Well…this failed miserably

Your email subject lines need to Stand Out like the Empire State Building in the marketing landscape or you will just be forgotten.


I have written hundreds of blogs over the past 5 years.

Spent countless hours looking for the coolest images that will surprise and delight my readers (and myself).

For a longest time I had no idea if people actually even saw them or read them.

Mostly I’ve felt like my blogs and emails had been failures 🙁

Slowly, very slowly when I ran into someone in public they would say, “Oh I liked what you wrote”.

I couldn’t believe it, “Wow you did?”

And then they said it… “Yours are the only ones I actually open”.

How do you win people over, one email at a time?

It starts with your subject line…. If that sucks no one is going to open your email.

Yeah that’s right!

You gotta Stand Out from the get go.


So here is how to write awesome email subject lines that Stand Out, Get Noticed & Win your readers over.


1. The Questions Subject line: Gets the reader to think about how the subject matter applies to their own life. It arouses their curiosity and so they want to know more about the subject or they can relate to having had a similar experience.

Rebel Examples:  Hey want to chat? What’s your take on this? Are you ready to Quit? There is no way this is ever gonna work, is there?

2. The How to Subject Line: You can’t write a bad headline if it starts with How to… cause people just want to know. And it forces you to describe the content of the email in very clear language.

Rebel Examples: How to write awesome email subject lines that get open every time.

How to write sizzling copy that sells, How to get 1,000 new email subscribers in 24 hours.

The key is to focus on the benefits not the process. Focus on the results or transformation they will get. No one wants or needs another process (ugh).

3. The Scarcity Subject Line: Scarcity is a powerful driver of human behavior. Adding a time or limited availability gets readers to open before it’s too late and take action. When something is in short supply our FEAR of missing out kicks in and we are compelled to take fast action.

Rebel Examples: Last time to get this offer before the New Year, Find out if you should attend today! We are doing this one last time, then it’s gone, Last chance for 90% off (my fav from Black Friday).

One of Our Biggest Fears is Missing Out on Something


You have to make sure that your offer is important to your reader before you use Scarcity to compel your reader to take action, otherwise time or availability is not relevant to them.

TIP: Bust this out when you are doing an email campaign and you are towards the end of it. When you are shutting it (offer or shopping cart) down. The last minute is when most people will jump in and buy.

4. The Announcing or Newsy Subject line: Using the words Introducing and New in the subject line gives the reader the feeling this is something now that you have never offered before. And they bet to be the first to get it.

Rebel Examples: The hottest new book marketing strategy was just released today: My New Success Roadmap, or this one from my friend Keri Murphy, Introducing the New Inspired Living.

5. Numbers Subject Line: Using numbers in your subject line gives it a structure for the content and sets the expectation of your reader. Besides people love steps and numbers.

Rebel Examples: Get 3 Ideal Clients in 27 Days, even if you don’t know anyone. 3 ways you can get noticed networking and command any room, 10x your revenue in 3 easy steps.

When you use numbers you are stressing how easy it is especially then using a lower numbers like 3 or 5. If you are stressing value then use higher numbers like: 20 ways to increase your revenue today! Or my other favorite from the dating site Match.com “You have 24 new matches”.

6. Surprise and Delight Subject Line (my favorite): Using surprise in your subject line causes the reader to pause when scanning their email box. It ignites their curiosity enough to open your email. Remember surprise and delight is one of our peak desired experiences.

People love a good play on words it delights their brain. Subjects like “You Glow Girl” or “Advice from a Successful Failure”.hillary_card

The Key is to surprise the reader with something
they wouldn’t expect.


Take for example when Hillary was accused of playing “the woman card”. She turned around and made an actual Woman Card which she sold to delighted supporters to raise campaign funds.

Rebel Examples: The email subject line I used that got the most opens to date: I Quit!

7. Personal Subject Line: Working your subscribers name into the subject line will undoubtedly catch their eye.

The Sweetest Word in the English Language is Your Name


Rebel Examples: Ann, did you get my invite? (Is much more compelling than) did you get my invite? Ann, I’ve been thinking about you. Or just simply using their name, Ann.

Internet marketing guru Frank Kern swears by just using the person’s name only to get the biggest open rate.

Tip: Just don’t over use or it will lose its impact.

8. Curiosity Gap Subject Line: (coined by the website Upworthy). When we see something that we know just a tiny bit about our curiosity is peaked and we want to learn more. We notice a gap in our knowledge and it produces a feeling of deprivation that prompts us to go looking for that piece of missing information.

The Curiosity Gap is a Key Principle in all Marketing


Try leaving a small gap in your subject line to create curiosity.

Rebel Examples: Well…this failed miserably, It was a day like any other day until…The big lie…It surprised me like a God Slap…What I learned about design from Beyoncé or

This guy started filming his dog. What happened next will shock you (from Upworthy).

This can feel a bit like “The National Enquirer”… Which by the way, are some of the best headlines ever written but to some people can seem over the top or feel spammy.

Incorporating the Open Loop technique into your subject lines creates that I gotta know the answercompulsiveness that compels people to open your emails.

It’s important to keep your emails conversational and switch it up a bit so people don’t lose interest and become immune to your email lead lines.

While subject lines are critical to getting your emails open you must deliver value in your emails or you are going to lose people. So quit the fluff! Huge open rates are the results of building a relationship over time so they can’t wait to read what you are up to next.

Some of my Tribe tell me, when I am out in public and meet them face to face. “Oh yours is the only email I actually read”.

Apply these formulas to your email subject lines and you will be hearing those epic compliments in no time!

It’s Smart to Fit In, But It’s Brilliant to Stand Out!




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