5 Horrible SPAM Email Subject Lines

In the last post, we looked at 7 SPAM email subject lines…that were actually good!

Not good in the sense that I’d recommend the products/services they’re pitching. But good in the sense of making for great subject line templates you can use for your emails.

In this post, we’re going to look at the opposite side of things. These are 5 SPAM email subject lines that are really bad. If your email subject lines look like these stinkers, don’t expect much of a response…


DIY Replace or Repair your Roof

Maybe this would work if it was “DIY Repair Your Roof”. But replace?

I’ve seen the big crews from the local roofing companies in my neighborhood replacing roofs. It’s HARD labor, it’s dangerous and it takes a crew of 10 all day to do 1 roof. And these guys do it everyday. The idea that I could replace my own roof flunks the believability test. If you want people to open your email, they have to think there’s some truth behind your offer.


Save Big on All Vehicles

What vehicles? How big? Save how much? This subject line is just too broad to appeal to people. As we saw in the last post, good subject lines are specific.


Melt fat away

Weight loss is one of the most competitive markets you can get into. Just as the last subject line was too broad, so is this one. In fact, this one is so broad and in such a competitive market, it lacks any sense of credibility and will surely end up being deleted.


Adam : You were recommended into the Global Professional Network

I added this to the list for one reason…my name is in the subject line. Have you ever received an email from someone you know that has your name in the subject line? Me neither. Inserting someone’s name in the subject line is a clear flag that the email is SPAM from someone they don’t know. Avoid using this tactic in your emails.


How To Grow 3+ Inches Taller in Just a Matter of Weeks

Like the DIY roof replacement, this one fails the believability test. People won’t open emails that lack credibility and this one definitely lacks it. To make one like this work, you have to offer some proof up in the subject line. Something like “New Harvard Study: Participants Grow 3+ Inches Taller in 17 Days” would be more effective because it’s more specific and references a credible (at least in most people’s minds!) institution.


So there are 5 examples of what you DON’T want to do when writing email subject lines. It really boils down to this…good email subject lines are specific and believable. These aren’t.

Lessons From 7 SPAM Email Subject Lines

Do you ever pay attention to the messages that wind up in your SPAM folder?

I do.


No, I’m not looking for 20{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} off on Viagra. I’ve got no interest in losing 55 pounds in 29 days. And, thanks, but I’ll pass on the investment advice that’s gonna triple my money by the end of the week.

I pay attention to them because they provide some great ideas for email subject lines I can use for myself or my clients. Recently I cleaned up my SPAM folder and, as I was scanning the 100s of emails in there, 7 really jumped out at me.

Here’s the 7 and a look at why they work:


Woman is 53 but looks 27! See how she did it

This one is specific…she’s not 50 and looks 25, she’s 53 and looks 27. Specificity gives credibility to your claims. The subject line also creates intrigue. A lot of people would be interested in seeing a picture of 53 year old who looks like she’s 27. And, a lot of them want to know how she did it.


5 Tips For Better Welcome Emails

Lists are always great. People love to read about the 5 Tips, 7 Secrets, 54 Reasons, etc. (In fact, the title of this blog post uses this technique.) This email subject line also offers value to the reader to read the email and dig deeper. If you send out welcome emails to prospect or new customers, wouldn’t you like some tips on how to make them better?


Three questions that get all women excited…

Here’s another subject line using the list technique. This one also creates curiosity while, at the same time, offering something of value. The copywriter clearly knows the audience here. It’s guys seeking dating advice. And, if that describes you, I’ve got no doubt you’d be VERY interested in finding out what these 3 questions are that you can use to get women excited. In fact, even if that doesn’t describe you, you still may be very interested in finding out what those 3 questions are!


Struggling to make it until payday?

Asking questions is another great formula for subject lines, headlines and Google ads. Ideally you’re asking a question, as is the case here, that your prospects identify with and/or, better yet, are asking themselves.



The answer is yes

These two (from separate emails) can work because they look like subject lines of emails you’d get from a friend. They also play to people’s emotions. People like to be appreciated so when someone says “thanks”, we pay attention. We also like people saying “Yes” to us and want to find out what this person is saying yes to.

The trick with getting these subject lines to work, however, is the “From” line. If these emails were to come from Scam artist 1, dkemeiojdn@gmail.com or john@hunkahunkaburninglove.com, it will seriously decrease the email’s open rate.


Do you know who lives next door?

This is from a company that runs background checks on people. One reason it works well because it uses a question, which we already touched on above.

