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How to Nail the Subject Line For a Cold Email

Whether you’re trying to expand your customer base, contact a potential lead, or collaborate with another company, cold emails are an effective, inexpensive method of building your professional network. The biggest drawback? The likelihood of getting left out in the cold.

Subject Line For a Cold Email


If the response rate for your cold email campaign could use a boost, it’s probably time to reassess your drafting process, starting with the first thing that your email recipient sees: the subject line.

Why a Good Subject Line is Important

While getting the recipient to open your cold email doesn’t guarantee you a reply, it’s still an essential part of the process. After all, it’s kind of hard to respond to an unopened email.

In most cases, the person you’re cold-emailing won’t recognize your name or email address, which means they’ll take a look at the subject line to decide whether to open the message or just delete it.

Not only does a good subject line get you a step closer to a response, but it also gives you a chance to make a good first impression. Crafting a compelling subject line-especially one for a cold email-is a respectable skill, which means that if nothing else, your recipient will appreciate your aptitude for communication.

Good Subject Line is Important


The subject line of an email might seem like the least important part, but that’s simply not true. Your subject line can be the difference between establishing a new connection and sitting in the “Trash” folder.

What Makes a Subject Line Work

Unfortunately, writing a strong subject line isn’t easy-at least, not as first. That being said, email marketing has a lot of teachable elements, as long as you know what you’re trying to accomplish with it. So, what attributes does a cold email subject line need in order to work?

1] Brevity

There are plenty of circumstances under which showcasing your affinity for the written word is beneficial or even encouraged. Your cold email subject line isn’t one of them. Brevity is key. You only have a couple of seconds to grab the recipient’s attention, so save the floral language for a different time.

Additionally, it’s important to limit your subject lines to a few words because you’re less likely to get cut off if the recipient’s checking their inbox on their phone.

2] Character

A bland subject line won’t do you any favors, even if it provides adequate context for the email (e.g. “Looking to Expand My Network”). Sure, it’s short and states your reason for emailing them, but it’s totally underwhelming.

Your subject line should show some character. It should be punchy, eye-catching, and perhaps most importantly, memorable. Otherwise, why should they give you any of their time?

3] Personalization

Engaging with your recipient on a personal level will make them more inclined to open your email. If you know someone at their company, have a mutual friend, or have been following their work, you should try to incorporate a relevant detail in the subject line.

Even if you don’t know them personally, you can try to reference something that directly affects or pertains to their business like the software that they use.


Make sure to do your research. You want to prove to your recipient that you know exactly who you’re emailing and that you chose them for a reason.

4] Value

Creating a subject line that’s solution-oriented can cause some major intrigue. Show them a glimpse of what they have to gain by opening the email. Give yourself some legitimacy by being specific. In other words, don’t name a problem that everyone has-name one that they have.

You need to be careful with how you frame this kind of subject line to avoid sounding like clickbait. Don’t make grandiose promises that are clearly too good to be true or write something deliberately misleading. Be genuine, and show them why they need you.

5] Urgency

No one in business wants to miss out on the next big thing. Incorporating a sense of timeliness into your subject line might convince the recipient that if they don’t open your email, they might regret it. But, again, make sure to steer clear of clickbait-indicative language or threatening undertones.

If your offer truly is time-sensitive, there’s no better place to make that assertion than in the subject line. That being said, there’s nothing wrong getting in touch with your dramatic side-though once more, you need to be very cautious when you dip into this territory.

Okay, You’ve Got a Hot Subject Line For Your Cold Email. Now What?

While you don’t necessarily need to start with the subject line, it might be a way to get your ideas flowing if you’re suffering from writer’s block. Either way, even the most perfect subject line can’t survive on its own: You need an email body to back it up.

In the end, the subject line might be able to win you the first battle, but it can’t win you the war. That being said, when it comes to cold emails, you need all the help you can get-which is why overlooking the subject line is a fatal mistake. Nail the subject line and grab their attention, then make sure that like you, it just keeps getting better.

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About the author

Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses.