The Highest Converting Subject Lines for Cold Emails …and why they work
Hey Cold Emailer,
It’s Lior here from ScopeRush, just want to say thanks so much for downloading this quick reference sheet!
I don’t like fluff so I’m going to try providing you with as much value as possible, as fast as possible. Let’s get started with some important info first!
Why are subject lines so important?
The power of the subject line is obvious in nature. Besides for your name in the email, the subject line is the one and only thing the recipient really sees before opening your email.
It’s the determining factor on whether or not your email gets opened or not.
And of course, an opens=the prospect likely reading your emails. If they don’t read, they will likely not click on any links or respond to your email, which is the fuel of your business.
Where did these subject lines come from?
These Subject Lines were not chosen out of the blue or made up. They were handpicked from a study of millions of emails sent through our own cold-emailing tool, ScopeLeads.
Many were also curated, inspired, and adapted by many cold emailing experts and people who I consider to be mentors, in order to grow my own digital marketing agency.
Do I need anything else first?
- You must already know what cold emailing is.
- You must already have a service or product to sell (unless you’re just testing).
- You must be in the B2B space (While these may work for B2C, the approach, aim, and data from all of these subject lines were for reaching business owners, professionals, or CXO’s).
- You will need a plugin (for gmail) or a tool/app that can measure open rates so you can know exactly what’s working and what can be adapted.
What to expect from this reference sheet?
- This document is exactly that. It’s not a long “ebook” promising you riches or step by step instructions to prospecting or building a business.
- It’s to be used as a go-to sheet whenever you’re firing up your favorite emailing tool to get your prospecting done for the day.
- You won’t just find a whole list of subject lines in this document. For each, I have included a brief explanation of when to use each subject line and why they work.
- Feel free to copy/paste, use it for inspiration, or adapt them creatively to suit your needs.
- Each subject line should give you at least a 35% open rate with a working recipient email address.
- These are also only for the first email you send to a prospect, not for follow up emails.
Don’t forget to measure everything and test often.
Not every subject line will provide you with the same open rates or results for your business/niche/industry/recipient.
For example, sometimes the same subject line is written in a different way (ex. “Have You Seen This?” vs. “have you seen this…” vs. “Have you seen this?? 😱”) can have dramatically different effects depending on who it’s being sent to.
When in doubt, send in lowercase and make it casual. We’re all human after all.
To your success,
(in no particular order)
1. Appropriate Person?
When to use: Mention you have an audit to send, include a screenshot of their website as a “fake audit”. If the prospect responds, then make the real video audit of their website or related to whatever it is you sell.
Why it works: You’re taking the angle of curiosity making them think what it could possibly be that you are sending, while also wondering if they could be the appropriate person to receive it. Also works as: “Are you the right person to speak to?”.
2. [Boss’s Name] told me to speak to you
When to use: With companies of large hierarchy or many different departments. Reach out to the boss first and ask who is best to speak to regarding the department you are trying to reach, then reach out to that department.
Why it works: No one can say no to their boss. Sometimes, the boss themselves will forward the email for you.
3. I found you through [Other’s Name] When to use: Works best if you’ve already been referred by a colleague, friend, or even competition.
Why it works: Familiarity in the inbox is a great way to stand out.
4. Have you seen this?
When to use: When you actually have something to present, such as an audit or something you found on the prospect’s website. Don’t use to promote something you own/created as the object they “haven’t seen”.
Why it works: Curiosity killed the cat.
5. Your website’s broken?
When to use: If something is actually broken on their website – a link, button, glitch, marketing funnel, etc. Don’t use as clickbait for something like their SEO or PPC just being un-optimized.
Why it works: Panic and words like “broken” will have people rushing to fix things if it means loss of business.
6. [First Name], can you help me out?
When to use: In any scenario that can be angled as needing their response/advice.
Why it works: Humans absolutely love when their opinions matter and if they can quickly help and get credit for something.
7. Idea for [Company Name]
When to use: If you have a suggestion,fix, etc, try to schedule a call to present this “idea”.
Why it works: Personalized with their company name, people want to know what others suggest for their business and that others are thinking about them.
