I just received two emails from Internet marketer Trey Smith. The first email’s subject line read:


I didn’t read it.

But then about 90 minutes later, I received another email with the subject line:

“SERVER CRASH! (Woooo hooo!)”

I immediately opened it to learn what happened. It’s curiosity. The email read:

Well, it’s official. I had to leave Bluehost because

it’s crashing every time I send an email.

So if you clicked on the new video I just sent out
and got an error, sorry about that!

I put the new video up here for you that should
hold up fine:


Make sure you watch that! You’ll get a brand
new update on my iPhone business and also a
chance to get something free that’s super cool.

Take care,


I forwarded this email to the entire staff saying how great the email was because shit happens and it was a great way to handle it.

When I hit send, I stopped and thought, “Wait a minute. Is this another email marketing tactic?”

I went to the original email and clicked the link. It worked.

If this is not an email marketing tactic to increase open rates, it certainly could be. This is the first I have thought of it so I don’t have any data to support it, but it certainly worked for me, the most pessimistic of email openers. My curiosity to learn what happened in the wake of a disaster got my eyeballs on the email and a click to the landing page.

However, using this tactic could easily result in your list becoming irritated or feeling duped. I would caution you to think carefully before implementing something like this and argue you could only use it sparingly to be effective. Keep in mind that a few additional eyeballs on your message is not worth irritating your list of customers or losing loyal influencers.

Here are a few other proven ways to increase your open rate with great subject lines:

▪ Ask questions that your list cares about
▪ Add shocking, counter-intuitive claims
▪ Use odd numbers
▪ Add a file type to the subject, such as [ARTICLE] or [VIDEO] or [PDF]
▪ Use scarcity/urgency with expiring offers (ie: “link expires”)
▪ Make it fun
▪ Provide a free offer

Are you curious too? Should we test something like this?


pferrier is the co-founder of MINDSCAPE at Hanon McKendry and a Web design/SEO expert