Email Subject Lines and Email Topics
E-mail marketing makes you so much money. If you got a list and you got some people that have bought some stuff from you and you keep up communication with it, that is the key to riches online.
A lot of it stems from the 80/20 rule.
So what’s the 80/20 rule with e-mail marketing? It’s really the email headlines . It’s really the type of content that you send to your list and how you handle your list. Everything else is secondary. I know a lot of people know these fancy little sniper tactics that maybe boost response incrementally by 1 percent or 2 percent, but I’m not interested in incremental. I’m interested in exponential.
And really if you just learn how to write good email subject lines and know what topics to say next to your list, you’re going to crush it.
So all about e-mail marketing subject lines and topics: why should you take the time to really get good at this? 80 percent of your results will come from just your headline alone.
It’s 4/5 of any type of communication that you give to people is your effective email suject lines, and 4 out of 5 times it’s going to determine whether or not that person reads from you.
Now some people will read from you just because it’s you, but a majority of people will not read from you unless the headline is appropriate for them. Now with the best email subject lines and the right topic, the e-mail will practically write itself.
I don’t focus really on any mechanics.
I write pretty much whatever comes to my mind. The only thing I concentrate on are three things:
What is the call to action going to be?
Because every single e-mail I send out has some sort of specific action I request my list to take. Sometimes it’s to buy a product. Sometimes it’s to sign up for something. Sometimes it’s to give me feedback. Sometimes it’s just to go out and do something and prosper from it. But every time I have some sort of conclusion I want them to follow. I have something I want them to go out and do after my e-mail.
So I come up with that.
I come up with the topic of the e-mail: what the content’s going to be about. And then the follow up email subject line. And then as soon as I got those, I just speed write the e-mail. I write it as fast as I can and get it right out there.
Master this so you don’t really need to learn anything else.
That’s absolutely true.
All of the techniques that I’ve really learned have came from topic selection, headline, and call to action stuff. Everything else, I tell you, you could study till you’re blue in the face, but e-mail copy: all the other stuff is secondary to that stuff. So this is what you really want to master so let’s get right to it.
I want you to ask yourself this: what are the e-mails you find yourself always opening?
The ones that no matter what, when they come through they’re the first ones you open.
Well, without a doubt the ones that most frequently get opened are those from long lost friends or acquaintances or friends.
But the ones that really get opened are those long, lost friends; those people that you used to go to high school with, and they then come and say, “Hey, Jason. I found your e-mail here. What have you been up to? This is what I’ve been up to.”
So you read their e-mail to see what’s been going on because you haven’t heard from them for a while. Those are the e-mails that get opened up a ton.
Same thing with old acquaintances, family members, bosses, your boss, co-worker. These are the majority of ones that will give most of your e-mails.
Because there’s a relationship there.
And really why are you opening them up? You’re seeing what’s going on in their life. What’s going on next in their life? What are they up to? What do they want from you? Because you have that connection.
So think about that. What’s going on in their life? What are they up to now?
That’s the type of feeling up your prospects to have with your e-mails so they treat it like it’s a long, lost acquaintance that’s sending them.
And that’s really going to help you know how to write your e-mails and knowing how to be entertaining in your e-mails and knowing how to be informative in your e-mails.
Now these are all ahead of marketing communication. The really great marketing communication that you open up all the time is those that come at the right time, and let me give you an example of this.
A couple years ago I was like, “Oh man. I want to create a membership site.”
At that time I didn’t really know much about internet marketing, but for some reason I got it into my head that a membership site was the way to go.
And then guess what? I woke up and thought that morning. I went down and checked my e-mail, and then right in my e-mail inbox Jason James was promoting his new membership site “Riches“. Like literally 30 seconds after I thought about it I seen this headline, “How to Build Membership Sites Easily.”
Something like that. I clicked on it because it came to me at the exact right time. And that got my awareness.
Now how can you control that? It’s very hard for you to personally tap into that.
The only thing you can do is know the marketplace and know what kind of cycles they go through to hit the majority, but really those are so hard to control. So you really want to focus more on writing it like this thing here.
This is the thought process behind it; to write it like it’s an e-mail coming from a long, lost friend or acquaintance and you want to see what they’re up to next because those are the ones that get opened a lot.
So first thing you want to do is pay attention to how friends write their e-mail subject lines. Now I’m not saying that you should swipe them and use them directly, but try to understand the process behind it.
And I’ll give you some examples here.
