Best Subject Lines of 2021

Best Subject Lines of 2021

For the fifth year in a row, I have compiled the Best Email Subject Lines of the year! You can read the Best Email Subject Lines of 2017, the  Best Email Subject Lines of 2018, the Best Email Subject Lines of 2019 and the Best Email Subject Lines of 2020 to see previous winners winners.

Every year, I listed the best email subject lines according to my personal email inbox.

My Totally Biased Judging Methodology


  • 3rd place – You are on the list. Sometime in the past year, I opened one of your emails and thought, ‘Hey, that got my attention.’ I put a label on your email so you would be on this list when it came out.
  • 2nd place – You are on this list more than once.
  • 1st place – You have written more subject lines on this list than anyone else.

Since I subscribe to digital marketers and sales leaders, the content of the subject line skews to that school of thought. But I follow these people the most because they write the best email subject lines, and are more likely to contribute to my swipe files.

3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

     2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    Those who earn 2nd Place in this annual contest make it on the best subject line list more than once.

    • [FREE] Download my Cheat Sheet – Pat Flynn
    • Learn these powerful email marketing strategies – Pat Flynn


    1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    Yael Bendahan

    Yael Bendahan is an online marketing and growth strategist, and specializes in training women to grow their business.

    Yael’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2021

    1. can I promote you in Q1? – Yael Bendahan
    2. do you see that elephant in the corner? – Yael Bendahan
    3. want to hit your income goals this month? (and next?) – Yael Bendahan
    4. the daily affirmation that changed everything for me – Yael Bendahan

    MAP workbook coverI’ve been collecting the best subject lines from my inbox every year for a while (see previous yearly roundups here). Feel free to review these subject lines, click through to the authors, and subscribe to their email newsletters (if someone is on this list, they are worthy to follow).

    Once you learn about writing better email subject lines, it’s time to automate your marketing! My Marketing Automation Planner takes you step-by-step through the process to create a lead generation machine. Get all my best tools, templates, and workbooks here:

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    For the fourth year in a row, I am am bringing you the Best Email Subject Lines of the year! You can read the Best Email Subject Lines of 2017, the  Best Email Subject Lines of 2018and the  Best Email Subject Lines of 2019 to see the winners of previous years.This year, I’ve listed the best subject lines for emails according to my personal email inbox.

    How I Judge The Best Email Subject Lines of the Year

    • 3rd place – You make it on the list. Sometime over the last 12 months, I opened an email from you and said, ‘Hey, wow. Good work.’ I popped a label on it so you would be on this list when it came out.
    • 2nd place – You are on this list three times.
    • 1st place – You have written more subject lines on this list than anyone else.
    It’s true, this list is subjective, and I subscribe to more digital marketers and sales trainers than most people – however, I follow these people the most, because they are the best at writing subject lines that capture attention and get opened.

    3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    David Newman

    The author of Do It! Speaking is a CSP and member of the member of the NSA Million Dollar Speaker Group.

    David’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • [Online Workshop] 7 Association Trends that will Impact your Business in 2020
    • You + me + 2 days together
    • our call tomorrow

    Ryan Deiss

    Ryan was the 1st place winner of 2019’s Best Email Subject Lines contest. He is the founder of

    Ryan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • diagnose ➡️ execute ➡️ measure ➡️ repeat ➡️
    • This 1 skill can 🚀LAUNCH🚀 your company+career
    • Re: the GREAT deal you just missed…

    Steph Crowder

    Steph is the host of the Courage & Clarity Podcast, and is a sales trainer and business strategist.

    Steph’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • Omg did you see this? [REPLAY!]
    • Stop dreaming so big
    • Quiz: Where will you be in 3 months? 🤔

    Marquel Russell

    Marquel is the founder of Client Attraction University and works with coaches and consultants to scale their business.

