5 Effective Email Subject Lines for Your Sales Outreach

Are you an entrepreneur? A business development manager?

Your job revolves around reaching out to folks outside your organization.

Most of the time, they are absolute strangers. After all, every relationship starts from zero. You want to acquire attention from prospects who have never heard of you before.

Your performance is based on the number of people you contact and their likelihood of converting. That could be mean booking a meeting, signing up for your free trial, or attending your webinar.

While there are multiple ways to attract the attention of an absolute stranger, sending a cold email remains to be one of the fastest and most effective ways.

To help you turn absolute strangers into prospects, let us discuss the formula for the very first thing your leads would see from you: the subject line of your first email to them.
It's important to have meaningful conversations and to build better relationships with your audience through email marketing. That begins with the subject line.

Outreach should be personal.

From the get-go, you should be able to communicate that your outreach is a personalized email aiming to benefit both parties.

Nobody wants their email to come across as spam.

Jason Acidre suggests the main components of a successful outreach:

  • Offer - Create an offer that's worth promoting. Whether it's content, free product or access to your software, you need a good reason to touch base with your targets._
  • Prospecting - Identify specific publishers and entities that will find your offer valuable (to their brand or their audience).
  • Outreach - send personalized emails to your prospects that should aim to benefit both parties.

Now, what makes a great subject line? How does it contribute to boosting your email open rates and a successful outreach overall?

According to Emma Brudner of Hubspot, "The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away."

Writing a creative subject line can be complicated, so here is a list of five email subject line blueprints that you can use for inspiration.

This is based on popular sales outreach situations and proven templates that boost your email open rates.

1) Get Personal--But Not Too Personal.

"[Prospect's favorite food, drink or activity?]"

HubSpot growth marketer David Ly Khim shares that what prompted him to immediately open an email was its title, "Bourbon?" You can find information about his fondness for bourbon on the About page on his personal site.

Source: HubSpot

The subject line read: "Let me know if you're up for a chat (with bourbon?) sometime."

This shows that the salesperson is approaching the prospect because they have a relevant offering.

Michael Pici of Hubspot advises making sure, however, that you lift information from a professional platform, such as LinkedIn, an online portfolio, or a company bio.

You don't want your approach to be deemed as creepy. For example, don't stalk a buyer's Instagram post from 6 months ago for something that they like. That can surprise them in ways that you wouldn't like.

2) Use Pain Points When Writing a Subject Line.

"Having difficulty with X, [Prospect]? We can help you with that."

Put yourself in the buyer's shoes.

Think of your audience more of as a friend

What problem could they likely be facing? How can you be a solution?

Believe it or not, people really dig seeing negative titles, according to Shoor's study of top-performing blogs.

When you know exactly what they're struggling with and point it out, they do a double take. It also means that you know of a way to relieve them from what they can be suffering with--stat.

Just ensure that you can deliver value and help solve their pain point with relevant content.

Try sending out surveys every once in awhile to find out more about your mailing list. Ask them:

How can we make our business better suited for you?

3) Say Something Unexpected.

Source: AWeber

You want your subscriber to stop mid-scroll as they're going through emails in their inbox. Unexpected emails can spark the same reaction as when you see pigs fly. They grab attention.

Studies on brain activity show that pleasure centers of the brain light up when there are unexpected occurrences.

Whether you surprise the audience with an unexpected offer, a stance they don't expect you to hold, or a small chuckle. It causes them to stop in their tracks, and pique their curiosity enough to learn more.

AWeber says, "Since we are an email marketing platform, our audience was most likely surprised by us saying the email blast is dead. When they saw this subject line in their inbox, they probably wanted to learn why we took this stance and clicked the email to find out."

4) Motivate Your Audience.

"[Prospect], check this out and earn rewards!"

Give your mailing list a bit of motivation. Add an incentive.

The subject line above starts strong with a personalized subject line, but it also earns clicks for another reason: a direct and clear incentive.

It's pretty simple. If they click, they'll discover how to get rewarded. If they don't, they won't get rewarded.

Simple incentives can make a big difference. Just make sure to clearly state it in your subject line.

5) Instill a sense of curiosity.

"[Prospect's Friend] recommended You"

Did you know? Curiosity makes us smarter.

According toresearchers at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience, it actually changes your brain and helps you retain memory. This is probably what drives us to want to know more about something.

It's natural to get curious enough when you hear of a mutual connection, close friend, or even just an acquaintance. You'll want to see what your trusted friend sent your way.

Over to You

You designed your offers, prepared your prospects, and it's down to the subject line. Now is not the time to be timid. Your email should get a foot in the door or you're wasting time!

Whether your email, be it marketing to customers or a pitch to investors, gets opened and read, deleted, or sucked into an inbox black hole, it all hangs on how well you create your subject line.

"Drop names/locations and make the connection right away," says Danny Rubin, email expert and author of "Wait, How Do I Write This Email?" to CNBC Make It. "By dropping names, explaining who you are, and providing as much context as possible, you can make sure that your emails are always read, responded to and respected."

Make sure your email subject line is offer-based, personalized, and short. These types of subject lines are usually the most effective. Amidst the chaos of creating the perfect subject line, don't forget to use your brand tone.

With so many variable factors, testing can help you identify the type of subject lines that are successful for your brand and that resonate with your audience.

A 2017 report states that email marketing campaigns get an open rate of 24.79%. Although email open rates are not as high as they used to be, email outreach can bring in significant success to your campaigns when done well.

The best advice is to stay away from sending the kinds of emails that you wouldn't like receiving yourself.


Looking to automate your email outreach campaigns?

Vocus.io helps you craft thoughtful and personal subject lines through mail merge for your email outreach with Gmail. For free: try Vocus.io for Gmail!

By Allan