The Great Subject Line Myth

Great Subject Line Myth

They are not lying to you, but they are not telling the entire story…

What am I talking about?

Email subject line swipes.

You know the ones, Guru Joe is selling his best subject lines that get him 60% opens every time he uses them. Okay, maybe 60% is an embellishment. But you know what I mean.

Don’t get me wrong, Joe’s subject lines could very well be getting him great open rates. I am not doubting that part.

My problem (oh here we go…), is that they don’t tell buyers the whole dealio.

What the swipe users don’t “know” is that it’s not always about the subject line itself. It’s likely it’s not just the text that get’s the opens.

Lost again?

Guru Joe doesn’t tell you that there is an EVEN MORE important aspect to subject lines than just what it says.

It’s the relationship with your subscribers.

Yes I know, you’ve probably heard it a million times lately. But are you doing it?

My point is, it’s not just a matter of throwing out these supposedly high open rate subject lines. While they still might work for you, you still need to take that extra step to get your subscribers trust, if you want the bigger open numbers.

Let me ask you this…

Do you get emails from certain marketers that you almost always open, no matter what the subject line reads? If you even bother to read the subject line.

It’s like when you hear of people who buy from a given marketer without even reading their sales page. This happens, I know it and you know it.

Good news is that your DON’T have to be the high profile Guroo to have that kind of relationship with your subscribers, or even your your sales page visitors. You don’t need to spend thousands or millions of dollars or have huge product launches to get yourself into the circle of trust.

So, now you might be asking… How do I build this relationship, how do I earn their trust?

Glad you asked and you might be surprised how easy and simple it is. Really.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years and how I’ve seen other marketers build the bond:

  • Communicate with them – Sounds to simple, but it is HIGHLY effective. Just showing up in the inbox each day, or at least every other day, they get use to you being there, they start to grow comfortable. They start to get to know you. Less contact means it’s much easier for them to forget you, and the forgotten marketer usually doesn’t sell much.
  • Answer Their Questions – Another one that should be a no-brainer, but often it is not. First and foremost, take care of your support tickets, and take care of them as soon as possible. When a potential customer emails asking questions, reply as soon as you can and in as much detail as you can. I’ve lost count how many people have sent me an email asking even the simplest of questions, and after I reply, they place an order. Not like I am some smooth talker or anything, I just answer people’s questions and help them as much as I can, it’s as simple as that. Even those questions that seem ridiculous.
  • Tell Your Story – Every one has a life, has hobbies, has things they enjoy. Tell your subscribers as much as you feel comfortable. The more they get to know you, the more they will trust you and most likely they more likley they will be to buy what your selling.
  • Provide Support – Most every product, even simple ebooks might need support. You might have some one that doesn’t know how to open of read it. Help them! I sell turnkey websites and I can tell you they require quite a bit of support, more than any other product format I sell. But here again, there have been SO MANY times that I help some one get everything up and running and they come back to buy more.

Again, yes these seem like simple idea’s and concepts, but it doesn’t always have to be complicated. As humans we tend to complicate things too much as it is.

The golden ticket is, take that extra 5 minutes to reply to an email. Spend that 10 minutes to support a customer of your product or service. Let people into to your life and give them a glimpse of who you are.

These alone will get your emails opened more often, even if your subject line is not “killer”.

Now, I wouldn’t be doing this subject (pun intended) justice, if I did not mention that you still need to provide some useful content in your emails, you can’t live off opens if there is nothing to read after they open your emails. Don’t know why I am even saying it, you know this.

Naturally you’ll have your promotions, but another way to build the relationship is by sending useful content to your subscribers. Give them the stuff they can use, that actually makes a difference in their online business and you’ve put another notch on your relationship belt.

If your not sure what to write, even subject lines, you need to check out my very helpful report: Email Marketing Message Mastery.

Or if you want ready-to-go email message quality content, and save yourself some time and possible frustration, then be sure to look here: PLR Autoresponder Messages.

Ron Killian
Full time internet marketer since 1999, Digital product creator and sales, including private label rights. Enjoys helping others build their own successful online business.
Ron Killian


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Ron Killian
Ron Killian
  • Richard Martin

    Hello Ron.

    Just checking out your blog (terrific job by the way) and felt compelled to write a response here.

    YES! YES! YES!

    You go it. You got it wrapped up here and it even has one of them fancy bows on top!

    You struck a chord here when you asked if I ever opened an email, regardless of the subject line.

    Answer: Yes.

    Why? Because for me, the subject line is really irrelevant. It’s the name that is the killer, not the subject line. Certain people I just open up. They recommend me something, I check it out.

    And you know what you say about giving people a glimpse of your life – that’s exactly what they do. Sometimes, it’s an email telling me what they are doing, where they are going – and they have no links to click on. But hell, when they do have links to click on, I click on ’em!

    And here’s the flip side. Some marketers send email after email promoting all sorts of products. Just a billboard disguised as an email in other words. It drives me potty. And I never buy from them.

    Terrific post Ron, have an awesome week!

    • Ron Killian

      Hey Richard. Thanks for the kind words. Appreciated.

      It is sad that there is so much churn and burn these days. The guru’s tell you to provide value and build a relationship, yet they are the first to push offer on top of offer.

      Would be nice to see more marketers show some respect for their subscribers and treat them right. It can pay off in the long run.

      Hope to see you back again soon Richard.

  • Joy Healey

    Hi Ron,

    That’s SO right – I have people online that I trust, and those that I don’t (yet) know well enough. But I suppose people only learn this after a while. Took me long enough!