    Marquel’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • $97 Today, $197 Tomorrow
    • 5 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Are Failing
    • Listen Up, This Is Important…

    Stefan James

    Stefan is an internet entrepreneur and business coach and is the founder of Project Life Mastery.

    Stefan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • Read this if you want to start a YouTube Channel in 2021
    • If I had to start over again, this is what I’d do
    • Here’s why you’re STRUGGLING as an entrepreneur

    Allie Bjerk

    Allie is a digital marketer and the creator of the Tiny Offer Lab.

    Allie’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • Re: Denied Refund Request – [Course]
    • The questions everyone is asking me. Finally answered publicly.
    • Re: Unethical Price Change

    Jay Baer

    Jay is an emcee and keynote speaker and the founder of Convince And Convert.

    Jay’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    • join me in 60 minutes
    • Need Your Help
    • how a community manager became global VP at Patrón Tequila

    1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    Donald Miller, Storybrand

    Donald is the author of Building A Story Brand, and trains entrepreneurs and marketers in the Storybrand framework.

    Donald’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2020

    1. we have a problem
    2. Real results from the StoryBrand Marketing LiveStream
    3. A better website in 60 minutes
    4. What your marketing is missing
    5. What the highest-paid people have in common…
    6. ignore your other emails and open this one
    7. What if you could read your customers’ minds?
    8. The 6-part checklist every business needs right now

    What was your fave subject line in this list?

    Click here and tell me on Twitter!

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    77 Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    77 Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    For the third year in a row, I am happy to bring you the Best Email Subject Lines of the year! You can read the Best Email Subject Lines of 2017 and the Best Email Subject Lines of 2018 if you’d like to take a look. But these, right here, are the freshest good subject lines for emails.

    How I Judge The Best Email Subject Lines of the Year

    • 3rd place – You make this list. Sometime over the last year, I opened an email from you and said, ‘Hey, wow. Good work.’ I popped a label on it so you would be on this list when it came out.
    • 2nd place – You make this list more than twice.
    • 1st place – You have subject lines in this list more than anyone else.
    It’s true, this list is subjective, and I subscribe to more digital marketers and sales trainers than most people – however, I follow these people the most, because they are the best at writing subject lines that capture attention and get opened.

    3RD PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    2ND PLACE – Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    Marisa Murgatroyd headshot

    Marisa Murgatroyd

    Marisa Murgatroyd provides done-for-you branding, website design, and training.

    Marisa’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    • $297 today, $497 tomorrow
    • We could really use your sick dance moves
    • how to tell an awesome mastermind from one that sucks

    Erin Flynn headshot

    Erin Flynn

    Erin Flynn is a digital strategist and website designer. 

    Erin’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    • Have a second to help me out?
    • It’s time to make emails as easy as copy + paste
    • Where do you find web design clients?

    Susan Pierce Thompson

    Susan is an author, speaker, and trainer at Bright Line Eating.

    Susan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    • 70 percent? Can this be true?
    • Can I ask you something?
    • Do this one thing, today, for me.

    1st Place – Best Email Subject Lines of 2019
    Ryan Deiss headshot

    Ryan Deiss, Digital Marketer

    Ryan Deiss is the creator of, and provides some of the best training tools and digital marketing certification programs on the web. It’s no wonder he is this year’s winner – this is exactly the kind of material he teaches.

    Ryan’s Best Email Subject Lines of 2019

    1. [CLOSING] Unicorns pooping rainbows?
    2. I proposed on the first date
    3. This is awkward, but…
    4. I noticed your name still isn’t on the list, CAELAN
    You may have noticed, when Ryan’s final subject line landed in my inbox, it displayed my name in all CAPS. This is because whenever I subscribe to newsletters…I always put my name in all CAPS. This way, I can immediately differentiate between automated and personal emails. When you have 395,911 unread emails in your inbox (like I do) you find some quirky ways to manage the volume, and this is one of them. What was your fave subject line in this list? Click here and tell me on Twitter!

