Are You Making These 5 Deadly Email Subject Line Mistakes?

It’s the most important part of your email.

Get it right and your list will reward you with opens, click and sales.

Blow it and kiss your profits good bye!

Are you making these common subject line mistakes?


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Hi, my name is Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, the only podcast
which delivers cutting edge conversion strategies from the online trenches straight to
your earbuds. Download the transcript of today’s episode and all future episodes at I also invite you to grab a free copy of “The Wealthy
List Builder’s Survival Guide” at and now
once again it’s time to claim your List Building Lifestyle.

Jonathan: Welcome back to another edition of List Building Lifestyle Show. You are
so lucky that you are here because I have your Uncle Igor.

Igor: Uncle Igor in the house. I'm sticking to Uncle Igor, I like that. Because it
gives you a warm feel, you feel like you know Igor because he's your uncle.

Jonathan: He's Uncle Igor, he'll take care of you. "Come here son, I want to show
you the ropes."

Igor: Nice, and yes, that's exactly we're going to do. I mean when it comes to
email marketing, how many times do you see really bad subject lines in your inbox,
how many times do you see seasoned marketers send out really crappy subject lines
that bomb? How many times did you send the subject line that you thought is going
to just kill it, but it never pulled anything decent or worth reporting on? And I
don't know about you Jonathan, honestly for me it happened more than once, so I
ended up developing a set of rules. A set of rules I should not break.
Specifically with this episode what I want to do is I want to tell you about the
mistakes I've made, so you can I guess experience the pleasure of making less of
those mistakes and benefiting from making more money with your emails.

Jonathan: Alright, alright, you've got me, and yes, I've had my fair share of
bombed subject lines, so I definitely could use some help in this department.

Igor: And this is really important too because subject lines can really make or
break the email. I mean sometimes, sometimes really depending on who's sending out
the email, you know, you can open any subject line. Like if Ben Settles sends out,
I pretty much open it. If you send an email I pretty much open that as well
because we have a relationship. However when it comes to a list building code,
when it comes to building your audience, subject lines play a critical role. So
what I want to do want to give you five ways that I screwed up my subject lines so
you know what not to do. The first one being using click bait and misleading
subjects. So what I mean is using subject lines that tell people that they're
supposed to clean their commissions, that there's like photos enclosed and stuff
like that. So anything that misleads them or tries to trick them into opening the
email, while it's main pay off once or twice in terms of getting your higher open
rates today, I assure you that starting tomorrow your open rates will drop
significantly because your email subscribers are like elephants. They remember
everything. So if you violate their trust once, they will take it personally and
they will stop reading your emails, and sometimes even though your next subject
lines can be really good, they will not read it just to spite you. I honestly, I
am not kidding. It sounds sort of an exaggeration, but email subscribers they take
this stuff personally and you should not violate their trust using click bait
subject lines.

Jonathan: Because you mention Ben Settle all the time, I was in a mastermind, a
really high level mastermind a few months ago, and the subject of emails and Ben
Settle came up, and this guy who's really successful he's a doctor he just pipes
right up and says, "I hate Ben Settle! I don't read his emails anymore." What?
Ben? Come on, man. And so when we ask him what's up he says, "Every time that guy
writes a subject line I have to open the email and then half the time it has
nothing to do with it." You and I know that he ties it in somewhere, but that is
that elephant memory that you're talking about. There was the one that didn't hit
him right and he'll never forget it.

Igor: That's right. And you know Ben always talks about being aggressive with your
subject lines, but always painted off real quick. Apparently he hadn't done to one
email, didn't do it. Or maybe did not go a good job of it. That's exactly I'm
talking about. Especially when it comes to sophisticated people, like people who
are smart, busy, they don't give you a second chance. They often will discard the
entire relationship based on one click bait subject. They prefer you just suck but
to be honest about it, than to try to sort of like cover up when your inability to
write a decent subject line by just lying through your teeth.

