February 17, 2022

Writing the Perfect Subject Lines for Your Cold Emails

Writing the Perfect Subject Lines for Your Cold Emails

According to, 47% of recipients open their emails based on the subject line, and 69% report emails as spam based on the subject line. The primary goal of your cold email should be to stand out from the hundreds of emails in your prospect's inbox. But sending a cold email is like grasping at straws.  

Most recipients don't want to open emails from unfamiliar sources. Chances are your cold email will be dismissed as trash, left unread, or treated as spam. To deal with this problem, consider fixing your subject line.  

Subject lines are without doubt the most crucial factor in whether or not a recipient will read your email. A compelling subject line can get your target recipient to open your email. Here are the most effective tips on how to write the perfect subject line for your cold emails. 

1. Make your subject line personal

Personalization means you cater your subject line to your recipient. Know a specific prospect's preferences, job, and specific details, and then design your target line to pique that prospect's interest. 

Infusing a personal touch in your subject line shows that you know more about your recipient than just their email address. Making it unique also makes your email more relevant to them. 

One way to personalize your subject line is to use either your prospect's name or their company name in the subject line.  

Another strategy is localization to create email subject lines that interest recipients based on what's happening around them. For example, if it's snowing in their location, your subject line can be, "Clearance Sale: 80% Off on Winter Clothes." 

You could also use recent promotions, news, or events about the prospect or the company. Google or view their LinkedIn profile to get information. Subject lines with a simple, "Congratulations on your promotion!" or "Happy Anniversary to your company!" can give your cold email the attention it needs. 

2. Keep subject lines short and straight to the point

It's easier to catch a prospect's attention if the subject line is brief and straightforward. More importantly, most people nowadays open and read their emails on mobile devices. Chances are, the device will cut your subject line short if it's too long. 

Short subject lines arouse curiosity. A short-liner like, "Need any help?" gives the reader a hint but not the whole story, making them want to know more. 

It would be best to use only four to seven words in your subject line.  

3. Ask questions

Using questions as subject lines are a sure way to stimulate interest and draw the reader to open your email. Questions are more effective when relevant to your prospect's buyer persona. For example, questions like, "Do you know what matters most to your customers?" urge them to start looking for the answer.  

4. Give importance to your email snippets

The email snippet is that short text showing a preview of the email content. It is the very first line of the text your prospect will see, together with your subject line. Just like your subject line, it can make or break your open rate. 

Many marketers often ignore email snippets as part of the cold email. They overlook the importance of optimizing these snippets the same way they do with their subject lines. Don't make that mistake. Spend some time personalizing your email snippets to become more relevant to your prospects. 

5. Cite your connection with the recipient

Establishing your connection with the recipient in your subject line boosts your open rates. The sense of having something in common reduces the distrust of emails from unfamiliar sources.

Look for connections like joint participation in a conference, membership in the same club or organization, or a mutual friend. You may not know them in person, but you can use this connection to your advantage. 

6. Make use of power words

If you want your cold emails to drive results, you need to use power words in your subject lines. Power words are compelling words that instill urgency and excitement and inspire people to click on your email. Strategic use of power words tickles the reader's imagination, mainly if you make it relevant to them. Here are some examples of power words: "rapid solution for (industry)"; "a fantastic tool to automate your (process)"; "the key to (company) success"; "sharing our best strategy on (topic)"; "get unlimited access to (product)." 

Remember the DON’Ts in writing subject lines

Some techniques can get your recipients to open your cold emails but lead you to lose your chance of moving forward to the next step – a reply or conversion of your prospect to customer. There are two "DON'Ts" to remember. 

First, don't use ALL CAPS or overuse punctuation marks. Using all caps or overusing punctuation marks like an exclamation point is disruptive. It makes the readers feel they're being yelled at and they get rubbed the wrong way. A subject line like, "LAST CHANCE TO GET YOUR FREE TRIAL!!!!!" looks spammy and isn't going to get your email opened. 

Second, don't overpromise. When your subject line is making a promise to your recipient, make good on that commitment when they open and read your email. Never use click baits. Click baits create distrust from your recipient, resulting in "no reply." The next time you send another email, it will surely end up in the trash. 

Using compelling subject lines for your cold emails that overpromise, such as "This email will change your life," doesn't make sense. In the end, what matters is the conversion rate, not the open rate. 


Email marketing is pretty effective, but it is not the easiest. If you want to drive results, you can start applying the tips in this article. There are other drivers for success, such as the structure of your email, the content and words used, and the time of sending to ensure maximum effectiveness. But it all begins with the subject line.

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