49 replies
1) I got this e-mail from Brad Callen a few hours ago

Hey Bill, the subject of this email is "bad news", as
I'm sure you noticed. Well, in all actuality there really is no
"bad news". You should know me by now and know that I spread nothing
but good news and joy to the world... hehehe... :-)

Seriously though, the reason for the subject is to try out a
strategy I just learned by watching Frank Kern's "Mass Control 2.0"
DVDs. (He said that specific subject line had the highest open rate
of any email he'd written. Even higher than a subject line saying
"Great News"
, which I thought was very interesting. That goes to
show why FOX news is so popular. We all respond to negativity)

2) ... and I'm dying of curiosity to find out how many of you open this post! :-)

3) Hope those of us who write webpages, blogs, tweets, squids, articles or e-mails (that would be ALL of us wouldn't it?) can get some mileage from Frank's test!

#bad #news
  • Profile picture of the author Randy Bheites
    Ahahahahaha! Been lots of cyberbegging here lately, I thought you were gonna have some long sob story and asking for donations.
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  • Profile picture of the author greenovni
    The bad news emails did a lot of rounds a few months back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Trader54
    I seen your subject line and thought it mite be because of the email. I got the same one. Then inside its kinda like, ha ha I tricked you. Yes it did get me to open the email but I also unsubscribed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Angela V. Edwards
      Originally Posted by Trader54 View Post

      I seen your subject line and thought it mite be because of the email. I got the same one. Then inside its kinda like, ha ha I tricked you. Yes it did get me to open the email but I also unsubscribed.
      I didn't unsubscribe, but I didn't open the email, either. The "bad news" thing was WAY overdone a short while back.
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      • Profile picture of the author Trader54
        Originally Posted by Angela V. Edwards View Post

        I didn't unsubscribe, but I didn't open the email, either. The "bad news" thing was WAY overdone a short while back.
        I would not have opened it either but seen who it was from.

        I have been on his list a long time. But tactics like that turn
        me off.
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  • Profile picture of the author debra
    Wouldn't it also depend on "who" was saying it?

    I mean...I would be more inclined to open the email if I knew the person saying it and had a relationship with them.

    I would be less inclined to read the email or story if it was a headline from someone I didn't have a moderate degree of interest in.
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  • Profile picture of the author yoshiko
    I am not sure that the title will impact much for me, as I would not bother to open it if it were some "regular spammer" who sends it to me. While I would not be so quick as to dismiss the many "gurus" who have been launching products lately, I am, however, more inclined to believe that we should match our level with the right kind of programs that so many gurus tend to flood our inboxes.

    Just my two cents worth.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
    Originally Posted by BillOliver View Post

    1) I got this e-mail from Brad Callen a few hours ago

    2) ... and I'm dying of curiosity to find out how many of you open this post! :-)
    I opened it but only after I previewed it and saw Brad's name. Otherwise, I'd have passed.

    Keep two things in mind when using deceptive subject lines.

    1. You piss of the reader and pissed off readers don't convert.
    2. Open rates mean jack squat.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesPenn
    I think this has been so over-used in the IM market that it's completely lost its effectiveness - I've seen it a million times now.

    I tested it in one of my niches and it was also highly ineffective.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    i used "so sorry" as my subject line the other day and the open rate was
    definitely on the higher end compared to my average open rate.

    I really was "so sorry" though. My server crashed and a bunch of people
    couldn't see pics of my newborn son as well as the other thing I was promoting.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bruce Wedding
      Originally Posted by jasondinner View Post

      ...a bunch of people couldn't see pics of my newborn son as well as the other thing I was promoting.
      ?? Don't let your wife see you calling your newborn a "thing" and why are you promoting "it"?
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      • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
        Originally Posted by Bruce Wedding View Post

        ?? Don't let your wife see you calling your newborn a "thing" and why are you promoting "it"?
        LOL Bruce

        I had to promote some"thing", but also wanted my peeps to know about my son's birth.

        I think you confused the "thing" with my son
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      • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
        Originally Posted by Bruce Wedding View Post

        ?? Don't let your wife see you calling your newborn a "thing" and why are you promoting "it"?
        P.S. - It's my first son Jason (AKA JayDogg Jr) that is the "thing".

        I'm about to go sit in his room for the next hour just so he goes to sleep!!!!
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        • Profile picture of the author Barbara Eyre
          Sooo .... where are the pics ???

          I agree, the "Bad news" and similar type email subjects are a big bore now.
          Yes, I open them just in case there truly is bad news, but the second I see it's yet another promotion, the email is deleted.

          Yes, I know I opted into their list and I know they are going to promote to me, but can't they stop with the silly tactics? First time .. it's original. But after that ... it starts to lose it's fizz.

