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…”


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

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”


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.


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.


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.



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.


So You Want to Be a Writer…

I just got off the phone with a smart lady who thinks she might want to become a copywriter.


The world needs more smart copywriters. 🙂

This article will list some great resources for you if you’re interested in pursuing the path of the paid pen.

BUT… before you go out and buy a new Macbook Pro and a carton of Epson ink… there are a few things we have to get straight.

1. What kind of writer do you really want to be? Many people lump all writers together under one category of “copywriters,” but a copywriter, in the strictest sense, is someone who writes SALES copy:

That means direct sales pieces (postcards, sales letters, sales emails), sales pages, advertisements of all sorts… the list goes on.

And because you’re directly responsible for SALES, you’re usually compensated at a higher level than general content creators who write blog posts, reports, lead magnets, or even books.

So… what do you want to write? What topics would you like to write about? What type of content would you like to create? What do you NOT want to write (that’s often just as important!)? Do you want to write for the web? For publications? For company blogs? For radio or podcasts? It’s all open.

2. What skills do you have? Do you have experience writing video scripts or social media posts or books? What about checklists or articles or even legal briefs? All of that will help you find positions that others might not be qualified for.

And I’m not just talking about writing skills… you might have a background in medicine, or technology, or law, or a lot of experience in researching, all of which will give you a leg up in the job market. Yes, there’s a big need for writers… but to be paid at the higher levels, you’ll need a specialty to call your own.

3. What skills are you willing to acquire? If you want to be considered for the most lucrative copywriting positions, you’re going to need some specific training in sales writing. AND online sales writing is different than other types. You’re going to need to educate yourself through books, courses, or other training (see below for my suggestions!).

I’m thrilled to be able to regularly charge $1,500 – $2,000 or more for email sales sequences or sales pages… but it didn’t start out that way. I spent seven years studying marketing and testing, tweaking, and honing my craft with my own business. And I’ve then spent the last two years writing hundreds of thousands of words for my clients, producing some very real results.

I’ve read books, articles, and blogs, taken classes, and deconstructed other successful campaigns, pages, and emails to see what works… and I still do this! My education is never ending.

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re ready to start trolling the job boards (see below) to apply, apply, apply.

Good luck!



Neville’s Kopywriting Blog

Bushra Azhar’s Persuasion Revolution

#FastLain (duh!)


How to Write Copy That Sells: The Step-By-Step System for More Sales, to More Customers, More Often by Ray Edwards (Not the most creative or innovative approach, but he’ll give you a great grounding in the basics.)

This book will teach you how to write better: Learn how to get what you want, increase your conversion rates, and make it easier to write anything (using formulas and mind-hacks) by Neville Medhora (I appreciate Neville’s straightforward approach. Not fancy, but it works. Definitely the 80/20 approach to becoming a better writer.)

No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses by Dan Kennedy (One of the first — and best — books on sales writing. All his books are terrific.)

Job Boards:

Cult of Copy Job Board

Problogger Job Board

Bloggingpro Job Board

Simply Hired writing jobs