A great email subject line goes a long way in making a good first impression and setting the stage for the rest of your email. But there’s no one-size-fits-all, leaving plenty of opportunity for creativity depending on your target industry and demographic.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What elements make a subject line stand out?
  • How to write a killer email subject line
  • Our favorite email subject lines designed to boost click rates and conversions

What Makes an Email Subject Line Stand Out?

A key point to note is that subject lines are not just about getting people to open your email. It’s the first step in building intrigue or trust and delivering on that through the contents of your message.

Some salespeople make the mistake of writing downright crazy or clickbait subject lines that get a 100% open rate but zero responses (and likely get marked as spam too).

So what can you do to make your subject lines stand out from the rest? Let’s take a quick look.

writing email subject lines

Keep It Simple

There are two main reasons to keep your subject line short and simple:

On most mobile devices, subject lines start to cut off past 60 characters long, but the optimal length is between 40 – 45 characters long.

Make It Personalized

Simply adding your prospect’s name in the subject line can increase open rates by 26%.

Having a welcoming profile picture and a name in your email address rather than a job title like [email protected] are great ways to make your outreach feel more genuine and person-to-person.

Build Curiosity

There are plenty of creative ways to make your subject lines interesting but thankfully, there are also given techniques that don’t require much creativity to get results.

Having a question in your subject line can increase open rates by 21% while including a number can boost open rates to 113%.

Here are some simple ways to make a subject line more enticing:

  • Mentioning a new statistic about your prospect’s industry.
  • Asking for their thoughts on something.
  • Asking a question about a project they just finished or recent achievement.
  • Asking about a pain point they have.

Give Value

Consider how your offer can benefit your target. Are there any special offers running? Does your product or service address their pain point? Do you have valuable industry insights or research that will benefit your prospect?

Focusing on what ways you can give value to your prospect will stir up great ideas for both your subject line and email.

Leveraging FOMO

Fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a powerful tool that creates a sense of urgency and builds interest.

If you know which level of product awareness your prospect is at then you can use limited-time offers, promotions, or live events to get them on board. Just be sure not to overuse urgency in your emails and keep an eye out for spam trigger words when you do.

Avoid Misleading Subject Lines

As we mentioned earlier, the goal of your subject line is not only to get your target to open the email but to also set the stage for the rest of your message.

Using clickbait titles will ensure a high open rate but will ultimately do more harm than good. Emails with clickbait or misleading subject lines often get marked as spam or blocked, which can quickly harm your sender reputation and overall deliverability.

A/B Test Your Subject Lines

An A/B Split Test is an effective way to test two subject lines and see which one has a higher open rate. A/B testing has proven to help increase open rates by 49%.

To perform an A/B test, simply create two different subject lines for the same email and send each one to a separate group. The email that has the best performing open rate and engagement will have your winner subject line.

You can perform another A/B test to further narrow down to an optimal subject line but if you’re happy with your results, there’s no need to go too far with testing.

14 Outbound Sales Subject Lines That Get Opened

Now let’s take a closer look at powerful subject lines you can use to get results for your sales outreach.

Personalized Outreach Subject Lines

Personalized subject lines stand out in a crowded inbox by adding a human touch to your message.

Adding your target’s name, asking a question about their company, or giving a compliment are just a few ways to add that special element to your email.

1. “Hey {{name}}, I noticed you’re interested in {{common interest}}”

Here you’ve added the prospect’s name and mentioned one of their interests, implying off the bat that you both have something in common and that you’ve also done your research.

2. “Hey {{name}}, question about {{pain point/goal}}”

This subject line is short and simple. Adding the prospect’s name and asking a question about a goal or likely pain point will pique their interest to find out more.

3. "Congratulations on {{recent achievement/event}}!”

If you’ve done your homework right, your prospect doesn’t need to see their name to appreciate the good wishes. A timely compliment in your subject line instantly builds rapport and gets emails opened.

Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

A subject line that catches your eye and grabs your attention is a powerful one. No, we’re not talking about clickbait subject lines, but ones that leave your prospect curious to learn more.

clickbait subject lines
4. “Are you part of the 8%?”

What is the 8% referring to? What mysterious minority could the prospect be part of? This line raises questions that will leave people curious to answer by opening your email.

5. “I did {{experiment/action}} and I’m sorry”

Depending on what your experiment was and its outcome, this is a humorous subject line for sharing a valuable lesson learned or a funny result you’ve had in your career that is relevant to your audience.

Pain Point-Focused Subject Lines

Mentioning a prospect’s pain point with laser accuracy is a surefire way to better open rates. The key here is using the right words for their pain point to instantly make them agree and eager to find a possible solution.

pain point subject lines
6. “Hey, {{prospect name}}, if you’re struggling with {{pain point}}, you’re not alone”

This personalization coupled with a pain point is a powerful combination that speaks directly to your target while empathizing with them.

7. “He/She got rid of {{pain point}} in {{X amount of time}}”

This subject line paves the way for a case study or example that the prospect can relate to. If applicable, mentioning before and after pictures or results in the subject title can beef it up even more.

8. “{{Pain point}} at {{prospect’s company}}”

The pain point here can be a current situation or obstacle that your prospect’s company is facing. This subject line is rather formal but implies your email may have a solution for your prospect’s company.

Follow-up Subject Lines

Follow-up emails are crucial to any sales campaign aiming to succeed. A follow-up sequence of 4–7 emails can triple reply rates, but the reality is that 70% of salespeople stop sending emails after the first one.

Here are follow-up subject lines you can use to stay far away from the one-email cycle.

9. “Hey {{name}}, is {{pain point}} still an issue?”

Here you include a question and show interest in how your prospect is doing. If the pain point is still a problem, this will be a helpful reminder to get it addressed.

10. “Here’s that {{value offer}} I promised you”

You don’t necessarily need to have made a promise in your previous email but this is a nice opportunity to share value, get a conversation started, and potentially help your prospect.

11. “Hey {{name}}, it’s been a while"

If it’s been more than a few days to over a week, a friendly nudge can get your email opened and rekindle a connection.

Meeting Request Subject Lines

Accepting a meeting request is more challenging than just replying to an email, so making it as easy as possible for your target to say yes is key.

A meeting could be anything from an informal chat to a formal presentation. Consider your prospect’s busy schedule and try to pick the best date and time based on what you can learn about them.

meeting request email subject lines
12. “Hi {{name}}, 10 mins this Thursday?”

This line is short, to the point, and lays out a brief time frame that shows you respect your prospect’s time. You can swap ‘this Thursday’ with ‘this week’ or any day you think would work best.

13. “What time can we chat?”

Another short and direct question that gets the message across instantly. This line works for both cold emails and follow-ups.

14. “Invite to meet on {{day}}”

This one is a little on the formal side but its directness and being an invitation entices prospects to open the email and learn more.

Key Takeaways

The start of a successful sales email campaign begins with the subject line. You can use the subject lines in this article for your sales outreach or craft creative ones based on data and the elements we’ve covered on what makes an email subject line stand out.

When writing, remember to:

  • Add personalization if appropriate.
  • Steer clear of clickbait subject lines.
  • Consider your prospect’s pain points and what value you can offer.
  • A/B test your subject lines for the best results.

Check out how Instantly can help you make the most of your email outreach today!