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Cold email subject line

Cold email subject line [Examples, tips, and best templates]

Key Takeaways
  • Elements like curiosity, FOMO, emotional appeal, and personalization in your cold email subject lines can enhance engagement significantly.
  • A Marketo study found the best-performing subject lines have 41 characters or seven words.
  • Use frameworks like AIDA, PAS, and the 4 Us to craft catchy subject lines for cold emails.
  • Salesmate CRM streamlines cold email outreach with top features like Personalization at Scale, Automation, and Analytics.

Most emails are ignored not because of their content but because their subject lines fail to spark interest. 

A study by Invesp revealed that nearly half of the recipients open cold emails based on the subject line. 

So, you require a perfect cold email subject line to get a high email opening.

This blog post is about overcoming the poor open rates due to IRRELEVANT subject lines.  

We will show you how to craft the best subject lines for cold emails that –

  • Grab attention 👀
  • Evoke curiosity and interest 🧐
  • And most importantly, get those all-important clicks 🔗🖱️

Let’s understand the elements for writing a great subject line for cold emailing.

What makes for a great cold email subject line? 

Catching your potential client’s attention with a cold email relies primarily on three things:

  1. The right timing
  2. A trustworthy sender’s reputation
  3. A great email subject line

If the timing and reputation are sorted, focus on crafting a compelling subject line.

According to a study by SuperOffice, there are several significant reasons why people open emails:

Primary triggers for email opens

Effective cold email subject lines carry a pinch of the right characteristics and psychological influencing factors.

Here are some of the most crucial attributes to craft the best subject line for cold emails:

1. Characteristics of great cold email subject lines

  • Specificity and relevance: These traits enable you to tailor your cold outreach subject lines to the recipient’s unique needs and interests.
  • Conciseness with impact: A short and meaningful cold email subject line conveys the core message, making it easily readable, especially on mobile devices, where screen space is limited. 

2. Psychological factors to make attention-grabbing subject lines

  • Curiosity: Using relevant questions or unfinished phrases in cold prospecting email subject lines can be highly effective. This taps into natural human curiosity and the desire to complete patterns or find answers.
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): The scarcity principle triggers urgency and increases the chances of receiving opportunities. Cold email subject lines with limited-time offers/timer countdown boost open rates significantly.
  • Emotional appeal: Write subject lines that evoke an emotional response. It can be excitement 😃, concern 😟, or empathy 💕, which can increase the cold email open rates.
  • Personalization and connection: People are likely to respond to an email that seems written just for them. It mainly includes mentioning something related to their interest.

The best cold email subject lines stand out in an overcrowded inbox and resonate with the recipient on a personal and psychological level.

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Craft personalized email at scale!

Campaigns by Salesmate lets you craft personalized cold emails to bring you the right clicks and boost opportunities.

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What are the best types of cold email subject lines?

Did you know? 70% of cold emails are labeled spam because of their subject lines. So, writing good cold email subject lines is crucial for engaging potential leads or contacts.

Below are 12 important kinds of cold email subject line examples: 

Best types of cold email subject lines

Let’s explore the examples of great subject lines for cold emails:

1. Personalized subject line

A personalized cold email subject line that reflects the recipient’s interests or achievements drives attention.

Further, personalization beyond using their name shows genuine interest and increases attention in a crowded inbox.

Here is an example of how a personalized subject line of cold emailing looks like: 

Example: John, your insights on [Industry Trend] were spot on!

2. Question-based 

Asking a question in your cold email subject line works well. Putting a direct question in your cold email subject line grabs your recipients’ attention, making them want to open the email to find the answer.

Below is an example of a good subject line for cold emailing investment banking:

Example: Are you ready for the new tax changes, Lisa?

3. Benefit-focused 

A cold email subject line highlighting benefits captures the prospect’s attention and conveys immediate value, making it more likely for them to open the email.

Example: Discover how to save 20 hours on reporting each month

4. Social proof 

Mentioning how others tackled a specific challenge in your cold email subject lines makes it to the point and engaging.

