A. Marie Silver

A. Marie Silver

Subject Lines and Shenanigans: My Quest to Boost Engagement

This is part two of the ongoing challenge to craft a fantastic, engaging, and humorous newsletter about hydraulic parts. Read part one here.

Judy is the personification of the imposter syndrome I suffer from. Anytime I feel insecure about anything, Judy is there to make me feel worse. In this second part of my newsletter series, she tried convincing me I couldn’t do simple things like crafting compelling subject lines.

Judy sat with her legs crossed, sipping coffee with her pinky finger extended. “You aren’t qualified for this task. You should hire someone to write the newsletter for you.”

“Judy,” I said, leaning forward. “I am the professional hired to write the newsletter.”

“Oh dear,” she said, shaking her head. “I hope this company has very understanding investors.”

“Says the woman who single-handedly pissed off her entire HOA,” I muttered.

Read more: Dear Homeowner’s Association

“Judy, I accept that challenge.”


The Subject Line


Why do we open emails? We often open emails because we recognize the sender or we’re waiting for something to arrive in our inbox. But then there are junk emails – most of which get sent straight to the recycle bin. Only a small amount of junk emails might get opened. What makes them unique?


Their subject lines. Writing subject lines can be more complicated than writing the actual body of the email. I’ve seen three types of subject lines. Whenever I see subject lines like these, I open the email. And I do this knowing I’m about to get played. These emails are likely an advertisement for something I don’t want. And yet, I can’t resist. Take a look at the examples below.

1. Limited Time Offer!

Act fast! Use my affiliate code to save a ton of money on a pressure cooker. Sure, you already have three pressure cookers, but this one glows in the dark.

2. Suspenseful or Mysterious

I’m going to say the one thing that should never be said. Phishing emails have the best subject lines. These horrible people could make legitimate money teaching classes on boosting engagement and conversion rates. That said, please always be careful when opening emails from unknown senders. More than likely, they’re trying to steal your information.

Here’s one I saw in my inbox today.

  • Amazon told me to contact you.

I have to admit I opened this email. I am an Amazon Affiliate (until they revoke my status because I haven’t made enough sales), but still, I can’t imagine why Amazon would refer someone to me. When I opened the email, it read:

I purchased this laptop from your store. It doesn’t work. Amazon told me to contact you. Please click this link to see a screenshot of the error message.

Read more: Man Wipes: 4 Reasons These are the Ultimate White Elephant Gift

And that’s when I deleted the email.

Other examples of suspenseful or mysterious subject lines might include:

  • Have you seen this new product?
  • Something in your shopping cart is on sale!
  • We have what you’ve been waiting for!

3. The Combination Subject Line

These are subject lines that use both urgency and mystery.

  • Life will never be the same after 11:00 am today!

Seriously! If you don’t use my affiliate code by 11:00 am EST, you might miss your chance to buy a pressure cooker, and then, instead of tossing in chicken patties straight from the freezer, you’ll have to remember to thaw them out in advance.


As annoying as these emails are, they’re undeniably effective. So, the first challenge I faced was writing a subject line that would get people inundated with emails to open my emails.


Crafting Perfect Subject Lines

In my position, there’s rarely any true urgency regarding the B2B products the newsletter features. I chose to go with a more mysterious approach to crafting headlines. The first thing I did was make a list of possible headlines I could use, and then, as I sent out the newsletters, I tailored each headline to be a little more specific.

Challenge 2: Storytelling

Once you get your readers to open the email, you’ll want them to read it. Next week, I’ll share some storytelling techniques I’ve used to keep my readers engaged.

Are you ready to see your ideas transformed into alluring content? Do your products need charming and memorable descriptions. Contact me today! I’ll make your words work for you.

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A. Marie Smith

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