Cold emails subject lines: Do you want more people to open your cold sales emails? Of course you do.
Imagine if you sent out a bunch of cold emails on a daily basis — and the “Yes!” responses came pouring in.
Well, thanks to some awesome data put together by my good friends at Yesware, we were able to do just that, effectively increasing our open rates on cold emails by 93%.
These were emails that our team sent to get in front of CEOs. For our first round of these emails, the open rate was around 32%, which is solid for cold emails. But after implementing the changes I’m going to share with you in the following video, our open rate soared to 62%.
That’s really high — and a really big growth rate given the audience that we’re aiming for. The secret to success was all in the subject line.
What’s amazing is that these changes to cold emails are all really easy to implement. These are tactical ideas to improve your cold emails subject lines that you can implement right away.
In this video, I’m going to show you 5 surprising cold emails subject line tips to increase open rate by 93%. Check it out:
Cold Emails Subject Lines Video Summary:
Cold Emails Subject Line Tip #1: Keep it under five words.
This is so simple, but the data shows that as cold emails subject lines get longer and longer, open rates go lower and lower. That doesn’t mean you have to write one-word cold emails subject lines, but you should keep them under five words.
Why? Because cold emails subject lines between three and five words are more likely to get people to take a quick look to decide whether they are going to open or not.
Just remember, if your prospects use Gmail or Outlook for their emails, the email platform will often give them a short preview of the cold emails subject line. If the subject line is too long, it will get cut off. So keep it under five words to avoid this problem.
Cold Emails Subject Line Tip #2: Avoid salesy language.
When writing cold emails subject lines, put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. They receive a flood of sales emails every day. What does sales language look like from their perspective? Phrases like, “Hey, can you chat?” are so salesy that they sound like, “Hey, can I take value from you?”
Avoid salesy language in your cold emails subject lines. Words like “discount” or “pricing” are big turn-offs that will cause your open rate to go precipitously down.
Cold Emails Subject Line Tip #3: Watch out for SPAM filter words.
This was a big area of improvement for our business. We’re in a space where we naturally use words like “sales” and “opportunity pipeline” — but in the context of cold emails subject lines, these words come across as spammy.
And so we learned that we were unintentionally using spam filter words in our subject lines that email platforms were identifying as spam.
Be very cautious about using words and phrases such as cash, credit, act now, opportunity, or sales rate. These are all words that certain spam filters will identify as spam.
You can simply Google a list of spam filter words to make sure you don’t use them in your cold emails subject lines — or, quite frankly, in the body of your emails, either. Companies today are spending more and more money and resources on sorting out any emails that are likely to be spam.
The data shows that when employees are getting lots of spam, they lose productivity and are more likely to miss emails actually have value because there’s just too much junk in their inbox. Don’t let yourself be perceived as adding to this problem your prospects are facing.
Cold Emails Subject Line Tip #4: Reference a common contact.
Referencing a common contact in your cold emails subject line doesn’t have to be about referencing a person — it could also be a company, a school, or some other common connection. If you have some kind of commonality shared with your prospect, reference it right in the subject line. Your open rate is going to be way higher as a result.
I understand this is difficult to do if you’re sending out canned emails. But make an effort to personalize each cold email to reference a common contact in the subject line and your open rate will soar.
Cold Emails Subject Line Tip #5: A/B split test subjects.
An A/B split test is where you use two different subject lines to test which one has the best open rate. There are now lots of programs and plugins such as Yesware that you can use to understand the open rates of the different emails you send. The key is to split test one subject line versus another.
At the end of the day, we never know which cold emails subject lines are going to be the most effective unless we actually test them.
In our organization, we have a lot of fun with this. We’ll come up with a list of five different subject lines that we want to test and then we all place “bets” on which ones we think are going to be the most effective.
Oftentimes the one subject line that we all thought was junk is the one that ends up doing the best! You simply never know until you split test.
Now, I’m going to walk you through a few bonus tips that I think are going to absolutely blow up your open rate.
Cold Emails Subject Line Bonus Tip #1: Send at 7AM or 8PM.
This is a little outside of what salespeople often do, which is exactly why it’s so effective. Most salespeople are sending cold emails between 9AM and 11AM or 1PM and 4PM. As a result, inbox competition is at its highest during those times.
But the majority of high-level prospects are opening their emails as soon as they wake up in the morning — and right after they put their kids to bed at night. That’s why sending emails at 7AM or 8PM is such a powerful way to increase your open rate.
Cold Emails Subject Line Bonus Tip #2: Test your email deliverability.
This is pretty technical, but stick with me. There are ways to test the deliverability of your emails to make sure that they’re likely to get through to your prospects. MailTester.com is one example. If you send MailTester a test email, it will tell you if there are any issues with the deliverability of that email.
It would be devastating to spend all your time sending out cold emails only to find out that your email deliverability is only at about 50% — when it could be at 90% or even 100%. Avoid this by testing your email deliverability up front.
Cold Emails Subject Line Bonus Tip #3: There are no long-term rules.
This is key. Whatever is hot and trendy in cold emails subject lines at the moment is likely to be history a couple of months or a year from now. So you’ve got to constantly be testing new approaches, trying different ideas, and consistently split testing your cold emails subject lines to measure open rates.
So there you have it. Now you know 5 surprising cold emails subject line tips to increase open rate by 93%. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.