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    How To Ask For A Testimonial From A Client

    How To Ask For A Testimonial From A Client

    I waited for weeks. My client said she loved my work, and promised to give me a testimonial, but she stopped returning my emails.

    Putting aside my imposter syndrome, I looked at things from her perspective. She was an interview host by trade. The whole reason she hired me was because she didn’t want to write her emails and sales pages.

    By asking her to volunteer her time to write a testimonial, I was giving her homework. That’s not nice to do, when you’re asking someone for a favour.

    So I asked myself: what’s the best way to collect testimonials from a client?

    The answer is: an interview.

    How to Collect Customer Testimonials with Interviews

    I called my client and asked her, “Can I interview you for about fifteen minutes, about what it was like working with me? I’ll take a lot of notes, and write up a short paragraph based on what you’ve said, and you can approve it or edit it to make sure it’s perfect.”

    She was happy to oblige.

    Lisa Garr The Aware Show“Caelan has a great way of taking your vision and making it a reality. He works really well with visionaries – I speak it, and he makes it happen! His website design for The Aware Show really captured my personality, and his project management skills kept my entire team on track. The beautiful summits he put together helped us to grow our list and expand our audience. Caelan is always positive and keeps a positive outlook on life!”

     – Lisa Garr, host of The Aware Show

    She used the phrases and wording in this paragraph – I just plucked them out of our conversation, and put them in an order that made sense. I also made sure to ask her about specific things I wanted to include in the testimonial, as well.

    By interviewing her about the experience of working with me, I took all the grunt work on myself, so all she had to do was chat with me. It was much more respectful of her time and attention, and when we are asking a client to do us a favour, we should be more respectful of them, not less.

    Below I’ve listed answers to some of the most common questions I get about how to collect testimonials from clients. But first, if you would like to use my step-by-step process for collecting testimonials with interviews, then you should enroll in my 5-Day Testimonial Collection Challenge: 

    Frequently Asked Questions about Testimonials

    Can testimonials be anonymous?

    Technically, yes, but they are not as effective. Ranking the types of testimonials in order of effectiveness, from most to least:

    1. Testimonial with name and headshot
    2. Testimonial with name and position
    3. Anonymous testimonial

    Where should testimonials go on a website?

    The first home should be at If I’m ever doing any sort of web design for a client, I always make this page if they don’t have it already. This page can serve as the storehouse for your testimonials, so anytime you are making a piece of marketing collateral – designing a new brochure, or writing a sales page – you know exactly where to go to find your master collection.

    In addition to having a dedicated Testimonials page (you can see mine here), you can also put testimonials on your website:

    • Below the fold on your homepage
    • In the footer
    • In the sidebar

    I do not recommend you put testimonials in a slider. (Read why sliders suck here.)

    Who can give testimonials?

    Anyone who has experienced a transformation because of you or your work can give you a testimonial. If you are just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, ask your former co-workers, or anyone who has worked on a project with you to collaborate.

    What’s a good testimonial email template?

    Personally, I’ve found that asking for testimonials over email has limited effectiveness. It might get you a few nice words with little effort, but that’s generally what they provide you – nice words with little effort.

    While I do recommend the testimonial interview process laid out in Testimonials 101, if you are going to ask for a testimonial over email, here’s a sample script:

    Hey there, would you mind sending me a few sentences that I can use as a testimonial? I really enjoyed the work we did together, and sharing your thoughts on my work would help me to find more clients like you. I’d appreciate it if you could mention [TOPIC] or how I [QUALITY]. If you could please send me a short paragraph by [DATE] I would be very grateful.

    How testimonials help your business

    Studies have shown that 88% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. Even if they don’t know the person who gave the testimonial, 88% of people trust those strangers as much as one of their friends.

    The social proof of having a good testimonials page can sway someone to make a buying decision in your favour.

    What questions should I ask to get a good testimonial?

