How to Write a Subject Line that gets your Cold Email Opened

Subject Lines are the first words your prospect sees in their inbox when you send them a cold email. Cold email subject lines need to not only grab your prospect’s attention, but the subject lines must also get your prospect to open and read your emails.

So if you are all ready to send your email campaign, think again. Typing out just anything for subject lines won’t work anymore. You are going to war and we are here to give you the right arsenal to fight and conquer the so-called ‘attention war’.

This war doesn’t just apply to sales emails. Whether it’s a cold email, job application email, networking email, promotional email, or any email where your end goal is to get an action from the recipient, you need to get the subject line of your email right. And this blog will guide you through the whole process.

We’ve divided this blog into the following categories:

  • Types of subject lines [including examples]
  • Power words to include in subject lines
  • Best practices to follow to hit the right note
  • Types of Subject Lines:

Personalized Subject Line

We all are assigned a particular name and we pay attention whenever we hear our names. Not only that but we are also wired to look out for our names. So it is only smart to use that in your subject line. Reading their names in the subject lines, your recipients might choose to read your email over others. Moreover, personalization has proven to increase open rates by up to 50%.

Since this is something all brands do nowadays, you need to dig a little deeper into your prospects. Use Google, LinkedIn, news, press releases, etc. to know about them.

It’s not only about using either their name or their company’s name. You can explore personalization in:

  • Shared Interests
  • Birthdays/Anniversaries
  • Transaction history
  • Recent social media activity
  • Any mutual LinkedIn connection/acquaintance
  • Location
  • Past interactions

It is all about making your subject line stand out from the rest. You just need to pay attention to details.

Examples of Personalized Subject Lines:

  • John, check out these hand-picked looks
  • Happy Birthday John – Surprise Inside!
  • I didn’t see your name in the comments!?
  • Only the best for you, John
  • Hey John, ready for some Disney magic?

Note: Personalization is only advisable if you have a limited number of prospects to reach out to. If you are to do bulk email, then it is better to first invest in a proper tool that allows bulk email personalization.

Short Subject Lines

With our mobile phones becoming an extension of ourselves, it’s not wrong to assume that most people attend to emails from their mobile phones. Since they offer much less screen area, you need to make sure that your subject lines for cold emails are as short and simple as possible but also make sure they carry the gist of your emails or in other words, address the ‘why’. Some words are actually worth a thousand words and you need to make a friend out of them to turn those prospects into clients.

Don’t worry we’ve got that covered for you as well. Read ahead.

Not only short subject lines will get you desired open rates, but they also get the recipient’s interest piqued. Chances are they are going to pay proper attention while reading your email instead of just skimming since they got to know that you mean business and business right away.

Examples of Short Subject Lines:

  • Smoldering red lipstick
  • Hello. (Enough said.)
  • It’s scary outside.
  • Are you free Friday?
  • Should we talk?

Here’s how many characters are visible on a particular email client:

Subject Line Email clients

Funny Subject Lines

Who doesn’t appreciate that perfect combination of words, humor, and sales pitch?

I know, I do.

If you understand the craft of creating funny subject lines, then make sure to use them while sending out your email campaigns. In case you are not known as the funny one in your company, then go to one of your copywriters or the person who can’t stay alive without being sarcastic. They would do an amazing job for you.

You can also intertwine two types of subject lines: personalized and funny ones. If you’ve shared some inside jokes with your prospects, then you can use that in your subject line as well.

The main thing is to get their attention and humor will do that for you.

Examples of Funny Cold Email Subject Lines:

  • Great, another email!
  • It’s finally (mostly) sunny!
  • Nope, still NOT going out of business. Enjoy 2 for $45!
  • Boom chakalaka! Let’s get started.
  • NEW! Vacation on Mars

Informative & Value-Adding Subject Lines

Subject lines starting with ‘Did you know…’ or having a question, or mentioning some X ways to get creative, etc. can pique your customer’s interest. Let’s say you are trying to sell your XYZ product, then sharing a guide that shows how your product solves their ABC problems will actually get them to read your email and then click on your blog or download your ebook, and then you might as well get a revert from them.

Your target should be to add value to your email and show the same in your cold email subject line. This tells your recipients that you respect their time which they are using to read your email.

Examples Value-Adding Subject lines:

  • [Company Name] Sales & Marketing Newsletter
  • Your beauty issues…solved
  • Stop wasting time on mindless work
  • Learn a language with only 5 minutes per day
  • Age-defying beauty tricks
  • 30 Power Words to Help You Write Best Cold Email Subject Lines
  • Tips
  • Learn how to…
  • Invitation to…
  • Are you making these mistakes?

Using the right and power words, crafting a creative cold email subject line, etc. is only one thing. There are other things that you should be aware of and put into practice before sending out your email campaign.

Best Practices for Crafting Best Cold Email Subject Lines

Avoid using spam words at all costs.

Here’s a list of spam words:

  • $$$
  • Earn
  • Claim now
  • Free
  • Any subject in ALL CAPS
  • Cheap
  • Cash
  • Discount
  • F r e e
  • Increase sales/traffic
  • Call free
  • Call now

You get the gist. If you use any of the above-mentioned words in your subject lines, chances are your email won’t even make it to your prospect’s inbox. It will land directly in the spam box. So make sure to do a proper spam check of your subject lines before sending out your emails.

Punctuate carefully!!!!

Too many exclamations right? Exactly.

Use punctuation wisely. So researches show that you should limit your punctuation to 3 and no more than that in a subject line. It can either land your email in the spam box or it might put off your recipient and they end up ignoring your email.

Use emojis????

Add some personality to your email subject lines by using emojis. But there is a risk because sometimes emails with too many emojis in subject lines can come across as spammy.

So be creative but don’t overdo them????.

Having emojis in subject lines can actually boost your open rates, grab your recipient’s attention, and they are fun too.

Pro Tip: Do a test email before sending out your campaign with emojis in subject lines because some email servers can’t parse emojis, especially the latest ones. They will look something like this ☐. To avoid this, send a test email.

Most importantly,

Test. Test. Test.

The cold email subject lines examples, power words, or best practices are not set in stone. They might work for you or they might not. The key is to explore options and keep track of the performance of your email campaigns. The open rates, CTR, clicks, actions, and the whole gamut. These insights will help you identify what works with your audience.

Michael John Alos

Michael John Alos

Small Business Advocate & Marketing Coach. Founder of the Small Business Unleashed™ business growth framework. Sharing insights + tips on all things marketing, digital, content, sales, & tech.

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