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What’s your secret to crafting catchy subject lines?

We all know that when it comes to email outreach, a good subject line is your first key to your prospect’s inbox. What helps you write subject lines that grab attention and bring you good open rates?

In my case, here are 3 rules that I try to follow when creating a new subject line:

  •  Use the first name of the recipient - people always like to see and hear their names, so it makes your email look more personalized
  •  Ask a question - preferably open-ended to trigger your prospect to think about processes/strategies/ideas you want to touch base in your email
  •  Avoid using sales tricks and align my subject line with my message

Also, I use a couple of handy tools which I’ve recently discovered:
- Cold email subject line generator by the Reply team
It’s a great solution to use as inspiration when you lack new ideas. It generates subject lines based on 4 different categories and keywords.

- CoSchedule’s Email Subject Line Tester: coschedule.com/email-subject-line-tester
This one focuses on scoring your subject line, detecting specific words that increase and decrease your opens, and providing suggestions on character and word count. What I also like about it is the preview feature that shows how my subject line will look on the web or mobile.

P.S. I’m not a big fan of tricky strategies and appreciate good recommendations and examples of what works for you. The main goal is to get a response, not just open an email, right?:)

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    • Profile picture of Trenton Engle
      @tengle
      ( 3.4k POINTS )
      1 month, 3 weeks ago

      What I and some of my team members do is send an email saying something like “just called you”, “sorry I missed you”, or “just spoke with [name of non-DM]” because we send these emails after making a call and not getting anyone.

      The important part, as you mentioned, is to make it relevant to the body of the email, in which we apologize for missing them and them and give them a little bit of explanation for reaching out.

      Now we are a pretty new team so our CTA isn’t the strongest, but I’ve been trying something along the lines of “I’ll give you a call [day of the week], does the morning or evening work best?” But it isn’t working well

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @tengle I’ve never tried using examples like these, but this sounds interesting. If you don’t mind sharing, what was your average open rate for emails sent right after a call?

        I believe that subject lines always require a lot of creativity, patience, and experimentation, I wish you to find your perfect ones!

        • Profile picture of Trenton Engle
          @tengle
          ( 3.4k POINTS )
          1 month, 1 week ago

          “Just Called” after leaving a message is 56%, then in the email I tie it in.

          • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
            @alenaprosply-com
            ( 1k POINT )
            1 month, 1 week ago

            @tengle with open rates you always have room for improvement, but I think your result is pretty good. Thanks for sharing!

          • Profile picture of Mary Green 🔹
            @marygreencny
            ( 5k POINTS )
            1 month ago

            I’d like 56% myself. I wonder if just called in lowercase would be any different @tengle

            • Profile picture of Trenton Engle
              @tengle
              ( 3.4k POINTS )
              1 month ago

              Won’t hurt to try, that’s how I look at it.

    • Profile picture of Colin Campbell
      @colin-campbell
      ( 4.5k POINTS )
      1 month, 3 weeks ago

      SO glad you added this at the end: “The main goal is to get a response, not just open an email, right?:)”

      Even better than that – a positive response.

      It can be fun to play with subject lines and try to increase open rates, but sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by focusing on it too much. At least, speaking for myself: I sometimes make that mistake.

      That said, I like your three strategies for subject lines that work.

      I feel like this is somewhere tactics wear out really fast as they’re adopted by more salespeople, so I like to keep a swipe file on my computer of subject lines that catch my own eye.

      It might be worth asking the decision makers at your company (if they match your buyer persona/ICP) to grab one subject line a week that they received that caught their eye and share with whoever writes the sequences.

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @colin-campbell I like this tip on asking decision-makers within your company – it makes perfect sense. This idea may sound like a very logical thing to do, but sometimes we still miss these little pieces.

        Thanks for sharing!

    • Profile picture of Jack Veronin
      @jackveronin
      ( 1.3k POINTS )
      1 month, 3 weeks ago

      Do you have any data on whether putting their first name in the headline actually works? It may have at one point I’m not so sure now, but if there’s data to prove happy to eat my words =]

      • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
        @slipps
        ( 2.4k POINTS )
        1 month, 2 weeks ago

        I use company name more than first name and have seen better results.