You’ll find things like “oh my god” — “OMG.” That’s what that stands for. “WTF” — “what the ‘F’.” “Hey, Jason,” or just “Hey, Bob. What’s up?” or something like that. “Just checking in. Tomorrow night — what are you doing tomorrow night?” Etc. etc. “Laugh out loud” in the headlines.
Note the point behind it all is it’s a casual tone. It’s two friends exchanging casual pleasantries. That is what those e-mails are.
So you want to tie in to that kind of stuff, that kind of e-mail in your headline. You want to touch on a very casual level, casual yet open more than formal.
At the same time if you pick up on the lexicon, the daily language, of these types of friendly acquaintances and how they exchange their e-mails, add a little bit to that. Throw in the huge benefits, of course.
Throw in the exciting stuff and all the regular marketing stuff, but really supercharge your headlines with these kind of friendly conversational words that you notice that friends exchange when they send e-mails.
Your goal then is this:
Before writing your headline always ask yourself:
“How would I write this headline if I were sending it to a friend?“
That’s really good. That’s really good. That’s the first start of when you’re coming up with your headlines.
Then the second step is just to add a hook
He’d write a headline, and I’d say, “Okay, what’s the hook in it?”
And he’d be like, “Oh, okay.” Then he’d write another one.
I’d say, “What’s the hook in it?” And he’s like, “Oh, there is no hook. I see what you’re saying.”
The point is a hook is a unique and interesting approach to the subject matter.
And ideally you want to find the most unique slant that is also relevant. So sometimes I see hooks, and I think they’re okay, but they’re not really knocking it out of the park.
They’ll be like, “What do Bigfoot, dominoes, and three old ladies have in common with you making money online?” Yeah, that’s a hook because you normally don’t see that stuff, but a lot of people just roll their eyes because it’s such an apparent play on trying to get you to click and read it.
You got to be a little bit more subtle than that.
But what you do here in this case
We have this offer where we’re going to put a hundred dollars of our own money on the line to get people to sign up for this “traffic challenge” that I called it. It was a challenge — this product. So that was one hook, and the other hook is there was only 72 hours to it. So I’m like, “Those are the two big unique things.”
So we want to try to come up with a subject line that encapsulates one of those are both of those. And so we bounced some back and forth, and basically it said, “I got a Ben Franklin that says you’ll get over a thousand unique visitors in the next 30 days.” Something like that.
The hook in that case was Ben Franklin — the money on the line — but we said it in a casual tone.
Notice how it was very casual: a Ben Franklin. That’s not a word that you normally see in a subject headline. So we tied in the marketing communication with kind of a friendly, casual tone plus the hook, and that’s how we came up with the headline.
I’ll give you some other examples here. When we launched a stand alone product here was my headline: “Me and this guy created 72 products last year.”
Okay, first of all, “me and this guy.” This is friendly. Notice how I’m using what I’m talking about here. It’s a friendly conversation.
Then the huge hook is “Who the hell creates 72 products in one year?” And the other thing I did here is I played on this even more casual is incorrect grammar. I know this isn’t correct — “me and this guy” — but again I’m going for that friendly conversation. “This guy and I”: you very rarely say that in a conversational tone; so that’s why I went “me and this guy.”
The second reason is you very rarely see headlines that start off with “me;” so that was a little bit more novelty. But the point of this is this got incredible open rates.
Here’s another one that got great open rates: “John Vianny gets D- on copywriting test.” Okay, the hook here is that I’m a copywriter; I just failed this test.
The point is it’s like two friends communicating with each other because you want to open the e-mail and say, “What’s John up to now? What’s going on in John’s life right now?”
See how I’m tapping into this with the long, lost acquaintances or friends and family members?
You want to say it like right here. “How would I write this headline if I were sending it to a friend? What are they up to now?” That’s what you’re thinking about here. “John Vianny gets D- on copywriting test.” At the same time it has that kind of a newsy sound to it. That’s just advanced stuff, but the point of the matter is that I took the hook and I tied it in with that friendly e-mail conversation that two people exchange with each other and came up with a really good e-mail headline.
If you do nothing else, though, if nothing else do this: Just look at the types of headlines that everyone else in your industry is using and don’t use those, especially in internet marketing.
Because if you’re on one list, chances are you’re on twenty or thirty e-mail lists. And if you pay attention to the e-mail headlines, almost all of them look exactly the same.
It’s terrible how much people just copy each other, and it’s usually this “big benefit, big benefit, big benefit.” And then occasionally “scare you to death.”
But it’d be like, “How to get unlimited traffic in 27 days or less guaranteed” or “These three things will double your business in 90 days.” Those don’t have hooks to them. Everybody can make those claims. There’s no uniqueness to it.
