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Cold Email Subject Lines That Get Results

by Jim Hughes 2 years ago in advice

Tips to Improve Your Cold Email Subject Lines

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

The subject line is the most important part of any email campaign. If you can’t get your audience to open the mail, nothing else matters. You can have the perfect funnel and CTA and get nowhere.

When you’re running a cold email campaign, this goes double. Without an existing relationship, your subject line has to be so good to the reader that they can’t resist opening it up. We’re going to go over some best practices to help you craft cold email subject lines that get results.

Research First

The first thing you should do is research your targets as much as you can. The more you know about your audience members, the better your personalization efforts will be. Personalization is an extremely powerful way of getting people to open their emails.

A simple example is using their name in the subject line. We automatically respond to our names. It makes us pay attention at least, just in case it’s important. If they respond to your first attempt, you can use an extension to automate follow-up emails using this tactic.

Lean On Their Network

If you know someone in their network already (LinkedIn is a good way to find out), then writing a cold email subject is easy. Ask your mutual friend for permission, then use their name in your email line, something like “[Name] wanted me to share something with you.”

Leaning on someone’s network like this is pure social proof. They automatically have a reason to trust you. However, be warned. If you try to fake a connection and you’re discovered then you’ll destroy your reputation with that lead.

Butter Them Up

If you’re doing your research right, you might find out where your leads are posting on social media and websites. If they write something that you like, use that as your opening in the subject line. Something like “Thanks for the comment on [Blog]”.

It may be harder to lead them to your CTA with this tactic because you’ll have to craft your response to the content they posted. But this technique shows that you’re paying attention to them. They’re not just an email address in your list.

Hit The Pain Point

If your audience is larger or broader, you may have to use a different kind of bait. Why not come right out and say what the main benefit of your product and service is? This has to be done in the right way.

A good subject line using a pain point solution uses a measurable and concrete figure that you can deliver on. If your product really can save 7 hours each week or triple lead generation, say that. Choose a single benefit to keep your subject line short.


This doesn’t work with everyone, but most people can’t resist a free deal. Offering something free in your subject line will draw attention. If that thing turns out to be valuable to the reader, that will get their attention and generate trust in your brand.

However, free is used quite a lot in spam messages. If you use it, don’t make it stand out. Skip the emojis, the bad capitalization, and the exclamation points. A simple “A free gift to help you with [benefit]” can work.

Voice Your Opinions

An opinionated subject line is another way to get attention. If there is a particular stance that your company stands behind in your industry, you can use it. Opinions in subject lines have a curiosity effect. They will draw some people in and push others away. A good opinionated subject line should push away the type of person that isn’t a good fit for your product or service.

Nearly half of all emails are opened or discarded based on the subject line. Crafting the right subject lines for your cold email campaigns can make all the difference between success and failure. Here’s a final tip. When you look at your subject line, would you open an email that had that message? If not, keep improving it!

Take these tips and think about how you can improve your subject lines for your next email autoresponder campaign. With skill and a bit of luck, you should see a higher open rate.


Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes
Read next: Digital Foundations | Doyle Buehler | Engati Engage

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