How we doubled our email traffic with a subject line

If you are on Really Good Emails’ email list already, then there is a 49% chance that you saw a special bundle we did with That is close to 50%, which we think is pretty darn-good for a list size that has thousands of strapping, smart people like yourselves on it (and according to mailchimp, is 3x better than the industry average). But the open rate just tells half the story.

Now, you may be thinking, “That is the subject line that they are bragging about?!” We know, it isn’t that sexy. Hell, it actually wasn’t even our top pick. For our bundle email, we thought that these would have done much better:

  • Only dad can do handcrafted better
  • Save time by using these responsive templates
  • How to save time and money on responsive designs
  • Seriously. This bundle is only $19.

Stacked against those, we thought that “Shhh! For loyal subscribers only…” probably would do well, but not beat any of the others out in an A/B test. Leave it to Sean for coming up with this winner. So how much better did it do than the ones above? Try 26% better.

Here’s what the email looked like.

Moreover, we were confounded when we saw how this winning subject line affected engagement:

The numbers aren’t huge from our A/B test, but you see that it had twice as many recipients click compared to our other subject line. That is striking because our open rate was only 26% better, not double. You can also see that this winner had more average opens, and less unsubscribes. It was a no-brainer for us to send it out.

Since writing this post, our opens have gone up and our open-to-click has stayed consistent (see update below). It is the little things in life that make us happy.

We hope you enjoyed this email (if you received it). Did you catch our typo? Could we have made it even better (the email, not the typo)? Let us know.

We also documented the creation of this email. If you are interested in our rants on the design and copy, you can check it out here.


Just 5 days after writing this story, our stats continued to increase. We are now over 52% opens and 8% clicks. And we can happily state that over 500 people have purchased the bundle we did with StampReady.

Like what you read? Give Mike Nelson a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.