14 Hot Tips to Create Perfect Cold Email Subject Lines

Cold email subject lines - envelopes moving towards a laptop with globe as a background

I have sent over 10,000 cold emails in my time. Most manually, some by the best AI email writing tools around.

But no matter what method you take, there are some super important things you just need to get right to stand a chance of generating leads and hitting your quota.

With so many sales tools now automating generic and boring email sequences, you need to stand out from the crowd.

In this article, we will explore the importance of subject lines in cold emails and provide 14 hot tips for crafting the perfect message to boost open rates and get more meetings.

Understanding the Importance of Cold Email Subject Lines

1. First Impressions Matter

When it comes to cold emails, you don’t have the advantage of a familiar relationship or a warm introduction. The subject line is the first touchpoint between you and your recipient, and the impression it creates can determine whether your email will be opened or ignored. A well-crafted subject line can pique your recipient’s interest and entice them to read on.

But what exactly makes a subject line “well-crafted”? It should be concise and to the point, while still giving your recipient a clear idea of what your email is about. Avoid using vague or generic subject lines, as they are more likely to be ignored or marked as spam. Instead, try to personalize your subject line by addressing your recipient by name or referencing a recent event or news article that is relevant to their interests or industry.

Here is an example of a personalized subject line. This is bound to get opened….

cold email subject lines

2. Increasing Open Rates

The ultimate goal of a cold email is to get a response from your recipient and to do that, you need to get them to open your message first. According to a study by Finances Online, 64% of email recipients open or delete an email based on the subject line alone. This means that a carefully crafted subject line can dramatically increase your open rates and ultimately, your chances of success.

One way to increase your open rates is to create a sense of urgency in your subject line. For example, you could include a deadline or a limited-time offer to encourage your recipient to take action. You could also try using numbers or statistics to grab your recipient’s attention and make your email stand out in their inbox.

Personalizing the subject line is also a great idea to make sure your message stands out from the rest. Tailor the subject line to whatever topic you are discussing in the email, or use something that matches the recipient’s interests.

3. Establishing Credibility

A well-written subject line not only grabs attention but also demonstrates your credibility and expertise. Your subject line should be relevant to your recipient and convey the value you have to offer. Crafting a subject line that speaks to your recipient’s needs or interests can show that you’ve done your research and help build trust with your audience.

Another way to establish credibility is to include social proof in your subject line. This could be a quote from a satisfied customer or a statistic that showcases your success in your industry. By including this information upfront, you can demonstrate your expertise and make your recipient more likely to engage with your email.

2 people handshaking

Key Components of Effective Subject Lines

As email marketing continues to evolve, crafting effective subject lines has become increasingly important. A subject line is the first impression your email makes on a recipient, and it can make or break whether they decide to open and engage with your message. Here are some key components to keep in mind when creating subject lines that get results.

4. Personalization

Personalization is a powerful tool for creating a subject line that resonates with your recipient. Addressing your recipient by name or referencing something specific to their company or industry can make them feel valued and increase the likelihood that they will engage with your email. According to a study by Zippia, emails with personalized subject lines have a 50% higher open rate than those without.

For example, instead of using a generic subject line like “New Product Launch,” you could use “John, Check Out Our Latest Product Launch.” This personalized approach can make a big difference in capturing your recipient’s attention.

5. Brevity and Clarity

When it comes to subject lines, less is often more. Keeping your subject line short and to the point can ensure that it’s fully visible in your recipient’s inbox and easy to understand. Aim to keep your subject line under 50 characters, and avoid using vague or overly elaborate language that could confuse or turn off your reader.

For example, instead of using a long-winded subject line like “Discover the Secrets to Mastering Email Marketing and Boosting Your ROI,” you could use “Maximize Your Email ROI with These Tips.”

6. Creating a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency with your subject line can be a powerful motivator for your recipient to take action. Using phrases like “limited time offer” or “last chance” can make your recipient feel like they need to act immediately rather than putting off responding to your email.

For example, instead of using a generic subject line like “Don’t Miss Out on Our Sale,” you could use “Last Chance to Save 50% – Sale Ends at Midnight!” This type of subject line can create a sense of urgency and drive your recipient to take action.

Image of Hourglass timer and blurred clock in background

7. Avoiding Spam Triggers

While it’s important to create subject lines that capture your recipient’s attention, it’s equally important to avoid using certain words or phrases that can trigger spam filters and cause your email to be sent to the junk folder. Using all caps, excessive exclamation marks, or words like “free” or “act now” are commonly associated with spam emails and should be avoided.

