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She Found a Snake in the Toilet!


Monday, December 12, 2022


Ray Edwards

Can you imagine opening the lid to your toilet, only to discover a snake?What would you do? Here’s what my wife did…OK relax. My wife did not find a snake in the toilet. But this little exercise reveals the subject of today’s podcast…Using story-based emails and subject lines to capture your reader's attention.

There is more noise than ever before in the marketplace, and therefore there’s more competition to get emails opened and read. You’ve got to have something really powerful to hook people's attention. Nothing beats a great story. We’ll explain how to use story-based subject lines and email copy in this episode.


Spiritual Foundations

Do Not Boast About Tomorrow.

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

James [4:13]-15

I don't think this means that we shouldn't set goals, but I think it does mean we need to have the humility to admit we cannot predict the future…that sometimes, God simply has a different plan.

Feature Presentation

Story Based Email Copy That Gets the Click

One of the cardinal rules of writing is the importance of learning to “show and not tell”. So instead of saying “he had searched the room from top to bottom”, you might say instead, “He systematically begin taking things out of the top of the closet and throwing them on the floor. Boxes, shoes, sweaters…then he moved to pulling clothes from the hangers and throwing them on the floor. He proceeded to empty the drawers of the dresser, his face growing more and more puzzled the longer he searched.”

Notice how the second version conveys a lot more drama and emotion. That’s what stories can do for any copy, and especially for email. Don’t say “this is very interesting” – you make it very interesting by telling a story about it.

Three subject line examples:

  • sent the email TEMPLATE by mistake – and our open rates went crazy…
  • ​when she opened the email, she screamed…
  • ​She found a snake in the toilet! (and THEN…)

Each of these subject lines paints a very different scenario. Each of them begged you to fill in the blanks in your imagination about what happens next. And that’s exactly what you want to occur whenever you send an email. You want the subject line to induce so much curiosity, the recipient has to read the email to find out what happens next.

But keep in mind, then you have to deliver. You have to give them something that satisfies the set up in the subject line.

It’s the best of all possible worlds when you tell me a true story that beautifully illustrates the point you’re trying to make in the email copy. Because the next thing you’re going to do is ask the reader to click through to get… “The rest of the story”…And to maintain your credibility you have to be telling the truth.

Take that headline about sending the email template, for example. True story. One of our best testing email open rates for a case when we sent an email with the subject line: “insert subject line here”.We even got tons of replies to that email. Not something you should do on purpose, and probably would not have worked as well the second time because it was an honest mistake. But that’s just a point. It was true, and it contained an element of story.

Start telling the story in the subject line, continue it in the body of the email, and have the reader click through to get the rest of the story on your landing page (or in your podcast, for instance)…

Are there “new rules” for copywriting? Undoubtedly. We are living in a different time now. We’re going to be spending some time going into these new rules during our Copywriting Academy Live event which takes place April 8th and 9th. This is a totally live, but virtual workshop. We’re going to spend these two days writing your copy together. You should register now, while the price is still just $197 per ticket – because at the end of this week (January 31) the price goes up. Get all the details by going to

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Ray Edwards

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at


Hi, I'm Ray Edwards

Bestselling Author

I teach thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners how to write the words that sell their products, services, and ideas.



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