10 Best Subject Lines for Cold Emails: How-to with Examples

Artem Tunik -

subject line for cold emails

Despite it contains only a few words, the subject line in cold emailing has a crucial effect on your open rate. It is obvious as it is the first thing the receiver sees when gets your letter. Developing best subject lines for cold emails is the top task as that is how you get the attention of your target audience and reach the expected open rates. If you neglect this part, then the main body, your message, offer and so on does not matter.

Why Right Subject Line Is Important for Cold Emails?

We have already started answering this question. The main significance of the subject line is in grabbing the readers’ attention. The efficiency of it in email marketing can be shown by this statistics:

  • every third receiver opens the letter thanks to the interesting heading;
  • short lines beyond 30 characters lead to the above-average rates;
  • personalized headers level up the open rate in 22%;
  • it is the metric the receiver evaluates the email in general (in 7 out of 10 cases).

With a good subject line for cold email, you can boost the effectiveness of your campaign and reach one of your goals, whether it is widening your business, get the interview or meeting.

How to Write an Efficient Subject Line?

Like every aspect of cold emailing, subject line needs testing and adjusting to your target receiver. However, there are some ground rules that work in every case.

  1. Use the human language. As long as the main task here is to get the recipient interested, you need to write it like for a real person. Make it look like the text was written by a regular person, not the marketing department or even the automated algorithms.Also, keep it simple in words and formatting you use. Do not make one more newsletter that is going to be deleted along with other ones.
  2. Do not add catchy slogans. Some marketers consider that if they are conducting business here, they need to show this.However, the phrases like “Best Innovative Approach for your Business” are not among the best cold email subject lines. They do not work here. The receivers are likely to delete them. Write like a human being, remember?
  3. Lowercase text. Do not start every word with capital letter. Despite someone may consider this as wrong, lowercase text brings higher open rates. This can be due to the image of a handwritten line, which definitely gets more trust of the receivers.
  4. Subject-line-only. Try out this technique – add all the required information and do not write any body text. Also, the signature can be useful in this situation. Plenty of sales managers have already confirmed the effectiveness of this approach.
  5. Usage of the receiver’s name. This is an a well-known and widely used element. Just line that consists of a name only can truly encourage opening the message. The same principle is applicable to the company’s name.
  6. Mistakes. This hack, on the contrary, is used by a few. Minor misspellings indicate that the text was written by a human being. Maybe, you were in a hurry and there wasn’t enough time to check the spelling of the cold email subject line before sending. Such approach can bring open rate you want.
  7. Questions. Increase the open rate with this technique. It can be a true art when you designing the perfect question that will be informative as well as grab the receiver’s attention.

Real Working Examples

Now we have a basic understanding how to create an effective subject line. However, you can orient on the following examples in order to compose your own variants.

  1. “I found you through [reference]”
    This variant has multiple functions. Firstly, you address to the receiver directly, that definitely grabs the attention. Then you mention something or someone the person may know. Do not neglect the mentioning of the referrals in this line. Lead Genius has noticed that such approach leads to the 86.6% open rate. So it deserves its place among the best cold call email subject lines.
  2. “I’m writing on the [mutual connection] recommendation”
    And again everything is about referrals. If you are lucky to have the common acquaintance with your potential customer, mention about it. This is how you raise your chances to get the trust of the receiver.
  3. “Do not open this email”
    Reverse psychology works here as well. We all know how forbidding something forces kids to do the opposite. But people rarely grow up and this move can encourage their interest even more.
  4. “Hoping to help”
    In sales, the approach of being in demand is not working anymore. Customers appreciate the helpful services, especially the ones that offer the actual thing. With this, your prospects will know that you do not ask for anything but ready to give.
  5. “We have [insert fact] in common …”
    And here we back to the common things. In this subject line for cold call email, you can mention something you have found on the contact’s LinkedIn or Facebook account. Even a small common touch can play a great deal.
  6. “A 3-step plan for your busy week”
    No one knows the pain points of your prospects better than you. Use your knowledge. Show, that you know typical problems of the receivers and moreover you know how to optimize person’s business process.
  7. “[Prospect], I thought you might like these tips…”
    Adding the name of the prospect is a tricky but rewarding move. Some people may wonder how you know their name and this will encourage them to open the email. Moreover, this is how you can get some attention from the inactive prospects.
  8. “I’d love to chat about [topic]”
    As soon as you do some research and define the things the receiver cares about, you need to show this in the first place. You can definitely expect the quick reaction after this.
  9. “Let me [short description of your offer]”
    For instance, it can be “Let me increase your email open rate in a month”. This type of cold call email subject line defines what exactly you offer and allows the receiver to make a quick decision.
  10. “A quick question about [goal]”
    Curiosity has always been the winning tactics. Letters with such header almost force the recipient to open it. Shane Snow, the Contently co-founder has discovered, that this subject line has brought 51.2% open rate, while the reply rate was 66.7%. Impressive, huh?

Other Factors for Successful Cold Emailing

While we have been working on the effective subject line for cold email, it is time to remind what aspects need to be considered when creating an actual message that lies behind the perfectly tailored header.It encourages people to open it, but it is not cool to leave them disappointed in the end, so the content of the email (if any) should be in accordance with the starting words. So follow these recommendations:

  1. Personalize your email. It is not only about the address, name and the company. Use the info you may found on social media and other sources to create a unique message for your prospect.
  2. Persuade the reader you worth the trust. It is hard to trust the person we know nothing about. So you can start building mutual trust by revealing some info about you or pointing out the things you have in common with the prospect.
  3. Provide informative message. Your prospect is a busy person, so when trying to cold emailing them, make sure that your message contains the info they really need, as well as our cold email subject line examples. That is how you can not only increase the reply rate but also truly help the reader and maybe even start productive and mutually beneficial relationships.
  4. Keep it short. This tip correlates with the previous one. When trying to reach the busy person, you need to be short and informative at the same time.When you really have something you want to share with your prospect, it is natural to want to describe it to the fullest. But leave the details to the future. Now your task is to show your offer briefly.
  5. Be thankful. Appreciation can be a good base for following relationships. It is not hard to say “thank you” to the person in advance for finding time to read and answer your email. Highlight that you understand they might be busy. Such thoughtful attitude can encourage the complete stranger to become more easygoing.


Email marketing can be a challenging task. Marketers need to test plenty of approaches in order to design the ones that work with their target prospects. To help you in this uneasy task, we managed to collect the mentioned above set of cold call email subject line examples. Apply our recommendations and mix it with your own experience in order to create the perfect technique for cold emailing.

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