20 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Opened, Read, and Responded

Email subject lines can increase opens or keep a prospect from ever clicking read. These subject lines will help you get your email opened and replied to!

Written By Matthew Martin

March 9, 2017

Connecting with people can be tough and email subject lines are just another thing to master in the digital marketing realm.

Every salesperson I know has had “gatekeepers” keep them from reaching the manager or executive they want to get in touch with.

So let’s face it, sometimes the life of a salesperson can be hard. You don’t need anything else working against you, especially not yourself.

Sometimes a bad subject line on an email will keep a prospect from opening it. It doesn’t matter how much research and time you put into the body text — POOF just like that, your hard work goes to waste if the email is never opened.

So you’re probably wondering…what makes a good subject line?

sales-email-subject-linesComing on too strong isn’t a good idea. Think about it — would you open an email with the subject line “I would like to sell you something”? That message is getting sent straight to the spam folder.

If you’re reaching out to a prospect, you’re either responding to their demonstrated interest (for example, they’ve visited your website, engaged with your company on social media or even asked that you do something for them), or you have a solid reason to believe you can help them (for example, at Spade Design we often know that we can get them more leads and increase their earning potential with a website redesign). Now to get the prospect to engage with you and come to this realization is the tricky part …

The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away. Writing a creative subject line is no small feat, so we’ve compiled 20 intriguing sales email subject lines for a variety of situations. Feel free to customize for your own uses, and watch your open and response rates skyrocket.

20 of the Best Sales Email Subject Lines

1) “Question about [goal]”

What’s your question? They’ll have to open your email to find out.

2) “[Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch”

Few things are more powerful than referrals. If you share an acquaintance with your prospect, be sure to put that person’s name in your email subject line. The more your prospect trusts your referrer, the more compelling your email will be.

3) “Our next steps”

Use this subject line to follow up after a first connection, or to re-engage a lead gone quiet.

4) “Do not open this email”

This one is from manicure service company Manicube. As you know if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with a toddler, telling someone not to do something tends to prompt that very behavior. Reverse psychology for the win!

5) “X options to get started”

Pop in a few bullet points about how to kick off your relationship in the body text (a content offer, a phone call, an upgrade opportunity for current customers, etc.), and you’re good to go.

6) “Hi [name], [question]?”

Questions provoke answers. Emails with question subject lines provoke opens and replies.

7) “Should I stay or should I go?”

If you haven’t heard from a prospect in a while, pull out this subject line and pair it with a cleverly crafted breakup email.

8) “Know this about [topic of interest]?”

Offering a helpful tip or statistic about a subject the prospect is interested in establishes your credibility from the get go, and gets the conversation flowing.

9) “Did you get what you were looking for?”

Use this one to follow up with an inbound lead or a website visitor. They’re clearly looking for help with a challenge — ask how you can be of service.

10) [the e.e. cummings subject line]

Most people incorporate capitalization when they draft emails (although some go a little CrAzY). With this in mind, an all-lowercase subject line will stand out.

11) “Hoping to help”

Have you heard? The age of Always Be Closing is dead; the best salespeople today adhere to ABH (Always Be Helping). Put this sentiment front and center — prospects will appreciate your candor as well as your willingness to be of service.

(Yeah I said it, “always be closing” is dead. We’ll be talking more about “Always Be Helping” in the future, click here to get notified)

12) “A [benefit] for [prospect’s company]”

Here are some examples of what this might look like in practice:

  • A new HR strategy for Business Inc.
  • A savings of $25k for ABC Corp.
  • An all-time revenue record for Organization Y

The specificity of the benefit and the personalized subject line will hook your buyer.

13) “X tips/ideas for [pain point]”

People love numbered lists (hence, the rise of the listicle). Insert a number into your subject line to drive interest.

14) “Where is the love?”

If your prospect has fallen off the face of the earth, use this subject line to poke fun at the situation and put a smile on their face.

15) “You are not alone.”

This subject line suggested by a rep on Reddit hits home on two fronts: 1) it’s intriguing and 2) it’s human. If you know the prospect is struggling with a difficult challenge, share stories of how others overcame a similar hurdle.

16) “Permission to close your file?”

This breakup email subject line puts the onus on the prospect to move forward. Whether or not they respond, you’ll know where they stand.

17) “Idea for [topic the prospect cares about]”

A free idea? Sure, I’ll take it. *click*

18) “10x [prospect’s company]’s traction in 10 minutes”

An email template with this subject line resulted in 16 new B2B customers, according to Salesfolk founder Heather R. Morgan. It’s hard to argue with numbers like that.

19) “I found you through [referral name]”

Don’t underestimate the power of mentioning referrals in a subject line. This subject line garnered a staggering 86.6% open rate according to LeadGenius.

20“If you change your mind about partnering with [your company]”

Break up radio silence by putting the ball squarely back in a quiet prospect’s court.

Like these ideas?

Those 20 email subject lines have been proven to work.

They will help you get more emails opened and more emails read, but I’ll be honest, we have been doing this for a long time. We also handle email marketing and behavioral marketing for clients all over the country. Different markets, different industries, different goals, and different company “voices” all require a unique approach.

If you need more ideas, then stay tuned for our additional resource that features 20 more subject lines and two of my personal favorites!




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