In the last post, we saw that people open your emails if they know, like and trust you. Therefore, there is no shortcut; you have to put in the time to build your brand.


Now that you are actively building your brand, creating a big audience and getting more people to like and trust you, you need to make sure that you also work on your email headlines.

The headlines should also be optimized to ensure that they encourage your followers to open your emails.

Why people open email bar graph

Why people open emails


You see, 43% of readers open your emails based on the subject lines. You can not afford to ignore this number of people. They might know, like and trust you but the headline will push them over the edge and get them to open the email.

As a psychologist, I will walk you through the Psychological principles behind a higher open rate. I will help you come up with headlines that your followers cannot help themselves but open, read and reply to your emails.


George Loewen, a researcher, in his publication called: The Psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation defined curiosity as a driving force of human behavior through all stages of life.

Psychologists, Philosophers, and other scholars have studied curiosity for as long as 1900. They identified that curiosity has four characteristics:

  • It’s intrinsic

  • It’s passionate

  • It’s appetitive

  • It’s intense

With such strong connotations, it is paramount that every marketer and writer finds ways to utilize the power of curiosity to ensure that the target clients receive the intended information.

So, how do you come up with a headline that is laden with curiosity?

Create a curiosity gap.

According to George Loewenstein,  you create a curiosity gap when you focus the reader’s attention on a gap in knowledge. You make them aware that there is something important they do not know. This gap creates a feeling of deprivation.  People do not like to feel deprived; therefore, they get an intense motive to get the missing information so that they can fill in the gap.

Have a look at this:

The #1 trick  I used to get more coaching clients.

Such a headline is a promise that inside the email is a solution to the reader’s constant hustle for clients. This creates a strong urge to open the email.

Note, I’m not advocating for the use of clickbait. Clickbait headlines create a powerful informational gap only to trick the reader to open but not get the information promised.

Here is an example:

Get a six-pack in one week with this no-equipment routine.

You open such an article or email only to get the same old routines. This is an unethical use of

the informational gap.

Instead, as a writer, marketer or entrepreneur use the informational gap to make the reader curious about the value that you have hidden in the email or the blog post. When they open the email, let them soak in all the value you have prepared for them. This way, they will not only like and trust you, but they will also open the next email whether the headline is as strong as the first one or not.

2. Scarcity

According to a particular ‘philosopher’ turned musician named -Passenger

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow

Only know you love her when you let her go.”

Remember this song?

Here for the reggae fans. 

It’s a fact!

You and I are more attracted to things & people we think we can not have.

According to Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence: The Psychology of persuasion, we are more motivated by the thought of losing something than the thought of getting something of equal value.


Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion book cover image

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion book by Robert Cialdini

So, how do you incorporate scarcity when curating your headlines?

Simple, I’m sure you’ve seen this plenty of times, create a time-bound offer.  You could be offering a discount for an item that is limited in supply.

“I’ve done that with my list, but it doesn’t work,” said one of my clients.

Has this happened to you too?

Okay, here is the trick. Your readers must know that scarcity is real.

I’ve seen campaigns that run for months with the heading “ Offer expiring soon.”

Are you kidding me? S-O-O-N!

What do you mean by soon? Next year?

Your followers aren’t fooled that easily.

Therefore, establish your brand based on credibility. If signing up for a course is supposed to close by a specific date- close it then.  The people who will not sign up for this round will note that you are genuine and they will be eagerly waiting for the next time you open it.

3. Authority

“ Read this and tell me what you think!”

Simple, direct and authoritative!

I will definitely be interested in knowing what the H*ll is it that I’m being directed to read.

Note, you can use authority in two ways:


  1. Authority in wording your subject line.

The above is a perfect example. It gives the reader a direct instruction. In a way, such authoritative headlines also create curiosity.

Ii. Authority from the sender

When you a brand to a point whereby your followers know, like and trust you, they also view you as an authority in your niche, they will open your emails regardless of what crap you write in your subject line (I don’t mean you should write crap though).

At this point, your readers know that you only provide pure gold in your content. Therefore, they just see your name on the sender section and dive head first into the email.

Here is an example of an email with an authoritative headline and also from an authoritative sende-Pat Flynn.

Your Skills= Money Headline By Pat Flynn

Your Skills= Money Headline by Pat Flynn

So, remember that you can not afford to spend your time writing value-laden content but fail to take time curating a strong headline. If they do not open the email, your effort goes down the drain. Get them to open the email and read all the sweet juices you have for them in the content.

My question, as I sign-off is: Do you think numbers are effective in increasing the open rate when used in headlines