Two techniques for unignorable subject lines
2 min read

Two techniques for unignorable subject lines

Writing effective email subject lines is a super power.

Get it right, and you’ll grab attention and turn email into a persuasive tool for sharing information and driving action.

Fail, and all the hard work you put into your sales/marketing/personal email will go unnoticed (and unanswered).

It’s important to remember that your email subject line isn’t read in a vacuum – it’s surrounded by waves of other emails in your reader’s inbox.

So it’s critical that yours stands out.

The key is having a trusted framework you can rely on.

Here are two techniques you can use when writing email subject lines:

Tip #1 Drive curiosity

I call it the “mystery” subject line.

The goal is to create curiosity that motivates your reader to open your email. By clicking, they hope to “solve” the curiosity within the body of the email.

You’re specifically being vague to intrigue the reader.


“This can’t be right”

Reader: What can't be right?

“I might be wrong”

Reader: Wrong about what?

“Does this work for you?”

Reader: Does what work for me?

(Notice the question mark in the last example– it’s designed to incite curiosity).

All this intentional suspense builds up and drives your reader to click.  

Warning: You MUST "solve" the curiosity your subject line creates  in the body of the email. Otherwise it will feel like a manipulative gimmick to steal attention (aka clickbait).

Tip #2 Get specific

This is the complete opposite of the mystery subject line.

The “tactical” headline is straightforward and tells the reader exactly what’s inside.

The goal is to be upfront and clear about the value inside your email in order to entice the reader to open.

Example: How to book A LOT more meetings with LinkedIn

The key here is two fold:

  1. The topic has to be applicable to your audience. Specificity is key. My audience is sales pros, so “using LinkedIn" is something they do and are about.
  2. Include an outcome (ie, book more meetings) that your reader cares about. Just saying “How to use LinkedIn” would have been too vague to be effective.

Relevant topic + desired outcome = compelling subject line.

If you use just one of these techniques this week, you’ll up your email game immediately.

Master both and your emails will become truly unignorable.  

Holler at your next Saturday,

PS: You mighta noticed I chose tactical for today’s email subject line. If you’re reading this, it worked.