How to Write a Sales Email Subject Line That Compels Prospects to Click

Adam Turkington
Adam Turkington




Jotting off a quick email to a potential client? Hold on a second. Emails are a vitally important step in your sales process, and the key to getting your message read is the subject line.

Subject lines are the inbox version of a first impression, so it's critical to make yours count. Here are some tips on writing sales email subject lines that will engage your prospect.

Know Your Audience

The subject line is a fantastic opportunity to capture prospective and existing clients' attention. Optimize it. Take a moment to shift your focus from your sales process to what matters to them. Can you think of anything? Can you see it? Jot it down.

For example, Grace has a small, but growing organic food business, "Saving Grace," and she’s considering buying your software product for tracking deliveries. Your email communication with Grace requires a subject line that grabs her attention and lets her know you have her business needs top of mind. Try something like this:

Deliveries? Sorted.

Add Empathy

Clients, be they existing or prospective, are more likely to do business with someone they believe understands their problem. It’s human nature. Empathy creates the basis of a business relationship and offers a powerful adjunct to the most sophisticated sales methodology.

What does empathy have to do with your subject line? It creates a bond by presenting a more heart-felt and targeted message.

But does this really matter? It absolutely does. MailChimp analyzed the open rates of 200 million emails in terms of frequency, sender, and the nature of the message. Which emails garnered the highest open rates? Personal messages.

Here’s an example of a subject line to small business owner Grace that bursts with empathy:

We get you, Grace

Know Your Message

Do you know exactly why you’re sending this email? Are you explaining a new offering to a group of prospective clients? Teeing up a call? Sending out the notes from a recent meeting and proposing next steps? Introducing the customer service journey following a successful close?

When you are clear on your email’s reason for being, the subject line practically writes itself. Use the overarching message as inspiration for a compelling subject line.

Here are some examples:

I’m here to listen
Let’s sit down and talk out the details
You need my offering for your success 
I can save you some time
I can save you money
I can save you time and money

Be Precise

Once you’ve identified your message, pluck a few key words for your subject line -- ideally, ones that engage and empower. Here are a few examples of subject lines that use attention-grabbing words:

I’m all ears
Your bottom line
This is your time
Your success
Time and money

Writers know a very important rule: Every word has to earn its right to be on the screen. Follow these steps to craft subject lines that introduce persuasive emails. This process will engage your clients, optimize communication with them, and ultimately close them.

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