Email Marketing

Let's Talk about the Best Cold Email Subject Lines

What do you say to your recipients first?


Anam Jalil


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After you write your cold email, it's time to craft your email subject line. So, what's the key to crafting a great subject line?

A subject line is a brief phrase or sentence that appears with the sender's name in the Inbox and is designed to entice the recipient to open the email and read its contents - basically, it tells the recipient what the email is about.

If the subject line works - it intrigues recipients or piques the prospect's curiosity.

Cold emailing is a powerful tool for reaching out to potential clients or customers, but getting the recipient to open and read your email is crucial - and the subject line plays the main role in grabbing the prospect's attention.

An effective subject line should be clear, concise, and directly related to the content of the email.

Let's explore some of the best subject lines for cold emails and go through a few examples.

But first, let's discuss what a cold email subject line is and what it should be like.

What are cold email subject lines and what should they be like?

subject line for cold email are the first thing a recipient sees when receiving an unsolicited email - the first thing that determines the success or failure of email campaigns.

Shorter subject lines are usually known to perform better - whether you use a catchy subject line or a simple subject line, effective subject lines are those that resonate best with the audience.

what cold email subject lines entail

In other words, a good subject line for cold email can make the difference between a recipient engaging with your brand or deleting your message without a second thought.

The subject line should be interesting, must pique the audience's curiosity, and must add value. Additionally, it should be relevant and personalized as this increases the chances that they will open the email.

How can you personalize a cold email subject line?

  • Mention the prospect's industry

  • Mention the prospect's name or company name

  • Mention the prospect's pain points

  • Mention a common pain point

  • Mention a mutual contact

  • Create urgency or mention a benefit that the prospect can gain by developing a personal connection

Types of cold email subject lines and tips for crafting a great one

So which types of subject lines get the best open rates and what is the science/art of writing subject lines? What makes a good subject line and which cold email subject lines should be avoided?

Here is what you should not do!

Clickbait subject lines

Email subject line for cold email are of several types and many sales email subject lines use the clickbait strategy to get the target audience to open the email. Clickbait subject lines are those that more or less trick the recipient into clicking and do not give an accurate depiction of what the email contains.

Subject line examples include: Don't miss this, Drive sales through the roof in 24 hours, The world has been waiting for this, etc.

Basically, these cold email subject lines sound too good to be true and while someone may click on them once or twice, but when your content does not match the expectation, you will be unable to develop a personal connection with your audience and will eventually lose their interest or worse - irritate them and cause them to unsubscribe.

Now let's look at different subject lines of other types:

Catchy subject lines:

Catchy subject lines for cold emails are those that intrigue readers or arouse their interest. Subject lines may be catchy if they ask a question, provide a deadline, are relevant to current events or are specific to the reader.

For example, this is a good email subject line: Are you feeling stressed out because of low conversions?

Creative subject lines:

Creative subject lines take a different route and are a little unexpected. Sometimes this element of surprise is important in a cold email campaign - as long as it doesn't sound too sales-y and isn't clickbait.

For example: You can become as stress-free as Eminem or Kanye West! (this is creative and unexpected) and as long as your content tells them a way to be stress-free, this subject line works and is a great way to get higher open rates.

Personalized email subject lines:

Personalized email subject lines are great to draw in the reader's attention. You can include the prospect's name, company name, or mention a pain point that is relevant to the reader. This has a high chance of increasing response rates and developing a mutual connection.

Blog post email subject lines:

If you are sending the reader content in the form of a blog post, your subject line can be the title of the blog post. If your title is intriguing and provides value to the recipient, he/she is likely to open the email.

Now, here are a few tips on how to write the best cold email subject lines:

  1. Short subject lines are best - try to convey your message in a few words. Your subject line should be short enough to fit onto the average mobile screen. Most people check emails on their mobile devices.

  2. Use power words in your subject line such as effortless, jubilant, victory, thrive, results. Power words are words that inspire emotion.

  3. Your first subject line should be good enough to get your reader to open the email, so your follow up emails can be more effective and can get opened too. Opened emails are the beginning of success in a cold email campaign.

  4. Your email subject should mention the prospect's pain point and perhaps also say a bit about the type of solution you are offering.

  5. If you are asking for a meeting request, you can perhaps write a subject like: How about coffee at 4? However, this may be a better option if you have developed a mutual connection with the recipient. It isn't the best option in a cold sales email.

  6. Your open rates are not the only metric you should consider. Are your recipients clicking through? If they are, then your email body is great too, but if they are not, your subject line is not the only thing that is important in the process. You need to make sure your email copy works like a charm too.

Let's move on to looking at a few cold email subject line examples.

Subject Line Examples

cold email subject line examples

So here are a few more cold email subject line examples:

  1. 10 Tips and Ideas for [prospect pain point]

  2. A benefit for [X company]

  3. Hi [prospect name], are you ready to enhance your beauty?

  4. Do you like Pink?

  5. Remove the guesswork from cold emails today!

  6. What are your views on [new fad]?

  7. Your revenue is stagnant, here is what to do!

There are other factors that you have to ensure in email marketing besides making sure your subject lines work. Let's give you a brief checklist of what those are:

  1. A personalized subject line is great, but a personalized email body is even better. Make sure you are addressing the recipient and your copy is a little more specific to their needs.

  2. Your subject line triggers opens, but your emails can't be opened if they do not land in the prospect's Inbox, so you need to ensure that you warm up your email domain and maintain a good sender reputation. You can improve your sender reputation and warm up your email domain with GoCustomer so that your emails do not land in the spam folder.

  3. A short subject line is likely to be more appealing than a long one. Keep your subject line between 5 to 6 words.

  4. Send a follow up email at least a week after your initial email. Haste makes waste.

  5. Subject lines that get opened do not have a fixed formula, but you need to ensure that you do not include spammy words and your emails get through the spam filters.

  6. Do not over emphasize a mutual connection but subtly mention similarities and people you and your prospect know in common - such as the prospect's colleagues.

  7. Make sure that there is no broken link in your email.

  8. Add social proof to claims in marketing emails. That helps your audience believe in what you are saying.

  9. Make sure your email fits on a mobile device.

  10. Review email providers properly and select one which is most recognized and trusted amongst recipients.

Bottom Line

Top subject lines for cold emails is what triggers your whole campaign and propels it forward to the next stage. Make sure you craft your subject line very carefully and according to the content of your email. Once your emails are opened, you are on your way to conversions.

To ensure your success, focusing on creating the best email subject lines will significantly increase the likelihood of your emails being noticed and opened, making them an indispensable part of your email marketing strategy.

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Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    The subject line is important in cold emailing because it is the first thing the recipient sees and can determine whether or not they open the email. A compelling subject line can increase the chances of the recipient reading the email and taking action.
    An effective cold email subject line should be short, specific, and relevant to the recipient's needs or interests. It should also convey a sense of urgency or value, and be free of spam trigger words.
    Cold email subject lines that are vague, generic, or overly salesy should be avoided. Subject lines that use all caps, exclamation marks, or misleading language should also be avoided as they may come across as spammy.
    You can personalize cold email subject lines by using the recipient's name, referencing a shared interest or connection, or mentioning something specific about their background or work that you admire or appreciate.
    The best way to write a subject line for a blog post email is to make it clear and specific about the content of the blog post. Including a benefit or value proposition can also entice recipients to open the email, such as "5 Tips to Boost Your Productivity - New Blog Post Inside".
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