by Bob Baker
Not long ago I interviewed Joe Vitale. He’s the author of more than 50 books on hypnotic marketing, the law of attraction, and more. You may have seen him in the movie The Secret or on Larry King Live.
The interview was inspiring and wide-ranging, but here's one specific piece of marketing advice Joe offered during our conversation: Putting a question in the subject line of your email can be a great way to create a “hypnotic” message that compels people to open and read it.
But not any question will do!
The key, Joe says, is to ask a question that can’t be answered unless you dig deeper to find out more. For instance, here are two examples of weak email subject lines:
Would you like to buy my new book?
Who’s your favorite romance author?
The problem with these questions is that the recipient can answer them and resolve the issue without any further action on their part. It offers no compelling reason to open the email.
However, here is a more powerful, “hypnotic” question:
Which One of These Tyrants Inspired My Latest Podcast?
A question like that creates a mental state of dissonance. It’s an incomplete thought. And for many people, unresolved ideas compel them to take action to uncover the answer and complete the thought before they move on.
Here’s another example:
The Biggest First Date Mistake: This One’s a Whopper
See the beauty in a question like this?
It’s similar to when you can’t recall a person’s name. It often drives you crazy and you can’t concentrate on anything else until you resolve the tension by remembering the name.
Curiosity-inducing questions offer a great way to create a hypnotic message that demands attention. Another related method is to make a provocative statement that doesn’t include all the details, such as:
Don’t Let Your Kids Read This Book
You could also use the word parents, boss, or lover in place of kids and get the same effect, depending on your audience and subject matter.
Here’s another example:
This Almost Got Me Banned in Nashville
An email subject line like this creates curiosity and an incomplete idea that begs for a resolution. So start thinking about how you can use hypnotic questions to increase your email open rates.
Important: If you’re going to use tactics like this to inspire action, you should deliver an interesting message inside the email. If you mislead people or don’t offer a story that’s funny or compelling in some way, they may not trust you the next time you use a strategy like this.
Also, you don’t want to use questions and statements like these with every email you send. Just sprinkle them in here and there when you have important info to get out.