Psychologically, it creates intrigue by arousing people’s curiosity about their neighbors. And, by raising this question, it plays on people’s fears and gets them wondering how much do they really know about the people who live around them?

So that’s why these 7 subject lines caught my eye. Now, I wouldn’t recommend any of the products these subject lines are hawking. But I would recommend looking at these subject lines as templates that you can use for your own subject lines, headlines, etc.

Not all the subject lines in my SPAM folder were good candidates for templates, however. In my next post I’ll share 5 others that caught my eye…because they’re good examples of horrible subject lines.

Why The “First” Is Always the Hardest

I flipped on the TV at the beginning of the second quarter during the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Atlanta was trouncing San Francisco 17 – 0.

Even worse for San Francisco was that, in the entire first quarter, they managed -2 (yes, that’s negative 2) yards of total offense and no first downs.

But then, in their first possession of the second quarter, they ran two plays and got their first first down. Two more plays, they got another first down.

With that little bit o’ momentum, their offense soon scored 2 touchdowns to close the gap to 17-14.

They ended up winning the game earning a trip to the Super Bowl.

Is this a post about football?

Nope…it’s about the difficulty of firsts.

Often when you start a new business online, the first dollar is often the most difficult one you’ll ever make.

When you start a new AdWords campaign, the first click is the often toughest one to get.

And many times in a new campaign that first conversion (whether it be download, phone call, or a sale) is the most challenging conversion you’ll ever have.

But once you crack the code and get that first dollar, click, conversion, etc. under your belt, things get much easier.

The SF offense needed a little time on Sunday to figure out the right formula to beat the Atlanta defense. Once they did, they were well on their way to the Super Bowl.

Similarly, you need some time to figure out the right formula to make that first dollar online. But once you do, that next $100 (or next 100 clicks/conversions) comes much quicker and much easier for you.

A lot of people get discouraged online trying to get their first. A lot of people give up before they get there even though success may be just around the corner.

Don’t be like a lot of people. Stick it out. Figure out the right formula to get that first and things will get much easier. I promise.

Good Marketing Idea From This Cover Letter?

Cool story here from Business Insider.

It comes from an undergrad student who wants a summer internship on Wall Street. So he sends a cover letter and resume off to the firm he’s got his eye on.

The cover letter is unlike any that firm (or probably any other) has ever received. Here’s my favorite paragraph from it:

“I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job title, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you. I’ve interned for Merril Lynch in the Wealth Management Division and taken an investment banking class at (name of college blocked) for whatever that is worth.”

Talk about being totally blunt and honest!

Can you imagine a company using a strategy like this in their marketing?

We talk a lot in marketing about standing out and differentiating yourself from the competition. And, admittedly, that can be a challenge (though one worth taking on).

What if the way you differentiate yourself is being brutally honest about how typical you really are?

Take an attorney as an example:

“I didn’t graduate from Harvard, haven’t published articles in prestigious law reviews and I’ll probably never have a case brought before the Supreme Court. But I have successfully helped clients with their (divorces, DUI issues, criminal law matters, etc.) over the past 15 years, and I’m honest and will work hard for you.”

So whadd’ya think? Would you hire an attorney that put that on their website?


Off Target on Geo-Targeting

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a number of Google AdWords Optimization Reviews.

Most of them have the common mistakes I usually see in AdWords accounts including:

  • Not separating Search from Display Networks in a campaign
  • Using too many Broad Match keywords as opposed to Exact Match (or at least Broad Match Modifier)
  • Not split testing ads
  • Not having Negative keywords in the campaign

However, in these campaigns, there’s another issue I’ve noticed that even really experienced AdWords advertisers may be missing.

It’s regarding a campaign’s Geo-targeting settings and where you ads are displayed.

Just because you select the U.S. as the region you want your ads to appear, doesn’t mean that people in other parts of the world won’t see your ads.


Well, it has to do with a setting advertisers should watch out for.

If you go to the Settings page in your campaign and go down to the Locations section, you’ll find “Location options (advanced).”







Under “Target” you’ll see you have 3 options.

The campaigns I’ve been reviewing, like most campaigns, have the default (recommended) setting selected which is “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location”.

This option means that your ads can be shown to people outside your selected targeting area to people who “included the name of the location in their searches, viewed location-specific content, or specified the location in their search settings.”

So, let’s say you’re a financial planner in Boise with this default setting (and your location targeting is the Boise area) and someone in Seattle types “Boise financial planner” (a keyword in your Campaign) into Google. If you have the default setting in place, the person in Seattle could see your ad.

And, in that situation, using the default setting makes sense.

