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10 Best practices for cold email subject lines

Among the various marketing strategies, email marketing remains one of the most classical yet effective methods of reaching prospects, promoting your brand, and building relationships.

You can have the best email campaign in the world, but it will be useless if your customers never open your emails. 47% of marketers say they test different cold emails subject lines to enhance email performance.

While email subject lines may appear to be a minor component of your message, they’re one of the first impressions you make on your email recipients. In fact, when you send a cold email to someone, your subject line will form the first impression they will have of you and your company! That’s how crucial subject lines are.

Do you want to increase the number of people who open your emails? Everything starts with the subject line. Continue reading to know how to write the best subject lines for cold emails that will help you jazz up your subject lines and upsurge email engagement.

Regardless of your goals, these are the best practices for writing compelling cold emails subject lines, that get your emails opened.

Table Of Contents
1. Subjects that communicate urgency
2. Subjects that generate curiosity
3. Subjects that include offers
4. Subjects that are personalized
5. Subjects that are social proof
6. Subjects that are case studies
7. Subject lines that include announcements and events
8. Subject lines with your authority and expertise
9. Subject lines sharing latest News and trends
10. Subject lines that are follow ups

How to write the best subject lines for cold emails?

1. Subject lines that communicate urgency

There’s a phrase that, for many of us, is reminiscent of classic infomercials: “Act now!”.

While we don’t recommend using that exact language in your content. When phrased creatively and strategically, we agree that communicating urgency and scarcity in an email subject line can help compel readers to click (or act).

However, in order to avoid being known as “the brand that cried wolf,” use these subject lines sparingly. Try to limit them to situations that truly necessitate immediate action.

FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) kicks in when the subject line creates a sense of urgency and the body of the message entices a perfect call-to-action. Act quickly or miss out on the deal.


2. Cold email subject lines that generate curiosity

It’s important to keep some element of mystery, especially if it piques the recipient’s natural curiosity and interest. They can result in a higher open rate because they necessitate opening the email to obtain more information.

However, make certain that the subject line, while enigmatic, remains consistent with your brand. If it’s too obscure, it might be mistaken for spam.


3. Subjects that include offers

This is where the advantage of opening a specific email comes into play. At the end of the day, people love new things and experiences, especially when they are free or at least discounted.

Begin by including it in your subject line. People are much more likely to open daily newsletters when there is a direct offer of or allusion to “free stuff” in the inbox.


4. Subject lines for cold emails that are personalized

Because email subscribers aren’t always the same, the emails you send them shouldn’t be either.

Marketers have never had more ways to learn about their subscribers’ preferences, jobs, or general (dis)likes than they do now. So when you send them content, on occasion, make it catered toward the individual.

You must know who you are sending the email to, and they must recognize that it’s about them or a subject of interest to them.

If you’re offering the opportunity, an offer, or a service, make it clear in the subject line what’s in it for them.

It’s also rather easy to personalize your emails with a mail merge tool. Mail merge tools take recipient data from a spreadsheet and merge with an email template document – either HTML, text or document file.

Google Drive apps are highly suited for mail merge workflows – with free access to Google Sheets and Docs. SafeMailer cold email automation tool combines deeply personalized emails with automation and email scheduling. Check it out if you want to improve the success of your email campaigns.


5. Subjects that are social proof

We make decisions based on the behaviour and recommendations of those we like and trust, which is why trends like influencer marketing and user-generated content are so effective.

If you can incorporate an ounce of social proof in your cold email subject lines, you will significantly increase the likelihood of people opening it.

Celebrities can also assist you in creating social proof. If you see someone famous using your product or service, send an email to your customers with their permission.

Include the celebrity’s name in the subject line, along with a brief description of what happened.


6. Subjects that are case studies

Case studies are popular for two reasons:

They demonstrate the effectiveness of a technique or strategy. And also frequently provide a step-by-step, replicable process that readers can use to achieve the same results.

So, when you create a case study that combines scientific evidence and self-interest, mention it in the subject line of your email.


7. Subject lines that include announcements and events

Send business announcements to your subscribers.

