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Cutting-Edge Web

15 Subject Lines that Stole My Heart: How to Use Curiosity, Open Loops and Dramatic Tension in Your Marketing

Photo by Andżelina Hanke

Photo by Bess Hamiti

“hey u” read the subject line…

I opened up.

It was from this guy Murray Gray who I had met that weekend at Brendon Burchard’s Experts Academy.

The email was bold and charming and it had me hooked…

He had done his research – knew who I was and what I liked and how to talk to me in a way that drew me in.

Here’s a snippet:

i thought i’d google your name and in this half-asleep state i’m looking at your photos of bangkok and brazil and laos and greece, seeing what you’ve seen, and thinking one single thought:  how cool it would be to go traveling together one day — you with your camera, me with mine –once we both get our content businesses up and running and no longer have any good reason to stay rooted to one spot.

sound good?

the only question that remains is ….  where shall we go?

The funny thing is that in those 3 short paragraphs, he foresaw our entire relationship…

We wrote each other for 7 months before we had our first date. It was the same week I launched Live Your Message. 8 months later we were traveling the world together with our cameras…

I thought I’d share the 15 subject lines he used to steal my heart over those 7 months he wrote to me from London to LA…

  1. hey u
  2. on cheesy songs and wanderlust…
  3. eat, pray, launch…
  4. we are what we create…
  5. zen and the art of seeing opportunity everywhere
  6. DVD mania!
  7. the turns and the twists
  8. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
  9. Is there a Doctor in the house?
  10. objects in the mirror may appear closer than they actually are…
  11. the way of the wind…
  12. my favorites are…
  13. admit 2 to crazyland
  14. always remember to breathe…
  15. voilà

So there you have it, the evolution of my love affair with Murray Gray.

(A word of warning: if you end up in an email exchange with a copywriter, you may end up married… 🙂

Now let me ask you:

  • How did these subject lines make you feel?
  • What is it about them that drew you in?

Read these 15 subject lines again.

Notice that almost every subject line creates curiosity and tension.

As the famous novelist Anton Checkhov wrote, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Murray creates an open loop in the subject line that he closes in the body of the email. He starts a story in the subject line that he continues in the email.

This is the dramatic principle that creates books you can’t put down, emails you’re compelled to open and products you’re inspired to buy….

Now, imagine writing your marketing emails with story, romance and dramatic tension…

Do you think it would a difference in your open rate?

Your conversions?

You bet it would…

What’s one subject line you’re inspired to write? Let me know in the comments.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Paul

    They av some deep meaning.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Yes! It’s important to consider the meaning of our subject lines as they increase open rates 🙂

      Reply ·
  2. My feed

    There is definately a great deal to know about this issue.
    I really like all of the points you have made.

    Reply ·
  3. Manu Tuuholoaki

    …And they lived happily ever after. Or did they?…

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      yes they did.. and still are.. 🙂

      Reply ·
  4. Gillian

    How about: “Do YOU avoid the F word?” And the word is not what they think it’s going to be it’s finances. And the text that follows is to offer them my Financial Zen programme at a heavily disocunted rate.

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Nice subject line!

      Reply ·
  5. Emmy

    It’s me, your angel… Open the window!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd


      Reply ·
  6. Shannon

    Thank you for sharing! Often marketing and customer relationship building is compared to a romance, and well it should be. If we all thought about our customers in the way that we think of that new romance, how different our businesses would be!

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd


      Reply ·
  7. Ruby Kamaka

    Feeling stuck? Scared? Overwhelmed?

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Great start. How can you add more curiosity and story into this to make it unique or different?

      Reply ·
  8. Kathryn Lehan

    It’s cool how you weave your personal story into your teachable moments.

    Who’s popcorn is burning? That’s the title of my next blog post (Feb 9th).

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      I like it… and yes that is my secret to writing memorable content my audience will remember and most of all implement!

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

What's the Business You're Truly Meant to Build?

You have a purpose here on Earth that you’re supposed to fulfill. And certain people here to serve. Watch this Masterclass to discover the business you're meant to build & how to share it with the world.