Home Anthill Academy How to give good headlines, and create emails that get opened

How to give good headlines, and create emails that get opened [CHEAT SHEET]


If you have a beautifully crafted email with a thoughtless headline, no one will open it. It’s as simple as that.

There are three main strategies for creating email headlines that will get recipients opening (and, hopefully, clicking). They each vary in risk.

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a. The personal request

An example of this kind of headline might involve something like, “Can I help you get that thing of yours sorted?” or, “I have a personal question to ask you.”

These types of headings guarantee the highest open rate. They are usually sent featuring your own name, rather than your company’s name, in the ‘from’ field.

However, the risk this approach entails is that when someone opens your email and discovers that it isn’t a personal message, as you insinuated, you face a real possibility of alienating your email pen pal.

Save this approach for special announcements.

Pro: Successful open rate.
Con: Disappointed recipients.
Recommendation: Once or twice a year, for special occasions.

b. The Scooby Doo Headline

These headlines are designed to solicit a Scooby Doo reaction, like “Aroo”? They are obscure, eye-ball popping statements that hint at a larger story.

For example, “I just found $100 on the street,” (if sent from a familiar name) is likely to compel most rationale humans to open your email to learn the full story.

This only works if the headline and the main message of your email can be brought into alignment. The headline must tie back to the content of the email.

Pro: If you can nail it, the open and response rate can be huge.
Con: Get it wrong, or even too obscure, and opt-outs happen.
Recommendation: Only use if you can cleverly tie the headline to the content.

c. The Headache (and the Promise of a Cure)

What’s the first thing that crosses any normal human being’s mind when they receive an email? Is this worth opening? What’s in it for me?

If you can identify a genuine pain, that you target market needs solved, and place this in the headline, this represents the safest way to get your email opened.

For example, “Is your Facebook page stuck at 300 Likes?” This will appeal to a small business owner curious about Facebook or social media. “What are the 10 things a pregnant woman should never eat?” This will appeal to an expecting mother.

Pro: It’s the safest.
Con: These can be generic – most emails offer a solution in the title.
Recommendation: Know your audience, don’t stray too far from it.

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