Inform your customers if you or your team will be attending an expo or another event. Invite them to join you and send them complimentary or discounted tickets.

The announcement could also be about a new product line, something worthwhile you’re doing in the community, or a strategic partnership you’ve established.

You should not “hide” the announcement behind a clickbait email subject line. Make it easy for everyone to see. You’d be surprised at how effective this simple strategy can be at enticing email opens.


8. Subject lines with your authority and expertise

Allow your authority to shine. Let your readers know when you’ve accomplished something. If something has horribly failed, you should own it and share it with your audience. Share with them why you failed at something, what went wrong, how you learned from it, and what they can learn from your experience.

The social proof you build with your established customers and users also contributes to your authority.


Incorporating the most recent industry news and trends into an email subject line shows prospects that you are active and relevant in the space.

It also arouses curiosity and a human desire to “know what is going on,” giving them something to talk about the next time they’re standing around the water cooler.

News subject lines capitalize on our innate desire to be informed. Even if you don’t follow mainstream news outlets, you should remain updated on topics that are of interest to your audience.


10. Cold email subject lines that are follow-ups

Are you keeping track of your shopping cart conversion rates? How do you handle abandoned shopping carts?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you can use an email subject line to boost sales and reduce abandoned shopping carts.

You may be surprised to discover how common it is if you’re not tracking how many customers add items to a cart on your website but never complete the purchase.

And, based on the number of other retailers who use similar methods in email and other marketing channels, it’s something to think about (especially when coupled with a sense of urgency).

Use email automation tools to automate your campaigns’ follow-up emails. This eliminates the need for you to personally monitor and follow up on the engagement of your campaign emails. Simply configure the rules for sending follow-up emails based on user engagement (clicks, opens) and the amount of time since the last email.



    Are you prepared to become an expert at writing email subject lines? It’s not rocket science, but it does require some practice and testing. Before deciding on the best email subject lines for cold emails, use email automation tools to run A/B tests.

    If you are unsure where to begin, review the best practices listed here and consider which would be best suited for your email subject lines.

    Another thing to keep in mind: in order for your cold emails subject line to be seen, it must first show up in the inbox. For this, you should check the deliverability of your emails and the sender reputation for your domain on a regular basis. Because they will decide whether or not your email will be delivered to the inbox before the subject line can do its job. You can also use these best practices for cold email marketing to ensure that your emails reach INBOX and that your audience engages with them.

    Finally, there is no perfect solution or one-size-fits-all approach. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will develop a talent for writing subject lines. Subject lines that encourage opens, clicks, and conversions and achieve the results you know your company deserves.


    Q. How can I make my subject line stand out?

    A: Be concise, use active language, and consider personalization. Craft subject lines that pique curiosity, address a pain point, or offer value.

    Q. Is it necessary to personalize cold email subject lines?

    A: Yes, personalization adds a human touch, making the recipient feel more connected. Mention their name or reference something specific to their business to grab attention.

    Q. What role does clarity play in a subject line?

    A: Clarity is crucial. Ensure your subject line clearly conveys the purpose of the email. Ambiguity may lead to confusion or reluctance to open the email.

    Q. How can I make my subject line relevant to the recipient?

    A: Research your recipient beforehand and tailor your subject line to their interests, challenges, or industry trends. This demonstrates that your email is not a generic mass message.

    Q. Should I use emojis in cold email subject lines?

    A: Emojis can add a touch of personality, but use them sparingly and ensure they align with your message and target audience. Overusing emojis may make your email appear unprofessional.

    Q. What is the ideal length of cold email subject lines?

    A: Aim for brevity. Keep it under 50 characters to ensure it’s fully visible on various devices. Short subject lines are more likely to be read and understood quickly.

    Q. How often should I A/B test my subject lines?

    A: Regularly test and analyze your subject lines to understand what resonates with your audience. Experiment with different approaches, such as humor, urgency, or curiosity, to optimize engagement.

    Q. Are there specific words to avoid in cold email subject lines?

    A: Yes, steer clear of spam-trigger words and excessive punctuation. Words like “urgent,” “free,” or excessive use of exclamation marks can trigger spam filters.

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