The Best Email Subject Line Based on Results from 88 Real Emails

Ryan Healy

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For the last year, I've been building a list of copywriters, advertisers, and marketers. During that time, I have sent my members 88 emails. I track the open rates for every email I send to see which subject lines do the best.

Why do I do this?

Simply because it helps me to know how to write better subject lines in the future, not only for me, but also for the clients who hire me to write sales copy for them.

A little background: I do my best to keep all my emails focused on subject matter I know would interest my readers. If I do not, people will start unsubscribing like crazy. My readers come to me for information about direct response copywriting, not about, let's say. . . spirituality.

Well, here's the thing. I'm a spiritual guy. And a firestorm erupted on a blog where I had posted a comment about a sensitive spiritual issue. I wanted my readers to see what had happened. And I wanted them to see a “more human, less business" side of me.

Anyway, as I was thinking about how I would write this email, and how I would communicate its uniqueness in the subject line, I came up with what I thought would work well.

Turns out, it worked great!

Out of the 88 emails I've sent, it got double the open rate of almost every single one, with few exceptions. What's more, it got 62% more opens than the best subject line I had written up to that point.

The irony of it all is that I wasn't promoting anything whatsoever. I wasn't even promoting my own blog!

So what was the subject line? Here it is: a most Unusual & Odd request

A couple things about this subject line.

  1. The use of lowercase words and the ampersand (&) increases the email's “inbox visibility. "

  2. People want to read things that are out of the ordinary. The subject line clearly communicates this.

Just so you know the results I got are not a fluke, I used it in an autoresponder I created for a client of mine. He reported back that it was getting an unusually high number of opens and replies. People were reading the email and then responding with personal notes!

Anyway, you might try using this subject line at some point. Or perhaps use the same concept with a twist. I think you'll be happy with the results.

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