Instead of using a subject line like “FREE TRIAL – ACT NOW!” you could use “Try Our Product for Free – Limited Time Offer.” This subject line still conveys the same message, but in a way that is less likely to trigger spam filters.

Strategies for Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

When it comes to email marketing, the subject line is one of the most critical elements. It’s the first thing your recipient sees, and it can make or break whether they decide to open your email or send it straight to the trash folder. Here are some strategies for crafting compelling subject lines that will grab your recipient’s attention and encourage engagement.

8. Asking a Question

Asking a question in your subject line can create intrigue and prompt your recipient to want to know more. Consider opening with a question that addresses a pain point or problem that your recipient might be facing. For example, “Struggling to increase website traffic? Here’s a solution.” This type of subject line not only piques curiosity but also offers a potential solution to a problem.

But be careful not to ask too many questions or ones that are too vague. You don’t want to overwhelm your recipient or leave them unsure about what your email is actually about.

Image of question mark being handed out from a laptop screen

9. Using Numbers and Statistics

Incorporating numbers or statistics into your subject line can also be effective in grabbing attention. Make sure the figures you use are relevant and add value to your email message. For example, “5 ways to improve your email marketing strategy” or “75% of customers report increased satisfaction after using our product.”

Numbers and statistics can help establish credibility and provide a clear benefit to your recipient. Just make sure you’re not using too many numbers or ones that are too complicated. Keep it simple and easy to understand.

10. Leveraging Social Proof

You learn this through experience. Include references to customer success stories, client testimonials, or industry awards in your subject line to build credibility and establish social proof. This can add a level of trust with your recipient and make them more likely to engage with your message. Even for small businesses, find social proof from a word-of-mouth comment if needed, its vital in today’s world and can be a game changer – it was for me!

For example, “See how our product helped this customer increase sales by 50%” or “Named best in class by industry experts.” Social proof can help differentiate your email from others and show that your product or service has been successful for others.

11. Incorporating Humor or Wit

Don’t be afraid to inject some humor or wit into your subject line, but do so sparingly and always ensure it’s appropriate to your audience. A well-timed joke or clever pun can help your email stand out in a crowded inbox.

You could use something like, “Don’t be a stranger, open this email” or “You won’t believe what’s inside this email.” Humor can help create a more personal connection with your recipient and make your email more memorable.

Overall, there are many different strategies you can use to craft compelling subject lines. The key is to understand your audience and what will resonate with them. Experiment with different approaches and see what works best for your brand and message.

Image of chorizo inside a banana (joke)

Testing and Refining Your Subject Lines

In the world of email marketing, subject lines can make or break your campaign. A compelling subject line can entice your audience to open your email and engage with your content, while a lackluster subject line can lead to your email being ignored or deleted. To ensure that your emails are getting the attention they deserve, it’s important to test and refine your subject lines over time.

12. A/B Testing

One effective way to test your subject lines is through A/B testing. This involves sending out two versions of the same email with different subject lines and then tracking the response rates to see which one performs better. Even better, put the latest AI sales tools to work, and it will do it for you!

For example, you might try using a simple subject line in one version of your email, and a more creative or humorous subject line in the other. After tracking the response rates, you can determine which approach was more effective and use that knowledge to refine your future subject lines.

This can be hard work to do manually but use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to do this if you have one. If not, then get one, even the free CRM systems can massively help with managing outreach campaigns.

13. Analyzing Open Rates

Another way to refine your subject lines is by analyzing your open rates. By tracking how many people are opening your emails, you can get a sense of which subject lines are resonating with your audience and which ones are falling flat.

If you notice that emails with subject lines that include questions tend to have higher open rates, you might try incorporating more questions into your subject lines in the future. By paying attention to these trends and adapting your approach accordingly, you can continue to improve your email marketing strategy over time.

Image of laptop with dashboards and magnifying glass

14. Adapting to Your Audience’s Preferences

Ultimately, the key to crafting effective subject lines is to pay attention to your audience’s preferences. If you’re consistently seeing low open rates, it may be time to try a new approach. Consider asking your audience for feedback on your subject lines, or conducting surveys to get a better sense of what types of subject lines they find most compelling.

By listening to your audience and adapting your approach accordingly, you can continue to refine your subject lines and improve your email marketing strategy over time.


Crafting an effective subject line can be the difference between getting your email opened or ignored. Personalization, brevity, and clarity are all key components to consider when creating your subject line. By following these tips and strategies, you can craft subject lines that grab your recipient’s attention, establish credibility, and ultimately, get the response you’re looking for.

If you still need some inspiration then check out how ChatGPT can be used to help create subject lines and a whole lot more in the sales process.

Similar Posts