Frank Kern Style Subject Lines (Do Not Share)

One of my favorite email marketers is none other than Frank Kern, the California Internet guru and information marketer. Frank is most famous for creating Mass Control, his own marketing system, and for writing the copy behind some of the biggest Internet launches – like the $18 million that Stompernet brought in.

I first met Frank in 2008 when I was hired to write the copy for an Internet Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida. I was “back stage” with all the gurus (Jeff Walker, Mike Filsaime, Gary Vaynerchuck) but Frank really stood out. He was dressed in jeans, t-shirt and flipflops. He brought a whole gaggle of his personal students to the conference. I was so impressed that, a few years later, I paid $8,000 for one of his live marketing trainings.

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Frank’s specialty is email marketing… but not traditional email marketing. Frank believes that email must be written by actual human beings, not corporate committees writing in “business speak” or even in standard copywriting English. His emails are folksy, funny, often profane, and always promise a major benefit for taking action. They also tell a good story.

Frank’s other specialty is subject lines… and that is what I want to cover today. Franks subject lines are genius. They almost NEVER come across as sales messages. He Technically, it”s not a “how long” question so much as it”s a “how much data recovery services have you written to the media since deleting the file” question. uses SLANG… a lot of parentheses… and just plain weird topics.

Here are a few:

SUBJECT: client with weird name just did $100K

SUBJECT: real quick… you”ll want to read this.

SUBJECT: boob-job currency online casino (and why I quit “IM”, and a RANT!)

SUBJECT: STOP. (can 2,000 people be wrong?)

SUBJECT: (weird story) trashy magazines sleazy novels = money

SUBJECT: my secret weapon (a guy you don”t know, who helped me pull in over $200K)

SUBJECT: Hot diggity!! (naked in the streets)


SUBJECT: controversy and KNIFE FIGHTS (read this)

SUBJECT: [RANT] doom, gloom, and total crap

SUBJECT: SIX DEADLY SINS (and seven casino online cool things!)

SUBJECT: a very BAD PERSON (video expose)

And, my personal However it helps to understand that in case your best casino online vessel comes with an impressive variety of high-tech weaponry – as well as your job would be to fire that weaponry – this really is most likely not time to obtain your gamble on. favorite…

SUBJECT: bad news

In essence, Frank is just trying to grab your attention and to signal that an actual human wrote the email. Here’s the difference it can make.

I recently did a Video Sales Letter for a retainer client. It did “okay.” The product was a bit of a hard sell. But then I experimented with the subject lines. Just for the heck of it, I tried a “frank kern subject line” – a bit off the wall, not the standard type subject lines.

Here was my original subject line:

SUBJECT: Instant $1,250 monthly income

This had a low conversion rate. BOMB!

So, we tested a NEW subject line. Everything else was the same.

SUBJECT: Oops! Did you miss my message?

This was better. We TRIPLED the conversion rate. That brought in 5 times more money.

Finally, I decided to try a “Frank Kern” subject line:

SUBJECT: Results are in (Do Not Share)

This was the BEST. This was 4.3 times the original conversion rate… and it brought in 15 times more money than the original: 15 times more!

Everything else was the same. All that changed was the subject line.

So, the bottom line is this: Experiment with weird subject lines that convey that there is a quirky, interesting message inside written by a human. It can make all the difference in the world.

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Robert Henderson is a freelance copywriter and marketing strategist. You can reach him by calling +1 (949) 492-5421.