Here’s an example of one of the best cold sales email subject lines that uses a social proof element.

Example: See why 10,000 customers trust our cybersecurity solutions

5. Urgency and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

This style uses time-sensitive language to create a sense of urgency that taps into the FOMO. This tactic works as swift action is essential to capitalize on an opportunity or to prevent missing out.

Example: Limited seats left for our exclusive webinar!

6. Humor

Adding a touch of humor to your cold emailing subject line can catch your recipient’s attention and make your message stand out.

Funny subject lines for cold emails help start the conversation on a light note. Further, humor makes your email memorable and can encourage a positive response.

Also, ensure the joke fits your target audience so it strikes the right chord.

Here is an example of one of the best funny cold email subject lines that an email marketing software brand can use:

Example: Why did the marketer get off the trampoline? He was worried about his bounce rate!

7. How-to 

These subject lines are best to create when you share tutorials, guides, or any helpful resources for mastering new skills or solving specific problems.

Example: How to master lead generation in 3 days

8. Highlighting a mutual connection

Mentioning a mutual contact in the subject line can increase the possibility of the recipient opening the email due to the sense of familiarity and trust it creates.

Further, this writing tactic leverages existing relationships to build new ones, bridging the gap between cold outreach and warm introduction.

This is also a promising approach to writing a sales email subject line.

Example: Emma Johnson recommended I get in touch with you

9. Pain point questions 

One effective way to craft a cold business email subject line is to target the recipient’s challenges.

By mentioning a common pain point, the cold email can instantly connect with the recipient’s needs and prompt them to look for your offered solutions.

This approach can improve the effectiveness of your cold emails greatly.

Example: Tired of your CRM limitations?

10. Curiosity 

This style of writing cold email subject line aims to spark the prospect’s interest with captivating or thought-provoking phrases.

Hinting at information or asking a compelling question motivates the recipient to open the email to uncover answers or more details.

Here is an example of how to build a natural human curiosity, enticing readers to engage further with your cold email content.

Example: What’s the secret ingredient to our success? You’ll be surprised!

11. Competitor name 

Mentioning a competitor in the subject line is a strategic move to grab the recipient’s attention, sparking interest in a comparison.

This tactic, often seen in the best B2B cold email subject lines, creates curiosity about what your email might reveal regarding advantages or insights compared to a known competitor.

Example: What does [Competitor] have that you don’t? 

12. Controversial 

A controversial cold email subject line grabs attention by presenting bold or unexpected ideas that challenge usual thinking, encouraging them to open the email.

Example: Is traditional marketing dead? The answer may shock you!

Remember, the primary goal is to entice the recipient to open the email without misleading them, so ensure that the email body aligns with the subject line. 

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How to write catchy cold email subject lines – Mindful tips! 

The research found that one-third of individuals open emails solely based on the subject line.

Here are some more insightful statistics that help you understand what works for good cold email subject lines:

Cold email subject line Statistics

These days, every other email has your name in it, but do you always click it open?

Maybe, maybe not.

It’s not just about inserting your name or company name in the subject line and hoping for the best.

Crafting good subject lines for cold emails goes beyond just personalization with a name.

Below are the four simple tips to craft a relevant and catchy subject line for a cold email that gets you relevant clicks:

1. Don’t make your email spam obvious

Avoid being the “!!!ACT NOW – FREE OFFER INSIDE!!!” type. That’s a red flag for spam filters and a turn-off for readers. 

To create the best subject lines for a cold email, avoid clickbait that might promise ‘free’ or ‘guaranteed’ outcomes.

Instead, craft a meaningful cold email subject line that intrigues without sounding too salesy or aggressive, striking a balance between curiosity and credibility.

The goal is to pique interest in a genuine and relevant way to the prospect’s pain point or interest.

Related read: How to Send Cold Emails? Proven Techniques to Know

2. Choose honesty over hype 

Ensure your subject line reflects the content of your email precisely. Misleading subject lines may get you email opening, but they damage trust and can lead to quick unsubscriptions. 

