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It is increasingly difficult for salespeople to reach out to prospects via email, from email spam filters to poorly written sales copy, there are many barriers that can keep you from connecting with your email prospects. If you want to take those prospects to the next level, you’re going to have to reach them; really, truly being able to reach them with an email swirling in the endless voids of inboxes. So how do you do it?

The 18 Subject Lines Guaranteed to Work!

1. Hi, [Prospect Name]. This is how we can help [Prospect Company]…
This classic sales email subject line will kick off this list because of how simple and successful it is. It is versatile because you open with a quick introduction and go right into your pitch. A lot of salespeople will offer some sort of question that begs of the recipient to open the message. You can also be direct and matter-of-fact. The point here is to get their attention. Their name is your “in”, your succinct question or pitch is your secret weapon, and their interest is yours to win.

2. Do not open this email. (Unless you want to be awesome.)
This one may seem ridiculous, but it’s reverse psychology and it works. This subject line compels people to open its contents because a) they’re being told not to, duh; and b) they’re genuinely curious about your message. Who doesn’t want to be awesome? While it can be a long shot, because so many people glance over it and miss the subtle joke, using this type of subject line is useful for cold prospecting when you’re reaching out to large demographics.

3. Hey, [Prospect Name], let me help you with that.
If the 20th century represented the age of greed as old prosperity, then the 21st century relishes in helping others as the new prosperity. Brands understand the importance of this and can get behind any causes or non-profits, amplifying their corporate voice behind the things they are passionate about. Connecting with prospects over important causes that they share with your brand, they will likely read your message. Recipients of these types of emails also tend to generate a relatively high click-rate on calls-to-action embedded in the body of the message.

4. The [X] reasons why [Prospect Company] needs [Your Product].
People love lists. If your email message contains a list of free tips, tricks, or advice, this subject line will catch the attention of list-loving prospects. This subject line has to hint at something unique that the message imparts, some wisdom that will benefit them and their company. Whether you’re hawking a product or offering business consultation, always point out why they need to buy what you’re selling.

5. This new [cute animal] video will change the way you do business.
Okay, it’s not the most subtle, but sometimes you need to use a bit of shock-value. Video is still the most popular form of content and if you include videos in your emails, kudos. You get double-points if your message containing a super-cute cat video gets your prospects’ attention. Be sure to work in your message somewhere and maybe even a call-to-action. Cute animals make people feel good, and where there are cute animal videos, there is no wrong.

6. Hey, [Prospect Name], here’s an idea (for your success).
You want these types of messages to convey the offering of free advice or information to the prospect. No obligations, just a free little tidbit only for them. The idea or information should be relevant to something the prospect cares about, whether it’s their business, their family, or their lifestyle. If you can manage to work in your pitch to complement your free info-dump, you’ll be able to set up a need for your product or service, then already have the solution. The prospect ends up feeling rewarded with some free advice and may be more inclined to respond.

7. Do you have 1 minute and 38 seconds to learn about [Your Product]?
Everybody wants to learn something new, and if they can do it fast…even better. In today’s fast paced world, time is money. Use a subject line that shows you won’t waste their time. And then be sure your email message is short, to the point, and appealing. Better yet – include a quick product video that is 1 minute and 38 seconds in length! Attract your prospect with a catchy subject line and then keep their attention with a well crafted message.

8. [Prospect Name], I think you’d really love this blog.
Many prospects enjoy reading blogs to stay abreast of any new developments in their fields-of-interest, and this email subject line is the perfect opportunity to provide prospects with valuable, relevant information, but you also can direct them to your brand’s blog posts. There is no better way to build authority than with some significant blog posts that can lead to you being an influencer, and therefore more likely to get the attention of those prospects.

9. Here’s a plan for this week, [Prospect Name].
Oftentimes, prospects are busy business owners themselves. If your subject line offers some insight that will make them want to open your email, in this case, offering a plan-of-action for the week, providing a message full of actionable tips that are geared towards the prospect’s area(s) of interest. This is another instance of when to use email to build rapport and influence with your prospects, which can lead to more conversions. Send this message out on Monday mornings.