Jonathan: Nice.

Igor: So a second one, the second way you can screw up your subject lines is to
write your subject line before writing the actual email. Now this is something
I've done for almost three years until I finally realized that I was going
basically backwards about it. Because what happens is when you write your subject
line before you write the email, all the sudden you lock yourself up. You have to
make the email work by writing about the thing you mention in the subject line,
but when you do it the other way around, what happens is first of you're free
roaming. You can write about anything, and as you're writing you can suddenly hit
on that perfect direction that was not available to you or you weren't aware of
when you started writing the email. It's only came to you like halfway through,
then you kind of remove the first half and then you take it to the whole new
direction, and you end up writing a great email, and the subject line almost
writes itself at that point. So many times I noticed that whenever I wrote an
email after writing that subject line, it became a really painful process of
trying to adapt the content of the email to the subject, and I also was limited to
really being specific, too. Right? Like I couldn't really do anything else but
talk about whatever was mentioning the subject line, the subject line itself all
of a sudden wasn't a really exciting. Now when I wrote the email first and then I
was able to pull the right subject line out of that, all of a sudden I could use
any of the dozens of the subject lines formulas I can use and to adapt any formula
to what I had written. Again, it's just you're not limiting yourself that way. You
have more creative freedom and you can produce much better email copy if you write
the subject line last, not first.

Jonathan: I like that one. I often, when I'm writing any email I just put a
placeholder on the subject line and what I end up doing is just cutting and
pasting something from the body to replace that placeholder that I put for the
subject line, so great stuff there.

Igor: Yes, and it's an easy, really easy way to really shortcut your time and
oftentimes I bet your subject line is good enough for that email to pull through,
because when you write the email itself, usually kind of hit on those, all the
right points, so you've already done the complicated job, all you have to do is
just enjoy the fruits of your labors, so to speak.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Igor: The third one is, the third mistake is being funny or clever. Really common
one, you wouldn't believe how common. And often times what happens is, people get
distracted from the purpose of the email, which is to go and buy something from
you, and the other thing that happens, the other downside to that is often times
it just, it doesn't hit. So in other words, you know how you ever told a joke or
said a final remark to somebody and you notice that it didn't register? And
sometimes they were they don't laugh or sometimes they're laughed but sort of out
of politeness?

Jonathan: Yeah, the story of my life with my wife. She doesn't get me, man.

Igor: So with email subject lines, the same thing happens. The same thing because
you're writing to a large audience coming from all kinds of backgrounds and walks
of life. You're writing to different ages, to different sexes, and you're writing
to a bunch of different people in bunch of different belief systems. Now what are
the chances for your writing, or for your subject line to be funny, what are the
chances that you can make them laugh in eight words? Very, very low. So don't take
that chance, don't take that shot, instead go for what's right and that is ask
yourself, "What do I need to say in my subject line to get them to open it?" Your
job is not to make them laugh, your job not to even sell your product at that
point, just to get them to open the email without pissing them off.

Jonathan: Come on. Pissing them off sometimes it's good also.

Igor: Yes, but pissing the right people off. Like of course you should always
write emails where you kind of focus on the customer you don't want and you
literally just make fun of them in a really mean and nasty way as if you're
teasing your sister, but pissing them off like say with the click bait thing, you
don't want to do that.

Jonathan: Or the delayed payoff, I agree.

Igor: So the other mistake I made often, and I still make sometimes is trying to
cram too much information into the subject line. It comes from your desire to
either inform, which is false, which is really bad if you're trying to do an email
marketing, don't try to inform anyone of anything, entertain instead while
slightly informing, or it comes from insecurity. Because when we're insecure, we
say way more when we're not.

Jonathan: Yes.

Igor: So if you're insecure about what you're saying being accepted or being liked
or hitting well, you try to say more in hopes that you'll hit.