Highlight a clear benefit or solution to a problem they might be facing but do so honestly without over-promising. 

For instance, if you are selling your social media management services, then; 

🚫Don’t write –  Boost your [Company] online following by 10X!

Write instead – Enhance your Instagram engagement 

3. Summarize your email in two words 

Choose two words that best summarize your email’s content, like ‘Efficiency Tips’ or ‘Growth Strategy.’

Two-word subject lines are easy to digest and stand out in a cluttered inbox.

They should be compelling enough to spark curiosity while staying true to the email’s core message. 

You can achieve a high cold email response rate and more sales conversions with relevant content and subject lines.

4. Use one framework and stick to it  

Choose a proven copywriting model like AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), PAS (Problem, Agitate, Solution), or the 4 Us (Urgent, Unique, Ultra-specific, Useful) and apply it consistently to create a recognizable style. 

Each framework has its strengths, so pick one that aligns best with your brand voice and the typical content of your emails.

Here are key copywriting models with 4 cold email subject lines that actually get opened:

  • AIDA Model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) 

This model focuses on capturing the recipient’s attention, developing their interest, creating a desire, and prompting them to act.

Cold email subject line example: See what 90% of your competitors miss out on! 

  • PAS Model (Problem, Agitate, Solution) 

This model follows a three-step process of identifying a relevant problem, highlighting its implications, and offering a solution.

Cold email subject line example: Tired of low email open rates? Here’s a proven fix

  • The 4 Us (Urgent, Unique, Ultra-Specific, Useful) 

This model ensures the subject line is urgent (time-sensitive), unique (stands out), ultra-specific (clear and direct), and useful (offers value).

Cold email subject line example: Boost your SEO in 24 hours with our Toolkit

Each framework offers a structured approach to creating the best email subject lines.

Creating effective cold email subject lines involves a blend of best practices and avoiding common pitfalls.  

Here are some do’s and don’ts for crafting powerful outreach email subject lines:

Do’s Don’ts 
Personalize the subject line for your cold emails Overuse phrases like “Quick question” or “Appropriate person”  
Spark curiosity with intriguing questions or statements  Misleading subject lines that promise something the email doesn’t deliver  
Write a clear and concise subject line  Ignore spam filters such as excessive punctuation or spammy words like “free” 
Leverage FOMO for prompt action Overpromising can lead to disappointment 
Use persuasive and emotional words to grab attention and encourage action Neglecting A/B test subject lines 
Offer value like benefits or useful information Forgetting the preview text can decrease your open rates 
Use numbers and statistics to stand out in the inbox Using a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to lower engagement 
Mention mutual connections to add a personal touch Use a no-reply to sender address as this can appear uninviting and discourage recipient engagement 
Test and refine with different styles and formats to see what works best for your audience Ignoring the context or timing can lead to low engagement 

Implement the above tips to modify your email subject lines for sales by making them more customer-focused, persuasive, and brief for maximum impact. 

Remember, when writing your cold email subject line, the goal is to be engaging yet honest and to always consider the reader’s experience. 

Insightful read: 10 Great cold email examples – Learn how to stand out! 

25 Proven cold email subject line templates to skyrocket your open rates

Businesses need to send cold outreach emails to generate leads, and you will find perfect cold email subject lines that can help you grab attention.

1. Quick question about [Topic/Company]

It is particularly effective for seeking expert opinions or clarifying specific aspects of a company’s operations or industry practices.

2. Saw you at [Event/Location]

This subject line is suitable for post-event networking, encouraging dialogue based on common interests or professional encounters.

3. Can you help me with [Topic]?

The email subject line signifies respect for the recipient’s expertise and encourages collaboration.

4. A new take on [Industry Topic]

It invites discussion on evolving trends or new approaches in the prospect’s industry. Further, this kind of subject line is effective when sharing thought leadership content in your cold emails.

5. Exclusive insights for [Company/Industry]

This cold email subject line is ideal when sharing specialized research, analysis, or strategies that are directly relevant to the recipient’s business or industry.

