7 Subject Lines That Get Emails Opened

BY Rachel Cagle
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How many times have you sent an email to the trash based on subject line alone? It’s probably a lot, especially if you don’t recognize the sender. And many of those messages are from vendors whose email lists you subscribed to. It’s even more difficult for the subject line of a sales email to make the cut.

What Makes a Good Subject Line?

Emma Brudner, writing for HubSpot, says there are a few rules to keep in mind when crafting a subject line that will get your sales email opened. The first is to keep the text to 60 characters or less. That way, the recipient will be able to read all of it before the content gets cut off or they get bored. When you can fit the text into those 60 characters, add the prospect’s first name to make the line personalized. Then, you either offer value, create urgency or at least make your message interesting, if not a combination of all three. And be sure to add in keywords that will pique your prospect’s interest.

That’s a lot to put into so few characters. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, don’t worry; it’ll get easier with time. In the meantime, here are some subject lines Brudner recommends for different stages of the sales process that can help you out.

Cold Emails

Question about [insert goal]”

This subject line works well because it does two things to pique the prospect’s interest. One, adding the goal will also ensure keywords are included that will catch the recipient’s eye and make them more likely to open your email based on its relevancy to them. Two, they have no idea what your question is until they open the email. Boom, opened. Now your content needs to do the rest of the work.

Name dropping a mutual connection right off the bat is a great way to get your email opened. The connection implies that you’re not some random person. You’ve been able to get insider information on their needs and goals through a mutual connection and that connection went as far as to recommend you reach out to them. With what? They’ll need to open your email to find out.

Hoping to help…”

You’re not just a salesperson hoping to make money off of the recipient. Oh no, you see the prospect as a fellow human being who could benefit from whatever it is you have to say. Including the word “help” in a subject line is a great way to get the email opened because of its sincerity.

Follow-​Up Email

Our next steps”

This subject line is a concise call to action and promises that the content is fully relevant to moving the sales process along in a mutually beneficial way.

Here’s that info I promised you”

Is there any email you’re more likely to open than one that contains content you asked for? Didn’t think so. The effectiveness of this subject line speaks for itself.

Don’t tell my boss”

Ooooh, scandal. Information is powerful/​useful and secret information is even more so. Also, this line implies that the prospect is going to be offered something out of the ordinary, so be sure you have content to back it up, such as good news about a price negotiation they were shooting for.

No Response to Initial Outreach

Permission to close your file?”

This kind of breakup subject line is a subtle ultimatum that’s likely get a response from prospects. They’ll either stop dragging their feet and respond to you because they’re afraid you may give up on them or they’ll confirm that they have no interest in hearing from you. Either way, you get an answer.

You need to study your prospect before making that initial outreach. Download the Free E‑book: The 7 C's of Pre-​Call Intelligence authored by our CEO, C. Lee Smith, to learn what you should be doing differently before sending that first email in order to get responses. 

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash