Best Email Subject Lines for Sales

A marketing department has many cogs to turn in the selling machine. Design, market research, GDPR compliance and lots of other tasks make up the day-to-day operations of trying to increase sales. Another one of these tasks, which may seem insignificant at first, is choosing how to word your cold email subject lines. What may appear as a mundane topic may actually be one of the most important when trying to convert cold leads.

Cold emails get a bad rap for many reasons and one of those reasons is that they can be exceptionally ineffective. People receive cold emails every day and delete them as soon as they realise what they are. However, the seconds before they swipe it away into the bottomless pit of their deleted folder with the other cold emails, they do one thing. They read the subject line. Therefore, the subject line on a cold marketing email – or even a marketing email to your subscribers – is crucial to getting a foot in the door. If the email subject line is effective, you have a chance of making a sale.

The significance of writing quality email subject lines is evident. Thus, here is a detailed and clear guide on how to craft the best email subject lines for sales.

The Basics of Writing Email Subject Lines

When you are writing email subject lines there are some things to keep in mind. One of them is length. Although there is no golden rule that needs to be followed, keeping your lines shorter and between 60 to 70 characters is usually beneficial. This is because it makes sure they get to the point and it prevents them from being cut off due to limited space on email previews. This is a bigger consideration now that we use handheld devices more than desktops and laptops. These smaller smartphones will not offer the same number of characters on their preview and may cut your line or words in half. This is something that can even be embarrassing, which will be returned to in the next section.

Another basic tip is making sure that your subject lines are relevant. You can do this by referring to recent news stories. However, try not to get political or you may deter readers who would have normally been interested. Questions have also been known to improve conversion rates. Using a question rather than a statement can draw in a reader to open the email. This is because they may want to know the answer or see if their guess at the answer was correct.

There has been an increased interest in content which lists answers to the questions we search for. For example, the top 5 places to visit in Rome or the top 10 ways to get better sleep offers quick and easy answers without having to digest lots of content. The same tactics can be used in your cold email subject lines. Including numbers in the same way does this, however, try to keep lists short as the top 100 wedding songs may put people off.

Common Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Marketing experts must tiptoe around an array of potential mistakes and pitfalls. When it comes to writing the best email subject lines for sales, this is certainly the case. Avoiding these mistakes is just as crucial as it is to choose the correct words.

  1. Forgetting Preview Restrictions

Another mistake that is common is forgetting about the number of characters that are previewed in the subject line. If you do require a longer subject line, remember to check where your preview ends. It could end in the middle of a word and completely change the meaning of your message. After all, you wouldn’t want to cut some words short, especially with words like analytics.

  • Deceiving Tactics

Once upon a time, there were cheeky methods of getting cold leads to open cold emails. Starting a subject line with ‘RE:’ or ‘FW:’ would trick recipients into thinking they had already communicated with the company and were awaiting their email. This heightened sense of importance would make people choose to read the email. However, this technique has been outdated as people now recognise this as a deceptive trick. Nowadays, this should be avoided unless you want to give off an untrusting and unprofessional image.

  • No Need to SHOUT!!!

A final mistake that should be avoided is email subject lines that turn up the decibels. Nobody has ever enjoyed being shouted at in public or in a store, so why would they want to read overused exclamation marks and words written in complete capitals? We know you may want to shout from the rooftop about how fantastic your products and services are, but capital letters and exclamation marks are off-putting and come across as desperate. Use them sparingly if at all.

Words That Kill Subject Lines

While we are on the subject of what not to do, there are also specific words that you should leave out of your cold email subject lines. The best email subject lines for sales do not include these words:

  • Sale now on: There is a strong chance that everyone who reads this phrase on an email subject line has already read the same phrase on multiple store windows on the way to work. The same people did not decide to enter the store and they will not be reading your email. Instead, inject some creativity into your marketing emails and stay away from dull phrases like these.
  • Superlatives: the road to hell is paved with superlatives. In fact, that’s not true; the road to hell is paved with adverbs but let’s put superlatives in purgatory. Email subject lines with superlatives have been proven to fall short in making conversions. It turns out that amazing is not so amazing.
  • Days: For some reason which is yet to be completely understood, using days of the week in a subject line can prevent conversions. This may be due to people reading the day and already remembering they are busy or have plans on that day. However, the results may be skewed by people deleting a bombardment of cold emails referring to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
  • Donate and help: In news that may just have you questioning the human race, unfortunately, using words that tie in with charity are not effective at converting readers into buyers.
  • Online slang and abbreviations: trying to match the language of your market can be effective, but online abbreviations such as LOL, FTW, Bae and others have also been proven to put readers off. Pull your jeans up and avoid talking like a teenager.

Words That Spark Attention

Now you know the words to leave in the dictionary, you should also be aware of the words you should be including to create the best email subject lines for sales. After some meticulous research carried out by CommuniGator, we were able to identify five words that can help you make more sales. These five words are:

Word #1 – You

Using the word ‘you’ is powerful because it creates a personalised message without having to rely on market research and know who you are talking to. This is normally the case for cold emails. It gives the impression that the line is speaking directly to the reader and is a private communication rather than what it really is, a mass-produced message.

Word #2 – [Name]

If you do know the reader’s name, using it is a good alternative to using ‘you’. It also creates that personalised message and is engaging for the reader. Using names increases your chances of your email being read, specifically by 14.68%.

Word #3 – Results

The world of business is all about getting results. From getting results from your website design to getting results using the best email subject lines – results matter. This is why the word ‘results’ is so effective in B2B email subject lines. Alternatively, using phrases that suggest better results without actually using the word can be just as effective.

Word #4 – New

Your email open rates will improve by more than 3% if you simply include the word ‘new’ in them. This is exciting for readers because new often means better. If they have heard of your business or used your services before, they are likely going to want to stay in the loop about your new offerings.

Word #5 – Invite

Did you get an invite? Who doesn’t want an invite? Using the word ‘invite’ will help your marketing cause. Just like using the word ‘results’, you can also substitute this word for a phrase giving the same meaning. An excellent example would be ‘Hey Andy, we saved you a seat…’.

Other Tips to Nail Your Cold Email Subject Lines

Earlier we looked at the basics of writing effective subject lines. Once you have mastered these fundamentals there are plenty of other tips to take on board. Here are our other expert tips:

Include personality – even cold emails can feel warm when sprinkled with some personality. If your branding is supposed to be fun and relaxed, then stay away from suit-and-tie-style subject lines. Reflect your brand an don’t be bland.

Moderate the puns – puns can be a great way to help people crack a smile when they least expect it. However, there is a pun-ometer somewhere and it can easily explode with subject lines. Don’t use more than one pun in your subject line and try not to overuse them by including one in all your marketing material.

Don’t overcomplicate – Email subject lines have lots of dos and don’ts, yet, they also need to be very simplistic and not confuse readers. The best email subject lines for sales will only focus on one topic and will not overcomplicate things. If you have two offers to mention, make two different emails with two different subject lines.

Create urgency – Many marketing ploys create a sense of urgency to convince people to take action. This is usually done by letting readers know that if they do not act quickly, they risk missing out. For example, using the phrases ‘limited offer’ or ‘limited spaces’ can improve the chances of getting your email read.

Verbs are your friends – Remember to use verbs that incite action in your audience. The right verb choice can make a difference and convince readers to take action.

Check your writing – the final tip is to always check your writing. A co-worker should be on hand and willing to look over your final lines. They will be able to help identify the aforementioned mistakes, spot typos and suggest ways of improving them.

A Final Word on Personalisation

The need to personalise emails should also be addressed. Personalisation may improve your chances of making sales, but it will only work if you can completely rely on your market research. Using someone’s name can be a powerful way to engage and spark interest. On the other hand, if you get it wrong, you are heading for the spam folder of no return. If you know your Bobs from you Margarets then add a personal touch, but if you are unsure, play it safe and stick with a simple and generic line.

Get Help with Your Copywriting

The above tricks and tips will go a long way to upping your game at writing cold email subject lines. However, if you are still not confident that you will execute your writing effectively and need further help, you may wish to employ the services of a copywriter. A copywriter who specialises in email writing will have an advanced knowledge of how to create the best email subject lines for sales. Outsourcing them is always an option if you do not have the time to pay attention to this small but crucial detail.


Share this story and choose your platform

Want to know more about our software?

SpotlerUK is more than just software. You get unrivalled support and service and we help you implement a playbook for marketing automation and lead generation success. Schedule a demo without obligation and we'll happily discuss and show you how you can utilise marketing automation for your organisation.

Read our privacy and cookie policy to see how we will process the data you provide.