In cold emailing, subject lines are everything.
They provide you with a severely limited window of opportunity (and characters) to convince your recipient that opening your message is worth their time. That means it’s crucial to invest energy into writing killer subject lines.
In fact, subject lines are the sole basis on which 47% of all emails are either opened or discarded.
Here are the best strategies to grab your audience’s attention, keep your emails from being buried under a mountain of unopened messages, and boost your email ROI.
Not only is this generally good advice when you’re trying to get anyone’s attention. It’s particularly relevant for subject lines. That’s because most email clients limit the characters they display in a preview.
In Apple Mail, you have 140 characters to convince. In Gmail, you’re down to 110. And Outlook gives you a measly 55 characters to get your point across.
Anything after that simply won’t show in the preview.
A concise subject line has the added advantage that your email will stand out in the inbox. In fact, some email marketers have had remarkable success with single-word subjects.
As a rule of thumb, however, the sweet spot for subject line length is at about 41 characters – or 7 words.
Your email content has to keep what your subject line promises.
There is no point in trying to trick recipients into opening your emails.
A “RE: …”, which falsely implies that you already have exchanged messages with your recipient, or a personalized subject line that precedes an utterly generic and cold sales pitch won’t serve you well.
Instead, aim to craft a subject line that reflects the content of your mail.
A highly effective, though slightly overused subject line is “Hi X, quick question?” If you use a line like this, make sure that the email in question really is a quick question, not a rambling sales pitch.
Live up to your subject line.
Let’s admit it – sales emails can be dry.
Personalization and emojis are two good ways to change that.
According to statistics, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. And companies using emojis in their subject lines have found their opening rates surging by as much as 56%.
The reason? When recipients are sorting through their piles of unopened mails, spotting their name or something a little quirky – like an emoji – is likely to capture their attention.
A word of warning, though: You need to employ both emojis and personalized subject lines carefully. Depending on your niche and target audience, you may risk coming across as unprofessional or annoyingly presumptuous.
How did you get my address?
That’s what a lot of us wonder when we get an email out of the blue.
It’s also a question you should address in your subject line if possible.
What’s more, having a known point of contact in your subject line has a higher chance of catching your recipient’s attention.
These are two of the oldest tricks in the book, but when it comes to engaging audiences’ attention, they still work like a charm.
Make them curious.
Make them afraid of missing out.
Whether you ask them questions, or imply they don’t have vital information, remind them of limited offers, or warn them that a window of opportunity is closing fast, playing on basic human psychology to rouse interest is an oldie but goodie.
Most email clients include the beginning of the email’s body as a snippet in the preview.
Keep this in mind when crafting your subject line.
The first few words of your mail should complement your subject line, concentrate important information, and further engage attention.
If you’ve got a good email marketing platform, you’ll be able to preview how your email will display in different client inboxes. If you don’t have a dedicated tool, it’s always a good idea to send a test mail to yourself and judge the subject line and snippet based on the preview.
Unfortunately, there is no single perfect cold email subject line.
What works and what doesn’t is hugely dependent on your industry, niche, and audience.
The only way to figure out which subject lines do the trick for you is to always keep testing.
Sending out A/B tests and then carefully analyzing opening rates, click rates, and reply rates will give you invaluable and actionable insights into what resonates with your business’ target audience.
Subject lines for cold emails are a tough nut to crack. But they’re more than worth the time and effort that go into the cracking.
The right subject line will boost your opening rates and email ROI. With a bit of creativity, tenaciousness, and repeated testing, you’ll find that killer line.
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