However, there are other situations where you don’t want this. The companies whose accounts I’ve been reviewing only do business in the U.S. So, if someone in Denmark is doing U.S. related searches or has a U.S. search/browser setting, it’s not a very relevant click/impression for these companies.

Instead, they should use the second Target option which is “People in my targeted location”. This tells Google that you only want people physically located in your targeted location to see your ads.

For most businesses, you can ignore the last option of “People searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location”. That might be relevant, however, for a hotel that wants out of towners to see their ads but not the locals.

These advanced geo-targeting settings may not be a big deal for most advertisers, but it’s worth double checking to make sure your ads are being seen by the people you really want them to be seen by.

Bad Advice From a Mentor?

A few months ago I was talking with a new business owner and he shared a piece of advice with me that he got from one of his mentors.

The advice was this:

“Don’t start selling until you have something to sell.”

The mentor’s thinking was that you shouldn’t start marketing and selling your product or service until you establish a business and are ready for prime time.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Well, I actually think that’s backwards thinking.

There’s a lot of risk involved with starting a business.

It takes a lot of time and (often) money. And let’s not ignore the huge emotional tool starting a business can take on you, your relationships, your ego, etc. – especially if it fails.

Doesn’t it make sense to test the waters first to see if the demand is there for your product or service BEFORE you jump into the deep end of the pool only to find out you can’t swim?

It’s actually pretty easy to test out a new business idea.

One way is to test it out online.

Let’s say you’ve come up with an idea for a revolutionary new widget. Instead of putting in the time and money to develop a prototype, figuring out manufacturing and distribution, etc., what if Step 1 was to set up a website?

On the website you can:

  • Put a questionnaire to gain better insights into the market and prospect’s potential interest in a widget like yours
  • Offer a whitepaper or report highly related to your widget and see how many people download it (and what kind of feedback you get to it)
  • Even better, have a description of the widget and a Buy Now button on the site and see if people actually click it. If they do, you can send them to a page with a simple “Coming Soon” message on it. You can also let them enter their email address and offer a coupon that they can use if and when your widget is actually available for sale.

Once you have the website set up, simply send some AdWords traffic to the site and see if people respond.

The cost of the AdWords campaign would pale in comparison to the costs of finding out months down the road that the demand is not there for your widget.

(By the way, if you already have a business with a website, this is an ideal way to test our ideas for a new offering. Simply add a button to your website mentioning this new product/service and see how many people click on it.

Get a lot of clicks? Put the resources into making the project a reality.

Don’t get a lot of clicks? Table the idea.)

Don’t want to set up a website? Then interview people who would be your key prospects about the need for, and their interest in, a widget like yours.

This has two benefits.

First, you’ll get feedback that can help you make an even better widget right out of the gate.

Second, the people who’ve given you advice are now warm leads you can go back to if you decide to go forward with your widget.

There are a lot of great ideas out there. And a lot of people who have taken those great ideas to market and failed.

A big reason why is that most people think like the mentor I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

But if you take the opposite approach and try selling and marketing your product before you spend a lot of time and money in development, setting up a business, etc., you can save yourself from a lot of potential heartache.

For a great read on how to reduce your risks of failure, I’d recommend reading Benji Rabhan’s book “Failure is Obsolete”.  He shares his principle of “Test Before You Test” that he’s used to virtually eliminate the chance of failure both in the business world and in his personal life. It’s a very worthwhile read.

So what do you think? Which approach would you recommend taking and why?

The One Number That Makes the Case For Why You Should Care About Online Reviews

I find this statistic astounding.

Last year, a study published by BrightLocal asked consumers this:

Do you trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations?

The results?

72{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} said yes!

That’s right, when it comes to assessing a local business, 72{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of people said they trust the reviews from people on the Internet as much as they trust personal recommendations from people they know!

There is a little bit of nuance to the results.

Of the 72{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} who said yes…

  • 28{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} said yes IF there are multiple reviews to read about the business.
  • 24{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} said yes IF they believe the reviews are authentic (I wonder how good people are at truly assessing this).
  • 20{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} said yes BUT only for some types of businesses.

Still 72{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} is a BIG number and demonstrates as much as anything the importance of having a system in place for getting positive reviews.

A close friend of mine has spent the past year developing an incredible system to do that and is currently in Beta. If you’re interested in finding out more, shoot me an email and I can get you on the waiting list for this incredible system.

Reeling ‘Em In Aboard The “Poverty Sucks”

I’d never experienced anything like it before or since…

It was between my Junior and Senior years at the University of Miami. I stayed at school for part of the summer to do an internship in marine biology at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences on Key Biscayne. (I know…sounds like a tough gig!)