And notice how: let’s go back to these headlines. This has no explicit benefit to it. “Me and this guy created 72 products last year.” There’s no explicit benefit to that at all. There’s an implicit one that says, “Maybe we might show you, too, but we’re not telling you that.” “John Vianny gets D- on copywriting test.” There is no benefit promised in these headlines at all, just like your friend when they write you that e-mail.
They don’t say, “Hey dude! Get a million pounds of muscle in 30 days! Check it out!” And so you’ve got to incorporate that. And so everybody else in the industry is doing those big, fat benefits, and so don’t do those.
Now if you’re in an industry where nobody is using those, then those are the best e-mails to use by far. But they’re just so devalued these days. They don’t have the impact that they did because they don’t have that hook, that twist, any more. So that’s what it is about headlines.
Now where to get topics for e-mail. It’s good to have a little system in place. I’m going to give you a glimpse of my system here.
Basically there’s five main types of communication that you can do with your list.
There’s hard sell communication, soft sell communication, presale communication, straight relationship-building communication, and post-selling.
Once you’ve got an idea of the categories here that you can hit your list with, then it becomes very easy for you to craft topics for your e-mails because all of them have one of five objectives.
They’re either going to sell you very hard on buying something. They’re either going to butter you up and soft sell you on buying something, put it in your mind. They’re going to get you excited to buy something here in the near future. They’re going to increase the relationship you have with your list. They’re going to want to trust you more. They’re going to look at you as their consumer advocate. They’re going to want to really go deeper with their relationship that they have with you and buying more stuff from you.
There’s that type of content, and then there’s one where they just bought something from you and you really want to make sure that they stick with it and get the most out of it and show that you care, and this is also kind of a relationship, too.
Those are your five main types of communications you’re going to get into. So let’s discuss some of them.
Hard sell. These are the type of e-mails “Hey, this product just launched. It’s only going to be $27 for the next 48 hours. Then it’s going to go up to $47. You want to get in now before this offer’s gone forever. So hurry up. Act fast. Buy now.” Boom. It’s a very good hard sell.
That’s especially if you’re doing product launches, or it could just be if you’re promoting an affiliate product and you want to hard sell it.
You just come out and say, “Man, I checked this product out. This product is awesome. It does this, this, and this. This is what I did in my business, and this is what it did for me. I really recommend it, and in fact I’m throwing in three extra bonuses if you buy through my affiliate link, but these bonuses are only available for the next 72 hours so you better act now. ”
These are hard sells.
Another type of hard sell is “You know, I normally don’t get so enthusiastic about something, but this is so good that I just absolutely — I’m going to just really go after it, really get you to buy this because this is so awesome.”
Those are the type of tones you take in those e-mails, etc.
What you might want to do — and I have no problem coming up with these — but if you have some problems, look through your past e-mails and then look at the ones that are hard sells and create a little hard sell swipe file.
These are the 7 most common angles that people come after you with when they hard sell you. Or have ten ways that you can hard sell somebody — boom.
There’s your system. So whenever you need a hard sell in your e-mail, you just go to one of your swipe files and you write an e-mail kind of based on that same slant. Like I said, I don’t personally do that because I don’t have to do that. I pretty much got them all in my head, but that’s something to consider.
The soft sell approach. Pretty much this is the basis premise. There are some permutations I’ll get into here in a second. But the soft sell is great information plus a one or two sentence pitch.
For example, a good soft sell that got me some good money is I interviewed a guy who bought one of my products, and he went out and used that, and then pretty soon he was making over $40 — or maybe it was the ghostwriting. I can’t remember.
He made over $40 an hour within a week after taking my stuff. And I’m like, “Cool, man. Great case study.”
So I interviewed him over the phone, and then I posted it in one of my blogs. And somewhere in the blog I mentioned just offhandedly in one or two sentences that I have a product that teaches how to do this, too. But the main focus was actually relationship. I was giving them something for nothing. But I put a little soft sell pitch in there, too. And then some people bought that.
Another soft sell approach that I like to use is create a free report that has a killer amount of information in it, and then at the end have a resource section with all your products.
One time I did that and I got $500 from a single e-mail on a soft sell, where I didn’t pitch a single thing but it was just in my resource section because the content in that report was so freaking good.
So the basic premise is your primary objective is to educate them or to give them something of value, and then your secondary objective is to very calmly, slyly, quietly, in one or two sentences say, “Oh by the way, I have something that might help you with this.”
And then they jump on your sales page and that’s where you hard sell them.