8. A better way to do [their main business activity]
When to use: Ex. For cold emailing realtors if you’re a digital marketer: “A better way to get more condo listings online”. Be careful not to call out the prospect on something that might embarrass them or this will backfire.
Why it works: The prospect sees that you did your research and know about their industry and possibly what they’re struggling with. An improvement offer or a new opportunity is always a desired outcome.
9. Strange question…
When to use: This extremely effective subject can be used if you pose any question in your email such as why the prospect is doing something a certain way.
Why it works: Builds tremendous curiosity and is purposely vague. Also is good at demanding a response for further rapport and relationship building
10. [First name], are you free tomorrow?
When to use: When trying to book a consultation call and you believe you can go straight for the kill.
Why it works: Wastes back and forth, gets to the point, and can potentially book calls right away. It works because the prospect thinks it might be them that has the opportunity to sell you.
11. How [Their Competitor] is doing [Business Activity/Benefit] better than you
When to use: When you are trying to get a point across about something you sell that they currently aren’t using, or if you work mainly with their industry and want to position yourself as an expert. Choose an equally sized competitor.
Why it works: Businesses hate their competition and will get especially eager to read if it’s about a business on the same scale as them.
12. Let me [Important Business Activity] for you
When to use: If your product or service manages, automates, or makes a process in their business more efficient.
Why it works: Who doesn’t want free work or automation? Also works as “Can I help you do [Important Business Activity”.
13. [First Name], just wanted to share this video I made for you
When to use: When you’ve made a video audit (or fake audit screenshot) for their business or website.
Why it works: It’s hard to believe someone took the effort to make a personalized video. Once they open and see there really is a personalized screenshot inside, it will connect perfectly and be even more effective.
14. Quick request
When to use: Any angle requesting to schedule a call or a reply.
Why it works: The casual, non-capitalized spelling and super-vagueness surrounding it is sure to get your prospecting opening this email.
15. Will you reach your [Main KPI] goal?
When to use: If your product or service helps businesses in that industry hit well known KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as revenue, signups, churn, etc.
Why it works: Majority of the time businesses set large goals and aren’t on track to hit their KPIs. If you can make it more likely for them to get there, it will get their attention.
16. Found you on LinkedIn/your website/etc
When to use: When you actually find them through that channel. I get these multiple times a week for all sorts of pitches.
Why it works: Small ice breaker, familiarity, small trust building that you hang out in the same “place” with the same network of people.
17. Trying to connect
When to use: Pretty straightforward.
Why it works: Prospect may think they have the opportunity to sell you or missed your sales/support request on another channel.
18. [Your Company]<>[Their Company]
When to use: In pretty much every B2B scenario where you’re pitching a decision maker who associates themselves with their Brand. Works great if you have a really short, cool product name.
Why it works: Prospect may think it’s a request for a collaboration, integration, or some sort of worthwhile connection.
19. Afternoon, [First Name]
When to use: In the afternoon 😄
Why it works: Personalized emails are always more likely to get opens.
20. Your marketing process
When to use: If you sell marketing and your email breaks down their process or asks to discuss it. Also works as: “Your sales process”.
Why it works: A business owner or decision maker in charge of marketing will wonder what an outsider could possibly have to say about his processes.
21. Potential leads for [Business Name]
When to use: You sell leads or a product/service related to lead-generation to local businesses. Works best if you already have incoming leads and need to find a potential buyer quickly.
Why it works: Everyone needs leads for their business, and the prospect is not entirely sure if you’re connecting them with a specific lead (remove the plural ‘s’ in leads) or if you have some free leads to send them. Also works as: “Sample leads for [Business Name]”.
An important tip and warning about using the subject lines above.
While the goal for almost all of these subject lines is to pique curiosity of the prospect and get them to open the email, don’t mislead them.
This means not to use one where the content or intent of your email doesn’t match what you were trying to imply in your subject line.
If you do and you get great open rates but no responses, then getting the open wasn’t the real metric you should be tracking, replies are.
The last thing you want is for the recipient to feel deceived and for them to mark you as spam.
Always start the relationship off on a good note.
Good luck 😎!