39 Battle-Tested Cold Email Subject Lines That Will Help You Get Anyone’s Attention

The key to sending a successful cold email isn’t necessarily writing the perfect sales pitch or sending it at just the right time (though these are important, too) – it’s convincing your prospect to open and read your message.

So, how can you make sure your email gets opened? With compelling cold email subject lines that stand out in even the most cluttered inbox.

Once you’ve identified who you want to contact and managed to find their email address, crafting the perfect cold email subject line is the number one thing that influences how likely your prospect is to read your message at all. Not only is the subject line your first chance to make an impression, it could be your last if it doesn’t get clicked.

We talked about how to increase your email open rates in an earlier post that touched on the importance of a well-crafted subject line. But cold email subject lines are such a hot topic that we’re taking an even deeper dive into how you can make your sales email subject lines work for you.

Related Posts

Today’s post will cover:

  • How to write an effective cold email subject line.
  • The three different types of cold email subject lines you should be using.
  • Examples of powerful cold email subject lines that will get your message opened.

What Makes an Email Subject Line Irresistible?

Learning how to write an effective cold email subject line is the first step to opening up more sales opportunities using cold email campaigns.

So, what makes a sales email subject line irresistible?

Your subject line should speak directly to the person you’re contacting and deliberately pique their interest – perhaps by asking a question, saying something controversial, or using time to create a sense of urgency.

According to Convince & Convert, 69% of people who report emails as spam do so based on the subject line. That means including salesy words like “free” in the subject line could get your email deleted or flagged.

When in doubt, write like a human. Using lowercase type, casual language, or even intentionally including a typo proves that you’re a real person – not a robot or corporate drone.

39 Effective Cold Email Subject Lines to Try for Yourself

There are three main types of cold emails sales reps need to send: introductions, follow-ups, and breakup emails. Since certain subject lines are more effective at different stages of contact, we’ve collected and organized 39 examples of sales email subject lines that will help you grab anyone’s attention.

Message #1: The Introduction Email

introduction email subject line

Remember, the first hurdle you need to overcome is simply getting your email opened. When you first reach out to a new contact, you need a strong subject line that won’t be ignored. Here are a few examples of subject lines to use in your introduction emails:

Ask a question in your subject line

1. Appropriate Person?

2. Are you the right person to speak to?

3. Where shall I start?

4. Could you point me in the right direction?

Make your subject line personal

Personalizing your email subject in any way, like using your prospect’s name, gives you a 22.2% higher chance of having your email opened, according to a report from Adestra.

5. Tyler, a bit of advice?

6. Tyler, can you help me out?

7. Tyler - You’ll love this

8. Eric recommended I get in touch with you

Referrals provide a powerful advantage in the world of cold email. Using a mutual contact’s name in the subject line creates instant credibility and makes your prospect more inclined to open and reply to your message.

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Offer immediate value right in the subject line


10. Idea for [BUSINESS NAME]

11. A better way to [BENEFIT OFFERED]

Spark curiosity with a mysterious subject line

12. Do not open this email

Here we have a classic example of reverse psychology. Telling your recipient not to do something will only make them want it more – even if they might have otherwise skipped over your email.

13. You are not alone.

This unusual subject line works on a few different levels. It’s intriguing and hard to ignore, plus it gives you an opportunity to address a pain point from a very human perspective. For instance, you could use stories of real customers to illustrate how your solution can help your prospect overcome their challenges, too.

Use time to create a sense of urgency

14. Tyler, are you free [DATE – SOON FOR URGENCY]?

15. 15 mins on [DATE]

16. 10 x [DESIRED RESULT] in ten minutes?

Message #2: The Follow-Up Email

the follow up email subject line

These subject lines might apply after your first cold email gets a reply or after an initial meeting has already taken place. Whether your prospect just needs a gentle nudge to take the next steps or you haven’t heard back from them lately, these follow-up email subject lines will help you continue the conversation.

Send a friendly reminder

In a best-case scenario, your prospect will be happy to hear from you and move forward with the deal. Your first follow-up should be light and friendly, but in a way that still gets their attention. Use one of subject lines to casually follow-up without putting too much pressure on your prospect.

17. Next step?

18. [YOUR COMPANY] Call Recap

19. Pleasure chatting with you, Tyler

20. Let’s take another look

Provide more information with your subject line

Another option is to tie the email into something you said earlier on the phone or during a meeting. For example, if a prospect asked a question and you were unable to provide an in-depth answer on the fly, your follow-up email is the perfect opportunity to provide more information and reconnect.

21. I forgot to mention…

22. Here’s the article we were talking about

23. Found your answer!

24. One last thing, Tyler

Highlight multiple touch points

If your voicemails aren’t getting returned as often as you’d like, consider sending follow-up emails with these subject lines to make sure you stay on your prospect’s radar.

25. Just tried calling you

26. Missed you again

27. Am I bugging you yet?

Your Final Message: The Breakup Email

the break up email subject line

If your prospect doesn’t reply to any of your follow-ups, it’s time to take a different approach. Breakup emails are your last attempt to elicit a response from a silent contact. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in opportunity limbo with a bunch of unanswered questions.

Are they still interested but swamped with work? Did my email get accidentally deleted? Did they change their mind? Did a competitor undercut my offer?

If they’re simply no longer interested, it’s better to find out from the source than to be left wondering. Note that these breakup subject lines should only be reserved for the fourth or fifth time you follow-up after not receiving a response.

Here are some examples of breakup email subject lines that your prospects won’t ignore:

Get emotional in your subject line

28. [NAME], I’m disappointed

29. Did I lose you?

30. Thank you from [YOUR COMPANY]

Including ‘thank you’ in a follow-up or breakup email subject line leverages curiosity and stands out from other sales messages. The recipient needs to open the email to find out why you’re thanking them, which means they’ll also read your message asking for another call or feedback.

31. Tyler, did I do something wrong?

32. Are you ok?

33. Where is the love?

Sometimes, your prospect just stops responding. You can try using humor to poke fun at their lack of responsiveness or appeal to their emotions by asking what you could have done differently. They might be encouraged to apologize for the radio silence and tell you once and for all whether they’re interested.

Take the “blame” yourself

By positioning yourself as the cause of the problem, you remove any pressure your prospect may be feeling. This gives them an easy out or a natural opportunity to get back in touch without feeling awkward.

34. I’m sorry, Tyler

36. It’s not you, it’s me

Say goodbye in your subject line

Scarcity tends to make things more desirable. When your prospect thinks the opportunity to work with you is going away, they may find a renewed interest in doing so.

35. Permission to close your file?

37. Should I stay or should I go?

38. Should I cross you off my list?

39. Project update

Start Sending Cold Emails That Actually Get Opened

We hope you try out these email subject lines for yourself so you can watch your open rates skyrocket! If you want help developing a cold email campaign from start to finish, request your copy of The Beginner’s Playbook to Running a Cold Email Campaign.

Whether you’re sending out your first campaign or simply need a refresher, this free e-book will help you plan and execute a cold email campaign that reaches your targets, communicates value, and produces real results for your business.

Ready to start sending effective cold emails that get read and get responses?

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