How to Craft the Perfect Cold Email Subject Line (+42 Examples)

April 30, 2024 by
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Sales teams are pouring more resources into email marketing, as it is one of the best ways to contact and build relationships with potential customers or clients. Many different factors go into making your sales emails effective, but one of the most important features is the subject line.

While seemingly small and insignificant at first glance, your sales email subject line can make a huge difference in gaining new customers. In this post, we will walk you through how to create the best email subject lines and provide some proven examples.

Main Takeaways

  • About 64% of people open or delete an email based on the subject line.
  • Approximately 33% of email users open an email if the subject line is catchy.
  • Keep your subject line under 50 characters to make sure they are concise and to the point​.
  • Always A/B test your subject lines to find out what works best with your audience.

Tips for Crafting the Perfect Cold Email Subject Line

Feeling a bit lost and not sure where to get started with your email subject lines? Here are our 10 top tips for crafting the perfect subject lines.

1. Optimize Your Word Count

Make sure to keep your subject line no more than 10 words. It may not be readable on mobile devices if it is any more than that. Ideally, it should also be a minimum of 5 to 7 words. Any less, and you may not be able to get your point across.

2. The Subject Line Should Entice the Reader to Open the Email

Without giving everything away, make your subject line intriguing enough that recipients feel compelled to open the email​. Think of subject lines that would make you want to open an email from an unknown sender.

3. Address the Prospect by Name

Use the recipient’s name or company in the subject line to make the email personalized and grab their attention. This immediately sets you apart from the hoards of generic cold emails out there, as many sales teams will simply copy and paste from templates.

4. Convey a Sense of Urgency

Don’t overuse this tactic, but it is a great way to prevent prospects from putting your cold emails on the back burner. Use keywords that compel the recipient to act swiftly, such as “Offer ends soon!” or “Only a few spots left!”​

5. Mention a Mutual Connection

Obviously, this tip is only relevant if you actually have a mutual connection with the prospect, but if you have a shared acquaintance or recently attended the same event, you can mention this in your subject line to further increase the open rate.

6. Hint at the Value They Will Recieve By Opening the Email

Again, don’t give too much away here, but hint to the reader that if they open the email, they will be provided with some valuable content that they really don’t want to miss out on.

7. Use Clear, Simple Language

Cold emails, including subject lines, should use a conversational tone that any recipient can understand. Avoid industry-specific terms and jargon that might not be familiar to all​. The reader shouldn’t need to look up words or terms, and it should be obvious what the email will be about from the short subject line.

8. Steer Clear of “Spammy” Words

Do not use words like “free,” “guarantee,” or excessive punctuation that might trigger spam filters​.

9. Be Honest

Ensure your subject line honestly reflects the content of your email. Misleading subject lines can damage trust and lead to higher unsubscribe rates. Also, avoid inflating details about any offers you provide in the email. Honesty can go a long way in building relationships and eventually making more sales.

10. Try Out Different Subject Lines

Experiment with different subject lines to see which approach is getting results. A good way to do this is a split test, sending two different subject lines to different groups. Then, you can determine which one performed better.

Examples of Effective Sales Email Subject Lines

Now that you know some of the basic fundamentals of making effective subject lines, let’s go over some examples that actually work!

1. “3 Ways to Increase Your Team’s Productivity”

Including numbers and clear benefits grabs attention by promising specific value and actionable insights.

2. “Exclusive Offer for [Company Name] Members Only”

Personalizing with the company’s name and suggesting exclusivity makes the offer more appealing and targeted.

3. “Last Chance to Claim Your Free Trial”

This subject line establishes a sense of urgency and encourages the prospect to act quickly to take advantage of the offer.

4. “Save 20 Hours This Month with Our Tool”

As mentioned, it is super important to show the tangible benefits the reader will receive from opening your email. This subject line clearly states a significant benefit (time-saving) that directly applies to the recipient’s desire to improve efficiency.

5. “Missing Out on [Industry Trend]?”

By highlighting a trending topic in the recipient’s industry, you can spark curiosity and concern about staying updated, encouraging them to open your cold email.

6. “See What We’ve Done for [Similar Company]”

This subject line suggests that the email contains relevant case studies or testimonials. It also provides social proof and urges the recipient to see the potential benefits for themselves.

7. “[Mutual Connection] recommended I get in touch”

Using a mutual connection helps to build trust and rapport immediately. The reader will recognize the name in your subject line and be much more likely to open it.