10. Feeling [stressed, anxious, crazy, etc.]? This will help.
When dealing with sales, it’s all about the feels, right? People tend to buy while in their emotion minds, so it works to appeal to prospects’ feelings by simply asking, “Feeling… xxxx?” You can also hint at a possible solution, which should compel them to open the message. Remember though, you have to deliver on these messages or else prospects will feel gypped, and that’ll ruin your credibility.

11. Hey, don’t you know [Referral Name]?
To prospects, every sales email they receive is trying to get their money, so what sets your brand apart from all the others? You need an “in”, and that usually comes in the form of a referral. You have to dress up the subject line to be friendly and casual, making them think about the referral for a moment. If they do know the referral, you have their attention. Prospects that are referred typically have higher rates of conversion, too.

12. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
This subject line may sound creepy and vague, but just by letting others know that they’re not alone in whatever struggle they may be going through. From family issues to business issues, if you can offer some words of affirmation or confidence to prospects, you will win them over. Sometimes just knowing that someone else understands that their struggle is real is enough to get their attention (and maybe even take action).

13. Are we breaking up?
One of many variations of the the ending relationship message used in sales to try and resurrect any formerly dead leads. It is humorous (perhaps unless the recipient is going through an actual breakup) and will grab the attention of prospects that may have overlooked you previously.

14. [Prospect Name], here’s your next step.
This subject line may seem a bit presumptive, but it’s typically used with prospects that you’ve already been in contact with and are now following up on. Letting them know what actions need to be taken is thoughtful, and it doesn’t leave them wondering what to do next. Some people need to be directed, and if you can lay it out step-by-step for them, you’ll have their attention for sure, making it easier for them to go through the sales process.

15. [Mutual Connection Name] recommended we meet.
It’s like they say: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Many sales are done because the prospect has a mutual connection that they already trust. If you share a mutual connection, use it to your advantage to get “in” with your prospect. Remember, the more familiar you seem, the greater chance they will trust you and complete the call-to-action.

16. [Prospect Company], this is how we’ll reach your goals…
Everyone has a number they’re trying to reach, be it sales, traffic, fans, whatever. Prospects, particularly companies, have goals and targeted numbers they want to reach for any given day, week, month, quarter, etc., so if your subject line promises ways to help them reach those goals, they will open your message to find out more, and when you talk discuss their problems and any solutions with them, they will be more apt to listen.

17. Do you want to make your life [X%] better?
While the percentage you could change one’s life is negligible, promises of making one’s life better can be any percentage. This subject line is meant to play on recipient’s hope that they can somehow improve their lives, and as a salesperson, you have to show them how your product or service is going to make their lives better. However, by framing it as a question as opposed to a statement puts the ball in their court, leaving them to think about your brand.

18. Who’s in charge of [X] at [Prospect Company]?
This one is bold and risky, as you may come off sounding like an amateur, but it’s been shown that prospects actually respond better to someone who is not an expert. Maybe you genuinely don’t know that you need to be talking to the VP of Sales and not the VP of Marketing, this subject line allows you to find out and still feel like a pro. When in doubt, ask.

So What’s the Bottom Line?

When it comes to sales email subject lines, what is the best approach? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your email prospecting. These 18 subject lines will definitely get you some responses, but you have to know when to use which type of message. Email prospecting isn’t going anywhere, and it’s only becoming more sophisticated in terms of effectively reaching your prospects and spurring them into action. Besides a killer subject line, you should also implement a tool, like Spiro’s CRM that automates data entry, allowing you more time to reach more prospects and close more deals.

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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

2 Comments

  • B. Bulfer says:

    Adam: I find your e-mails on sales subjects very interesting & good. I do however feel very uncomfortable with the e-mail suggestion using what I consider a slang phase,
    “Hey”. I think the word Hey shows disrespect and to me it seems like a salesperson is way too friendly with the suspect or prospect. Just my opinion.

  • Dinesh Kumar Anchal says:

    Nice to read. But in very engaged style of working life, my views is as that people in India (Asia) rarely go through such source mail. Though it is insightful for them to move as per shared point which do not require third opinion rather to use own wit & wisdom to analysis & execute. In last but least they want to have growth by external help believe on consultant which must be known to them. Have a nice time.

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