          And like it has been mentioned ... open rates of emails means little. You still have to do the selling to get people to click to the website in question ... and then to click the buy button.
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  • Profile picture of the author jficarro
    Bill, just wanted you to know that I did not open the email, but I have been a little tainted lately and have gone on an unsubscribe and ignore campaign. Hope it's not contagious since most of us depend on lists for a living, but I am so sick of all the b.s. emails from gurus and "friends" alike that promote what always (ALWAYS) turns out to be the same old crap - reworded, reformatted, or otherwise rehashed into something "BRAND NEW" SECRET, etc etc. yuck.

    Like I said, I hope my illness is not contagious for all our sakes.

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author Neil S
    Yea not only do those emails not work in the IM niche anymore, they actually have the opposite effect. I got so many of those damn things I just unsubscribe when I see them.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    Heck, I opened it just out of shock that was using it..

    What surprised me is that Brad just now caught wind of this, when it made the rounds quite while ago (last winter?).. my guess is that he's going to be be promoting the upcoming Mass Control launch, and came across franks old prelaunch videos.
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    -Jason

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  • Profile picture of the author BillOliver
    Well! What a surprise! I am only on about a dozen lists.
    I'm almost ashamed to say this, but I had no idea that it had 'done the rounds' some time before. I honestly thought I was conveying a great new tip from Frank Kern!

    I'm tempted to sart another thread with subject: I'm so sorry! - but I'm not game!

    It just goes to show how switched on and cutting edge the marketers in this forum are.

    Bill
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    Bill Oliver (B.Bus. Banking & Finance, Computing)
    Sales Writer/Marketing Coach, Resume: www.billoliver.net
    NICHES: Financial Sector, Sales & Services, Brick & Mortar SMEs.
    btw I'm an Australian living in Malaysia & a 1978 Fiat X1/9 owner.
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  • Profile picture of the author Roncham
    I opened it, but just because of who it was from, not so much the title.
    I agree with the others here, Frank and a few others overdid it.
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    • Profile picture of the author webwyn
      I think the 'Bad News' concept gets us opening thread/emails etc. I believe we need to see if the message is truly a warning we need to know about.

      If on the other hand the message is just a sell, then bounce rates could be high so the overall conversions are what really matters.
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  • Profile picture of the author seolake
    Its true that with so many emails trying to catch attention, I just unsubscribe from emails that specifically target negative promotion.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigRedNotebook
      I got it. Looked at it for a split-second, was mildly annoyed when it became instantly clear that there was no "bad news" and closed it after a super-quick scan.

      Like some others, I was surprised to see it. I thought that this particular headline trick ran its course a few months ago. It almost seemed "retro" to me.

      I won't necessarily unsubscribe from a list on the basis of a phony "bad news" headline, but I don't like them. When I open them and discover that it's pure gaming, I really tend to pay very little attention to the actual email. Maybe I'm alone in that. If not, those who use these headlines should consider that when assessing the value of heightened open rates.

      Personally, I'm a little tired of these "sorry", "bad news", etc. subject lines.

      We're getting to the point where "Great news!" would actually be refreshing and interesting again. Hopefully, it'd be more honest, too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Yeah, but will it win over "Horrible tragedy"?

    Tyrus
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  • Profile picture of the author henrychai
    haha.. good trick and a good reminder that human being love to listen negative stuff...
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  • Profile picture of the author LastWarrior
    Many of us got the same eMail, but the stats are skewed because we know who's sending it, thus we open it regardless.

    Years ago a radio company opened up called the "Good News" Network. They were shut down IMMEDIATELY due to lack of ratings. LOL! It's a play off of that and every knows bad news travels fast. We don't want to hear how a 75 year old broken down mansion was restored... but when we hear it's on fire, we flock to see!

    LastWarrior
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    So far my 2 worst email broadcasts ever have come from advice I followed from the "Gurus". I tried the bad news technique as well a few weeks back, and while the open rate was very high, so was the unsubscribe rate. I was irate that such a tactic could be promoted, but I was even more mad at myself for following up on it. Yes you will get more opens, but the amount of money you'll lose in people unsubscribing from your list will far out weigh any benefit you'll gain from more opens.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Call me a dinosaur, but I do NOT use gimmicks with my email subject lines.

      I say what it is I want to say and move on.

      Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, nothing sensational.

      The results?

      I have a lot of happy subscribers who know what to expect from me.

      Gimmicks?

      Let the "gurus" use them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
        Lol, Steve.

        I always expect to get an email from you with the subject:

        "Here's Some More Valuable Content. {firstname_fix}. In Return, Please Send Me Some Cash"




        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Call me a dinosaur, but I do NOT use gimmicks with my email subject lines.

        I say what it is I want to say and move on.

        Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, nothing sensational.

        The results?

        I have a lot of happy subscribers who know what to expect from me.

        Gimmicks?

        Let the "gurus" use them.
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        Not promoting right now

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  • Profile picture of the author Dwayne Pressley
    ^^^

    Steve, you are the BIGGEST non-guru, guru I know! LOL

    Dwayne
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    The Bad News subject line still works on me, but not as quickly as it did before Frank used it and told everyone how effective it was. It still doesn't get me as upset as the "Notification of Payment" messages.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Usher
    Any subject line that is deceptive and cons the recipient into reading it immediately gets the unsubscribe link clicked.

