Copywriting Contest: Write the best-performing subject line and win


Subject lines are by far the easiest element of your email marketing to test. Heck, probably the easiest element to test period.

And it’s a good thing too. There’s a lot you can learn about your audience from testing subject lines:

  • What elements of your value proposition are most appealing?
  • Do you have to offer an incentive to get your customers to take even a basic action?
  • If so, which incentive works best?

But here’s another thing about subject line testing … sometimes you just hit a wall. To quote The Barenaked Ladies, sometimes you just feel like, “It’s all been done.”



As a one-man wolf pack — an individual copywriter or marketer writing subject lines — sometimes you simply run out of ways to rearrange a few characters in a small space. At these times, you need to reach out and get fresh, outside test ideas to push the envelope:

  • Designers
  • IT
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Your marketing peers within (and outside) your company
  • Your audience

This is why we’re turning to you today. We’ve written a lot (and I mean a lot) of subject lines, and are looking for a truly fresh perspective for an upcoming marketing send about Optimization Summit 2012 in Denver.

And we’ll make it worth your while. The winning subject line in our test will receive a free ticket to Optimization Summit 2012 plus a free MarketingExperiments Landing Page Optimization Online Course. That’s a $1,900 value.



Simply submit the subject line you think will receive the most clickthroughs (our KPI is CTR, not open rate). The research question for this test is, “Which subject line will produce the highest clickthrough rate?”

The only variable in this test will be the subject line. The email copy, offer and everything else will stay exactly the same, so this is a single-factor test. You can read the email below …



Subject Line: [Hey, you tell us]

Dear Marketer,

Once visitors reach your landing pages, do they have a clear understanding of what they should do next? Only through testing will you know for sure. Whether it’s to get more information, download a white paper, or register for an event, it should be very clear to your audience what the next step should be.

The challenge isn’t testing. The challenge is discovering what changes to test.

Join us for Optimization Summit 2012, where our industry experts will teach you how and what to test. Over the course of four days, you’ll discover exactly what you need to change on your key landing pages from your e-commerce, subscription or lead-gen paths.

We’ve assembled a team of industry experts that can help you with your unique set of circumstances. Although the general sessions and pre-Summit workshop will be very informative, there is nothing quite like advice that is tailored to your specific situation. That’s where our one-to-one coaching clinics come in. This is your chance to get one-to-one advice on:

  • Metric and Analytics Setup
  • Test Validity
  • Value Proposition
  • Metric and Analytics Interpretation
  • Conversion Optimization
  • Test Setup

Click here to watch a short video clip highlighting Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, one of our keynote speakers, discussing how you can optimize your landing pages for maximum conversion.



Our goal is for every one of our attendees to leave the Summit armed with great ideas and answers to their most pressing optimization questions.

Looking for more information? Visit the Optimization Summit 2012 website to get more information on the agenda, location and reasons to attend.


Early Bird Special Ends April 30: Reserve your ticket and save $300.

We look forward to seeing you and your peers in Denver.


Todd Lebo
Senior Director of Content & Business Development

P.S. Interested in bringing your entire team? Groups of three or more can save 25% off the cost of their tickets.



Nathan Thompson, Senior Research Manager, MECLABS will pick the three subject lines he thinks will earn the highest clickthrough rate based on his extensive testing experience. At the same time, Brian Clark and Sonia Simone of Copyblogger (two folks who know a thing or two about copywriting) will pick their three favorite submissions from their audience to include as treatments in the test, as well.

But the ultimate judge will be the customer. Whichever selected subject line receives the most customer response will win.

And, even if you don’t win, you can show the world your mad persuasive copy skills by using the comments section below.

So just submit your subject line in the comments section by Wednesday, March 28, at midnight Eastern Daylight Time. Good luck. And may the best subject line win.

[Note: Submitting a comment with a subject line on this blog post constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions of this contest.]



To answer two questions we received…

The CTR we’re measuring is “unique clicks divided by the number of emails delivered.” If we just measured opens, we could get an email with a great open rate and little CTR beacause it has an enticing (and misleading) subject line that has nothing to do with the email copy. For example, a subject line like “Tim Tebow makes a Kony 2012 protest message on Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch” might get great open rate, but have little CTR.

Also, there is no restriction on length. Write whatever subject line you think will perform best.


UPDATE: This contest is now closed. Of course, you’re still welcome to comment. 

You can see the results of this contest at …  Subject Line Test: 125% more unique clickthroughs


Related Resources:

Email Testing: More specific subject line improves open rate by more than 35%

The Three Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines

Email Subject Lines: Longer subject increases opens 8.2%

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  1. Elise says

    Test your way to success!

  2. Steven Saint-George says

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    Subject line: Exceed Your Goals, Master Your Craft, Be A Trail Blazer! Optimization Summit 2012
    Subject line: Move The Needle, Exceed ROI Goals, Be More Profitable: Attend Optimization Summit 2012
    Subject line: Be Inspired, Be Excellent, Be The Best! Optimization Summit 2012
    Subject line: Optimization Summit 2012: We’re Pushing The Limits To Make You The Best. Join Us in Denver June 11-14

  3. ANUJ says

    Sub: Turn Clicks to Clients @ Optimization Summit 2012

  4. Janus says

    Get armed in Denver for killer conversion rates

  5. Cheryl Ayres says

    So – who won?

  6. Daniel Burstein says

    Thanks for asking. We had 897 entries, so our research team, and the Copyblogger team, are currently culling through them.

    We will then run the tests, decipher the results, and share them with the MarketingExperiments audience. Stay tuned. 🙂

  7. Brett Farmiloe says

    What a great campaign to engage potential attendees and draw attention to the summit. Well executed.

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