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How to Write the Best Cold Email Subject Lines (incl. 150+ Templates & Examples)

Will Cannon
April 1, 2020
How to Write the Best Cold Email Subject Lines (incl. 150+ Templates & Examples)
Table of Contents

As marketing and sales professionals, we all know that the power of email lies in its popularity: there are 3.9 billion active email users around the world, and 86% of business professionals say that email is actually their preferred method of contact.

Despite the popularity and potential of cold email, many sales and marketing professionals shudder at the very thought of putting together a cold email subject line…

What actually works? Will that cheeky phrase serves to attract your prospect – or to completely annoy them? Could the subject line itself send your email directly to the junk folder, never to be seen?

This is where we come in. We’re here to answer all of those questions, and to give you complete confidence in your sales email subject lines!

Today, we’re going to deep dive into these key areas:

  • Why subject lines deserve your attention
  • The key metrics you need to measure the performance of your subject lines
  • The baselines you should use to assess your performance
  • What you need to know before writing your subject line
  • The data behind key subject line features
  • Everything you need to know about “sender” and “pre-header”
  • The best cold email subject line examples
  • 100 proven email subject lines you can use right away

Ready to get started?

Absorb this information, and you’ll definitely improve your cold email results!

Why Should You Care About Your Cold Email Subject Lines?

Sales and marketing professionals will often find themselves wondering whether subject lines are really worth all the effort they put in.

It’s a logical question: with so many deadlines to meet, and quotas to fulfil, isn’t it counterproductive to spend too long just on crafting 70 characters? Aren’t there 100 factors at play which are more likely to influence your recipient than a single, solitary line of text could possibly manage?

Fair questions; but here’s why subject lines are so important:

Engaging subject lines generate clicks

Let’s suppose that you’ve decided to send out an email to achieve a specific purpose. Your subject line will often determine whether or not you stumble at this first hurdle. The average open rate for cold emails sits at a paltry 17.92% – which means that you must master your subject line, in order to achieve success.

Quality subject lines help you to stand out

Tired of sorting through a crowded inbox? You’re not alone; each day, the average office worker receives a dizzying 121 emails! If you put some love and care into your subject lines, making sure that they stand out from this crowd, you’ll handily boost your performance and get more clicks.

Appropriate subject lines protect your reputation

Did you know that 69% of people will report an email as spam, based solely upon a subject line? You need to create considerate subject lines, in order to avoid dealing reputational damage to your business and landing on a spam list.

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How to Measure the Success of Your Cold Email Subject Lines

So, now we’ve established that subject lines are critical to your success… but how do you actually measure the performance and impact of the subject lines you use?

First things first, you’re going to want to understand the key metrics you can use. Here’s a closer look:

Primary Metric: Open Rate

This is a simple metric which tells you the total number of recipients who have opened an email campaign – it’s that easy!

A number of important factors are going to affect your open rate, but your subject line is absolutely one of the main ones to pay attention to. When you A/B test your subject lines, this is the key metric that you’ll need to monitor.

To put it bluntly:

  • Effective subject lines = better open rates
  • Low-quality subject lines = poorer open rates

Secondary Metrics: Response, Unsubscribe, Click-Through-Rate

There are a few other metrics you’ll want to monitor; these are secondary metrics, though, because they can be influenced by factors other than your subject line. For instance: the content of your email will have a large impact.

Here are those secondary metrics:

Response rate

The number of people who answered your email

Unsubscribe rate

The number of people who unsubscribed from your email

Click-Through-Rate

The number of people who clicked a link within your email

What Are Good Open, Reply, Unsubscribe, and CTR Rates?

Now we’ve got a good idea of which metrics to use – but what are the baselines you should pay attention to? It’s always a great idea to paint a clear picture of how others perform so that you’re then able to measure your own performance.

Here are the averages you’ll want to keep an eye on so that you can exceed them with an amazing subject line:

According to Industry

Naturally, the performance of cold emails will vary, from industry to industry. Thankfully, however, a few email marketing providers have put together some impressive email marketing benchmarks for us.

Here’s a look at the key benchmark reports and what they found, in terms of open rates across particular industries:

benchmark reports

Based on Country

The performance of your cold emails will also vary, according to the location of both yourself and your recipient. eMarketer offers an excellent benchmarking tool which you can use to explore email marketing performance metrics by location.

By using this tool, you’ll be able to get a better idea of what sort of performance you can expect from your cold emails. Here’s a quick look at the performance metrics according to the USA, for instance:

performance metrics

We’re also shown historical data, as well, so that we’re able to sort through different timeframes and track how trends evolve in different locations.