8. “[First Name], I thought you might like this!”

Including the recipient’s name personalizes the email, and suggesting that you have something they will like sparks interest​.

9. “[Name], quick tip for [common industry relevant problem]?”

Another personal and direct approach, this subject line, offers help in solving a problem, which can encourage the recipient to engage with the email​.

10. “Did you know this about [industry/relevant topic]?”

This subject line starts with an intriguing fact or statistic about the recipient’s industry, which can make them want to learn more​.

11. “[Your solution] can save you [amount] per year”

This subject line gets into the specifics of your offer right off the bat, so the reader will be less likely to pass by the email. Mentioning how much money the recipient can save by using your solution provides a compelling reason to open and read your email.

12. “Get [specific benefit] with [your product/service]”

Similar to the last subject line, this entry works well as it directly states what the recipient can gain by engaging with your email.

13. “Is this the biggest challenge for [their industry]?”

Pose a thought-provoking question about the recipient’s industry. As their industry is likely at the top of their mind, they will likely want to open your email.

14. “Avoid this mistake in [industry]”

Warning about common mistakes in their industry shows you have valuable insights to share, which helps establish your credibility immediately. Then, when the recipient opens the email, they will already have some trust in what you have to say.

15. “X tips/ideas for [pain point]”

Offering actionable tips or ideas related to a relevant pain point shows your expertise and the immediate value of reading your email​.

Examples of Excellent Follow Up Email Subject Lines

Already sent your initial cold emails? Now, you’ll want to start prepping for follow-ups. Following up is one of the most important steps in a cold email campaign! Here are some effective follow up email subject lines. Make sure to read our tips on how long to wait before following up, too.

16. “Quick catch-up on [topic]”

This subject line works because it reminds the recipient of the ongoing discussion. It also makes it easier for potential clients to pick up where they left off​.

17. “Still thinking about [topic] we discussed”

This shows you value the conversation and are engaged with the topic, which can encourage a continued dialogue.

18. “Missed you at [event]!”

Reaching out to say you noticed someone wasn’t at an event is a personal way of showing a sense of community and shared interests. You can make the recipient feel included and possibly regretful of their absence, which might prompt a response.

19. “Can we finalize the steps by [date]?”

Setting a deadline and a providing a call to action in your subject line creates urgency, which can increase the likelihood of a response as it pushes the recipient to act​.

20. “Here’s the info I promised you”

Business is all about delivering on promises and building trust and reliability. This line shows the recipient that you follow through and that they can trust your word.

21. “Wondering about your thoughts on this”

Asking for opinions on something specific can make the recipient feel valued and more likely to engage in the conversation.

22. “Did you get what you needed from our last chat?”

You should always make sure that your leads and prospects are getting what they need from you. After all, business is a two-way street! This shows concern for the recipient’s needs and confirms whether they found the previous interaction beneficial​.

23. “Touching base on [specific topic]”

Using specific topics in the subject line shows the email has a clear focus and gives the recipient context to your last correspondence. It can help recapture the recipient’s interest.

24. “Are we still on track for [deadline or goal]?”

Again, this subject line introduces urgency, making it more likely that the recipient will prioritize the email.

25. “Here’s the information you requested!”

Providing the requested information can prompt the recipient to open the email and continue the conversation.

26. “Revisiting our [date] discussion”

This shows that you value the previous discussions and are interested in continuing from where you left off.

27. “Waiting for your green light on this”

This is another subject line that includes a call to action. Implying that the recipient’s approval or decision is needed can prompt their response.

28. “Thoughts on moving forward with [proposal]?”

With this subject line, you can ask the recipient to consider the next steps and their commitment to ongoing projects​.

29. “Excited about your recent [achievement]!”

Celebrating their successes can create a positive relationship and make the recipient more receptive​.

30. “Hoping for your feedback on our recent meeting”

This is another follow up email subject line that includes an action for the ready to carry out. Inviting feedback makes the recipient feel their opinion is valued.

Email Subject Lines to Use When You Don’t Receive a Response

Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put into optimizing your subject lines, many of your initial cold emails will not receive a response. But don’t give up! Many of your leads are likely receiving hundreds of emails per day, so many of your cold emails will be forgotten or lost in the inbox. Here are some solid subject lines for follow up cold emails after not receiving a response.

31. Just checking in on [specific topic]

This is an effective subject line because it’s direct and shows you remember details about your last interaction. It invites the recipient to update you on a specific issue or topic.

