034: My No. 1 Tip For Writing Email Subject Lines: Give Value

There are tons of ways to write the subject line of an email. And you can experiment to find out just the right way that suits your style. But whether you write long emails or short ones, follow this zen approach to writing subject lines which help to make your email opened, clicked and most importantly valued by your reader.

In every action I take in my business, I ask myself: how can what I am doing right now be of use to my reader. And if you start at this place too, I am confident that whatever you produce will reach the goal you set for it.

So when it comes to writing subject lines for my emails, here's my no. 1 tip:

Write Subject Lines That Give Value

Write subject lines that give value and you will truly be adding value to your reader not just fooling them to open your emails.

How many times do you see subject lines that are only designed to make you open the email? Nothing wrong with that except when it feels icky and manipulative or plain irrelevant to the email subject matter. 

I've seen subject lines that go like:

"I have a confession"
"I made a mistake"

These subject lines may make you open the email, but the content inside may seem like a waste of time.

An Email Is A Letter to Someone

An email is literally a letter. It is a letter to a person to whom you want to communicate a message with. It is not simply a digital tactic sent out to a number on your list. It is an actual message read by a real person with real life problems, dreams and struggles. And it is an opportunity to serve, to help, to assist, to use your skills and talents for the benefit of another. In fact, I believe a single email can change a life! Yes, I know. How idealistic, but it sure can!

So why not treat an email like the golden opportunity that it really is - an opportunity to connect with another human being, to build something wonderful, to solve real-life problems and to serve meaningfully?

Examples of Recent Subject Lines I've Used

To give you an idea of the type of subject lines I use, here is a sample of some recent subject lines that have gone out to the lovely people on my list.

1. Brainstorm next month's email topics in an afternoon
2. My complete 8 step email content creation process - for you! 
3. [Video] How to set up an evergreen sales funnel using visual automations
4. Why emailing your list the latest blog post doesn't always work
5. [Invitation] Up your ConvertKit confidence with ConvertKit Foundations Brunch Workshop
6. How often you should email your list? 

Each subject line was meant to deliver value even if the reader never opened up and read the full email. In other words, the email subject line should really communicate value to your reader. 

The way I look at it is this: Of course, I want my reader to open up the email. And I want to tell them what's inside the email. But if for whatever reason, they cannot open up the email, but can only read the subject line, I want it to still be valuable enough so they can benefit from it.

I want the subject line to be a way for the reader to be able to decide whether or not he/she should invest time in opening that email. 

For instance look at subject line No. 5. They can instantly see it is an invitation to a workshop and what the workshop is about. If that's of interest, they will click. Otherwise, they can move on and focus on what's essential for them. This alone is of value. The value is time-saved. The last thing I want to do is to waste someone's time with my emails. That's bad karma! Yes, I do believe in good and bad karma and the golden rule! :)

So when you sit down to write your email subject lines, be helpful to your reader, just like you do when writing the email content. Treat them as a friend who needs and wants your help.

What would you write in an urgent situation?

Let's take this scenario here: What if the subject line of an email is your only chance to send somebody a message in an urgent situation? 

Let me elaborate:

Imagine that your loved one is on his or her way to catching a flight. And you just had an argument before they left and you didn’t get up the courage to say something important. But you don't want them to leave like that - without a resolution to the argument.

And now you urgently want them to know that you love them and care for them and you also want to send them an apology. But you know that their phone will soon be out of power and on top of that soon they will have to turn it off anyways before the plane takes off. (Drama: real Bollywood style). You know that even if you your beloved could just see the subject line it could resolve the whole situation.

Of course, you would try to follow them to the airport or at least call or send them a text as well - but just for my example we are emailing ;-)

So now what would you email them?

Would you rather email them a subject line:

"Open up to see inside an important message that you won't wanna miss".

Or would you rather write:

 "I love you".

I think we both know the answer! 

Being Real Instead of Using Marketing Tricks

It really is important to keep our humanity and be real when writing emails to the people on our list. I think that is much more powerful and leaves a positive impact on your readers’ mind and maybe even their hearts. 

It’s far too easy to fall for all the marketing advice out there that talks about writing email copy that converts using all the tips and tricks in the marketing toolbox. But I think, it is time to change that. I know my approach is different than what you may read on most popular blogs and I hope you agree that we need to take this more human approach.

Don't we all want to deal with human beings who treat us like a person not just as a potential customer who will buy something from them some day? Plus, we are all quite savvy nowadays and can easily sense who is trying to be a sales person and who is really trying to serve us with value.

How To Be More Human In Your Subject Lines?

I think the first thing really is to realize that it is okay to be yourself. No scratch that. It is in fact, essential that you are yourself. Your emails should represent who you are and what your business values and stands for. When you do this, you are able to give yourself permission to not have to use marketing tricks that don't feel authentic to you. And that’s also when you attract an audience that is in alignment with your business.

So here’s my quick mini-guideline to help you when you are crafting your subject line:

First. Write out your email with the message/value you want to convey to your reader.

Second. Think what is the gist or the summary of this message in a sentence or two.

Third. Tweak that sentence so it is down to a short sentence or even a phrase.

Finally. Ask yourself how can this subject line offer value/benefit to my reader? Would I write this if this is all my reader ever saw about this topic?

I hope that this helps you think about how you can add value to the people reading your emails even just with a single email subject line.

Do write to me in the comments below which subject lines you came up with. I'd love to see those. You can also share any that stand out in your inbox that you found useful. Plus, what do you think of this approach I am sharing in this post about using subject lines to offer value to your readers?

Thanks for reading! Keep writing!