There are also various benchmarking reports released on a regular basis. Here’s a look at the most recent numbers offered by those reports, according to the location:

Open Rate per Region According to Get Response
OceaniaNorth AmericaEuropeAfricaAsiaLATAM
Get Response25.64%19.00%26.84%17.33%18.51%23.06%

https://www.getresponse.com/resources/reports/email-marketing-benchmarks

Open Rate per Region According to IBM Watson Marketing
APACAus & NZCanadaContinental EuropeIndiaLATAMMiddle East & AfricaUK & IrelandUSA
IBM29.6%61.7%59.8%44.1%31.6%36.5%33.3%49.7%47.4%

https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/L2VNQYQ0

Open Rate per Region According to Campaign Monitor
AustraliaUnited KingdomUSA
Campaign Monitor18.70%17.50%17.00%

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-benchmarks/

Before Writing Your Subject Line: What Do You Need to Know?

By now, we’ve got a great base of knowledge that we can build upon, to start constructing our world-beating subject lines!

But before you put pen to paper, let’s take a moment to examine the six critical factors that you’ll need to bear in mind, when crafting your subject lines.

Most Popular Clients and Devices for Reading Emails

As you probably already know, there are a number of popular clients on the market, such as Gmail, Outlook, and various other mobile options.

Figures from Litmus tell us that, if you’re like most people, there’s a good chance that you use a blend of the mail client on your iPhone and Gmail on your desktop.

Figures from Litmus

This prevalence of different clients and devices means that you’re going to need to do some research into your target audience and their habits. Doing this will ensure that you send effective emails, which fit as seamlessly as possible with their chosen email client.

Looking at prevailing preferences, you’re going to want to write subject lines that are between 41 to 70 characters long (this satisfies both the smaller subject lines for iPhones and the larger ones in Gmail).

When to Send Your Email

As a marketing or sales professional, there is a 100% chance that you’ve agonized over when to send that perfect email…

  • Just after people get back from lunch?
  • Early in the morning, to claim your place within your recipient’s inbox?
  • Late at night, to stand out from the crowd?

It can become absolutely maddening, to try and narrow down the right time!

And while it will entirely depend on chance, and there’s an element of luck involved, there are still some soft best practices you can definitely take into consideration.

According to data from Get Response, Tuesday is just narrowly the best day of the week to send your emails.

data from Get Response

In terms of timing, Get Response suggests that your recipients are most likely to read emails at 10am or 1pm.

data from Get Response

Worried about calculating time differences and sending emails at strange times? There are a few tricks and hacks you can use!

First things first: you’ll want to add this snazzy email time calculator from Yesware to your arsenal. It’s an insightful tool which helps you to determine the best time to send your emails, based on where you’re sending from and on who you’re sending it to.

Here’s a look at the tool in action:

Yesware

 

It’s pretty slick, and it can really help give you a good idea of when to send your emails.

But what about actually scheduling those emails? Well, check this out: there’s actually a “scheduled send” feature built right into Gmail that many people overlook!

Simply click the arrow next to “Send”, and you’ll be able to quickly schedule your emails to go out at specific times:

scheduled send

Consider Your Audience and Their Needs

Before you send an email, it’s always critical that you take some time to think carefully about your audience, and about what will work well for them. You’ll want to consider various pieces of demographic and firmographic information, like:

  • Country
  • Industry
  • Age
  • Technology stack
  • Historical preferences
  • Seniority

Using that information, you’ll then be able to make important decisions about key factors like:

  • Delivery time
  • Subject line content
  • Subject line tone
  • Preheader text
  • Whether or not to use emojis
  • Email content

If you fail to consider your audience properly, you run the risk of alienating them and failing to optimize your emails properly. Make the right decisions, though, and you’ll surely elevate your chances of success.

In order to make the right call, examine your buyer personas, and base your decisions on the demographic information included there.

Elevate Your Email Delivery Rate

As we touched on earlier, your open rate is the single most important metric to monitor, when judging the performance of your cold emails.

It’s also important, however, that you factor the delivery rate of your emails into the equation – a staggering 20% of marketing emails never even make it to the inbox!

Follow these tips to improve your subject lines and your delivery rate:

Don’t start subject lines with questions

Generally speaking, you want to avoid using question marks in your subject lines, given that 72% of brands see an 8.1% lower open rate on average when they do.

The results become even poorer, if you start your subject line with a question. Spam filters don’t like this technique at all, and you’ll be sure to see your deliverability rate plummet.

If you do ask a question at the beginning of your subject line, you absolutely need to make sure that it’s relevant to the content within your email.

Let’s imagine that you use the following subject line to connect with a prospect before an event…

“Coffee tomorrow? Let’s discuss your 2020 goals.”

In this case, you should make sure that the email itself includes a reference to the event and an invitation for coffee.

Eradicate spam trigger words

Email providers want to deliver the best possible experience to their users, so they work painstakingly to maintain comprehensive lists of spam trigger words; and if your subject line includes one of those words, then you’ll be sure to see your deliverability plummet.

HubSpot maintains a list of email spam trigger words, to give you an idea of what to avoid. Essentially, you should always try and think about your recipient and their experience; use your intuition to make the right choices.

Never use ALL CAPS

Can you remember the last time you received an email that had an all caps subject line? There’s a good chance you can’t, given that these emails are almost always caught in spam filters and sent straight to the junk folder!

And even if your email were to somehow make it through these filters, you’d certainly alienate or frustrate your recipient (Later on, we’ll take a look at which capitalization system works best).

