What Makes a Good Sales Email Subject Line? 7 Angles On the Right Approach


You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so your email subject line carries the responsibility of getting the recipient’s attention. A good open rate, click rate, and call-to-action conversion relies on the impact of your email subject line. After all, email prioritization is at the mercy of the professionals receiving them, so it’s all about grabbing attention in the right way.

So, let’s review how you can ensure your email subject line is as optimized as it can be.

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1. Personalize Subject Lines

When considering what email personalization really means, many people think that this is just including the recipient’s name. While it does include addressing the recipient by name, personalizing the sender profile and name is almost as important. People want to get messages and communicate with other people, not just generic company emails. Consider using a personal email address or even an alias with your name so it appears that a person sent the email. It’s about keeping the “person” in personalization.

2. Keep Them Brief

The best length for a sales email subject line varies from mobile device to desktop. And with character length and attention spans at a premium, a shorter subject line is better. The average subject line is roughly 60 characters before email clients typically cut it off. Email service provider Campaign Monitor cites that 41 characters is what a sender should aim for in order to stay visible across devices.

3. Offer Real Value

Successful sales emails must solve a problem, enhance the life of the recipient in some way, and ultimately provide value to the recipient. Can you help them with a solution that addresses a business pain point, that helps them reach a goal, or do you have a special service promotion that can save them money? The subject line of your email should include an angle around your value proposition.

4. Include Keywords

Another way recipients tend to prioritize their inboxes is through filters of keyword. If your subject line and email contains specific keywords the chances of your email landing in a prospect’s folder to be viewed at some point are increased. While it’s impossible to know what filters are being used by prospects, conducting A/B testing may help pinpoint which keywords are influencing your email open rates over others.

5. Make Them Interesting

If you’ve checked out HubSpot’s tips on creating the best cold sales email, you’ll know that the email body content must be interesting. What does it mean to make a subject line interesting? This seems like a special challenge, right? Keeping a subject line interesting is going to consider what is of interest to your prospect. Do you know that they are embarking on a new career journey and your service can help with their transition? Do you know that they’ve inquired about a specific solution or perhaps a special news story in their industry is a spark point for an interesting subject line? The point is to keep your prospect at the center of your purpose. The email body content can contain your pitch, but if the subject line isn’t compelling to their needs, the email won’t get opened.

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

When appropriate – we repeat, when appropriate – creating a sense of urgency in your email subject line can work, but it should not be the only tool in your tool chest. If used repeatedly, it can backfire or become an annoyance to your prospect. Many people filter their emails based on time sensitivity, but even if your recipient isn’t ready to buy, if they can see a limited time promotion or special offer timeframe that could benefit them, it may still carry some action impact.

7. Avoid the Clickbait Approach

We’ve all seen clickbait subject lines in social media posts, but if you take the clickbait angle to your email subject lines without truly being able to live up to it, or if it suggests an urgency, offer, or importance that just isn’t there, it can result in a poor impression. This is often where emails get marked as spam. When in doubt, check HubSpot’s ultimate list of spam triggers words to avoid.

Does your email marketing strategy or process need improvement? Are you seeking more data insights on your sales emails? Let’s talk. Gate 39 Media specializes in inbound marketing, email marketing, and HubSpot marketing software – a solution that can help make sense of what’s working and what’s not working in your email strategy.

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