When I wasn’t “working” I spent a lot of time with my buddy Eric who also stayed in Miami over the summer. Eric lived in a house near campus with a few roommates including Cory, a marine science grad student.

Like most marine scientists, Cory was a friendly, laid back kinda guy who liked to drink beer. Unlike most marine scientists, Cory happened to come from an extremely wealthy family.

How wealthy?

Well, one Sunday we went to his dad’s house to watch the World Cup finals.

The house was on one of the exclusive gated islands off of Miami Beach…his dad’s friends arrived by boat at the dock behind the house (near the pool with the water level Tiki bar)…and we watched the game in the huge living room off of the huge kitchen on a 100 inch projector TV.

It was only when we were leaving that I realized we’d been confined to the “guest” house and never set foot inside the main residence.

Yeah, that wealthy.

A few weekends later, Cory invited us to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to do some Dolphin fishing on his dad’s boat. (The Mahi Mahi fish kind of Dolphin, NOT the mammal!)

So on a steamy summer Friday night we drove down to the Keys in a convertible with the top down and music blasting. We made a quick pit stop at Publix in Key Largo to pick up some beer and food (in that order) and spent the night aboard the boat…

…a 53 footer christened the “Poverty Sucks”.

The next morning the crew came, rustled us all out of bed and we headed out to do some fishing.

It was a stunning morning in the Keys. There was a light chop as we motored out to sea and we soon found what we were looking for. It was that clear line in the water that separates the greenish-brown coastal waters from the deep blue waters of the Gulf Stream. This is where the Dolphin patrol.

The hooks went in the water and we spent the next few hours trolling around without a lot of action. We knew the fish were there because we had some nibbles and caught a random fish here and there but, overall, we didn’t have much luck.

Then off in the distance the captain spotted what he’d been looking for… a flock of Frigate birds flying around in an excited state, dive bombing into an ocean bubbling with activity.

We made a B-line to where the Frigates were, dropped our lines in the water and our luck instantly changed.

The next 90 minutes or so was a blur. We had 5 lines going at a time and we were hauling up Dolphin left and right.

Below the water the fish were whipped up into a feeding frenzy and were striking at anything and everything.

Up on the boat we were racing around trying to keep the fishing lines from getting tangled, fighting with and trying to land multiple fish at a time, and then getting the lines back the water as quickly as we could.

By the time the frenzy was over, we all collapsed on deck exhausted from battling the fish and the hot Florida sun, hands blistered, and shirts splattered with blood (fish, not human).

By the time all was said and done we’d landed 23 Dolphin.

Now admittedly, as marine biologists in training, we felt a bit guilty for taking so many of these beautiful fish from the ocean. We were all more catch and release kinda guys.

But the fish didn’t go to waste.

Back on shore, the crew expertly filleted the Dolphin and most were sold to local restaurants. The rest went home with us and, tired and happy, we capped off the day with the most amazing fish dinner any of us ever had.

So what does this have to do with marketing your business?

Well, on a high level you really have two ways to approach marketing.

The one that most businesses take resembles the first few hours we were out fishing aboard the Poverty Sucks.

You go to an area where you think some of your customers are, throw your hook in the water and hope for the best.

The thinking is along the lines of “I know some of the people watching this TV station, reading this magazine/newspaper, or hanging out on Facebook are my prospects. So I’m going to advertise and get a presence there and try to land some of them.”

And, sure, you may land a few customers here and there…just enough for you to get talked into renewing when the sales rep comes calling..but it’s a slow, inefficient way to market.

The second approach is like the second, more productive part of our fishing expedition. It’s the highly targeted approach.

When the captain spotted the Frigates, he knew that not only were the Dolphin close by, but they were whipped up into a feeding frenzy.

Once we positioned ourselves in the right spot and put our lines in the water, 80{a950ddf0e7a23367a7e0f17377d3737fa8b8b1820bab9af7071f88951eb5d84e} of the work was done. At that point, our main concern was just being able to handle all the fish that were practically throwing themselves into our boat.

This is the direct response approach to marketing.

It’s when you know where your prospects are hanging out in high concentrations and are actively looking for what you’ve got to offer.

Sometimes they’ll already be whipped up into a feeding frenzy and primed to bite. Other times you have to chum the water a bit to whip them up to the point where they’re ready to bite.

Either way, you know they’re there and have an itch they need to scratch. Your job at that point is to just dangle a big back scratcher in front of their faces.

This is when you really start reeling ‘em in hand over fist.

