We open email based on two things: the sender and email subject line. And ‘we’ here includes your prospects too. Of all the tips, dos and don’ts out there on email or written communication etiquette, if in Sales, remember this: you (and your prospects) open email based on sender and email subject line. It is highly likely you will open an email from your boss, spouse, doctor, sibling, son, daughter, their teacher, your lawyer, personal banker, etc. Even if the subject line is blank!

And that is because you are invested in the person sending and/or the issue contained therein. That is the power of Sender. So, unless your prospect is invested in you (they are not; they are selfish), you are left with email subject line as the only bullet in your chamber. That is, of course, if you want increase open rates of your emails.  

Importance of email subject lines in sales

And yet, do you pay attention to your email subject line? Especially, with official unsolicited (cold calling) emails which is what I want to focus on. The email subject line is as important as a newspaper headline; it is the packaging. What a subject line in an email does, is attract or repel the reader’s attention. Yet, research shows that even with the best email subject lines out there, open rates are at about 20%! When you consider that emails exist for job enquiries, prospecting, events, schools admission, Valentine’s, and a plethora of other purposes, the profoundness of the paltry 20% becomes manifest.

And contrary to popular belief, email didn’t come to make communication easier; no; it exists to make it faster; and with increased velocity, comes overwhelm. So, clearly, the odds are stacked against you. Now you know why best email subject line testers exist. (Yes, it’s a thing). So if you want to write emails people will actually click on or open, it matters what your subject line is. Besides sender, subject lines are, after all, the only other thing readers see in their inbox. Such is the importance of an email subject line in sales.

Examples of email subject lines

Of course, the email subject line is dependent on the recipient. And when it comes to unsolicited (sales related) emails, to have a higher opening rate, you need to invest effort in a unique or interesting subject line. Good email subject lines in sales can accelerate your selling efforts. Inappropriate or bland ones get you nowhere; killer ones on the other hand may get you everywhere. Borrowing from best practice, effective or great email subject lines are creative, clever, eye catching, attention grabbing, even intriguing.

email subject lines in sales

For instance, if you are in logistics and are seeking an appointment via email you can use the samples shared to increase the chances of your email being clicked on. Keeping the recipient’s (prospect’s) need in mind, making the subject lines short and about the prospect (not you), consider:

  • Using open ended questions: What do you think of modern (or traditional) logistics?
  • Making a bold statement: Serious logistics companies use (name of your company)
  • Saying something unexpected:  Your transport outfit could be headed for a crash
  • Including a deadline : Move your next cargo at quarter the cost…only before end month
  • Sharing something valuable : Reduce your transport costs and double your efficiency

How to pick a subject line for email

There are many other ways to deploy an email subject line in sales, that stands out, is  personalized and persuasive; email subject lines in sales that get emails opened, that get responses, and generally, that work. Just be unique, different; think and address what your reader is struggling with. Whichever you use, align your email message accordingly. And avoid using links, attachments and images in your initial mail to reduce the chances of it going to spam.


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