Avoid using more than two pieces of punctuation

Your email subject lines should never include more than two pieces of punctuation. Spam filters will treat subject lines harshly if they include too much punctuation, given that this is usually a telltale sign of spamminess.

You may want to experiment with exclamation marks, though, given that subject lines ending in an exclamation mark can experience an open rate that’s 1-20% higher than average.

Segmentation

Segmentation is a powerful tactic you can use to cater your subject lines and to better personalize them for specific groups. Numbers from Niel Patel suggest that effective email segmentation can boost email open rates by 203%.

Meanwhile, HubSpot suggests that segmented email campaigns can lead to a staggering 760% increase in revenue.

There are a number of ways you might decide to segment your audience. Here’s a quick look at some of the main pillars of segmentation from Smart Insights:

Smart Insights

Segmenting your users across these lines can help you to deliver better emails, which cater to your recipients’ preferences and expectations.

One very basic example is language. If you have an international user base, you’ll be able to segment your user base according to their preferred communication language – which will make it easier for you to send the right emails to the right people.

The exact segmentation process will vary, depending on the email marketing platform and CRM that you decide to use. Some tools are able to make it incredibly simple and intuitive to build new mailing lists based on certain characteristics.

Naturally, you’ll want to adjust your subject lines according to the segment that you’re targeting. In fact, as we’ll see later, younger audiences might be more receptive to subject lines which feature emojis – while those very same symbols might repel a more professional B2B recipient.

Split Testing

As a marketing or sales professional, there’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with the principle of split, or A/B, testing.

This is essentially the practice of trialing different variations of a marketing collateral with the goal of assessing the impact of small changes. By using this split testing process, you’re more able to improve your metrics.

Let’s imagine that you’re sending out an exciting new ebook to your prospects. You might decide to create two potential subject lines like this:

  1. “Your exclusive ebook is ready. Download yours now.”
  2. “Achieve marketing success with this ebook.”

To perform a split test, you would then send one group variant A, and a second group variant B. You would closely monitor the results to see which variant performs the best, and then continue this process into the future.

There are lots of different factors you can decide to play with, while performing a split test. Here’re a few different ideas from Sleeknote:

  1. First person vs. second person
  2. Urgency vs. no urgency
  3. Different subject line lengths
  4. Emoji vs. no emoji
  5. Sentence case vs. title case
  6. Hyphens vs. colons
  7. Personalization vs. no personalization

While on the surface, these differences may seem negligible, they can eventually prove to have a significant impact on the open rate of your cold emails!

The Data-Driven Anatomy of a Great Cold Email Subject Line

Now that we have a clearer picture of the fundamentals you should keep an eye on, let’s take a closer look at the key areas of your subject line, and what the data recommends.

We’re going to take you through the eleven areas which make up the cold email subject line, so that you cover all your bases:

Personalization

Email personalization is the process of using subscriber data to enrich email content and cater it specifically to that reader.

Some examples of email personalization include:

  • Using the recipient’s name
  • Catering content to the recipient’s behavior
  • Sending emails on birthdays and significant dates
  • Recommendations based on abandoned carts

When it comes to your subject line, you might decide to include recipient contact details, mention birthdays, or cater to specific interests.

What the data says

Let the data guide you! Here’s what it says about subject line personalization:

  • Figures from Statista suggest that the open rate for personalized emails sits at 18.8%, compared to 13.1% without personalization
  • 74% of marketers say that email personalization improves customer engagement rates
  • 82% of marketers have reported an increase in open rates through email personalization
  • 96% of businesses believe that email personalization improves the performance of their email marketing initiatives

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do use personalization as naturally as possible
  • Do test your personalization technique and monitor the results
  • Do experiment with creative ideas
  • Don’t overuse personalization 
  • Don’t overstep boundaries
  • Don’t use personalization without a distinct goal in mind

Good, Bad, and Spam Keywords

Before your emails have even reached your recipient, they’ll first be read and interpreted by various filters. These spam filters will assess factors such as the content of your email, your own email address, and your subject line.

The decisions made by these filters will largely depend upon the words used within your subject line. Fail to satisfy those filters, and your email won’t be delivered.

With that in mind, you need to learn which keywords those filters look out for, and which ones will slip by without an issue. As we touched on earlier, you can get started with HubSpot’s guide. You’ll also want to split test your emails, in order to mitigate the risks of low delivery rates.

You might also want to check out this email subject line tester from Send Check it. Simply pop your subject line into the checker to receive a grade and breakdown of your subject line:

Send Check it.

The tool will also give you recommendations about spammy words, and the keywords included within your subject line.

Send Check it

What the data says

Here are some key statistics about spam keywords in subject lines:

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do think carefully about your recipient
  • Do write considerate subject lines
  • Do use positive and inspiring language
  • Don’t use spam keywords
  • Don’t use the word “free”
  • Don’t forget to double-check your email

Subject Line Length

When it comes down to it, you’ve got just a millisecond to impress your recipient and inspire them to click your email. And this is why it’s so important that you think carefully about your subject line length.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to share your key message in as few words as possible. This will help your recipient to digest your message, as well as make decisions about whether or not to click.