Big brands with millions of dollars to spend on marketing may be able to get away with the first approach.

You don’t.

You should be smarter than they are. You should be more targeted. You should focus on the low hanging fruit.

You can’t afford to blow your money on the expensive, inefficient approach to marketing because, from what I hear, Poverty Sucks. 😉

Here’s to you catching a lot more fishes in 2013!

When Santa Claus Really Came to Town

Like most kids these days, mine have excitedly been getting in the Christmas mood. As December 25 gets closer, the sounds of Christmas songs being sung, hummed and played on the violin are filling our house.

Over the weekend, my wife and I were showing our kids some Christmas videos on YouTube. The videos were all of famous singers doing their own versions of popular Christmas songs.

They were all good but, for my money, one stood out above and beyond all the others.

Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

The original is good. Bruce’s unique version took the song to a whole nother level.

This is my last post for 2012. And as you look forward to 2013, I want to leave you with this thought…

There’s not a whole lotta new stuff in marketing. Most businesses just blindly copy what everyone else is doing and hoping it works for them too.

You can copy the words, the offers, the guarantees, the ads, etc. and, if you’re lucky, have some small level of success.

But to really lead the pack, dominate your market and have real, lasting success, that ain’t enough.

The businesses that truly succeed take what others are doing and do it much better.

Make it uniquely their own.

Make it stand out from the competition.

They’ve replace the “original” in people’s minds with their own unique version.

And the feeling of achievement, the respect of your family, friends and competitors (even if they won’t admit it), and the financial freedom that comes from pulling this off makes the challenge well worth the work.

It’s not an easy thing to pull off. But no one ever said running your own business was gonna be easy.

Hope you either had a Happy Hannukah or have a Merry Christmas.

And I wish you a healthy, happy and successful 2013.

I leave you with a live performance of Bruce doing his thing…

Home Page vs. Landing Page vs. Squeeze Page

Most industries have their own jargon…words the “insiders” know and use. While they’re helpful for communicating with other insiders, it often the rest of us scratching our heads.

We Internet marketers are as guilty as any. We often throw terms around, assuming our clients/prospects know what we mean, but they really don’t have a clue!

A common one that trips people up a lot is the difference between Home pages, Landing pages and Squeeze pages.

In fact, a forum of fairly experienced online marketers I frequent recently had a flurry of posts on this topic. It struck me because, even among this group, there’s confusion on the difference between Landing pages and Squeeze pages.

If even experienced online marketers have trouble understanding the differences, there’s a good chance you do too.

So here’s the difference between the three…

Home Page

You probably know what this one is already. The Home page of your site is the one people land on when they type in your URL.

Some types www.yourwebsite.com into their browser and BOOM, they’re on your Home page. It’s the main page that usually provides visitors with an overview of your business.

Landing Page

A Landing page is the first page of your site a visitor lands on. It could be the Home page. But it could be any other page on your site.

When running an AdWords campaign, you get to decide what page a searcher lands on after clicking on your ad.

For example, say you own a Sporting Goods store and have an AdWords ad promoting golf clubs.  In this case, you want the Landing page for your ad to be the page on your site that’s about your great selection of golf clubs.

Landing pages should have a much tighter focus than your home page. They focus on a particular product or service (or a highly related line of products/services) you offer.

And it should be very clear about what action you want the visitor to take…

  • Sign up for something (newsletter, whitepaper, etc.)
  • Buy something
  • Share something (like an article or offer with a friend via email or social media)
  • Give you feedback (comment, send you an email etc.)

Squeeze Page

A Squeeze page is the most specific of the three.

It focuses on an offer for ONE product or service. And it’s all about the ONE action you want the visitor to take when they land on that page. Usually it’s either making a purchase or opting in to something by giving you their email address.

Often a Squeeze page is so concerned with getting the visitor to take that one action there won’t be any navigation bar or other links on the page. The visitor only has two options…take the action you want them to or leave the site.

(And, yes, a Squeeze page could be your Landing page…the page that people first land on when they arrive at your site.)

The most important thing to understand when it comes to all this is…

The Home page of your site makes a poor Landing page. Whenever you can control things, get people to the Landing page on your site that’s most relevant to what they’re looking for.

Highly targeted Landing pages and Squeeze pages are essential for highly converting sites.

So think about…

  • How people get to your site (AdWords, Organic traffic, Email, Direct Mail, Social, etc.)
  • Why they’re coming to your site (Looking for information, Wanting to Buy Something, Solving a Problem, etc.)

…and make sure your Landing page is as highly relevant to where they’re coming from and what they want as possible.

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