    I have scripted my 6 best questions for collecting testimonials out in the free workbook that is part of Testimonials 101. Opt-in here:

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on

    NSA #Influence19 Conference Recap

    NSA #Influence19 Conference Recap

    I did not plan on attending the National Speakers’ Association annual conference in Denver, #Influence19. But opportunity knocked, so I went through the door.

    Just another weekly client call

    One of my clients happened to be the co-chair for this year’s NSA conference. Mike Rayburn is the world’s funniest motivational comedian who plays guitar and talks, and we’ve been working together for more than a year.

    At the end of our weekly marketing call, after we had discussed some new web page designs, and he showed me the printed brochure I had designed to promote his online course, the What IF? Challenge, I asked him, “How’s the conference coming?”

    That’s when he told me, “I had a presenter break her kneecap, and I don’t know how I’m going to replace her on such short notice.”

    “What’s her topic?” I asked.

    “Monetizing Your Thought Leadership. I don’t know anyone else who speaks on that topic, and you’re in New Zealand.”

    “What if…” I asked, because I’ve been steeped in his innovation and creative thinking material for a while, “What if I hopped on a plane tomorrow?”

    “If you fly up to Denver from New Zealand, the spot is yours.”

    Making the trip to the US

    I made 10 videos on this trip, roughly 1 per day. You can watch them in the playlist above.

    I write a lot more about the cultural shock of coming back into America in a separate post on my personal blog; many of the stories overlap, so in this post, I’ll stick to the professional aspects of my trip.

    Presenting at the NSA conference #influence19

    I only had 3 days to put this talk together, but thankfully, I had a template slide deck ready, and I’ve also got a deep background in performance and improvisation. That helped frame my expertise quickly, and the topic is the sort of thing I work on all the time with my clients.

    “Without a doubt one of the one of the most worthwhile conference sessions I have ever attended.  Thank You!”

    – email I received the next morning

    The whole ‘7-Steps to Turn Your Signature Speech Into a Signature Offer‘ idea was brand new, but I had a long flight to work on it. The slides came out good, and I got to pilot some new IP that I’ve been working on, about the 4 levels of a Platform, and how the Cornerstones balance each other.

    This new content forms the backbone for my new 90-day program, so it was good to see it getting some traction before a live audience.

    One of the case studies in my presentation was Peter Cook, of the Thought Leaders Business School. I told him while I was flying across the Pacific that I was going to talk at the NSA conference, and feature him as a case study. But, I forgot my book! The Thought Leaders Practice is the best business book I’ve read in 2019. (Read my Book Review here.)

    Peter offered to send 20 copies of the book to members of my audience who emailed him with something special in the subject line. So I told my session, at the beginning, ‘There will be prizes!’

    After featuring Peter as a case study, and describing how his 4 signature offers match the 4 Offer Brackets, I offered a printed copy of his book to the first 20 people to email him with ‘NSA USA’ in the subject line, and send him their shipping address. ‘Get out your phones, everybody!’ I said, and assured them that if they weren’t one of the first 20, they would still get a PDF of the book.

    60 people emailed him from my session, and as I hoped, the Thought Leaders methodology is spreading to more thought leaders in America.

    Meeting clients in person

    There were a number of current and former clients of Stellar Platforms who were attending this conference. I’ve made it my business to focus on authors, coaches, and speakers exclusively for a number of years, and I was lucky enough to finally meet a lot of old friends in person, and meet some new friends, as well.

    Hugs and old friendships

    One of the things I liked so much about attending the NSA conference was seeing all the hugs in the hallway. Old friends that had not seen each other for years would reconnect, and hug, and laugh, all the time.

    It was such a commonplace occurrence that I was convinced that the longevity of this community was part of the reason people returned year after year. It’s a good community of nice and successful people, and I see why people remain so close to this community for decades.

