How 86% of my emails were opened with four words

genesis_after_post_title Hook

No, having Michael Jackson’s name on the subject line won’t necessarily result in your email being opened but the phrase ‘You Are Not Alone” just happens to do the trick.

you are not alone

I learnt this from the guys over at Copyblogger who also found that the simple phrase “You Are Not Alone” was by far the most-opened subject line e-mail they had experienced – my results were much the same.

Using Aweber as my primary email management tool, I have the luxury of noticing which subject lines are resulting in the most clicks and this phrase had an average open rate of 86%

If you’re wondering whether that’s good or bad, let’s put this number in perspective. Most open rates are lower than 25% subject to your industry. Often, an open rate between 30-45% is considered to be solid.

Would you like to see these your open rates reach 86% or higher?

Before you jump to the conclusion that such a line only works in content marketing, think again…I’ve seen my colleagues successfully implement this in their respective niches including treatment for vitiligo, losing fat to name a few – and with positive results.

But is this even a surprise? I don’t want to be alone is a statement which resonates with many across the world as everyone wants to feel part of or belong to something, so if your subscriber is feeling this sentiment, curiosity prevails.

Granted, there are numerous ways to appeal to the needs of our target audience through the subject line, but more often than not, your message will end up in the trash or spam folder.

We’ll avoid that, I promise you and this is how.

Be on their side

Nothing works a treat like when the end consumer / reader knows that you’re on their side.

You could be selling an e-course or social media campaign, but if you consistently remind your reader that you understand what they are experiencing and genuinely care, you will earn their trust.

Don’t just do this once – repeat it until your stance has been engraved in them.

The subject line will get your through the door, but won’t equate to a conversion, but you now have their attention. Time to prove you’ve earnt this opportunity by offering a valuable solution to your reader’s problem.

So getting through the dinner is great, now that you’re at their dinner table, it’s time to serve your main course.

dinner is served

Note: The phrase “You Are Not Alone” will not only get you clicks, but also brace yourself for a few replies. I was surprised to see a number of readers wrote back directly within the first 10 minutes so be sure to reply back.

It’s easy to sit back and relax once your email campaign goes live but if you fail to reply back, your audience will immediately lose trust and like a business relying on a supplier for delivery, your reader also needs to be nurtured before engaging in your services or product.

Help your reader solve a problem and they will come through for you.

What Type Of Security Do Your Readers Need From You?

The phrase “You Are Not Alone” resonates with humans because it hits a personal note, and when it comes to self-wellness, we go to extended lengths to meet our needs.

Respond to your reader’s single need or more, however, your proposition must delivery what the end user requires if you want the relationship to work.  

If you nail this component, the rest is secondary, such as building your email list, developing the relationship and then securing the deal whether it be a monetary reward or sign up.

I drew a lot of inspiration from Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” book which looks into a number of factors which makes us tick, and it’s not as difficult as you’d think. 

If you’re struggling to put yourself in your audience’s shoes, think about what prevents you from sleeping at night.

Are there any pressing issues which scare you, worry you or make you feel sad? Perhaps it makes you feel happy or surprised?

If you’re involved in the market you’re preaching, then your words will come through naturally. Even if you aren’t, find out what it is and you’ll be miles ahead of the next marketer competing in your space.

The “Negative” framework

It’s a fact – people will work their butt off to retain something than try to gain something they would like (even when desperate). Think about it…how many relationships are still running purely on the grounds of ‘it’s easier than starting the process again’.

Employing a negative headline and alerting your audience to a serious problem which you know how to solve will help them keep something which means a lot, plus you have also earnt their trust.

Example of a negative headline: “Will You Be Hurt By These Google Changes?”

In today’s competitive market, you simply can’t lie and expect to get away with it. It’s easier to be helpful and actually solve the issue than take shortcuts to earn a few dollars (which won’t be sustainable once the word gets out).

Be genuine, get your email opened, earn the trust of your audience and grow this relationship…yes this is precisely how successful marketers refer to the cliché ‘the money is in the list’ but hey it’s not done overnight.

Try it and let me know your success rate.

After all, even us business owners don’t ever want be left alone, right?


  1. Excellent post Kapil, 4 simple words and very powerful, we will have to give them a go. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Andi Leeman recently posted…Do Follow or Not Do Follow? That is The QuestionMy Profile

  2. Great advice here Kapil,

    Hadn’t really thought that changing the subject line would have that much impact, but after reading this I am going to have to do some experimenting. Be interested to learn what other words and phrases improve open rates.
    Matt Smith recently posted…MaxCDN Review – Why We Use MaxCDNMy Profile

    • Cheers Matt – it’s easy to discount the value of headlines but if you think about it yourself, how many emails or articles do you open just based on the headline? :)

  3. Great piece, Kapil.

    Emailing marketing is truly an art and it takes a while to get the hang of it. There’s many different aspects to email marketing; however, I’ve found that the two most important ones are to build the relationships with your subscribers and selling the click through. That’s effective email marketing in a nut shell.

    Thanks for sharing your insights with us. I’m glad to have found your post on I hope to see more of your content there soon. :)

    Ti Roberts recently posted…Why Traffic Does NOT Equate to Money (My Response to Ana Hoffman)My Profile

    • Hey Ti – thanks for stopping by and appreciate your views. I couldn’t agree more with your two most prominent elements – it’s unfortunate that a number of online marketers think they can keep pushing the hard sell once they obtain an email address…it’ll rarely ever end in a sale and even if it does, you aren’t exactly building a relationship (more transactional). Look forward to speaking to you soon and love the work you’re doing at Bizsugar.
      Kapil recently posted…How To Make Your Vimeo and YouTube Videos Search FriendlyMy Profile

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