A shorter email subject line is also indicative of a briefer, clearer email. Conversely, recipients will often reject long-winded subject lines, for fear that the email within will be equally as long.

 

When writing your email, you may want to use a simple tool like lettercount.com – a website which can show you the number of characters in your email subject line, so that you can always write the most effective subject line possible:

character counter

What the data says

Here’s what the data says, when it comes to subject line length:

  • Four-word subject lines perform better than others, with an 18.26% open rate
  • The average subject email client will display between 33 to 43 characters on mobile devices
  • Mailchimp recommends that marketers use no more than 9 words and 60 characters

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do write subject lines that are between 3 to 5 words long
  • Do aim for a character count of around 20
  • Do consider including at least one emoji
  • Don’t write long subject lines
  • Don’t bore your recipient
  • Don’t use complex language

Use of Emojis

Love them or hate them, emojis deserve your consideration. Very few marketers use emojis, given that they’re not always relevant or appropriate.

But, depending on your industry and your target audience, they could very well serve to unlock some fantastic results for you. Emojis are hip and expressive, and they can also communicate interesting concepts, while only taking up a single character space.

You should consider split testing your subject lines, in order to gauge the impact that emojis have on your results.

To get your emojis, check out emojipedia!

emojipedia

Simply copy and paste your chosen emoji into your subject line from there!

What the data says

Here are some key statistics to help guide your use of emojis:

  • Figures from Experian found that subject lines with an emoji often experience a 56% higher open rate, compared to all-text subject lines
  • Only 2% of marketers currently include emojis in their subject lines
  • According to Marketing Land, 30% of people don’t appreciate emojis in email subject lines

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do consider your audience before putting emojis into your subject line
  • Do split test your subject lines for the best results
  • Do choose emojis that are relevant to your subject
  • Don’t use multiple emojis
  • Don’t send emojis in a B2B environment

Title vs. Sentence vs. Lower Case

It’s critical that your subject line is as clear and simple to read as possible. Every decision you make should be done with the goal of improving the readability of your subject line and making it faster for your recipient to scan.

This means that you’re going to need to make some important decisions about which case type to use. Here’s a quick overview of the three types you have available to you:

  • Title case: Capitalize all major words, and use lowercase for minor words
  • Sentence case: Follow the regular capitalization rules used when writing a normal sentence
  • Lower case: Don’t include any capital letters

It might seem like a small detail now, but the case you choose can very well have a large impact on your open rates!

What the data says

Here’s what the data says:

  • According to Fast Company, lines which use title case generally have a higher open rate
  • Research from Yesware shows that title case gets the best results, followed by sentence case

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do perform split tests to find which case your recipients prefer
  • Do think about which case fits best, according to the context
  • Do consider using title case to achieve a sense of authority
  • Don’t use all lower case
  • Don’t use inconsistent cases
  • Don’t confuse your readers

Urgency & FOMO

Marketers will often want to create a sense of urgency, to inspire their audience to act. It’s a classic tactic that is applied across different channels – and you should be sure to explore its potential for your own subject lines.

If you put the correct words in the right order, you’ll be able to create excitement, as well as begin to leverage a Fear of Missing Out that will inspire your recipients to click.

To do this effectively, you’ll definitely want to use adverbials of time to good effect. Here’s a look at some phrases and words you can experiment with:

  • 24 hours left
  • Ending soon
  • Limited time offer
  • Final reminder
  • Save 20% today

Those types of time adverbials can create a powerful sense of urgency, and inspire your recipients to click!

What the data says

Here are some interesting statistics about using urgency and FOMO in your subject lines:

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do stay considerate and produce authentic subject lines
  • Do experiment and split test
  • Do try and drive genuine value for your recipients
  • Don’t use spammy language
  • Don’t try to manipulate your recipient
  • Don’t use too many time adverbials

Casual

Over half of the US workforce is currently made up of Millennials, and they’re bringing with them a more casual communication style. These professionals value authentic connections and often scoff at methods of overly-formal communication.

If the majority of your audience is composed of Millennials, then, you may want to consider adopting a more casual tone in your email subject lines. You might also consider tracking this preference for formal or casual communication, for each prospect.

What the data says

The average professional will spend around 28% of their day reading and organizing their various emails. This is a significant period of time – and also means that this task can easily become a source of stress, for many employees.

A casual and pleasant message, in this instance, can cut through the noise and really stand out from the crowd. Your recipient might also appreciate a much-needed break from all those otherwise-formal emails.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do use casual and friendly language
  • Do try and keep things short
  • Do consider using all lowercase letters
  • Don’t use formal language
  • Don’t use the title case
  • Don’t come across as pushy

Emotions

Think back to all of the cold emails you’ve received, just over the course of the last week. Which ones did you open, and why?

There’s a good chance that you were pulled in by the subject lines that packed an emotional punch and were able to evoke emotions within you. Indeed, it’s possible to use your subject line to entice your recipient, without ever resorting to spammy tactics!

