Email marketing can be summed up in one, desperate plea:


What determines whether someone opens your email or not?

“Subject lines! That’s where it’s at”, you might think.

If there’s one thing that makes someone read your email, it’s gotta be the subject line, right?


… but I think there’s something else… something your subscribers look at BEFORE they even think about reading the subject line.

Can you guess what it is?

“Who is this from?”

Think about it. When you check your own email, the first thing you do is look for the name. Once you know who it’s from then – and only then – do you look at the subject.

If you look in your inbox and see the sender “MeetHotRussianbabez”… you’re going to delete that email, regardless of whether they nailed the subject line or not.

(If you are tempted to open that email, don’t. Turns out it was a man called Gary from Halifax. He wasn’t Russian and he wasn’t a babe. He WAS hot though – it was summer and he had to run to meet me at the other end of the car park – he got a bit of a sweat on!)

“Who is this from?” is the first hurdle you have to jump in getting your email read.

There’s no hack to passing this test. 

(I know it doesn’t sound like it, but this is good news)

You pass this test by earning trust – by showing up consistently and honestly.

“Oh, that’s John. I know him. I’ve seen him before. Far too many stories involving weird car park liaisons, but… he’s OK.”

Here’s a good way to think about it…

The “From” line determines whether they’ll bin your email, sight unseen.

The “Subject” line determines whether they’ll open it.

How do you need to show up for your people so they give you a shot and look at your subject line?