Your subject line is really important, we can all agree on that. I mean, it’s the first thing people see – even before they open the email.

Well, with all that emphasis on subject lines, I thought it’d be fun to look back at the last 6 months of Monkeypod emails and see which subject lines of mine performed the best, and then try and figure out why.

The folks over at Digital Marketer have done a list like this every year for the last few years, and they seem to know what they’re doing so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I’ll just borrow their structure and use my own findings (Here’s their 2015 list).

Feel free to steal these subject lines for your own business, or use them as inspiration when you’re writing new ones.

Note: I don’t have a massive audience, but I have sent a little over 18,000 emails since June. For the sake of this list, I’m only going to look at emails that were sent to 100+ recipients.
Another note: Open rates and averages can vary dramatically from business to business, and from industry to industry. I’ve worked hard to keep my list really targeted, and to set the appropriate expectations for subscribers. As a result, my audience is pretty engaged. Don’t get discouraged if your open rates aren’t as high as you’d like, it’s an opportunity.

10. Missing Tips Alert [SOS]

  • Open Rate: 57%
  • Click Through: 15%
  • Content: Promotion to buy the Mini Pod Tips Series (get the tips)
  • Analysis: The subject line piques curiosity by indicating that something is missing. I think people inherently have a fear of missing out on things, and the [SOS] added on afterward further indicates that something is wrong, and even that they might be able to fix it.

9. Decision Diamond Hack [BLOG]

  • Open Rate: 57%
  • Click Through: 22%
  • Content: Blog Post (read it)
  • Analysis: Decision diamonds are hard for people. And people like hacks. It’s that simple. By using the word ‘hack’, it implies that this is something secret, or at least not very well known. My audience is primarily Infusionsoft users, and this resonated pretty well.

8. Lesson 3: Simple Works

  • Open Rate: 59%
  • Click Through: N/A
  • Content: Lesson 3 of the 5 Lessons of Automation (grab em)
  • Analysis: I set the expectation that I’d be delivering 5 lessons – so the recipients are expecting the email, which is why this and the number 6 subject line both come from the same series of emails. Also, the simplicity of the subject line “Simple Works” exerts confidence without making it sound intimidating.

7. PartnerCon Recap Part 1

  • Open Rate: 60%
  • Click Through: 29%
  • Content: Blog Post (read it)
  • Analysis: PartnerCon is an important event in the Infusionsoft ecosystem, and as I’ve stated, the majority of my blog readers are Infusionsoft users and partners. This post was published right after PartnerCon, so I think the timing helped it dramatically. Lots of people were wondering what was said, or revealed, and I think even those who attended were curious about a condensed summary. Also, by saying Part 1, I indicated that there’d be more coming, and I think people want to make sure they’re caught up when the next post comes out.

6. Lesson 2: Bring a Personality

  • Open Rate: 60%
  • Click Through: N/A
  • Content: Lesson 2 of the 5 Lessons of Automation
  • Analysis: As with before, the expectation was set that I’d be delivering 5 lessons. So I think recipients were expecting the email, and I also think the word “lesson” indicates that there’s something worth learning in the email.  Finally, saying “Bring a Personality” nearly implies that they haven’t been bringing one, so I think some people may have opened hoping that they were already doing this.

Donatello Clear5. COWABUNGA [BLOG POST]

  • Open Rate: 61%
  • Click Through: 3%
  • Content: Blog Post (read it)
  • Analysis: This was a really effective subject line, but obviously it didn’t generate very many clicks to the content. I can’t be certain, but this post had less technical information, and was a lighter post about what email marketing pet peeves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might have. I’m guessing the subject line was fun and intriguing, but once they read the email, the copy either didn’t do a good enough job framing up the blog post, or the topic just didn’t resonate.

4. Feeling Tipsy?

  • Open Rate: 62%
  • Click Through: 6%
  • Content: Nurture emails after the Mini Pod Tips Series opt in.
  • Analysis: This email had interesting results. Obviously people opened it. This was a follow-up to the Mini Pod Tips Series, so I was using the word “Tipsy” as a play on words, and at first glance I attributed the success of this email to my own clever subject line. But, back in September I also got a reply to this email from a then prospect who told me he nearly unsubscribed because this email rubbed him the wrong way, because read it and felt it was implying that he was drunk, or would have to be drunk to not take my offer. So, I adapted the email copy to explain the subject line further and make sure that I’m not offending anyone. There’s something to be said for the “shock and awe” approach, but you definitely don’t want to be offending your list on a regular basis.

MiniPodTipsSeries_square3. Pleased to Meet You [New Product]

  • Open Rate: 67%
  • Click Through: 12%
  • Content: Mini Pod Tips Series Announcement
  • Analysis: Man, the mini pod tips series has come up a handful of times in my top 10 subject lines. Which, if you read about my first flop, doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. But I guess it just goes to show that subject lines and open rates don’t necessarily translate to results. This subject line was fairly direct, and I included the *New Product* teaser because I had eluded to an upcoming product a few times before hand. Also, because people like free things, and we like good deals. If you’re receiving emails from me, there’s a good chance that you like the type of thing I have to offer – so I don’t see any reason to disguise an offer or a new product.

2. Just a Quickie

  • Open Rate: 68%
  • Click Through: 31%
  • Content: Survey Request
  • Analysis: This is a subject line that I use in a few different campaigns and it consistently performs. People like it because it’s a little suggestive, just enough to pique the recipients curiosity. And the click through is successful as well because once they open the email, it’s really quick and to the point “Hey, take this one question survey”.

1. Alright. Let’s segment.

  • Open Rate: 88%
  • Click Through: 73%
  • Content: Segmentation Email
  • Analysis: Kind of an anticlimactic conclusion to this list, right? This subject line isn’t all that sexy, but it was sent to a few hundred people and 88% opened it? And 73% took an action? To me, that’s pretty remarkable. So the take-away here isn’t the subject line itself, it’s really the circumstances surrounding this email that made it so successful. When I started Monkeypod I put out a handful of opt-in forms on my various social media channel, and I got several hundred sign-ups from people who wanted to know what I was up to. Then, after I explained a little bit about the vision I had for Monkeypod, and the impetus behind me leaving Infusionsoft; I sent this email and asked people to segment themselves. I gave them a handful of links, and let them click on whichever best described them. In doing so, I was of course applying tags and segmenting people into the various groups so that I could make sure that I only sent them the things which they had told me they wanted to receive. To be honest, this email is probably the reason that my other open rates are as high as they’ve been as well.


Email is still a really effective marketing tool. And I’m not sharing these subject lines with you to brag, although I am pretty proud of the engagement I’ve been able to sustain. I’m sharing these because I hope that you can either use them directly, or as inspiration for your marketing collateral in the upcoming year.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know that a few hundred people isn’t a statistically significant sampling. I’m not a statistician. I just thought this would be a fun way to share some of the subject lines that have been working for me.

Please feel free to share your best performing subject lines below, or by emailing me directly! And if you need help finding them, check out this article from Brett at Blick Digital.