The absolute best way to use emotion within an email is to appeal to your recipient’s interests. In order to do this, you need to first learn about their preferences and preoccupations before sending your email.

What the data says

The most effective cold email subject lines are able to blend emotion alongside hard numbers and accurate descriptions of what is inside the email.

Statistics from Yesware show that subject lines which include hard numbers have a much higher open rate, while Mailchimp suggests that the best subject lines describe what’s in the email.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do research your recipient before sending your email
  • Do use authentic and engaging language
  • Do remain considerate of your recipients
  • Don’t use spammy language
  • Don’t use the title case
  • Don’t try to manipulate your recipient

Questions

Questions are a powerful tool to use in your subject lines. A well-placed and incisive question can create an instant dialogue, and instantly entice your recipient to click.

There are a few key categories of questions you can use in your email subject lines, such as:

  • Questions directed at your recipient, like:
    • Are you familiar with this new marketing trend?
    • Does your sales strategy work for you?
  • Broader questions on a larger scale, like:
    • What’s next for email marketing?
    • Has event marketing hit its ceiling?
  • Specific and indirect questions, like:
    • What’s the best time to send an email?
    • When should you revise your marketing strategy?

Aren’t those questions engaging? If you can use questions in an effective way and split test them, then you’re sure to engage your recipients and earn their click!

What the data says

Let’s take a look at the way questions in your subject line are able to impact the performance of your emails:

  • A study from MailChimp found that subject lines which include questions often outperform those that do not

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do consider using your pre-header to expand-upon your question
  • Do split test to see whether your questions perform well
  • Do create engaging and interesting questions
  • Don’t abuse questions to create spam
  • Don’t pose questions that you can’t answer
  • Don’t overuse punctuation in your subject lines

Benefits

The best marketers are able to clearly differentiate between benefits and features, in order to communicate as effectively as possible.

Remember: features are the hard details about your product or service, while the benefits are the more abstract side effects of using a product or service.

It is often a great idea to use benefit-driven email subject lines. This method puts a strong emphasis on benefits, to help trigger the imagination of recipients and inspire them to click. Here are some examples:

  • This complimentary report can boost your marketing results
  • Here’s how our platform can 5x your marketing results

These subject lines are powerful and evocative, and will be sure to attract attention – and clicks!

What the data says

Here’s what the data says about powerful, benefits-driven subject lines:

  • Personalize your benefits according to things like seniority and goals, to make your email 26% more likely to be opened

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do create a list of powerful benefits
  • Do cater your benefits to your target audience
  • Do find ways to play on emotion and excitement
  • Don’t over-promise and exaggerate
  • Don’t use spammy language
  • Don’t trick your recipient into clicking

Numbers

The best subject lines are the ones that are able to tell compelling, easy-to-understand stories. To this end, numbers are an extremely powerful device that you can use to tell those stories and paint vivid pictures in only a few characters.

Here are some ways that numbers can be incorporated into your subject lines, for instance:

  • 93% of marketers liked this blog post
  • Use this guide to boost your CTR by 120%

Numbers can have an immediate impact on our thoughts, so you should look for new ways to use them effectively. As always, you’ll want to perform split tests to obtain the best results and see what works best for your different audiences.

What the data says

Here’s what the data says about numbers in subject lines:

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do include at least one number in your subject line
  • Do use percentages and statistics
  • Do foreground those numbers in your subject line
  • Don’t use too many numbers
  • Don’t use numbers that are unrelated to your email content
  • Don’t use confusing or convoluted numbers

What About Sender and the “Pre-Header”?

We all know what an unread email looks like, of course – but (just so that we’re on the same page) here’s a quick refresher:

CreativeLive

As you can see, it’s composed of a few key elements:

 

  1. Sender: In this case, we can see that the sender is “CreativeLive”
  2. Subject line: This is a pretty nice subject line, which plays on FOMO
  3. Pre-header: This is the short summary text found just after the subject line

 

Of course, you’ve seen countless emails in your life… but just take another look at the example above, and pay attention to how your brain interprets those few pieces of information.

There’s a definite order, right? You’ll obviously read from left to right, but you’ll also naturally attribute weight to each element in descending order. You’ll then use that information to decide on whether or not to click that email.

What this means is that the importance of the sender and pre-header sections cannot be underestimated!

And because you can’t afford to overlook them, here’s a closer look at key stats and best practice:

Sender

Those statistics suggest that it’s better to use your own name when sending out sales and marketing emails.

You can configure your sender name – but the steps will vary, depending on the email client you’re using. If you’re using Gmail, you’ll also want to consider adding a picture, in order to further legitimize your account.

Preheader

  • Preheaders have a character limit of around 100
  • 46% of emails are opened on mobile
  • On mobile devices, the preheader will often be reduced to around 35 characters
  • If you do not add a specific preheader, the first text string from the email body will be shown

In terms of best practice, you should always pay attention to your pre-header, and provide text to populate it. To get the best results possible from your emails, you might also want to experiment with your preheader, while split testing your messages.

