Your excellent email campaign is prepared to launch with the goals set and KPIs created. By all accounts, you are so prepared that you believe your objectives have already been attained. There is only one issue: You must create a cold email subject line that is intriguing enough to prompt recipients to open your message.

Along with other sales representatives vying for their attention in their inbox, they also have hundreds of emails from clients, coworkers, advertisements, and junk mail. You must, therefore, devise a strategy for standing out. Nowadays, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd, but it is doable. Following these seven best practices will ensure that your email subject line doesn’t prevent you from achieving your objectives.

Table of Contents

What Is a Cold Email?

Why Send Cold Emails?

Cold Email Subject Line Best Practices

How to Write Best Cold Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

Cold Email Subject Line Examples



What Is a Cold Email?

An email sent to a potential customer with whom you have no prior relationship is referred to as a “cold sales email.” They are being prompted to respond to you solely on the basis of the message’s content. As a result, there is a low likelihood of success. This implies that the subject line is of utmost importance.

Why Send Cold Emails?

It’s a game of numbers. Despite the relatively low success rate of each individual cold email, they are also relatively quick and easy to send. They spread the word about your company, and you only need a small number of prospects to respond for them to be beneficial.

Cold Email Subject Line Best Practices

The intention is for you to have examples and the knowledge necessary to create a strong subject line for a cold email on your own, not for you to read a tonne of fantastic examples. Alternatively, you can make the ones I’ll show you below even better by making the necessary adjustments. Here are some best practices to improve the subject lines of your cold emails:

  • Avoid using clickbait subject lines at all costs.

Whether it’s a cold email campaign, networking, or producing content for your target audience, each time you put yourself out there on the internet, you’re making a promise.

Learning how to manage their team more skillfully, rank their videos higher in YouTube’s search results, or be more productive in the mornings might be part of that promise.

Whatever the promise is, you’ve created a subject line or headline that lets the reader know what kind of value to anticipate.

The recipient opens your email and discovers that you have broken the promise when you use a clickbait subject line – and because you didn’t deliver what you promised in your subject line, that breaks the olive branch of trust they just extended to you.

You don’t just want them to open your email; you also want them to read it and enjoy the conversation. If you trick them, they’ll hit delete and leave right away.

  • Your subject lines should be brief.

Although long subject lines can occasionally be effective, the risk is typically not worth it given that most working professionals read their emails on mobile devices. Only five to eight words can fit in a subject line on a typical mobile screen.

Short subject lines give you the best chance of grabbing the attention of the vast majority of readers who view your subject line on their mobile devices.

Of course, the topic extends beyond mobile. Longer subject lines are typically used in emails related to business and sales, while shorter, more conversational subject lines are more common in personal emails to friends and coworkers.

You must write emails that resemble those received from a friend or colleague if you want them to be opened. Make your subject line friendly and unthreatening to achieve this (and then send a follow-up email for outreach that produces results).

Additionally, keep in mind that hiring managers might be reading your email on their phones if you’re using cold emails for job searches.

  • Offer a tempting incentive

You must provide the recipient with something, anything, to entice them to open your email.

It might be something obviously valuable like significant results, but it might also be something less obvious like a mutual connection – for example, when you’re friends with someone they know or when you have similar interests on Twitter.

In both scenarios, you’re providing them with something that makes opening your email alluring to them, whether it’s value, connection, curiosity, or something completely different.

It is beneficial to mention outcomes or statistics that are relevant to your offering because they imply that customers might be able to benefit from comparable outcomes.

Because it lets them know that you and they have things in common and would make a good connection, a mutual connection gives them the promise of value.

The essence of effective cold email subject lines is this. Since they are unfamiliar with you, at least directly, you must use your subject line to draw them in.

In contrast to clickbait, this type of subject line makes a promise you can keep, which raises open rates as well as response and conversion rates.

Therefore, consider what you can offer the recipient(s) of your email. What are you willing to offer? Make sure your email fulfils the promise made in the subject line about the allure factor.

These are among the most crucial best practices for creating the best possible cold email subject lines. There are more.

Keep it brief, be aware of the promise you’re making to your readers, and make each subject line intriguing. Your open rates will skyrocket if you do that.


