That Is The Question

Question MarkIf you’ve been following me for any time, you may have noticed that a lot of the subject lines for my emails end with a question mark.

That’s not by accident.

It’s something I was taught waaaay back in my direct marketing past by one of my first mentors, a master copywriter.

He told me to use it in sales letter headlines, but I’ve found it works equally well in email subject lines (or, indeed, anywhere else you want to get attention).

Adding that question mark transforms a simple statement into a question.

And the human brain is wired up so that it can’t ignore a question.

You may not know it is happening, but your subconscious is programmed to try to answer a question once it is posed.

In psychology, a question creates what is known as an ‘open loop’, which your brain is forced to try to close.

(There are many types of open loop, but I don’t want to turn this into a psychology or copywriting lecture.)

Think of your brain as a computer, albeit a very sophisticated one.

Asking a question is like issuing a command to that computer.

You are effectively saying, “solve this”.

Let’s give it a go…

> Monkey Glands Reverse Ageing

Or…

> Monkey Glands Reverse Ageing?

Chances are that you are drawn more to the second line than the first.

Read them both slowly.

Which do you find more engaging?

Which creates more curiosity?

Of course, pointing it out in this way is likely to destroy the illusion.

But I have tested this many times over the years, both with headlines and email subject lines.

And adding the question mark has always improved performance.

I recommend that you test it for yourself; in your emails, your sales letters, optin pages, online ads; anywhere where you are looking for attention and engagement.

I think you’ll be impressed with the results.

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