Best Converting Email Subject LinesBuilding a list is just SO powerful.

It’s the fastest and easiest way to make money on the internet.

However, it will only work if you take the time to write emails that people want to read and this all starts with the subject line.

Think about it: It doesn’t matter how good your blog post, product, video or even email body copy is, without an enticing email subject line your subscribers won’t be feel compelled to open your emails and read your content.

For this reason I’d like to share with you some of my best converting email subject lines. I’ve ranked these in order of open rate. That is the percentage of my subscribers who actually chose to open these emails.

Obviously, it’s impossible to say with 100% certainty why these subject lines were successful. However, I’ve put some of my own thoughts as to the reasons against each one to help you think about how you can replicate good subject lines yourself.

As you know, I always like to give you the negative side of what we discuss here on the Gain Higher Ground blog so for good measure I’ll also reveal some of the worst performing subject lines that I’ve written!

7 Best Converting Email Subject Lines

“Why you should ignore Google+ (i.e. Google’s ‘answer’ to Facebook)…”

54.5% of my subscribers opened this email. It is very likely that its success is a combination of:

  • Controversy – Most bloggers and marketers were raving about how good Google Plus was at the time so this subject line was flying very much in the face of that.
  • Topical – At the time this email was sent Google Plus was being talked about all over the internet.

“Me on London’s Hampstead Heath (+a free internet marketing checklist)”

This had a 57.2% open rate. People love personal stories and seeing inside the lives of others. So I guess the lesson here is to really try to engage with your audience – they’ll be a lot more interested in your personal experiences than you might imagine.

“19 Internet Marketing Resources That I Love…”

The 59.8% of my subscriber base who chose to open this email were likely intrigued by resources that they feel could save them time and speed up their progress. As we’ve talked about resource lists, cheat sheet and the like are very popular in virtually every niche on the internet

“Why don’t you do this to make money online, {!firstname_fix}? (nothing to buy)”

The open rate for this subject line was a whopping 62.2%! It contains some features which tend to work very well:

  • Results – It offers a method to achieve a specific goal that my subscribers want to achieve (or achieve more of)
  • Personalisation – You’ll notice the presence of “{!firstname_fix}” which is the code that uses the subscriber’s own name. This helps to catch their eye and can increase open rates.
  • Free content – I included the phrase “nothing to buy” as this was entirely free content. This helps people to click who are weary of those marketers who just promote product after product.

“…A quick recommendation and ‘the secret passage’…”

64.2% open rate with this one and I assume this is the very powerful marketing tactic of curiosity at play here. What is the recommendation and more to the point who isn’t interested in learning what the secret passage is?!

“{!firstname_fix}, do you fear the technical side of starting an online business?”

I was actually surprised by the very high open rate of 77.6% here. But again this is why testing is so important. Even though you don’t have to be technical to create your own successful web business many people still fear it so this is probably the most likely explanation.

“No charge. No opt-in. My new 56 page eBook FREE for you (link inside, {!firstname_fix})”

This is my best performing subject line of ALL TIME with my Gain Higher Ground related content.

83.6% clicked to open the email and I guess it appealed as it was free, people like eBooks they can download and of course I used personalisation (“{!firstname_fix}”) too!

And Now… Here’s The 4 WORST!

The following subject lines are some of the ones that have performed the worst for me….

“I’m half way to 72 today…”

This was just about my age and 23.4% were interested enough to open the email. So sharing personal information doesn’t always work. Perhaps there just wasn’t enough curiosity here?

“How To ‘Do’ Internet Marketing Without Your Computer”

Pretty dull subject line (even to me now!) and only 17.1% of my subscribers chose to open the email. Who wants to “Do” internet marketing anyway?

“SPRING (important behind the scenes news)”

I was surprised that only 15.6% open this one as I thought that the phrase “behind the scenes” would create more enticement. Perhaps people were put off by the word “SPRING”?

“2 QUICK things… “

How boring! This subject line doesn’t suggest excitement, a benefit or anything really that important at all! 13.4% were interested though which I suppose wasn’t that bad….


So things that work are:

  • Controversy
  • Being topical
  • Curiosity
  • Engaging with personal information

But remember you can’t “cry wolf” here. If you use these tactics in a cynical way, too often or don’t have the content to deliver on your implied promises then your subscribers will open your emails less and less in the future.

Can you think of an enticing subject line that made you compelled to click and open the email? How about subject lines that put you off and make you want to unsubscribe? I’d love to hear about it, so please let us know including any questions or feedback you have. I’ll reply to every comment 🙂