    Sure the open rates may be high, but what are the unsubscribe rates ?

    Is it really worth deceiving people, or is it better just to send your list an email which is personal and contains relevant information for which they signed up to ?

    Any email that starts with "RE:" or "FWD:" goes into the bin as well.
    Any list I subscribed to that turns from an "product update only" list to a "promotion" list goes into the bin as well.

    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Dalangin
    Originally Posted by BillOliver View Post

    1) I got this e-mail from Brad Callen a few hours ago

    Hey Bill, the subject of this email is "bad news", as
    I'm sure you noticed. Well, in all actuality there really is no
    "bad news". You should know me by now and know that I spread nothing
    but good news and joy to the world... hehehe... :-)

    Seriously though, the reason for the subject is to try out a
    strategy I just learned by watching Frank Kern's "Mass Control 2.0"
    DVDs. (He said that specific subject line had the highest open rate
    of any email he'd written. Even higher than a subject line saying
    "Great News"
    , which I thought was very interesting. That goes to
    show why FOX news is so popular. We all respond to negativity)

    2) ... and I'm dying of curiosity to find out how many of you open this post! :-)

    3) Hope those of us who write webpages, blogs, tweets, squids, articles or e-mails (that would be ALL of us wouldn't it?) can get some mileage from Frank's test!

    LOL, you got me opening your thread.
    Looks like the title is not bad at all

    Ross
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    • Profile picture of the author hangtimenino
      I havent seen the 'bad news' yet. or maybe i wasnt just paying any attention. Everything that goes to the spam folder, remains unread, until they get deleted.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lindsay Brynn
    I hate to be one of those marketers that complains about people marketing to me... but I find the bad news subject line very annoying. I end up on many lists for different reasons and usually eventually unsubscribe if I find they keep using bizarre kind of tricky methods.

    I love Steve Wagenheim's list - to me that is how things should be run. Good information, straight and to the point. You can definitely promote products too, but make them of value and don't be tricky.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    I think a lot of the people who used the 'bad news' subject line did not even pay attention to how frank said to use.. it is supposed to be used when you actually have something that warrants it in some way. If I remember correctly, he even said NOT to use it in the manner in which most people did.
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    -Jason

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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    It would not make me want to buy anything. I am not exactly sure what kind of follow up you would use with that as a subject line unless of course there really was some bad news. I think there is a point where things can go too far ...
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    • Profile picture of the author jficarro
      Originally Posted by Marhelper View Post

      It would not make me want to buy anything. I am not exactly sure what kind of follow up you would use with that as a subject line unless of course there really was some bad news. I think there is a point where things can go too far ...

      I shouldn't even pipe in because I deleted the email before even opening it, but....what about:

      BAD NEWS - we completely sold out of last weeks incredible "email headlines that get opened" package, but we are now releasing our very special package of "how to get people to not unsubscribe to your list after a bad headline mistake". Sign up for yet another list and you get it for FREE!!! :p
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      • Profile picture of the author Sonja
        Yeah I got the email and like many have said...this bad news thing has been beaten to death. So if I get an email with that subject and there really isn't any bad news, I go straight to the unsubscribe link. And that's what I did when I got his email the other day.
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  • Profile picture of the author CanadianChickXO
    I love Kern, he's awesome.

    I got the same email and of course I clicked on it.

    I tried this with a list of mine. I had open rates around 40 - 55% and tried this exact same subject and had a spike in open rates. Up to 69%. Craft niche also. Follow Frank he is a wizard of persuasion.
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  • Profile picture of the author dbressler
    Brad was a few months late to the party on this one.

    When I saw the subject line, I just deleted it.

    Debbi
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Hatfield
    Try this subject line:

    Sorry, moved your funeral back to Tuesday . . .
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Bartlett
    To be honest, I like the person who sent the email out but even so, when I saw the title I just deleted the email. I feel its been overdone and to a degree insults my intelligence.

    (I am probably being too touchy and it probably DID work overall, but thats my 2cents)
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  • Profile picture of the author SullyUI
    I opened it...Great title.
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  • Profile picture of the author Josh Bartlett
    I love the variety of answers to this thread!

    It just goes to show, things effect different people in different ways and we are not our target market!

    Another one which seems to be doing the rounds (again?) at the moment is:

    "Your download details.."

    This one worked for me, just because of my own curiosity.
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  • Profile picture of the author secretssovaluable
    In short, the title of this post got me to open it. Look at the news. If it bleeds it leads. The theory still holds true. It's like people watching a car crash on the freeway they don't want to look but they can't help it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Please, no gimmicks in the e-mail subject lines. No deception. No "ha ha, I tricked you into opening this e-mail". Don't alienate your readers, it won't pay off in the long run.
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