Email Marketing

How to Get Your Emails Opened

A secret guide on how to get your emails opened


Hamna Azam


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According to a recent study, professionals receive an average of 121 emails per day. This is a lot of noise to push through in order for you to be heard.

If no one opens your email, those prospects don't become leads, contacts or customers. That means without achieving this first step of getting your emails opened, you can’t step onto the next step.

Whether you're asking for seed funding, e-commerce capital, or real estate investment, it's important that your email is read.  So, how should one craft a great cold email subject line?

Keep your subject lines short and concise

Long subject lines may work in some cases, but with 55% of working professionals using mobile devices to read emails, it’s not worth the risk.

The average mobile screen can only fit 5-8 words in a subject line. With short subject lines, you have the best chance of grabbing that majority of readers who are using  mobile to read your subject line.

In general, professional and sales-related emails have longer subject lines, while personal emails to friends and colleagues are generally short with a more conversational tone. If you want people to open your emails, they need to appear as though they are coming from a colleague or friend.

In order to get a potential employer's attention, it is again important to keep your email subject line short.

Offer an enticing offer

You have to give our recipients any incentive whatsoever to open your email. It could be something valuable, such as a vital result.

But it also might be more subtle, let’s say a mutual connection. Mentioning results or stats related to your offering can be helpful because they suggest that similar outcomes are possible. That’s what is good about good cold email subjects.

They don't know you directly, so you need to find a way in your subject line to entice them into opening it. What are you going to offer someone in your email? Think about it.

Showing a mutual connection

One of the best things you can do when writing a cold subject line is to show that there's some sort of mutual connection, like if you're an ex-colleague or both in this professional group.

Using this phrase in your subject line is one of the most effective ways to grab a reader's attention. It isn't always possible, but it can be done most of the time. (Almost every strategy for writing subject lines is about taking advantage of anything you can to make cold emails a little warmer).

Subject line examples:

  • “[Mutual contact] mentioned you”

  • “Would you like to connect– 5 minutes at [local coffee shop]?”

  • “I noticed you on [Facebook/social group]. Can we connect?”

  • “Hey Alex,, we met at [Conference]”

  • “A friend of [mutual contact]”

  • “Your comments on [social post] were insightful/inspiring”

Speak to your audience with relevance

If you don’t have a mutual connection, then what? This is where most of us find ourselves, whether we are reaching out to expand our network or scheduling demos for our product.

So, if you find it difficult to make your cold email subject lines more personal then you may just add their first name.

Subject line examples:

  • “It’s our job to develop our children’s eating habits”

  • “[Industry] has a real problem…”

  • “Check out the best new [business] in [location]”

  • “I see business like my favorite movie, Rocky”

Generate that first touch

If you are trying to contact someone for the first time and can't find any mutual connection or point of relevance? If you can't come up with a good subject line, look for a group of contacts your manager thinks would make a good fit for your service.

If you are trying to generate that first touch, you can try using humor or making them curious about something. Or if the person is resistant, suggest a mystery they might be interested in.

Subject line examples:

  • “Check this out, Alex”

  • “Quick question, Mark”

  • “You’re not alone.”

  • “You’re invited”

Steal this tactic (it’s our best so far)

Give your recipients an immediate sense of value

Personal connections are certainly powerful. That is not to say that they're the only way you can get people to open your cold emails, though.

Understanding email time importance is crucial; sending your emails at the right moment can significantly increase their visibility amidst the daily flood.  

Hinting at the value you can bring your prospect or outright stating it before they open your email is also effective. Everyday average professionals receive an average of 121 emails.

Each day, they wade through a sea of emails, which come in from colleagues at work, newsletters and authorities that they follow. And now there is your email too. 

Without a sense of worth, your email may be at the bottom of their list in terms of importance.

However, if you can show your email target the value of what you're offering in light of what is relevant to them, they'll be more likely to cut through all the clutter and open your email.

Subject line examples:

  • “We’ve studied the best [groups] in [industry]. Here’s what makes them different.”

  • “There’s a better way to build a strong brand on social”

  • “I’d like to help”

  • “Our best resources for improving your team’s performance”

Create a sense of urgency

As per a  study done by the PR firm, Citizen Relations, 60% of Millennial customers said they’ve made a purchase after experiencing FOMO.

Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, meaning that your ability to connect with them will have a big impact on your outreach or sales. That’s why scarcity should not be overlooked when it comes to subject lines.

The use of scarcity to create urgency is an ancient sales tactic. This strategy remains popular because it works so well.

Subject line examples:

  • “Are you on track to hit your Q1 goals (I’d like to help)”

  • “Alex — free for a quick chat next Monday, the 21st?”

  • “Are you ready for [event]?”

  • “Next week only — watch me [do something] live”

When you get no response

It's not a good feeling when your first emails don't get any response. But it’s not the end. Contrary to what the old sales maxim of "it takes seven touches before closing a sale" says, it's not just a myth.

There are a few types of emails you can send to contacts that have had no response from before you retire them in your “no response” list.

Subject line examples:

  • “Alex, did I come on too strong?”

  • “It’s not you, it’s me” “You okay, Jen?”

Also Read: Let's Talk about the Best Cold Email Subject Lines

Give your cold email subject lines a boost

Cold emails shouldn't be stuffy and lifeless. If you want to get the most responses and clicks, make your subject lines alluring.

For example, generate interest or promise value (sometimes both), since these are effective strategies for doing so. Remember, the best subject line is one you make your own. What can you offer in terms of value?

When you email someone, think about what you can provide to them. You could give some feedback or offer a compliment.

To take your subject line response to a higher level, use the cold email best practices that we discussed earlier in conjunction with the templates and examples given.

An image to showcase the email warmup feature

Reach more customers with your cold emails

Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    Professionals receive an average of 121 emails per day.
    It's important to get an email opened by a prospect because it increases the chances of the email being read and acted upon, leading to potential conversions and sales.
    The recommended length for a subject line in sales-related emails is between 4-7 words or 40-50 characters.
    In a cold email subject line, an enticing offer or a specific benefit can be offered to entice the recipient to open it.
    Personalizing the subject line or the opening sentence with a specific detail related to the recipient's industry, interests or needs can make a cold email more personal and relevant.
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