That’s the soft sell approach.
And again, there’s several different ways that you can soft sell people, and it might be good to see how different people are going out there and just slyly slipping in one or two sentences to pitch a product here and there.
There are different to do that, and you create your own little checklist.
Pre-sell content. This is like if you’re doing product launches or you’re getting somebody in the right frame of mood to buy here in the near future. It’s really simple.
The way that I do it is there’s basically four or five different ways you can pre-sell somebody. You can pre-sell them by showing them your proof elements on the results you got yourself; the social proof elements, the results you got from other people; really good information up front, like your best thing, your best piece of information up front for free. Boom.
You drip them on them.
All the benefits they can get from it.
The scarcity involved in the offer, the uniqueness involved in the offer. All these different things — the story of the offer. Basically you take your whole sales page and you break it down into little chunks.
And you drip that content on them over time so you might hit them with the pre-sell the first thing or you might hit them with your proof.
Then the second day might come through and you might explain the offer of everything they’re going to get. The third day you might give them your one biggest piece of advice.
The fourth day you explain your scarcity, and then the fifth day you launch it and then you hard sell them.
So these are all the four e-mails previous were pre-sell.
The fifth one was the hard sell.
The idea is to drip benefits and to drip things about your product and point out the uniqueness of your upcoming offer. You’re educating them in advance.
You can also use pre-selling to ask for feedback and handle objections. So you could simply say,
“Hey, I’m putting the finishing touches on this product. It’s going to be ready in about a week. Before I do I want to make sure this is the ultimate guide, so if you would kindly hit reply to this e-mail and just tell me the two things that you would absolutely be delighted to have me cover in this and handle these for you. Thank you very much.“
And then they send you their responses, and a lot of them will have objections. And then you come back with an e-mail that says, “A majority of people were asking about this, this, and this. Here is why this, this, and this is no longer a problem with my techniques.”
Then you go on to explain the solutions. You counter and diffuse their objections so then when it’s done it seems like your product is the ultimate solution.
That’s pre-sell content.
Straight relationship content is you give them valuable free stuff for nothing and you ask nothing in return. Sometimes something in the news — this is really good for relationship content. You might say, “Okay, guys. I noticed this might affect us as _______ in the niche,” or whatever.
If you’re in the dog food niche, “Dog food recall.” Something about how they’re under tremendous or whatever like that.
Something that’s happening new.
You’re breaking the story to them before anyone else.
That’s good relationship-building stuff. So is free valuable stuff.
The other thing is “Warning — don’t buy this kind of stuff.” I got recently sued or threatened to sue. I didn’t get actually sued because I told people on my list. I said, “Don’t buy this product. Everybody’s promoting it right now, but to be honest with you, I’ve tested it. I’ve looked behind it, tried it out. It sucks. It doesn’t do what it says it does. It’s deceptive advertising. Stay away from this at all costs.“
People really appreciate that because what you’re doing is looking out for their best interests, and you’re also doing something that most people are afraid to do, which is making a direct, firm stand on an issue even though it’s not going to make you popular with your peers, but you’re protecting your customers.
This is great for relationship building.
This is where after they bought your product or after they’ve gotten and downloaded your free product, you say, “Hey, I’m checking in just to make sure you got the product and also, if you have, have you used it yet? If so, could you please kindly share your results and any other feedback you have so I can make improvements and updates on this product.”
Stuff like that.
Then sometimes I even send out another post-sell to them or I’ll just send them this as a post. I’ll say, “Hey, thank you so much for downloading the report. I know that if you really go and use it you’re going to get tremendous results like…“
…and then you drop in two or three results that you personally got and you say, “However, I know sometimes people get busy and the real world knocks at your door and you don’t get a chance to go through this. So if you haven’t read this report and you don’t have a lot of time, then do nothing else. If you do nothing else with this information, then please flip to page 5 and just read page 5. That’s got the most important powerful technique for…“
…and then give them a benefit. “So if you do nothing else, please do that. And I know if you do that you’re going to have all these great benefits.“
So what you’re doing is you’re getting them to consume your information after they’ve downloaded it.
This is great for relationship building, but it’s also good because people then will go out and get results and then they’ll want to come buy more stuff from you, and it shows that you care. And it could be just simply checking in. “Hey, Jason here. Just checking in making sure you got everything all right. Is there anything else that I can do or help you with?“
So that’s the five basic topics.
So this is when you learn how to write e-mails, and then always have your objective here for your call to action that’s going to relate to these 5 main topics, and you should be pretty good for your e-mail, headlines, and your topics.