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There’s no denying email outreach marketing offers incredible opportunities. Email marketing is especially useful for small businesses when it comes to prospecting new potential customers and keeping existing clients engaged with your product. 

By 2023, Statista expects there will be more than 3.9 billion email users across the globe. 

While email marketing can become a vital part of your outreach strategy, it’s no secret that cold sales emails often fall on deaf ears. After all, if your recipients never open your sales emails, you won’t get very far with your email copy efforts.

That’s where the cold email subject line comes in. Today, we’ll take you through some tips on writing catchy email subject lines for sales in order to boost your email open rates and optimize your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The importance of writing good sales email subject lines
  • What makes a catchy email subject line for sales
  • Winning email subject line formats to test out

How a Focus on Email Subject Lines Can Improve Email Open Rates

Why are email subject lines so important? As Invesp notes, up to 47% of email recipients will open a sales email based purely on the subject line. 

While loyal customers may be compelled to read all of your emails, most recipients of sales emails need more convincing. 

As Topo reports, this oversaturation of email marketing means only 9% of sales emails are ever opened. With these sobering average email open rates, it’s clear the subject line must grab attention and demand to be clicked. 

If you’re looking to increase email open rates, the subject line is the place to start. 

Writing Catchy Email Subject Lines for Sales

When it comes to writing successful email lines for sales prospecting, there are a few key stylistic tools you can use to instantly optimize your subject line.

Email Subject Line Character Limit

According to Mailchimp, the maximum length of your sales email subject lines should be around 60 characters or roughly nine words. By sticking to this character limit, you’ll improve your chances of writing subject lines that your recipients can read on both mobile devices and desktops.

The email subject line character limit is a key factor in writing email subject lines that get opened. We’ve all received an email with a subject line that is so long it trails off in unsatisfying ellipses. It probably looked something like this:

As you can see, this cold email subject line is so long, the recipient can’t read the whole thing. This means they are left unsure of what the email is about.

Here’s what a subject line that fits the character limit looks like:

Nailing Down Style

You may have noticed the most appealing email subject lines that reach your inbox have a certain sense of style. After all, a bland subject line with no personality is unlikely to grab a user’s attention. 

Figure out how to infuse your email subject lines with your brand voice and your company’s unique style. This might mean including emojis, using specific colloquial slang, or using a more authoritative, informed voice.

Creating a Sense of Intrigue 

Your email subject lines for sales prospecting should intrigue the reader. Remember, the majority of marketing emails go unopened, so you’ll need to pique your recipient’s interest with an attention-grabbing email subject within the space of just a few words.

Think about how you can add a sense of urgency and curiosity to your subject lines. 

Phrases that emphasize the timeliness of your email can inspire “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) and encourage readers to click on the email now rather than later. And phrases that give a sense of mystery can leave the reader wanting to know more.

Adding Some Personalization

These days, most consumers know the marketing emails that reach their inbox are part of a large campaign. This can make emails from companies feel impersonal and inconsequential. 

By making an effort to personalize your subject lines with touches like the consumer’s name, birthday, or previous purchases, you will give your recipients a sense that the email is meant for them and only them. 

Using Proven Buzz Words

In some cases, using tried and tested buzz words can quickly improve the efficacy of your subject lines. According to Alchemy Worx, email subject lines with the best conversion rates often include the following words:

  • Jokes
  • Promotional
  • Congratulations
  • Revision
  • Forecast
  • Snapshot
  • Token
  • Voluntary
  • Monthly deduction

Examples of Cold Email Subject Line Formats

If you take note of which sales emails stand out from the crowd, you’ll probably begin to notice that many of the best cold email subject lines tend to follow the same formats. 

Here are some email subject line examples that have been tried and tested by marketers in the past. Try using these as cold email templates to achieve a higher open rate on your next cold email campaign.

“Quick question about [x]”

If you’re trying to connect with a client, there’s no better way to entice them than by flattering their intelligence. This email subject line puts your recipient in a place of authority on a particular topic or issue. 

Plus, the “quick question” part of this subject line will instantly reassure your recipient that opening the email won’t present an issue that takes up the rest of their day.

“[Your name], we’re looking forward to seeing you at [x] event!”

If you’re hoping to connect with a potential client at an upcoming industry event, this personalized cold email subject line is the perfect way to introduce yourself and your company. It also sets you up for a mutual connection at the event in question.

“A [x] way to [x]”

This email subject line promises your readers useful, problem-solving information. In a world where we are increasingly busy and overwhelmed with information, the promise of a faster or easier solution to a problem will often intrigue email recipients. 

“Are you prepared to overcome [x]?”

With this pain point-driven subject line, you’ll demonstrate to your target audience that you understand their unique concerns and that you have a solution waiting for them on the other side of the email subject line. 

“Let’s talk about [x]!”

This type of cold email subject line inspires a sense of camaraderie with the email recipient. It also promises interesting, discursive content. This format is a good example of how to include both intrigue and personalization for a target audience. 

“[Your name], I need your help”

Begin by personalizing the subject line with the prospect’s name, then ask for help. Again, this cold email subject line flatters the recipient and encourages them to click through in order to share expertise. 

Rather than asking for a purchase or subscription, this catchy email subject line for sales opens up a conversation with your company’s salespeople.

“Let’s connect”

If you’re hoping to reach out to a new client through cold emailing, sometimes being clear about what you’re after is the best approach. Instead of falling back on overly salesy, spammy, or cliched phrases, this request will leave your recipient in doubt of what you’re after. 

“Before you do [x], read this”

This subject line introduces a sense of urgency and suggests that the recipient can improve one of their regular tasks by opening the email. It’s an intriguing subject line with a little mystery that is hard to leave unopened.

“You’re missing out on [x]”

Introduce a fear of missing out with this type of cold email subject line. No one likes to be left behind, and this subject line will give recipients a sense of being out of the loop or behind the trends.

“[X] surprising things about [x]”

Including numbers in your headlines has been shown to improve open rates by up to 206%, according to CoSchedule. There’s a reason this technique is used so frequently in clickbait articles. 

Implementing numbers in your email subject lines can have the same effect. Numbers attract attention, promise digestible content, and encourage curiosity.

While email marketing can prove to be hugely effective, running a successful campaign means achieving good email open rates. With only a small percentage of sales emails ever getting opened, it’s vital that you perfect your writing technique for subject lines for cold emails. 

At Bluehost, we offer hands-on website hosting that sees you through the beginning stages of choosing a company name and designing your website. 

When it comes to marketing, our service will help you with search engine optimization, CRM software, blogging, social media, email protection, and email marketing — and you can rest assured, we’ll always write a good subject line. 

Request a consultation today to find out more about how Bluehost can support your website.

  • Machielle Thomas

    Machielle is a content enthusiast who has a passion for bridging the gap between audiences and brands through impactful storytelling. Machielle has also spoken at dozens of WordCamps throughout the years.

    Texas State University
    Previous Experience
    Brand Content, Content Marketing, Brand Lead, Operations Lead, Course Instructor
    Other publications
    Shopify, Contently
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