    I emailed two quite high profile bloggers a couple of days ago with a question about their products. Carol Amoto ( sent a friendly, helpful reply within – ooh, half an hour! The other one hasn’t replied at all. So no prizes for guessing which product is higher on my preferred list, even though the other cost less.

    And you’ve also reminded me about my favorite “What planet are these people on?” rant.

    That’s the idiots who send you emails along the lines of: Subject: You have received a commission payment”, Body of email: “That’s what you will be seeing every day when you buy my xxxx”.

    So – they lie to me, disappoint me, then expect me to buy from them? Duh…. Instant zap or “junk”. LOL

    I always include my name in my mailing list subject lines to try and further build that relationship.

    Thanks for an interesting post – and a chance to get a couple of things off my chest!


    • Ron Killian

      Good to see you Joy.

      Rant away.

      I know what you mean about the deceptive subject lines. Happens far to often. Sadly though there are “Guru’s” that spread the trash. They tell people that these subject lines get big open rates. They very well might, but as you’ve said, it also kills their reputation and I am sure it loses many subscribers. While they might be enjoying higher open rates, I highly doubt it translates to stellar sales. And they spread bad advice.

      Well, we know better, right? :)

  • Edward Thorpe

    Hi Ron,

    I’m a customer of yours and have always appreciated your commonsense approach.

    On this particular subject, yes intended, I agree with Joy and Richard. Subject lines are wrought with lies and damn lies. So I look to the sender 1st. (often another lie 😉

    Anyway, enjoyed the post.

    • Ron Killian

      Great to see you Edward! Thank you for your kind words as well.

      Ya, sadly there will always be those that feel they need to try and trick people. They believe it is the way to make the most from their lists. If they’d only take the time to build a relationship, they could profit even more. Guess quicker is better for some huh?

      On a side note, it seems like another blogger just talked about your site. Course now I can’t remember who it was. Also have to say, your blog is quite enjoyable to read, nice to see a blogger who puts some personality into their work.

      Don’t be a stranger Edward, hope to see you back real soon. Let me know if you need anything :)

  • Vernessa Taylor

    Hi Ron,

    Couldn’t agree with you more! And this really resonates with me: “you can’t live off opens if there is nothing to read after they open your emails.” I’ve unsubscribed to a bunch of mailing lists that I’d signed up to because I knew the individuals. But after opening email after email and finding they hadn’t added any value, I jumped ship.

    I think 2014 was the year of “truth telling” and busting up myths for real. Glad you added “subject lines” to the pot.

    • Ron Killian

      Nice to see you Vernessa!

      I know what you mean, the churn and burn offer marketers seem to be everywhere. I understand there will be marketing, I get that, I am in this myself for the same reason, but least give us something besides offers. Oh well, there will always be those taking the shortcut. :)

      Hope to see you back again soon.

  • Sunday

    Hi Ron,
    Building a solid and trusted relationship with customers is essential for online business success. I couldn’t agree more with you on this subject matter.

    From the intro I am reminded of the many ‘bogus’ headlines and ‘secret’ offers from some online ‘gurus’ to lure unsuspecting buyers. Most times these secrets or offers leave the buyers expecting much more. Yes, its not really about the headlines but much more than that!

    The great subject line myth can be solved if marketers or online businesses take time to build lasting relationship by ensuring that customers/client/consumers are offered relevant “value” in both communication and service/product!

    • Ron Killian

      Thanks for stopping by Sunday. :)

      Yep, seems some marketers are more about making the money. Could be they feel building a relationship takes to much time and effort. Doesn’t happen overnight. Or, they just don’t know how to connect with their subscribers.

      Their loss huh?

      Hope to see you back again real soon.

  • Mark

    Hi Ron!

    While this is my very first visit to your blog.

    Your message and points are so spot on! You know the whole “Internet Marketing” niche
    reminds me of the evergreen “No Money Down” real estate gravy train that was
    extremely popular back in the day.

    I mean the way some of today’s online gurus and guruette’s often tout their “magic bullet” systems,
    like as you pointed out, killer courses on “how to” write email subjects lines that do everything except
    sing the national anthem etc!

    Forgive my over the top example, but you know exactly where I’m coming from! Your points are so well taken!

    Those men an women have spent years building, nurturing and cultivating their relationship with their subscribers.

    So how can a complete newbie expect to emulate their success, simply by investing in a course, when as you pointed out, we may or may not have build the exact same rapport with our audience/subscribers yet!

    You shared some excellent points! Bravo for having the guts to tell it like it is! There is no so called “secret in a box” that’s going to magically make us something we’re not!

    • Ron Killian

      Nice to see you here Mark.

      Your example is not over the top, actually, and sadly, it seems quite accurate these days.

      Though I still believe that newbies can crush the guru’s if they just speak to their subscribers and not at them. And of course if they give their emails personality and make them interesting. To me that will beat many of the guru’s who are only pushing offers and burning up their lists. Well, just my opinion.

      Thanks for the comment, hope to see you back real soon :)

  • Sherman Smith

    Hey Ron,

    I’m going to be another one that says you’re absolutely right. Yes, the main purpose of our emails is to sell our products and services, but also you want to lead your subscribers into doing so.

    What better way than to put in the effort to get to them and be transparent towards them. Yes we heard this time and time again, but these simple tasks are quite powerful and can lead you into sales and success.

    Sometimes we just need to be reminded of this task! I know at times I just don’t want to send out an email, but it’s a must for me. Especially to give my subscribers the value that’s going to help propel them upwards.

    Thanks for sharing Ron and I hope you have a great weekend!

    • Ron Killian

      Nice to see you again Sherman.

      Ya, it can be a bit daunting, for myself included, but there is no doubt that email marketing can be very powerful and will be for a long time to come.

      Hope to see you again soon :)