How to Write Best Cold Email Subject Lines That Get Opened

A subject line must pique the reader’s interest. The body of the email needs to test them and alert them to a crucial piece of information. It can promise solutions, pique their curiosity, or inspire them, but it must somehow forge an emotional bond with them. The following qualities make for effective cold email subject lines:

  • Spark curiosity – An effective email subject line prompts the recipient to reflect. Although it doesn’t provide all the details, it does so in a way that will pique their interest.
  • Be relevant – The prospect must be interested in the offer. It must provide them with something they desire. Some emails completely conceal their subject matter, which is acceptable, but if you’re going to make an offer, it needs to be compelling.
  • Make it personal – Everybody enjoys hearing their own name. Additionally, everyone has interests. Therefore, if you can capitalize on that with personalized email strategies, you’re set. Everyone loves the sound of their own name. And everyone has stuff they’re interested in. So if you can tap into that with personalized email tactics, you’re in business.
  • Choose the right time – Any offer must be accepted when the target is eager. You must therefore reach them at the appropriate time in their day and buying cycle. Right now, you need to discuss a topic that interests them.
  • Create urgency – It’s likely that they won’t open your email at all if they don’t do so right away. So your chances are much better if you can instill a sense of impending doom if they don’t open right away.

Cold Email Subject Line Examples

Ask a Question

The following cold email subject lines all ask a provocative question that will encourage readers to click:

  • “Technology query for [prospect]”
  • “Are you committing these errors?”
  • “Can you assist me?”
  • “Did you know XYZ Corporation was carrying out this?”
  • “Do you find this to be a challenge?”

The Call Out

Each of these has the recipient’s name, title, or other private information in the subject line (often added through the use of a merge field).

  • “What would you do with an extra [amount], [First name]?”
  • “[First name] [check it out] Eight. Special discounts for [First name]”
  • “[First name] I created a custom report for you.”
  • “I calculated your ROI, [First name]”
  • “Do you want fatter margins, [First name]?”

Keep It Short and Sweet 

A concise subject line, usually no longer than three words, can be effective.

  • “Hey” 
  • “Are you prepared?”
  • “My biggest error”
  • “Priorities”

Establish a Connection 

Whether it’s a recommendation, a mention of shared participation in an event, or a reference to an online forum you both participated in, a subject line that suggests a connection between the sender and recipient has a significant impact.

  • “The relationship shared with [name of connection]”
  • “How was [a recent event] for you?”
  • “I recently noticed your comment on [industry blog]”
  • “Recommendation: [name of mutual contact] What do you think?”
  • “Do you have a mutual connection with [name]?”

Propose a Benefit

This email subject line clearly and persuasively benefits the reader.

  • “A revised HR plan for Business Inc.”
  • “$ in savings for ABC Corp.”
  • “A lifetime high in revenue for Organization XYZ”
  • “No more prolonged meetings”
  • “Additional selling hours per month for Company X”
  • “The pursuit of signatures is over.” 

Extend a Congratulations

These cold email subject lines extend congratulations on the recipient’s most recent success. 

  • “I’m happy about your big news”
  • “Congratulations on your book deal!”
  • “Congrats – just saw you featured on [top website in your industry]”
  • “I really enjoyed your talk at [name of the conference or event]”
  • “Congratulations on launching [a service or piece of content]”
  • “Just wanted to let you know that I admire what you [did]”

Request a Meeting

When it comes to requesting a future meeting, this subject line will get you one step closer.

  • “Do you have five minutes, [Recipient Name]? 
  • “Request for a meeting: [Your Name] + [Name of Recipient]” 
  • “Can we meet? – [Recipient Name]” 
  • “Can I present something to you next week?” 
  • “When should we meet on Tuesday?” 
  • “Following up on our conversation”


The structures above demonstrate that there is no “one size fits all” formula for creating effective sales email subject lines. You may notice that some of the samples I’ve provided don’t make sense for your company, while others may combine many of these components into a single template. However, keep in mind that testing will yield the best results. Use these structures as a starting point. If you’re serious about sending successful cold emails, strive to continuously improve your performance by iterating as you go.

Never allow a weak subject line to undermine your email marketing efforts. Therefore, feel free to play around with the sample cold email subject lines. 

Your open rates will indeed soar to the moon once you mastered the art of crafting subject lines!