Jonathan: Yes, that's a big sign. I was reading The Game and that's a big sign of
insecurity in guys is when they speak too fast, which falls into saying too much
because they're not secure in themselves. I've seen that plenty of times.

Igor: Especially if you were speaking slowly and then you sped up after something
happened. That's like the big no-no. So let me slow down a little bit. I'm just
kidding. The last mistake, the last mistake that I want to bring up on this
episode, of course done the last mistake ever, but it is a big one that is worth
mentioning and that has swiping other people subject lines. Now we spoke about why
shouldn't swipe other people's emails before, because first it's jackass move to
begin with, and second it just won't work. The same thing is true for swiping
subjects, because subject lines were written by the person you're swiping from for
a certain reason. They were written for a certain audience, hitting a certain
emotion perhaps or a certain desire, and there was some thinking behind it. So
that's one reason why it can't work for you or often won't work for you, it's
because you may have a different audience. Your audience may be aware of different
things. They may have a different belief system. So that's one reason why not the
swipe. The other reason not to swipe is actually because you don't know if that
subject line is any freaking good. This is the biggest reason by far, because if
somebody mails a subject line, oftentimes they're shooting in the dark. They're
trying to figure things out, they're not testing, they're not split testing. I
mean they're not sending out the same subject line to a bunch of different lists
with slight variations. They're not doing any of that stuff, all they're doing is
just coming up with a subject line and mailing it out. There's absolutely no proof
that you can ever get that your subject line you're swiping is any good, and that
it actually worked. So swiping it, I mean, it doesn't increase your chances. It
just shows how lazy you are, that's it. Because you can, I mean your shots of
hitting a good subject and getting a great open rate probably are as high if not
higher than by swiping from somebody else.

Jonathan: Now Igor, you said you had some frameworks that you use. So is that
different using this framework, templates, is that different than actually
swiping, or are they just as played out?

Igor: Now that's a great question because yes, there is a difference between
taking a subject line and copying it word for word for your list, versus breaking
down a subject line if you know it worked, and breaking it down into a formula.
Now that is actually something that Dan Kennedy talks about all the time, that he
was the first one to talk about well in my universe where he said, "Look, what you
do we go to old sales letters that you know perform well, to old controls." That's
what they call a sales letter that was mailed as the primary letter that converted
the best for a product, "You find old controls and you take these headlines." Now
headlines are the subject lines for sales letters. It's pretty much the same thing
with the difference that headlines are usually longer. So what you do, you can
create a habit of taking subject lines and headlines and breaking down why they
work and then developing formulas out of them. So in the previous episode we spoke
about, one of the previous episodes we spoke about writing the right email swipe
for the Solo Ads you're buying. What I've done is I gave you two subject line
formulas. Okay? But these formulas, what's great about them is they hit on the
universally effective point, because we all want, like the first one was about how
to get something you really want without the thing you really hate, right?

Jonathan: Yes.

Igor: So that's what we all want. We want the benefit of something, but without
the thing we hate. For example, we want the benefit of having sex, I'm talking
about guys, young guys. The benefit of having sex, but without commitments. Or we
want the benefits of making a lot of money, but without working really hard for
it. Or we want to be able to command respect and admiration from the members of
the opposite sex, but we don't want to spend eight hours a day in the gym like
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Okay? So that's just universal, and that's what a
formula is. Now if you're able, and you should be able, in fact you should be
striving to create these formulas for yourself, to identify the formulas, to
perhaps purchase the copywriting courses that teach you about these formulas, then
you will be able to quickly and easily come up with great subject lines that pull
well, and you'll have other people trying to knock your subject lines off and not
the other way around.

Jonathan: I like that, I like that. Understanding the underline. First of all, if
it worked, understanding that and then understanding the underlying psychology,
and then adapting it to fit your offer. That's the way I see swipe, but so many
other people see swipe as, "Hey, let me just take this whole thing and slap it on
to what I'm doing."