6. How [Company] achieved [Specific Goal]

It is an ideal approach to write the best email subject lines for cold emails that offer specialized research or strategies relevant to the recipient’s business.

7. Avoid these common mistakes in [Industry/Field]

This is a good subject line for cold email when you want to hit some common mistakes that your target audience makes and show your expertise on how to overcome them

8. [First Name], can I share a tip about [Topic]?

It holds personalization and is effective for delivering targeted insights or recommendations, enhancing the recipient’s knowledge in a particular area.

9. Uncover the potential in [Your Field/Industry]

If you want to suggest an exploration of untapped opportunities or emerging trends, this subject line would be ideal.

It sheds light that the content discusses new developments or potential growth areas in the recipient’s industry.

10. Join other [Industry professionals] at [Event/Platform]

This type of cold email subject line is used when you aim to build community. Also, you can use this subject line template for invitations to industry events or platforms where professionals can engage, learn, and grow together. 

11. Your solution for [Common problem]

Use this cold email subject line when you want to address a specific challenge for your target recipients. Suitable for introducing tools, services, or methodologies that effectively address common issues in the recipient’s area of work.

12. Discover the secret to better [Result/Outcome]

It is effective for sharing strategies or best practices that lead to improved outcomes in the recipient’s field.

This cold email subject is ideal for initiating a dialogue based on a shared network, enhancing credibility and relevance.

14. Let’s tackle [Issue/Challenge] together

The subject line proposes a collaborative approach to problem-solving. It is perfect for initiating joint projects or discussions on tackling industry-specific challenges.

15. [Industry trend] – Stay ahead of the curve

Use this kind of subject line for cold emails when you want to alert the recipient to important trends or analyses that help recipients stay informed and competitive.

16. Invitation: Exclusive webinar on [Topic]

Use this if offering an educational opportunity in your cold emails, inviting the recipient to deepen their knowledge. This subject line example is ideal for promoting webinars or educational sessions that provide value in a specific subject area.

17. New strategies for [Industry challenge]

Ideal for content that presents novel solutions, technologies, or methodologies.

18. Want to improve your [Specific Skill/Process]?

The subject line targets the recipient’s aspirations for professional growth, offering resources or guidance. So, effective for content focused on skill enhancement or process optimization.

19. Insider’s view on [Topic/Industry]

Another example is when you offer expert insights or analysis, providing an in-depth look into a particular topic or industry. It is suitable for sharing expert opinions, forecasts, or comprehensive studies.

20. Achieve [Desired outcome] with these steps

Great for step-by-step instructions, strategies, or best practices in achieving desired results.

21. [Product/Service] can save you time on [Task]

Use this when you’re highlighting the efficiency and practical benefits of a product or service in your cold email. Ideal for introducing tools or services that streamline processes or tasks, enhancing productivity.

22. Your feedback on [Topic/Project]

This is simply effective for an email aiming to engage recipients in a constructive exchange of ideas or gathering insights on projects or topics.

23. Beat the competition with [Strategy/Tool]

It is suitable for email content that presents unique approaches or resources for outperforming competitors.

24. How to excel in [Field/Skill]

This cold email subject line is ideal for resources, tips, or training that enhance proficiency in a particular field or skill.

25. Transform your [aspect of business] today

It is ideal for introducing transformative strategies, tools, or methodologies that affect positive change.

Related read: Seven tips to write sales email subject lines that boost open rates 

How do you measure the success of your cold email subject lines? 

Metrics for cold email subject lines

Measuring the success of your cold email subject lines is crucial to understanding how well your email campaigns are performing.

Here are some key metrics to decide on the perfect subject line for cold emailing: 

Open rate: This shows how well your subject line works by tracking how many people open your email. A good open rate usually falls between 20-40%, indicating the importance of writing a good subject line for cold emails.

Unsubscribe rate: A high number of unsubscribes after opening your email may indicate a misleading subject line that needs improvement.

A/B testing: Test two subject lines by sending them to a small group and see which one gets more open. This helps you fine-tune your subject lines for better performance.