    Here are some pictures of me with my new friends:

    Your heroes become your friends

    I was sitting in on one of my favourite sessions of the week, expert webinar sales trainer David Newman’s presentation ‘Webinar Sales Mastery,’ when he commented about how his membership in this community has affected him. “One of the best things about being an NSA member for so long,” he said, “is that your heroes become your friends.”

    I could see this demonstrated immediately afterward, when he said, “I’ve never had the experience of giving a presentation with Patricia Fripp taking notes in the front row, and I am freaking out right now!”

    This got a good laugh, and a good photo. I was also in the front row, and I leaned out to the side to take a photo of the two of them, and posted it on LinkedIn.

    After the session, I found myself walking next to sales legend Patricia Fripp, and I introduced myself to her as I said, “We met a few years ago, I saw you give a presentation to the Oregon NSA chapter.”

    “That’s a very nice chapter you have,” she said off-handedly.

    “I really like Fripp VT,” I continued. “The tech behind your business communications training LMS is really solid.”

    “Thank you, it’s nice,” she said as she looked through the crowd ahead of us. I realized she got these sorts of random compliments from strangers often, and she probably assumed I was starstruck.

    Just then Mike Rayburn walked over, and Patricia tried to get his attention. “Oh, hi Patricia,” he said, and then he started talking to me about an idea he had.

    While we were talking together animatedly, Patricia was waiting to get a word in edgewise, and then Hall of Fame sales and leadership keynote speaker Connie Podesta came over and said “CAELAN!” and we hugged, since this was our first time meeting one another in person.

    I think it was then that Patricia realized that I wasn’t just a starstruck fanboy, and I was quite gratified when I received a LinkedIn connection request from her later.

    As David Newman predicted, your heroes do indeed become your friends.

    NSA and Selling from the Stage

    I went on a side project during #Influence19, to discover the official position of NSA on selling from the stage.

    One of my clients (who was not present at the conference) told me once, “I’m a CSP, so I cannot sell from the stage.” A CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) earns this designation from the NSA and agrees to abide by a series of ethical obligations. When he told me this was his position, I was surprised.

    Also surprised: many professional speakers at the conference. “Who told him that?” one Hall-of-Fame speaker said. “That’s true at NSA events, but not when you’re talking for clients,” another CPAE said. “You can sell at NSA chapter events, but not if you’re taking a fee,” said another CSP.

    I was fascinated, because everyone I talked with had a different answer.

    So I started asking everyone, “What’s the official position of NSA on selling from the stage?”

    Eventually, I found myself eating lunch with a table full of older and semi-retired speakers.

    (Pro tip: when you go to a conference, start conversations with your elders. They have the best insight, and they make the best conversation.)

    I posed my question to Barry Banther, who has been around the NSA for a long time, and has served in many leadership positions over the years. During our conversation, he gave me the best and the clearest answer.

    “We don’t permit selling from the stage at our events,” he said, “and anything else is up to the speaker, as long as it’s ethical.”

    This, I realized, was why every speaker had been giving me a different answer: they were all interpreting the question according to their own personal ethics. Nobody gave me an answer that was unethical, but they were all different, because everyone sees the ethics of this question differently.

    New Hall of Fame speakers

    There were three new inductees into the Speakers Hall of Fame this year:

    There was also a special recipient of the Cavett Award, an honor bestowed once a year to “the member whose accomplishments over the years have reflected outstanding credit, respect, honor and admiration in the Association and the speaking profession, and whose actions (in terms of sharing, guiding and inspiring other members) most closely parallel the illustrious career of NSA Co-Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE.”

    When Phillip Van Hooser was awarded this honor, it was amazing to see a professional speaker so lost for words at the podium.

    Jason Hewlett shaves his beard

    One of my fave performances was Elton John impersonator Jason Hewlett for more than his early-to-late-stage impressions, but because he shaved his beard onstage.

    Shaving a beard, by itself, is not anything that momentous. But it’s a rare enough action that with the proper introduction, it can be a momentous occasion.

    Watch Jason Hewlett shave his beard on YouTube or read his story here.

