What makes a good email subject line?
The best email subject lines are creative, compelling, and informative without giving too much away. A good subject line that piques interest is the difference between a prospect opening or ignoring an email.
Just like a gatekeeper can prevent a salesperson from reaching the manager or executive they want to get in touch with, a subject line can block a prospect from opening a sales email.
So what makes a good subject line?
Writing a creative subject line is no small feat, so we've compiled 29 compelling sales email subject lines for a variety of situations. Customize for your own use, and watch your open and response rates skyrocket.
29 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 prospect gone quiet.
4) "Do not open this email"
This one is from manicure service company Manicube. If you've ever spent time with a toddler, you know that 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 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.
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) "Feeling blue? Like baby pandas?"
Come on. Who doesn't like baby pandas? This subject line will get your prospect to open your message -- where they'll find an adorable video of pandas playing or a GIF of a sneezing baby panda (pick your poison.)
18) "Idea for [topic the prospect cares about]"
A free idea? Sure, I'll take it. *click*
19) "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.
20) "I found you through [referral name]"
21) "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.
22) "10 mins -- [date]?"
Short, easy, and to the point. If you can mirror this sentiment in the body of your sales emails, the replies will be flying your way.
23) "We have [insert fact] in common ..."
Spend five minutes looking through your contact's LinkedIn or Facebook accounts. I bet you can find at least one thing you have in common -- even if it's just that you've both been photographed eating spaghetti.
24) "A 3-step plan for your busy week"
You know the pain points of your ideal customer, so bullet those pain points in the email body and provide short, actionable tips on how they can overcome those challenges over the coming week.
25) [Prospect], I thought you might like these blogs ... "
Include their name in the subject line, and fill the email body with content you know they need. This is a great way to test disengaged or completely nonresponsive prospects for signs of life.
26) "'I love everything in this email!'"
Use this quote in your subject line and people will have trouble not opening it. In the body of the email, poke fun at its overstatement with a line like, "OK, so my boss said that, but ... "
27) "So nice to meet you, [Prospect]!"
Whether they downloaded a piece of content or visited your pricing page, let your prospect know you've noticed their interest and are happy to finally touch base.
28) "Feeling [insert emotion]? Let me help"
Tap into current events in your prospect's industry. Targeting marketers during the busy weeks before Black Friday? Try "Feeling stressed? Let me help." Then share how your product or service can lighten their load.
29) "3 weekend ideas for you"
Trying to reengage a high-value prospect? Research a few things to do in their city this weekend and hit send.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.