Best Cold Email Subject Line Examples

Wondering what all of this looks like in practice? Well then, here’s a nice sneak peek at some of the very best cold email subject lines – which you can certainly use for inspiration.

Catchy cold email subject lines

As we touched on earlier, it can be extremely tough to jump out from a scattered inbox and capture the attention of your recipients. But here’s a look at some catchy email subject line examples you can use to connect with your prospects:

  1. The message you’ve been waiting for.
  2. Nice to meet you, [First Name]
  3. Feeling [Relevant Emoticon]?
  4. Hoping you can help.
  5. [Contact] said I should send this email.

Funny cold email subject lines

Amuse your recipient, and you’ll be sure to capture their attention and earn their click! Here are some examples of funny email subject lines you could use for inspiration:

  1. Swipe right on [Business Name]
  2. You were right.
  3. Something funny (and useful)
  4. Why did the [Profession] cross the road?
  5. Wake up, [First Name]…

Professional cold email subject lines

If your prospect prefers a more professional approach, you’ll need to cater to that style with your chosen subject line. Here’s a look at some examples you could use:

  1. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
  2. A new partnership?
  3. Private invitation: product demo
  4. Let’s succeed together.
  5. A special invite for you, [First Name].

Engaging cold email subject lines

Your subject line is the hook that pulls your recipient in. Here’s a look at some of the most engaging cold email subject lines you can use for inspiration:

  1. I was right.
  2. How’s your day, [First Name]?
  3. I just missed you. Let’s catch up?
  4. Let’s rethink your strategy.
  5. [Business Name] will love this.

Emojis for cold email subject lines

As we touched on earlier, emojis can serve to help boost the open rate of your cold emails… in the right situations. Here are some great examples you can draw inspiration from:

1: Five minutes for a call? ☎️

2: Our solution = more 💰 for [Business Name] 

3: You’ll love [Business Name] ❤️

4: 📢 I’ve got an important message

5: Ready to crush your marketing results? 💪

Cold email subject lines for sales

Salespeople must learn to master the subject line if they’re ever going to get great results and meet their goals. Here’s a look at a few cold email subject lines designed specifically for salespeople:

  1. How happy are you with [Competitor]’s service?
  2. Can we chat about [Theme]?
  3. How might [Business Name] help you?
  4. I have an offer for you.
  5. Ready for [Benefit]?

Cold email subject lines for job applications

Applying for a job can be a nerve-racking experience, in which you want to make sure that absolutely every detail is perfect – and your subject line is no different. Here are some great examples of job application subject lines:

  1. [Position] – [Your Name]
  2. [Role] seeking new opportunity
  3. [Role] looking for next role – X years of experience
  4. [Position] Resume – [Your Name]
  5. Meeting request – [Your Name]

B2B cold email subject lines

Great B2B cold emails require informative and engaging subject lines. Here’s a look at some of the best B2B cold email subject line examples you can use as a basis for your own emails:

  1. Your strategy for Q4
  2. [Business Name]’s goals
  3. 2020 for [Business Name]
  4. Suggestion from [Contact]
  5. A [percentage] Increase to Your ROI

SEO cold email subject lines

Every digital marketer out there will understand the critical importance of a strong link-building strategy. A backlink from an authoritative domain can help boost your standing in SERPs, so you’ve got to make sure you reach out as effectively as possible.

Here are some SEO cold email subject lines you can use to master your outreach:

  1. Exclusive: You might like [New Resource]
  2. I think you might like this piece
  3. I mentioned you in this [Resource]
  4. An interesting resource for you?
  5. I’ve also been thinking about [Subject Area]

Marketing cold email subject lines

Marketers can truly work some magic with their subject lines, and use great copy to compel cold leads to click. Here are some examples of marketing cold email subject lines you can use:

1.⚡All courses for [Price]. Only until [Day]!

  1. FREE WEBINAR: [Title]
  2. The most powerful [Product] is here
  3. Achieve [Benefit] today
  4. Feel the power of [Business Name]

Guest post outreach cold email subject lines

Great guest post collaborations are an incredible way for businesses to exchange expertise and share resources. They also happen to be a fantastic way to generate new leads! Here’s a look at how guest post writers might start their collaboration:

1: I love your blog – any contribution opportunities?

2: Want to write for [Blog Name]?

3: Collaboration opportunity ✍️

4: Guest posts?

5: Contribution guidelines

Journalist cold email subject line

Journalists need to send cold emails to businesses and individuals in order to mine for details and to tell compelling stories. Here are some of the cold email subject lines that journalists will often use:

  1. Help tell this story?
  2. You could make this story.
  3. Details, please?
  4. Media opportunity for [Business Name]
  5. Journalist here. I’d love your input.

