I’ve been studying emails in great detail lately. I’m getting an inside look at all kinds of businesses in my Email Mastery Case Study program. One of the most fascinating things I’ve discovered is…

Personal emails have very specific kind of subject lines. Always. It’s almost like there’s something completely different going on in your mind when you write an email to a friend; compared to when you write a marketing email to your list. Even the greatest marketers can’t escape this weird force.

Here’s what I mean…

I’m great friends with Frank Kern, Eben Pagan, and Jeff Walker, all great marketers. Plus, I’m a student of the game. You can imagine the copious amounts of marketing emails I’m blessed with receiving… on a daily basis 😉

But here’s the thing. I can immediately tell straight from the subject line when the email is just for me. There’s never a question about it. I always know when it’s personal. And you know why? Because the subject line of a personal email has a completely different “tone”.

Have you noticed it?

Try this experiment: Go to your inbox and look up your last 3 to 5 personal emails. Emails you know were only written to you. Now, read their subject lines. Do you notice how they have a very neutral tone? They don’t try to trick you into opening them. No curiosity, open loops or any outlandish claims.

They are really very simple. Usually, just stating the obvious – what the subject of the email is. See what I mean? I think the reason for this is when you’re sending an email to your friend, you’re not really concerned about getting them to open it. You just want to make it clear – as succinctly as possible – what the email is all about.

Almost like you’re tasked with labeling the file folder this is going to go in. If your email is about Christmas, say, your subject line would probably be… just… “Christmas.” I don’t know anyone who’d write “7 ways to spice up your Christmas this year” to their friends. Not even… Frank! 😉


Here’s an interesting experiment for you to try next time you’re about to send an email to your list… First, think of the overall subject of the email. Then, imagine you’re writing this to your best friend. What kind of subject line would you write if that were the case? Hold on to that subject line. Write it down immediately. Don’t overthink it or try to make it better.

Do you have it?

Great. Now, what I want you to do next is… Use it! Use it instead of one of the “typical” marketing subject lines that scream, “open me!” Press send, and you’re done! Don’t forget to report back your results.

Did your open rates improve?

Let me know!