    Mike Rayburn brings down the house

    One of the best parts about having a rock star for a client is he really knows how to end a party.

    Inviting up many of his friends and colleagues, Mike Rayburn led the NSA closing party in a jam session that was just what I needed after a long conference: an opportunity to dance the night away.

    All in all, this trip was a big win.

    I had to postpone the launch of my new group program, the 90-Day Profit Accelerator, but I was able to finish up the sales page on the plane back to New Zealand.

    Now I’m back in the winter, and I’m planning to help a dozen thought leaders elevate their platform in Q4. If you’d like to learn more about my program, you can click here to learn about the 90-Day Profit Accelerator.

    10 Great Homepage Above-The-Fold CTA Examples

    10 Great Homepage Above-The-Fold CTA Examples

    Attention is so scarce online, you only have a moment to convert. That’s why a good homepage CTA above-the-fold can be so powerful – in first moment that someone lands on your homepage, they should immediately know who you are, what problem you solve, and how you can help them solve it. This article has 10 homepage CTA examples that use their above-the-fold content in the right way.

    What is ‘Above The Fold’ content?

    The term ‘above the fold,’ according to Wikipedia, refers to ‘the portions of a webpage that are visible without further scrolling or clicking.’

    If you remember reading that old media interface we used before the Internet – the newspaper – then you probably know intuitively what ‘above the fold’ means.

    “Most newspapers were sold from sidewalk kiosks,” as they say on OptinMonster, “folded in half so passersby could see the top half of the front page. If what they saw didn’t grab them, they’d keep on walking, and sales would be down. That’s why it was crucial to put your best, most interesting content ‘above the fold’.”

    And what is a CTA?

    CTA = Call-to-Action. This is the message that incites your user to do something specific.

    Here are 10 lessons from 10 great websites that use their above-the-fold section to frame their CTA really well:

    Homepage Example 1: Susan Peirce Thompson

    CTA: Take the Quiz Now

    Headline: My name is Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., and I want to help you get Happy, Thin, and Free.

    Susan has a program that helps you decide in the moment when you should or shouldn’t eat something, with clear, bright lines.

    What I like so much about Susan’s messaging is its clarity. She has a very well-defined problem she solves, and you don’t have to spend any time figuring it out. If you are struggling with your weight, she speaks directly to your problems, and you know exactly what you need to do next (take the quiz!)

    LESSON: Clearly articulate what you offer right away

    Homepage Example 2: Darren Rowse

    CTA: Subscribe to Problogger Plus

    Headline: Become a ProBlogger

    If you’re a blogger and you want to make a career out of it, you want to be a ProBlogger. Darren has been helping people level up their blogging game for a long time, and his advice is always friendly and helpful. (Read my review of Darren’s talk at WDS here.)

    This homepage has lots of CTAs – join the Facebook community! Listen to the Podcast! Subscribe and Follow! Look at all these orange links! – but unlike most other target markets, this works for bloggers. We are a hyperactive bunch, and we know how to open links in new tabs, so I think he breaks the rule of ‘one CTA at a time’ very nicely here.

    LESSON: Break the rules when it suits you

    Homepage Example 3: Tim Ferriss

    CTA: Click to Listen

    Headline: 300+ Million Episodes Downloaded

    This blog is a vehicle to the podcast. Everything above the fold here is to convince you to get to the podcast – he’s got tons of social proof, the title of the latest episode (twice! In two different colors!) and any competing options are barely visible.

    Tim Ferriss’ website does not exist to convince you why Tim is awesome – he’s beyond that point. Now he’s directing his audience to what he wants them to do next. He doesn’t want new website visitors to hire him for coaching (yet), or to approach him with VC deals (here), or to subscribe to his newsletter. All he wants is for you to listen to his podcast, because that is the strongest cornerstone of his platform, and the entry point to all his other offerings.

