5 Days to Your First Client:
My Sneaky Little 2-Word Subject Line Trick …

Yesterday, we talked about Proactive Marketing, and how you can almost pull clients out of thin air …

And so far, you’ve established a few niches you’ll want to target exclusively based on your extensive knowledge/experience/passion in those niches.

Now, it’s time to sit down and write your email to potential clients. And, to start things off, I’m going to break one of my own email copywriting rules …

You see, inside my Email Copy Made Easy program, one of the things I teach you is to NOT begin writing your email with the subject line. I always suggest writing the email first, then reworking something from the text that sort of “jumps out”—a phrase, a sentence, or a thought—and using that as fodder for your subject line. Because, if it jumps out at you, it should do the same, if not more, for the reader.

However, with these types of Proactive Marketing emails, we’re going to toss out this rule and start with a subject line that works like gangbusters to get a cold email opened. And the best part is, you only need two little words: “quick question.”

Think about it. If you get an email with the subject line of “quick question,” there’s a lot going on there—not to mention a lot that COULD be going on, but is yet to be revealed. Let’s start with the word “quick” …

Using the word “quick” intimates that this email won’t take long to read or process at all. And that’s exactly what a busy marketing executive or business owner wants—to get through his email as quickly as possible. After all, there are 100 other emails surrounding yours that are screaming for attention, too.

So, starting with “quick” gives him the assurance that it won’t take more than a few seconds to get this one opened, read, and done with. Which means it moves him toward opening your email that much faster.

As far as the word “question” is concerned, that’s an open statement that can be translated in a wide variety of ways. What’s the question about? Is it something to do with work? Something personal? A pressing and important matter? Something frivolous? The possibilities are endless … and oh so intriguing.

But the only way to find out what the question actually is would be to … (drumroll please) … OPEN THE EMAIL. And, that’s exactly what happens more often than not.

So, with “quick question,” we get the attention we want and the open we want. Because let’s face it—nobody’s hiring you if they never even read your email.

Here are a few more subject line tips to help you get more of your emails opened …

  1. Use an ellipsis: Those three little dots at the end of a sentence? They indicate there’s an unfinished thought. And, the only place to finish that thought is—you guessed it—inside the email. So, adding an ellipsis to your subject line can possibly increase your open rates even that much more.
  2. Lower-case letters: This one has always puzzled me somewhat, because I’m a big believer in initial caps (only capitalizing the first letter of a word) in headers. But the numbers don’t lie. I’ve consistently seen subject lines with all lower case letters get opens more than headers with initial caps. And, they always outperform everything in all caps. (Who wants to be shouted at in a subject line?)
  3. Keep it short: Another reason why “quick question” works so well is because it’s only two words. Shorter subject lines are quicker and easier to consume, and in this day and age when we’re all being bombarded with marketing messages, the quicker and easier something is to consume, the better.

So, start your Proactive Marketing emails with the words “quick question” in the subject line. You’ll get more emails opened, and have more opportunities for paid copywriting gigs.

And, as always, if you have any questions or comments about my subject line strategies, please feel free to post them.

Tomorrow, we’ll get started on the actual body copy of your email.

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Published: November 12, 2014

4 Responses to “5 Days to Your First Client: My Sneaky Little 2-Word Subject Line Trick…”

  1. Another excellent post, Jay.

    quick comment: I've found that combining an attention line that includes a person's first and last name, followed by your 2-word subject line, also generates an extremely high open rate. For example...

    ATTN: Jane Doe - quick question...

    A person's first and last name are the most popular words in the English language. Combining them with your 2-word subject line works wonders for me.

    I'm really enjoying your series this week, Jay. Keep up the great work!


  2. This is a very good tip and I can see how it can work well, especially on the initial contact with a prospect.

    It can probably work more than once. I will use it in the future.


    Guest (scott moore)

  3. Hi Jay:
    I was pleasantly surprised to read that those 3 little dots after a sentence are a grabber of sorts. Thanks. Also, I wonder what the logic or likely thought process is of the reader preferring an email with headers in lower case letters OVER an email with header's in all caps? I never agreed with the belief that all caps make text look like screaming..? Ha..probably because I have always been a yeller, AND hand writer in all caps!


  4. These are great tips ones you can incorporate just not in copy writing but in every day tasks, no matter what kind of work you do. There is always a shortage of time and a demand for good communication skills.
    Great work Jay!

    The Missy

    Guest (The Missy-Jo Blue)

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