‘Weird’ email marketing subject lines can increase your open rate nearly 50%

‘Weird’ email marketing subject lines can increase your open rate nearly 50%


Have you ever seen a seductive email subject lines that drew you in completely? While you swore off promotional emails 100 times before, now you craved to know more. You felt a bit weird, but the kid on Christmas feeling in you erupted like a volcano.

We all have experiences where the email was a beacon on our attention. Maybe the subject line was so weird curiosity got the cat. Perhaps the copy hit all of your emotional soft spots. Whatever the case, you had to learn more.

The email subject lines below did the trick. Some of them are from my swipe files. Others from research I conducted over the past few weeks. As we peruse through the list of weird email subject lines, we investigate them to see what makes them tick. How are they successful?

Weird email subject lines

Subject line: “This Kicks A$$”

Marketer: Mark Hultgren

Open Rate: 15 percent

This email was for a product launch for an offline social media manager. The email raked in over $2,000 from a list of 3,000 subscribers.

Subject line: Blog Traffic Replay

Marketer: Andy Nathan

Open Rate: 25 percent

The subject line was for a webinar series I did with a partner. I included this, because the replay had a higher open rate then the webinar itself. Never forget the power of recording your webinars for additional monetization later.

Subject line: Hey

Marketer: President Obama

Open Rate: N/A

For everyone who says email marketing does not work, look no further than the president. He raised the majority of his $690 million for the election from quirky fundraising emails like the Hey email.


Subject line: “50 Pizzas Rolled Into One Pie”

Marketer: Barbara Rozgonyi

Open Rate: “30 percent higher open rate.”

“This email went out with a press release for a client. Our client also got great coverage from reporters who wanted to interview the restaurant to get the story behind the subject line.” Not all emails should focus on sales. A lot of them are community-building efforts with your list.

Subject line: [VIDEO] What complete failure in marketing taught me…so you can gain

Marketer: Amber Gupta

Open Rate: 39 percent open rate.

I was more impressed about the conversion rate than the quality open rate here. This email was for a product sale. However, before a subscriber saw the product they went to a leads page where they filled out a quick form. The conversion on the form was 10 percent, However, 100 percent of those who joined the list also bought the product, because the form was pre-selling the prospects. I love it when a good marketing funnel comes together.

Subject line: …is this you?

Marketer: Rick Roberts

Open Rate: 50 percent open rate to 1,200 people.

The size of your list makes no difference compared to how many people on your list read your emails. When you get their attention, it is easier to keep it.

Subject line: This sales page lies

Marketers: Neil Murton

Open Rate: A 50 percent increase on the usual open rate

I included this subject line, because it has a powerful “open me” factor in humans. We have to know the gossip. However, be careful with titles like this. Used too often, and you will not have a high open rate for long.

What do we learn from these subject lines? Each of these subject lines has something in common: They draw the reader to ask a question. From President Obama’s “Hey” to Barbara Rozgonyi’s “50 Pizzas Rolled Into One Pie” subject line you say to yourself, “what is this?”

Hubspot offered other great examples of effective email subject lines in a 2013 blog post.

I think a good subject line should leave hints to the topic, and leave more questions than answers. No one wants a spoiler alert when watching a movie. (Hush! Do not tell anyone, but Lincoln dies at the end of the movie.) A good subject line draws you into the narrative, so you read the email.

The weird email subject lines work, because most people go about their days not expecting an email pattern interrupt. However, you can’t be weird all the time. Balance it with proven, traditional email subject lines like these outlined by Megan Marrs.

Source | Editor
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