The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Writing Cold Email Subject Lines That Increase Open Rates

Not seeing the results you want out of your cold emails? You might need to improve your subject lines.

When it comes to writing the perfect cold email, it all starts with the subject line. You need to create something so unique and eye-catching that it stands out among all the other sales and marketing messages in your prospect’s inbox. 

It can be a tough task to accomplish, especially when you consider people send and receive dozens of emails a day. But if you want to increase open rates and see the higher conversion, it has to start with your cold email’s subject line

Not sure how to get started creating that wow-factor subject line? In this article, we’ll take a look at a few dos and don’ts to help send you down the right path.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover: 

  • Do: Add personalization
  • Don’t: Use clickbait
  • Do: Keep it short and sweet
  • Don’t: Be too formal
  • Do: Give them a reason to click

Follow These Dos and Don’ts to Write Subject Lines That Increase Open Rates

Writing the perfect cold email subject line doesn’t have to be the hardest part of your job. In fact, with a few simple tips, it can be easier than you ever expected. By keeping these dos and don’t in mind when you’re drafting your next cold email, you’ll be on the road to success!

Adding personalization to your subject line makes it feel like you’ve taken the time to get to know your prospect. It will also help your message stand out from the others flooding their inbox

1. Do: Add Personalization

Adding personalization is one of the most important steps when it comes to cold emails. That’s because you need your message to stand out in a sea of other emails that build up in a user’s inbox throughout the day. 

In fact, it’s been said that personalizing email subject lines can increase your open rates by 50%. That means that by taking a little extra time to learn more about your prospect’s interests, you can almost double your chances of them opening your email. It’s well worth the time spent. 

Not sure where to start? Here are just a few ways you can incorporate personalization into your email subject lines: 

  • Use the recipient’s name
  • Find something they are interested in and incorporate that
  • Promote something happening in their area
  • Mention a common colleague or connection 

You don’t have to spend hours hunting down all the information you can find on your prospect. All it takes is one small personal touch to pique their interest and get them to click to learn more.

Clickbait might result in higher open rates, but it won’t provide you with quality leads. It’s best to avoid using it and appealing to prospects in another way.

2. Don’t: Use Clickbait 

Clickbait is all around us and people are becoming more and more aware of it. If your technique to increase your open rates is by using it — you’re likely to find your messages quickly getting marked as spam. 

When you consider that 45% of all emails are spam, users are on high alert and will quickly delete or report messages they find suspicious. 

That means that sending an email with a juicy, click-worthy subject line but has nothing to do with the content is never in your best interest. It is more likely to annoy the recipient and encourage them to delete your messages in the future. 

While it might be a quick way to increase open rates, you won’t see much engagement beyond that initial open. And if your open rates aren’t leading to conversions, is it really helping your bottom line? 

So when you’re writing your next email and ready to draft the subject line stay away from the clickbait and create a message with meaning.

Your prospects are busy people. Keep your messages short, sweet, and to the point to improve your open rates.

3. Do: Keep It Short and Sweet

According to MarketingProfs, email subject lines between 1 and 20 characters in length have the highest average open rate. That means that the shorter your subject line is the better. 

It’s also important to consider how many characters are displayed across devices. While someone may be able to see a longer subject line on a desktop, that same message will be cut short on mobile. Considering that a big chunk of your target audience is likely using their cell phone as their primary source of email consumption — you could be missing a big opportunity. 

Now, we’re not saying that you can never send longer subject lines. But it is a best practice to keep it as short and sweet as possible. If you do need to extend your message beyond 20 characters, make sure to include the most important information upfront so the recipient sees it no matter the device they are on.

Don’t be too formal when first approaching a prospect. Keeping the conversation more informal and friendly will make it feel less like a sales pitch and more personal.

4. Don’t: Be Too Formal

Formal subject lines can easily come across as too professional or might even scream “I’m a sales pitch”. For many people, those types of emails are easy to skim over and send to the trash bin. 

But by sending a less formal message, you’ll have a better chance of standing out. As you get better at the art of informal subject line creation, you’ll even be able to connect with recipients like you would a friend or colleague. 

Creating a subject line in this manner may make the recipient feel like they already know you or that you’re someone who is genuinely interested in helping them. 

One of the most important things about cold emails is the first impression. So if you can appeal to the uses in a more conversational and friendly way, they are going to have a better, lasting impression of you.

You need to give your prospects a reason to click. A generic subject line might not provide them with enough value to keep reading

5. Do: Give Them a Reason to Click

You need to get to the point and let the recipient know why you are reaching out to them — and what better place to do that than the subject line? 

Tell them upfront what value you offer and why they should open your email. Lead with things like: 

  • The value you have to offer them
  • How can you save them time or money
  • An example of real dollar amounts you have saved similar customers
  • What you are asking them to do

Remember, you are reaching out to tell the recipient about something you can do for them. Why beat around the bush when you can put the information they want to hear right in front of them. Doing this in the subject line lets them know before they even open the email how you can help them without all the extra fluff. 

Now Get Out There and Nail Your Cold Email Subject Lines

Cold emails can be a great tool when done right, and it all starts with a perfect subject line. So make sure to do your part to include a little personalization, keep it conversational and to the point, while always providing your prospects with value. With the help of these dos and don’ts, you’ll be on the right path to increasing your open rates.