrepreneurs.

Next thing you know, your inbox is flooded with emails like this:

Apparently, because you wrote about business books ONCE, you now are looking for every post ever published that OTHER people have written about business books.

But that isn’t enough. If you don’t answer, you’ll be harassed with weekly emails asking if you saw the FIRST email.

FAIL.

Why? Well, there’s a number of reasons, but we’ll start with one:

You need to develop a relationship FIRST. If I don’t know who you are, the chance of your pitch getting through my filters (real or mental) is very low. But if you came from a place of wanting to establish a real connection, I’ll be much more likely to let my guard down.

So here’s what you do instead…

Reach out. Connect. Move your focus from YOU and what YOU want to THEM.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you have a web design business serving e-commerce companies. You read a Business Insider profile about someone who would be a PERFECT client. You want to email them and tell them, “Hey, I can help. Hire me!”

Don’t do it.

Sure, you’re telling yourself that you are coming from a place of offering value (because you want to HELP them.) But honestly, you’re not. You’re coming from a position of “Me. Give me money.”

There’s a better way.

Stop thinking of the transaction (they give you cash, you provide service.) Instead, think in the long term… that you want to develop a strong, robust, value-based network of professionals.

I wrote a sample for you. (Download a TEMPLATED version that will walk you through how to update it for your own outreach here.)

“Dear Janice-

Great profile on Business Insider last week!

I particularly appreciated the point you made about how technology is changing the face of e-commerce, and what you see as trends for next year. I totally agree that online retailers who don’t keep pace will face huge challenges.

I’m a web designer with many clients in the retail space, and I’ve heard many of the concerns you spoke about in your profile. Would you be open to hopping on a call so I can get to know more about you and your services? I often come into contact with people who may be looking for your expertise, and I’d love to be able to refer them on if they’re a good fit.

Would next Wednesday afternoon work for you to chat for about 15 minutes? Feel free to suggest a time, or to send me your online calendar if that’s easier.

Best,

Lain”

See the difference? It’s all about you helping them — with no expectation. It’s a true offer of no-strings-attached value.

Of course, somewhere down the line you are hoping they might hire you. Or refer someone to you. But that’s NOT what you’re leading with.

Lead with value, not with an “ask.”

P.S. Do NOT email me with fifteen other blog posts about pitching that you’d like me to link to.