Answer: Your subject line.Creative email subject lines act as tantalizing teasers, while boring or generic ones will prompt prospects to send your messages straight to the trash folder.
Below are 28 creative sales email subject lines you can use to restart a stalled conversation without getting lost in the noise.
28 Creative Email Subject Lines to Follow Up With Prospects
1. "Closing the loop"
The header of Blair Enns' trusty "magic" email, this breakup email subject line isn't attached to a big ask or even a small one. It just states a fact -- you're wrapping the relationship professionally, unless your prospect tells you not to.
2. "Re: [your last email]"
Instead of counting on the fact that your prospect remembers your name and what you were talking about, build your previous interactions right into your subject line when attempting to re-engage by replying to your last email. According to a ContactMonkey study, sales emails with "Re:" as the subject line are opened 92% of the time.
Note: You should only use this subject line when you've already had previous contact with your prospect and are following up. Don't use this subject line in a mass first-touch send or as an opener -- it's misleading to pretend you're replying to an email when you're reaching out for the first time. And of course, we never recommend mass sends: Sales emails should always be tailored to your specific recipient.
3. "Should I stay or should I go?"
A straightforward question + a pop culture reference = gold.
4. "Here's that [resource] you were looking for"
If your prospect requested specific resources and then never responded, follow up with a new tidbit of information to keep them interested.
5. "Persistence or harassment?"
A little self-awareness goes a long way. Even if you don't intend to bother your prospect, their threshold for annoyance might just be low -- simply acknowledging this can get you back in their good graces.
6. "Am I off base?"
This subject line invites your prospect to redirect your conversation toward a topic that's useful for them ... or end your relationship altogether. Either way, you get closure.
7. "Are you seeing someone else?"
Has your prospect gone with a competitor and just hasn't bothered to tell you? Give them an off ramp so you can restart the deal or mark it closed-lost. (Note of caution: Use only if your prospect appreciates cheekiness.)
8. "Still on track for [goal]?"
Creating a sense of urgency is always helpful for spurring action. Provided you've had a conversation about their goals before, remind your prospect of the reason they were speaking to you in the first place.
9. "Only X weeks left to achieve [goal]"
A more urgent version of the above, use this subject line if you also discussed a timeline accompanying their goals. There's nothing like an impending deadline to get prospects moving.
10. "This will only take 26 seconds"
As a rule of thumb, the shorter the email, the better -- your prospects are busy people. Show them you're aware their time is valuable by outlining exactly how long it will take them to read your email. Keep the ask simple so they can respond quickly as well.
11. "Any questions, [name]?"
People love the sound (or the look) of their own name. Get their attention by including their name in your subject line, and then ask how you can help.
12. "The ball's in your court"
Another breakup email subject line, this one lets your prospect know right off the bat that your relationship is in their hands.
This subject line is simply intriguing -- what do you want? To find out, your prospect will have to click.
14. "Some thoughts on [problem]"
Even if your prospect isn't ready to buy right now, help with their business pain will always be welcome. Sometimes offering your insights is enough to keep the conversation going.
A spin on #11, this subject line is short, sweet, and to the point. Where is your prospect? Hopefully they'll tell you.
16. " :( "
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is an emoji? Definitely at least one email click. (Again, only use if you're in an industry that's comfortable with a little informality.)
17. "Congratulations on [trigger event]"
Did your prospect's company launch a new product? Hire a new C-level executive? Get a positive mention in the press? Leverage the trigger event and reach out.
18. "Saw [content], thought of you"
Your follow-up emails shouldn't just be pestering your prospects for a response. Add some value by sending them a blog post, study, or relevant industry news.
19. "Loved your blog post"
If your prospect has an active online presence, use it to your advantage. Follow them so you're alerted of any activity and offer commentary or a response to a relevant blog post they (or their company) published.
20. "In response to your [social media post]"
If your prospect's asking questions on social media, even better. Respond to them on that channel so they'll get notified (and other potential prospects can see it too), then follow up with an email.
21. “I need a sign … ”
Begin this email to a prospect who’s gone dark with the line: “ … to let me know you’re here.” Your prospect will smile at the Train reference -- which will encourage them to get in touch.
22. “There’s one simple reason you should read this”
Provoke the buyer’s curiosity with this subject line. Then, provide an actionable tip or insight so they feel like the contents of the email lived up to its title.
23. “Don’t know many others who [like X hobby, lived in Y place, worked at Z company]”
Prospects are always compelled to click on emails with subject lines that reference personal details -- especially when you’re making them feel unique.
24. “I messed up”
This unexpected line makes your recipient eager to know what mistake you made. Inside the email, explain how an earlier piece of advice you gave them was misguided or incomplete.
“I previously suggested holding a ‘Customer Day’ where you could reconnect with existing clients and look for opportunities to expand the partnership. But after thinking about it longer, I’ve realized you’d probably see a higher return with a learning event for both customers and non-customers. If you’d like to hear why, let’s schedule a quick 10-minute call.”
Create literal urgency -- after all, tomorrow is less than 12 hours away -- with this subject line. The buyer will think, “What’s happening I need to know about?”
In your email body, give them a reason to get on the phone with you the next day. To give you an idea, you might write:
“After looking over the info on your website about your design services, I’ve estimated your pricing structure is costing you roughly 20% of your total revenue. Are you available tomorrow between [time] and [time] to discuss this?”
26. "Should I assume this is the case?"
This is another way to force your prospect into action. If you haven't heard from them in a while, try this subject line. In the email body, say:
"I've tried to schedule a demo with you several times, but we keep having to push it back. Usually when this happens, it means our solution isn't a priority right now. Is fair for me to assume that's the case here?"
27. "Checking in"
This is a bland subject line. What matters is who it's from. When you need to spur your prospect into action, have your CEO or sales executive send a note. The subject line might not get their attention, but the "from" field will. Make sure you respect your executive's time by drafting the email and subject line so all they have to do is press "send."
28. "I made you something"
Grab your prospect's attention with a video. Shoot a quick message on your computer (around a minute) and link to it in the body of the email. Keep it friendly and action oriented. You might be surprised at what seeing a human face can do to move a deal forward.
What sales email subject lines do you use to re-engage prospects gone cold? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Jun 1, 2018 7:08:00 PM, updated June 10 2021