Tip – Test and trial will give you better clarity to write the best cold email subject lines that work. 

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How does Salesmate CRM enhance your cold email outreach experience? 

If you want to grow your business with a personalized cold email outreach strategy, Salesmate can be your constant partner in success.

It enables the creation of personalized cold email campaigns at scale with data enrichment.

The all-new campaigns feature will help you with personalization, an easy drag-and-drop email builder with captivating templates, AI writing, and more.

To help you craft the best cold emails, you have A/B and multivariant testing, allowing you to determine the most effective strategies for your subject lines and content.

You can track how well your emails are doing – like if they’re opened or clicked – and use this info to improve your approach. 

To optimize your strategy, you can get detailed campaign insights with Analytics.

You can automate your cold outreach and follow-ups with Sequences (emails and texts).

Salesmate CRM has a powerful Automation Suite to boost your marketing, sales, and customer service experiences.

As a robust CRM and automation solution, Salesmate enables you to keep track of all interactions with a prospect, not just emails. 

This holistic view lets you meet the needs and interests of each target prospect. 

Streamline your business with #1 CRM!

Streamline your business with #1 CRM!

Salesmate CRM is a unified customer platform to streamline your marketing and sales communication.

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Crafting a good subject line for cold emails is crucial to catch the recipient’s attention in the first place.

Subject line triggers, such as psychological or influencing elements, help to capture attention and prompt the recipient to open the email, often by evoking curiosity, urgency, or personal relevance.

To craft effective sales email subject lines for cold outreach, you should take a benefit-focused and personalized approach to win a response.

Keep your subject lines short; merely a few words work. Also, short subject lines for cold emails are mobile-friendly.

Conduct A/B testing to decide the best subject lines for the first cold email.

Try to take different approaches, like introducing a personal connection, highlighting the same interests, and referencing the same event or conference (if any). All these approaches make your cold email subject line appealing and personalized for your recipient.

Investing in the best cold email software, like Salesmate, can help you improve your outreach with high-value features like personalization, automation, and campaign reports.

Learn more by starting your 15-day free trial today!

Frequently asked questions 

What is a cold email subject line?

A cold email subject line is the first line of text that recipients see when they receive an email from someone they haven’t interacted with. 

How do I make my cold email subject line attention-grabbing?

To make your cold email subject line stand out, create a compelling and concise message that speaks directly to the recipient’s interests or needs. Keep the subject line short, use personalization, ask engaging questions, or offer clear value.

Experiment with different approaches like humor, urgency, or curiosity-inducing statements when crafting your first subject line.

What to write in the subject line when cold emailing?

Here are some tips for writing the best subject lines for cold email:

  • Be personal: Tailor it to the recipient.
  • Add value: Clearly state what’s in it for them.
  • Keep it short: Conciseness grabs attention.
  • Pay attention to email snippets: These provide additional context.
  • Mention a mutual connection: Leverage existing relationships.
  • Use power words: Choose words that trigger emotional or psychological responses.
How to check for spam-triggering words in my cold email subject line?

Tools like Mail-Tester or Apache SpamAssassin can help identify potential spam triggers in your emails. Additionally, avoid using excessive punctuation, all caps, and overly promotional language like “free,” “guarantee,” or “no risk.”

What are the 4 cold email subject lines that actually get opened?

The best email subject lines for cold emails could be with the following elements:

  1. Use the recipient’s name or reference a recent event: Alex, your take on the latest tech trends?
  2. Pose a relevant question: Struggling with digital marketing ROI?
  3. Create a sense of urgency: Last chance to join our webinar!
  4. Highlight a clear benefit: Boost your sales with these tips.
What is a good subject line for an introduction email?

It is important to write personalized subject lines for an introduction email focusing on your value.

Sonali Negi

Sonali is a writer born out of her utmost passion for writing. She is working with a passionate team of content creators at Salesmate. She enjoys learning about new ideas in marketing and sales. She is an optimistic girl and endeavors to bring the best out of every situation. In her free time, she loves to introspect and observe people.

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