Freelancer cold email subject line

Great freelancers put themselves ahead of the competition, and capture attention through the use of excellent subject lines. Here’s a look at some of the best examples:

 

  1. I can help with your [Service]
  2. Proven copywriting to get results
  3. I’ll do your heavy lifting.
  4. Your secret weapon: a great freelancer…
  5. Freelancer: I can help boost your results 📈

Cold call email subject line

Salespeople will often want to skip the emails and just get straight to the call. Here’s a look at some great cold email examples which can help salespeople accomplish this:

  1. Five minutes at [Time] today?
  2. Ten minutes this afternoon? ☎️
  3. Could I have two minutes of your time?
  4. One call. Countless opportunities. [Time]? ☎️
  5. Could we connect?

Follow-up cold email subject lines

The perfect follow-up email subject line can help to rebuild bridges, as well as forge lasting connections. Here are some of the most popular subject lines for follow-up emails that marketing and salespeople might try to use:

  1. I think I just missed you…
  2. RE: Our last conversation
  3. As promised – your materials
  4. Was it something we said?
  5. Let’s reconnect 🤝

Cold email subject lines networking

Sometimes, amazing relationships can begin with a single email. Networking is the lifeblood of modern business – and here are some of the techniques you can apply to your cold email subject lines:

  1. It was great to meet you!
  2. That resource I mentioned
  3. Let’s do that again!
  4. Here’s how I think we could work together
  5. SO excited to collaborate 😀

Event cold email subject lines

Event marketing is an exciting area for marketers – but events also require constant nourishment and promotion, in order to be successful. Here are some of the cold email subject lines you can use to entice prospects to your event:

  1. Two more days…
  2. Don’t miss out: last tickets
  3. [Event Name]: Let’s do this.
  4. [Event Name]: Last change
  5. Let’s meet for coffee at [Event Name]?

Survey cold email subject lines

Earlier, we looked at lots of best practices which you can implement to create engaging subject lines that generate clicks. Now here’s a look at some of that best practice in action:

  1. Thanks for calling. Let us know how [Representative] did.
  2. Tell us about your experience
  3. How was your experience with [Representative]?
  4. Your input would really help.
  5. How did we do?

Cold email subject line introducing yourself

Your subject line is the perfect place for you to make a quick introduction and capture the attention of your recipients – all at the same time! Here’s a look at some examples you can draw inspiration from:

  1. Hi [Name], let’s work together?
  2. A little bit about what I can do for you
  3. Rated [Ranking] in [Location] for [Service]
  4. [Location]’s top [Business Type]
  5. Let [Business Name] [Benefit]

Cold email subject line to VC

Venture capital firms are inundated with countless pitches and networking requests on a day-to-day basis – which means that your own cold emails to VCs will need to have an unbeatable subject line, which makes great use of all the best practice we’ve covered already.

Here’s a look at some examples that you can use, to get started:

  1. Introducing [Business Name] – [Benefit]
  2. All about [Company] in five minutes
  3. [Company]: Two minutes that could change everything
  4. [Business Name]: Transforming [Industry]
  5. [Industry]’s Top Rated [Business Area]

Cold email selling a service subject line

Services are often more abstract than products, therefore making it a challenge to describe them in vivid detail. As you can imagine, this can also make it quite a challenge to put together an engaging subject line! But here are some great cold email subject lines for service-based businesses:

  1. 3 ways our service can benefit you
  2. 99% of customers love our service – are you next?
  3. Learn how [Company] can [Benefit]
  4. Top-rated [Service] in [Location]
  5. Ready to talk about [Service]?

100 Email Subject Line Templates You Can Use Right Away

Are you ready to put what you’ve learned into practice? Here are some of the best email subject line templates that you can build upon or use, right away:

Personalized templates

1. [First Name], [Paint Point]

2. I just missed you, [First Name]!

3. The stage is set for [Company Name] to crush its goals

4. You don’t want to miss this, [First Name]

5. Quick question, [First Name]

6. Check this out, [First Name]

7. How are you dealing with [Paint Point], [First Name]?

8. Are you making these mistakes, [First Name]?

9. Where shall we start?

10. Things didn’t work out here. How about [Activity] next weekend?

 

Engaging templates

11. Want to talk about [Topic]?

12. Can I help you with [Pain Point]?

13. Quick question regarding [project]

14. Need any help?

15. Our next steps

16. Fix your [specific industry problem] today

17. Your competitor ranks higher than you on Google. Here’s how:

18. [Industry] has a real problem…

19. Did you know you’re not ranking for ‘[keyword]’? This is why.

20. I’d like to help you

Event invitation templates

21. [Name], I can’t wait to see you at [event]!

22. Free to talk at [event]?

23. Time for coffee after [Industry Event]?

24. Are you ready for [event]?

25. 4 days until [conference] – ready to meet?