    Lesson: Direct the top of your funnel to one destination

    Homepage Example 4: Grant Baldwin

    CTA: Join our Online Training

    Headline: Want to Learn How to Find and Book Speaking Gigs?

    Normally, your above-the-fold CTA should not lead to another website. When someone lands on your homepage, why would you want to immediately take them somewhere else? In Grant’s case, he’s got good reason. He has a very clearly defined Customer Avatar – public speakers who want to get booked and paid to speak. His signature course is promoted in his free course, which you find by clicking the ‘Join our Online Training’ button here.

    This is a good looking homepage, and it validates Grant’s credentials and authority. If you happen to match his Customer Avatar, however, he wants to get you into his funnel right away, and his CTA button is a great way to do that.

    Lesson: Make a fast lane for your Customer Avatar

    Homepage Example 5: Melyssa Griffin

    CTA: Click Here to Sign Up

    Headline: Get my bangin’ blog business plan workbook for free.

    This homepage includes an extra feature, something I usually see just a step or two lower down in the sales funnel: segmentation! By selecting the group with which you most strongly identify, Melyssa is gearing up a different automation sequence for you after you subscribe. Normally this is done in a follow-up email (as I typically handle it in the Stellar Email Template) but here it works seamlessly as part of the sign-up process.

    The design of this hero section is bold and minimalistic, which helps offset the large amount of text in the selection boxes. I especially like the various options she presents JUST below the fold, encouraging you to scroll a little further (and to self-segment yourself again).

    LESSON: Segment your audience at all the natural decision points

    Homepage Example 6: David Siteman Garland

    CTA: Sign up for free training!

    Headline: I help experts create and sell online courses

    The hero shot here is really personable and engaging – I just wish it didn’t cut off his head! While I like the clarity and simplicity of his message – if you are an expert, and you create and sell online courses, you know that you want what he’s selling – I’m not a big fan of the color palette, and I think the ‘Get My Free Cheat Sheet’ CTA just above the fold is more compelling than the ‘Sign Up for Free Training’ in the green button.

    What this homepage does really well is bolding out the big result his customer wants – CREATE AND SELL ONLINE COURSES – in a way that makes his Customer Avatar sure to dig deeper.

    LESSON: Focus on the specific outcome your audience wants

    Homepage Example 7: Derek Halpern

    CTA: Click To Get Free Updates

    HEADLINE: Get With the FREE Program, Will Ya?

    This is such a clear and simple homepage that it should be framed. The confidence in this hero shot – that is the confidence that Derek’s customers want to have. (Having your imagery visually convey the experience your customers hope to have is on the first page of the Stellar Homepage Checklist.)

    While this could have been a very bland CTA – ‘join our weekly newsletter’ is in the start of the subhead – he’s put a very good set of copywriting twists on it that are intriguing, and make you want to learn more. It even says ‘free updates’ in the upper right, instead of ‘subscribe now,’ and that’s a good pivot. I also like how this homepage doesn’t celebrate the logo, but the logo’s typography still frames the visual experience. Instead of the logo being the champion of this website, it’s Derek himself, and that’s a much more authentic expression of a personality-based brand.

    LESSON: Your homepage is about you, not just your business

    Homepage Example 8: Liam Austin

    CTA: Sign Up

    HEADLINE: The #1 marketing tactics of proven entrepreneurs – delivered daily

    Normally I find ‘Sign Up’ to be a weak CTA in this day and age, but on this homepage it works. There isn’t a hero shot confusing you with the personality of the author – contradicting the previous lesson with Derek Halpern – instead, there is just a clear and simple value statement, and everything is framed around the daily email.

    Putting so much effort into content marketing means that Liam does not want to dilute his main message (‘Sign Up’) with competing calls-to-action. He may have plenty of programs to sell, and media to review – videos, and podcasts, and ebooks, oh my! – but he will pitch you all those things in good time, AFTER you have subscribed. This homepage is a lot like a landing page – its goal is to convert you into taking ONE action, and other subsequent CTAs don’t distract you from taking this entry into the larger funnel.

