Best Email Subject Lines

Subject lines matter. A lot.

And yet BIG marketers still don’t get this.

Last month, as I sat in a taxi on the way to another eye doctor appointment (my vision is now 20/30 and getting slightly better every day), I had a consultation phone call with another big name fitness info marketer.

What should my email open rates be?”  he asked.

Given that his list is 125,000 buyers (not prospects, but actual BUYERS), he should have an open rate of about 25%.

But my client said, “Our open rate varies between 10-20%.”

“Wait, isn’t Joel writing your emails for you?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied, “those are the ones that get the 20% open rate. The ones I write only get about 10%.”

So there was the problem. It was in his subject lines.

It’s not hard to write good curiosity based subject lines. Joel Marion writes one every day. Just get on his list at and watch and learn. Recently at ETR we split-tested a promo email. By improving the email subject line, we increased the open rate from 12% to 14.5%. That’s good for our free list.

But what really mattered is that we went from 2200 clicks in 12% email to 5500 clicks in the 14.5% email.

That’s incredibly important, because you only make the sale if you can get the click, and getting the click starts with getting the email opened.

Each one of those clicks is worth about a dollar.

We doubled the money we make from that email.

Obviously, that means your job is to create better subject lines.

To help you out, here are the best subject lines from the 2012 ETR emails. You can’t copy them, but you can model them for your specific market place. Each percentage point you can increase your opens will make a big difference in the amount of money coming your way.

(With our list, the average open rate is 12%, so anything above 14% gets my attention.)

  1.     In Memory – 19%
  2.     The Truth About Tiger Woods – 17.2%
  3.     The Most Dangerous Book You Could Read – 16.6%
  4.     4 Foods NEVER to Eat – 16.4%
  5.     Picture of my office in Thailand 15.9
  6.     D’oh! – 15.4%
  7.     The Speech to End All Speeches – 15.1%
  8.     5 Memory-Killing Foods You Should Never Eat – 15%
  9.     The Delayed Secret to Lifetime Success – 14.9%
  10.     #1 way to boost your bank account – 14.9%
  11.     XX Your Life – 14.9%
  12.     How to Quit Your Job in 10 Months – 14.8%
  13.     5 Foods Never to Eat – 14.8% (OMG, what would happen if we did 6 Foods? LOL)
  14.     This is a bank account changer… – 14.7%
  15.     How the Law of Attraction Really Works 14.65
  16.     The Truth About Luck – 14.6%
  17.     Warning: This may offend you – 14.6%
  18.     We Lost One of the Great Ones – 14.6%
  19.     The Secret to Ben Franklin’s Success – 14.58%
  20.     How Top CEOs Read Books in 12 Minutes… – 14.5%
  21.     How to Kiss Your Job Goodbye in 2013 – 14.5%
  22.     Here is Your #1 Bank Account Booster – 14.46%
  23.     Your #1 problem today – 14.3%
  24.     Tear Down This Wall – 14.15%
  25.     The Great Kindle Challenge? – 14.1%

And here’s a good one that worked in my fitness business recently. Once in a while I use the line (PRINT this out) in parentheses. It boosts the open rate.

A good trick is the brackets (Add a curiosity-based side note)

The solution to better email subject lines are right in front of your face. Get on the following email lists:

Joel Marion’s fitness list –
Joel’s nutrition list –
Ryan Deiss –
TT –

Those are money in the bank,
Craig Ballantyne

Knowing what to do is worthless without the commitment to taking action on this knowledge. Worse is procrastinating on action by chasing more knowledge. Don’t get caught in that trap. Get what you need to know and then start taking little tests.