A good cold email subject line can help your business take the first step in building a relationship with a new customer. When executed correctly, cold email outreach will lead to long-term consumer relationships that promote the sale of your products and services in perfect conditions.
However, using a cold email campaign without training or experience can have disastrous results; where the number of spam complaints drastically dwarfs the number of actual leads.
Remember, cold email should only be one component of your broader email marketing strategy. Depending on your product or service, this could include: creating a subscription option that requires email signup so you can track your email list, sales emails, list segmentation, and follow-up emails.
Importance of a cold email subject line
The most common problem business owners face with cold email campaigns is being flagged as spam. In fact, in March 2021 alone, 45.37% of all emails were marked as spam, so the odds aren’t in your favor.
Most email providers use spam filters to determine which messages are likely to be truly valuable or important to the account owner. This means your email doesn’t even make it to the intended reader’s inbox but instead ends up unseen and unopened in the “Junk” folder. Sometimes it can be inevitable that your emails will end up in the spam folder. This can happen, for example, if you have sent attachments or have not received permission to communicate with the recipient. Another feature that helps filters determine whether your email is spam is the open rate. This means avoiding spam words thrown in the subject line that immediately raises suspicions of fraud or automation.
Here are some cold email subject line examples which are likely to be flagged as spam:
• Get [this product] for FREE today!! • You have been selected for … • Open me for [insert a too good to be true offer] • This is HUGE! Buy 1 get 2 free!!
Unfortunately, a good open rate is much more than ensuring inbox delivery by simply avoiding spam filters. Depending on the industry, the average open rate is between 13% and 27%. There are several techniques you can use within the subject line to ensure yours is on the high end.
Offer value to your audience from the first moment. The subject line should be optimized in such a way that your reader can immediately decide that your email is not spam but rather useful and can be useful in one way or another. Something lead generators or email marketers often get wrong is pushing the sale too soon. It’s a surefire way to close the sale right away! But there is a simple solution: enter your products and services in a value mask. which begins in the subject line . This way, every consumer relationship with the customer feels reciprocal, as you can solve problems or support the development of your products and services in exchange for their hard-earned money.
Subject line examples
The primary aspect to consider is why you’d like to use cold emails. In general, cold outreach is used for one of these four reasons:
- Build trust with your audience
- Enhance your credibility as the go-to expert within your niche
- Drive traffic to your website
- Increase sales
Depending on which purpose you’re using cold email outreach for, determines how to approach your subject line. Purposes can include:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Avoid the junk folder
Personalization is key and is the most effective method to convince your audience to open their email. Here are some examples of good personalized subject lines:
- [friend’s name] recommended I send you this
- [first name], here’s an article I think you’ll love
- Could you point me in the direction of [insert company and position]?
To build trust with a new audience, it’s important to find common ground that will make it easy for them to relate to you or your business. You would use similar techniques as optimizing the subject line of your network email. Common ground with your audience allows them to relate to you and builds trust in your newly formed customer relationship. Some examples of cold email subject lines that build trust are:
• What’s your opinion here [first name] • How to [something that they’d be interested in learning] • 10 problems all [professionals]’s understand- can you relate?
To improve your credibility with your audience, you need to be specific and relevant in your subject line. This method is especially useful for those who want to build their reputation with presentations and press opportunities. The whole point of this method is to make sure your audience fits the topic of your email. It’s helpful to keep a chart of your cold email prospects after you’ve gathered their email information, which is useful for a/b testing.
For example, if you are targeting legal professionals on LinkedIn, their records will look like this:
Some examples of good subject lines which would offer specific and relevant value:
- What it’s really like to [do something successful within the target industry]
- How [competitor] gets over 5,000 website hits per day
- Why [their profession] needs [your product]
If you’re looking to increase traffic to your website, the subject line of your cold email should reflect that you’re sharing or gifting knowledge or resources that would likely be valuable to the recipient. We’ve already established that the subject line has a strong relationship with the open rate, and in general, people are unlikely to open a cold email unless they are convinced of the benefits it will bring.
Assuming you’ve previously followed the above step to clearly record your potential leads and information about them, you have a good idea of your audience’s problems and how your product solves them. Focus on that for your cold email subject lines!
Of course, you need a pre-packaged supply of “valuable” content to send these emails, but once published they can be fully reused when reaching new customers. Also, it may be beneficial to use it in an a /b test to determine the recipe for success for your specific audience.
Some examples of ‘value-added’ subject lines include:
- EBook link inside- no charge
- Finally sharing my secret to [something impressive]
- Here’s the [something relevant] you’ve been searching for
Note: Whilst ‘Free’ is a spam trigger word, ‘no charge’ is not- use this to your advantage!
Research shows that once landing on a site, you have (on average) an 8-second window to impress the customer before they click off, and that the best way to retain their attention is by driving engagement.
Particularly in the SaaS market, one of the most effective ways to encourage engagement is by telling users what to do next. That’s because people prefer the path of least resistance. Therefore, your subject line should reflect this: Contain actionable phrases. It can be simple, but it’s effective to articulate exactly the knowledge or resources your customers would expect to get [something they want] and then follow those directions. Follow the rule that even an alien with no idea of your product or service should be able to easily understand and follow your instructions, which means being clear and concise is important.
Some examples of good actionable subject lines include:
- Want to learn how to [solve your problem]? Watch this video
- How to [solve your problem]- Easy as [step 1, step 2, step 3]
- Read the exact steps I took to [create these results]
Essentially, the subject line is the deciding factor on whether to open the email for 33% of users. Use this knowledge and the examples discussed to insight curiosity into, connect with, and follow up on your specific target audience to give you the best chance of success with a cold email campaign.