32. Quick question about [topic]

This subject line suggests the conversation will be brief, which might encourage a quicker response.

33. Have you had a chance to review [document/event]?

If you haven’t heard back from a potential client, you can ask them whether they have overlooked something you’ve previously sent.

34. I believe we missed this!

Suggesting something was overlooked can urge the recipient to open the email to see what was missed.

35. Just a reminder about [topic]

Reminders can be very effective, especially if the recipient has forgotten to reply or act on something discussed.

36. Looking forward to your feedback on [topic]

This subject line is a soft reminder about the feedback you expect.

37. Did you get what you needed from [document/event]?

Asking if they’ve got what they need can lead to further communication or clarification.

38. “Following up on our previous email”

Clear and direct, this subject line reminds the recipient that they have a pending item that they may have overlooked.

39. “Hoping to hear back about [specific topic]”

This subject line shows that you are waiting for a response and highlights the importance of the topic under discussion.

40. “Reminder: [task or request] needs your attention”

Use this subject line to remind them directly about tasks they must address.

41. “Have you had a chance to consider?”

This open-ended question is to make the recipient think about your previous communication without sounding too demanding.

42. “Are we on the same page about [topic]?”

This subject line ensures that both you and the other partner agree or understand each other, which is a good reason to get back to you.

Common Email Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid

If your cold emails aren’t proving to be very effective, your subject lines could be the problem. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can craft email subject lines more likely to catch the eye and get clicked. 

Using Misleading Phrases

Misleading recipients can lead to frustration and distrust. So, always give readers a clear view of what the email is about with the subject line.

Overusing ALL CAPS or Excessive Punctuation

These can be perceived as shouting and may trigger spam filters. Keep your tone friendly and professional.

Including Spam Trigger Words

Words like “free,” “guarantee,” and “no investment” can activate spam filters. Opt for less spammy vocabulary to increase the chances your email reaches the inbox.

Making It Too Long

As mentioned before, longer subject lines that are too wordy can lead to recipients losing interest. Plus, subject lines that are more than 10 words may not fit in the mobile email app.

Vague Subject Lines

Specificity always wins when it comes to cold emails. Instead of “Update Needed,” use “Update on Project [X] Deadline” to provide clear context.

Not Personalizing When Appropriate

Including the recipient’s name or relevant details can significantly increase engagement and make the email seem more relevant​ and personal.

Not Using Urgency Correctly

If there’s a genuine deadline or limited-time offer, make it clear in your subject line. Avoid creating false urgency that can annoy readers.

Forgetting to Test Subject Lines

A/B split test your email subject lines to help you understand which strategy is working best with your audience.

Ignoring Mobile Optimization

Nowadays, many users check their emails on their phones. So, make sure your subject line displays well on mobile devices to avoid being overlooked.

Creating a False Sense of Familiarity

Using “RE:” or “FW:” to imply an ongoing conversation when it’s a new email can mislead recipients and harm your credibility.

Writing for Yourself, Not Your Audience

Know your audience’s preferences and craft subject lines that appeal directly to them. Avoid generic or uninteresting phrases.

Including Dates or Issue Numbers

These often add unnecessary clutter to your subject line and can deter new readers who feel they’ve missed out on previous communications​.

Overusing Questions

While questions can engage, using them in every subject line can become less effective over time. It is always good practice to mix up your strategies.

Failing to Offer Value

Make what’s in it clear for your recipients. People are more likely to open emails that seem beneficial to them​.

Why Does the Subject Line Matter in a Cold Email?

The subject line is the first thing the potential client sees. It’s like the headline of a newspaper article or the cover of a book. If it doesn’t catch their interest, they might not open the email at all. 

Think of it as your first chance to make a good impression.

A good subject line grabs attention. It gives the reader a hint about what the email will be about, making them curious to learn more. If your subject line is clear and interesting, it increases the chances that your email will be read.

On the other hand, if the subject line is vague, boring, or sounds like spam, people are likely to ignore it. Most people get lots of emails every day, so they quickly decide what to open based on the subject line. That’s why crafting a good one is so important—it helps your email stand out among many others.

In short, the subject line matters a lot in a cold email because it’s your main tool for getting the reader’s attention and getting them to open your message.

Now that you’re a pro at subject lines, check out our guide on crafting the perfect cold email message.

About The Author

Mike Yon

Mike is the Co-Owner of Growth List.

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