    LESSON: Optimise for the one action you want people to take

    Homepage Example 9: Nick Stephenson

    CTA: Get the Book

    Headline: Your Free Book is Waiting

    Nick knows his audience, and they are heavy readers. The prospect of a free thriller is going to be exciting to his target market, but not to people outside of it. If he can hook a heavy reader with one thriller, the likelihood that they will purchase the rest of his books is very high.

    Offering a free book is a big giveaway, and I especially like that he does not answer a relevant question here – is this a free digital copy, or a free hard copy? Just wanting to get that question answered is enough incentive to get someone to click.

    LESSON: Be a little unclear, so users have to click to figure it out

    Homepage Example 10: Lewis Howes

    CTA: Sign up to learn these 3 simple steps

    Headline: Make a full-time living doing what you love

    At first glance, the headline seems to be ‘Become The Hero Of Your Own Story,’ but I don’t think it is. I think that’s the tagline. The real headline for this homepage, and the message that frames someone’s decision to enter Lews Howes’ sales funnel, is ‘Make A Full Time Living Doing What You Love.’ That is the outcome-based value statement that tells the reader what they are going to get.

    The hero shot is excellent quality, and the tagline does more to draw someone in to Lewis’ brand than the headline would. In this instance, I think it’s a smart move to have the tagline overshadow the headline. Without superior design, this wouldn’t work, but this is a good examples of breaking the rules the right way.

    LESSON: Inspire users to level up, through you

    BONUS Homepage Example: Steve Kamb

    Headline: We help Nerds, Misfits, and Mutants Lose Weight, Get Strong, & get Healthy PERMANENTLY!

    There isn’t really a clear CTA on this homepage above the fold, but the messaging is so clear, it deserves an honorable mention. Nerd Fitness, run by Steve Kamb, has a very clear message – so clear, that if you’re a nerd who wants to get in shape, you won’t need a big flashy button for your call-to-action – you’re willing to hunt it down, like the Easter Egg in the bonus level of your favorite video game.

    The hero shot is great, the headline is visually compelling, and the before-and-after photos peeking up from below the fold demonstrate the results. Some of the top-level navigation links could technically be CTAs, but without a clear button, or fillable fields, I don’t think this page properly has a CTA – but as I said, it’s so well-targeted, I don’t think it needs one.

    So, what do you need on YOUR homepage above the fold?

    Quicksprout has a simple formula, and they go into much more detail in their post about what to put above the fold on your website:

    • A well-written USP
    • Some brief explainer copy
    • Your branded logo
    • Simple, intuitive navigation
    • Contact info – especially important if you’re running an e-commerce store

    This is their formula for what to include above the fold on your homepage, and it’s pretty straightforward. However, don’t just follow the rules.

    A Contrarian View

    Don’t Put Your CTA Above the Fold

    It must be noted, putting a call-to-action above the fold is not strictly necessary. As we see above with Nerd Fitness, it’s not essential. There are even some A/B tests that have seen a 20% increase in putting the CTA below the fold.

    “If you just rotely put the call-to-action above the fold,” Marketing Experiments says on their blog, “you may be making ‘the ask’ before your potential customer sees the value in why they should act. Or, sometimes, before they even know what you’re asking.”

    If you have a solid reason for taking a contrarian position with your homepage CTA – like some of the examples above expertly demonstrates – then do it. Just make sure, as Picasso supposedly said, that you “learn the rules like a professional, so you can break them like an artist.”

    That’s why I like website design and sales funnel strategy – there is an art to it, and it’s an art that generates revenue – especially when you know which rules to break.

    About The Author

    Caelan Huntress is the father of 3 kids, and in his spare time serves as creative director of Stellar Platforms. He is also a writer, digital marketer, multimedia producer, and a retired superhero. He blogs about his adventures on