26. Hi [Name], [Name] said we should connect

27. Free for a quick chat at [event]?

28. I think we should talk at [event]

29. Are you ready?

30. Get ready for [event]!

 

Networking cold email templates

31. Have you been to [local establishment]?

32. I think you’ll love this article, [name]!

33. I noticed you on [Social Network]. Can we connect?

34. [Mutual contact] mentioned you

35. I need your advice, [Name]

36. [Mutual contact] asked me to email you 

37. It’s nice to meet you, [First Name]

38. I hope this is the start of something special, [First Name]

39. [Mutual Contact] said I should get in touch with you

40. Hi [First Name], it’s a pleasure to meet you

 

Follow-up cold email templates

41. We met at the [Industry Event]

42. Your clients will love our latest research

43. Hey [First Name], we met at [Conference]

44. All good, [First Name]?

45. Sorry if I came on too strong, [First Name]!

46. I hope all is well, [First Name]

47. Did you catch my last email?

48. Is it better for me to stop emailing you?

49. Was it something I said?

50. Is this goodbye, [First Name]?

 

Cold call email templates

51. Free for a quick chat?

52. Quick call: you pick the date and time?

53. Book a quick call in two clicks

54. This phone call could boost your results this year

55. Q3 is here: the perfect time to chat about [Pain Point]

56. Hi [First Name], free for a call?

57. 5 minutes this afternoon?

58. Let’s discuss [Pain Point]

59. Interesting solution – free for a call [First Name]?

60. I tried to call but missed you – when’s a good time?

 

Marketing email subject lines

61. Rough day? This might help.

62. Save money. Don’t leave the couch.

63. The sale’s on SALE!

64. Great, another email!

65. There’s Still Time To Save On These Exclusives 

66. say goodbye to your exclusive 20% offer

67. Don’t let your offer go cold

68. Don’t just take our word for it

69. Shhh… Don’t tell anyone

70. What you’ve been waiting for

 

Funny subject lines

71. Let me share an embarrassing story with you

72. I got the good stuff. Hit me up anytime.

73. How you doin’?

74. A horse walks into a bar…

75. 3 bizarre steps to being better at your job

76. Did you see that ludicrous display last night?

77. Defense Against the Dark Arts Class

78. Re:re:re:re:re:re:re:re: brunch?

79. C’mon, it’s Friday and you’re killing time anyway…

 

Emoji email templates

80. I’ve got a question 🙋

81. 🗓️ Let’s schedule a quick call, [First Name]?

82. Let’s take your results to the next level 📈

83. Hi [First Name]👋 [Contact Name] said we should talk

84. 🤔 Could this trend define our industry in [Year]?

85. Hi [First Name] 📗 Here’s your free insider report

86. Coffee on me at [Event]?

87. Let’s boost your marketing results 👍

88. You’ll love this new marketing tool 😍

89. Use this technique that propelled other SaaS unicorns 🦄

90. Respond to this survey and enter our prize draw ❣️

 

Statement subject lines

91. The customer is not always right

92. This is the biggest issue facing our industry

93. Remote is the future of work, but it has serious challenges

94. Participation trophies are part of the problem

95. I think [Feature] could help you to get better results

96. [Feature] is the future — but everyone is missing this

97. These are the key challenges for [Year]

98. This report could define your [Year] strategy

99. [Industry] is going to [Development] in 2020

100. The one industry change nobody is talking about 

Most Important Takeaways on Writing Killer Cold Email Subject Lines

As you can see, it can often prove to be a challenging task to craft a truly exquisite subject line. But you certainly can. You should just take your time and enjoy the process – be sure to get creative and capture the attention of your recipient!

To summarize, here are the key takeaways you’ll need to keep in mind in the future, as you write your cold email subject lines…

Take the time to write a great subject line

If there’s anything this piece has accomplished, we hope that it has driven home just how important subject lines are to the open rate and overall success of your cold email campaigns.

If you choose to dedicate the appropriate time and effort toward crafting your subject lines, you’ll put yourself, leagues, ahead of the competition, and your subject lines will really leap out in vivid, splendid colour, in an inbox which is otherwise filled to the brim with tired, uninspired emails.

It may seem strange at first, to dedicate so much time to crafting just a few words… but the right subject line can transform your fortunes and help you close even more deals.

Always cater to your audience

Today, as marketing and sales professionals, we have more cutting-edge tools available to us than ever before! It’s critical that we use them.

You should always use the right tools and plug-ins to help you with audience segmentation. This process will give you the power to cater to your audience, meet their expectations, and elevate your overall results.

Use split testing

It’s critically important that you never underestimate the power of split testing. Far too many marketing and sales professionals have a tendency to simply ignore split testing – but their results will suffer for it.

Use the right tools and strategies to test your subject lines and constantly improve them. In turn, you’ll be able to produce better subject lines, and your results will constantly improve!

Don’t forget to use checker tools

There are lots of great subject line checker tools out there (we covered a few of them in this piece), and you should definitely try to get into the habit of using them on a regular basis.

Incorporate those tools into your workflow, and you’ll naturally begin to scrutinize your subject lines in more depth. After a while, you’ll develop a very strong sense of what does and does not work.

Closing Thoughts

Your subject lines can make or break your cold email strategy, of course – but what about your prospect lists? You’ve got to send the right emails to the right people, or you’ll fail to meet your targets.

UpLead is a powerful B2B lead generation platform which connects you with the right contacts. Start your free trial today to give yourself the best chance of sales and marketing success!

 

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