Igor: You know Jonathan, it's interesting why do we call it a swipe? I mean it's
just the verb is to swipe an email, right? And we call it a swipe because
everybody copies for everybody else, but again if you do what everybody else is
doing, then all you're getting is the same result everybody else is getting. What
instead you want to do is you want to ask yourself what do the ones who make money
with emails do? They have formulas. And if you for example study my subject lines,
oftentimes you will be able to identify my formulas. Now is it any harm for you to
do that? Will it hurt me? No, because you just take the formula and you apply this
formula for whatever it is that you're selling. In fact, I'm giving away all of
these formulas inside the VIP Club. Anytime anyone signs up at,
and they start going through the coaching, a big portion of that training is about
email marketing, and I give away my formulas. But guess what? I don't care to give
them away because you using them successfully does not hurt me in any way shape or

Jonathan: He's being cocky and confident people. Better recognize. Alright. So
anything else as we're wrapping up, Igor?

Igor: Well yes. So I mentioned this in the episode where we spoke about how to
write a perfect email swipe for your Solo Ad, but I'll mention this again. Swipes,
subject lines, emails they're not difficult if you have your formulas down. So
what you want to do if you're interested in figuring this out, go back in your
inbox, go back to the all the emails you received last month from the gurus you
follow and see if you can spot the commonalities in the way they're right subject
lines. Because I assure you, you will be able to do it. For example, if you study
Frank Kern's emails, you'll notice that a lot of his stuff is all curiosity based.
And it always comes across as if a personal email, the actual email that Frank sat
down and sent you, and not something he loaded into his auto responder. So that's
one style of doing it. I mean a lot of a subject lines can be swiped, but then I
urge you to find your own style of writing those subject lines. Sometimes you can
come across a guru that emails with the benefit heavy formula. So almost every
email is just focusing on some sort of benefit. A lot of how-to subject lines. So
if you study for example my emails, you'll notice a lot of how-to subject lines
because I go if I have something that delivers the desired outcome for my
prospect, I just put my best foot forward and I say, "How to get a responsive
prospect on your list without losing the shirt off your back", so again, how to
get the thing you want without the thing you hate. Again, formulas. Really simple,
really easy, there's no magic here, it's all about the formulas. That's what great
subject lines are all about.

Jonathan: I did an interview and we talked about it before with Joe from Agora
Financial, and one of the things that he taught me that really blew my mind was
the difference between active reading and passive reading. So even in sales
letters and emails and all that stuff, passive reading is where you're reading as
a prospect and just going through it, active reading is more of what you're
describing in this episode where you're actively looking for the mechanics,
pieces, things that make this work so that you can model them.

Igor: What you're sharing reminds me of this great phrase I heard from somebody, I
think it was Frank Kern who said, "Don't do as I say, do a as I do." So if you're
in the internet marketing space and you're like following all these IM gurus, then
what you're better of doing is not to just purchase their courses, although
sometimes the courses are really good and follow the advice, but a lot of times
you're better off just what we refer to as funnel hacking in the previous episode.
Just observe what they do and always ask yourself the question, "Why did they say
this this way? Why did they position this cover this way? Why did they do things
the way they did?" All of the sudden, a whole other world opens up to you, a world
that was invisible to you from before, but a world where you literally understand
the mechanics of influence in this industry. It is incredible, and I urge you to
become an active reader and an active consumer in the IM space, because you will
quickly transition from being just a consumer to being a guru.

Jonathan: Good stuff. That is a wrap for another List Building Lifestyle Show,
we'll be back with you next time.

Thanks for listening to The List Building Lifestyle Show, make sure to
subscribe on iTunes or Google Play to never miss an episode because who knows just
one conversion tactic we share on the show might double your list and double your
business. Download the transcript of today’s episode and all future episodes at and don’t forget to claim your complimentary copy
of “The Wealthy List Builder’s Survival Guide” at .
This is Igor Kheifets until next time we talk, have a good one.

This is the

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


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