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @jackveronin, unfortunately, I did not analyze it on my end. It’s more like a subconscious belief:) But I recently checked “The Big List of Sales Email Statistics for 2019” created by Copper (https://www.copper.com/blog/sales-email-statistics). It says that: Including the first name of the recipient in an email subject line increases the click-through rate by up to 22.2%.

        Now I’m curious to make my own comparison. What’s your strategy for choosing the right subject lines?

        • Profile picture of Jack Veronin
          @jackveronin
          ( 1.3k POINTS )
          1 month ago

          Encourage you to make your own comparison, we used to do it a lot and now avoid it.

          Latching on to a competitor is huge for us. something like “Alternative to (your competitor)” or “your hand in (keyword) strategy?” keyword could be whatever you sell and they do so like data strategy, operations strategy, logistics strategy…

    • Profile picture of AJ Alonzo
      @ajalonzo
      ( 2.7k POINTS )
      1 month, 2 weeks ago

      @alenaprosply-com you brought up 2 really great points:

      1) Avoid using sales tricks and align my subject line with my message
      2) The main goal is to get a response, not just open an email, right?:)

      They go hand in hand. If you “trick” me into opening your email, you better believe that I’m deleting it instead of responding.

      Subject lines should be concise, relevant, and give your prospect a good idea of what you’ve written in the email body.

      I don’t have any “go-to” subject lines because each one is custom to my prospect at this point.

      *It should also be known that I’m not prospecting at the level of an SDR, so I have the luxury of taking my time with the handful of emails I send out 😁

      I’ll have to check out those tools you mentioned for inspiration! Also recently got reintroduced to crystalknows.com – might be something to look into when crafting those personal subject lines.

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @ajalonzo 100% agree with your approach. As long as you have the opportunity to experiment with different options – you have a huge benefit:)

        Also, it’s a great idea to look at Crystal Knows as a helper for crafting subject lines. I’ve never used it for this purpose, but maybe now is a good time to start.

    • Profile picture of David Corona
      @dcorona21
      ( 340 POINTS )
      1 month, 2 weeks ago

      I would say you are doing everything you can. Subject lines are tricky bc there isn’t a one size fit all. I always try to keep it simple by using their LinkedIn profile and recommendations to generate subject lines. If none available, then keep it related to the body of the message, which sounds like you are doing as well. Always helpful to take a course on copywriting.

      • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
        @slipps
        ( 2.4k POINTS )
        1 month, 2 weeks ago

        Yes on the copywriting! Liz Willits just released an e-book for email marketing that I thought was really good. If you connect with her on LinkedIn I’m sure she will send it to you!

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @dcorona21 thanks for sharing your strategy! Copywriting courses have become very popular these days. I definitely need to spare some time for one of them.

    • Profile picture of Stephanie Lippincott
      @slipps
      ( 2.4k POINTS )
      1 month, 2 weeks ago

      I find a super-short subject line works best. I get pretty high open rates on cold emails when asking about the specific department or job function of the lead I’m trying to reach. I also check with marketing and see which of their outbound emails are getting the most traction for my specific persona and use those. Then I’m also providing some value while trying to get that person to a call. Hope this helps!
      –Stephanie

    • Profile picture of Vikrant Bafna
      @vikrant
      ( 930 POINTS )
      1 month, 1 week ago

      Subject lines must trigger curiosity & that leads to high open rates. The body of the email gets you the response. Its pertinent to also remember that the goal of the subject line is not to sell but to just pique interest for the recipient to open the email & read the body.

      The body can be structured to include the REPLY method which Jason Bay has crafted.
      R – Relevant Results for the prospect
      E- Emphathy – Make sure you write something which proves that you understand them/their world
      P – Personalization (not a copy-paste template)
      L- Laser focus (Brief & Succinct)
      Y – You Oriented (For the prospect)

      Check out the link below for more on the above

      Reply Method

      • Profile picture of Alena Bohomol
        @alenaprosply-com
        ( 1k POINT )
        1 month, 1 week ago

        @vikrant, I can’t agree with you more about the key role of the subject line. Also, Jason’s method looks great – I just listened to the podcast where he described it in detail:)

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Profile picture of Mary Green 🔹
      @marygreencny
      ( 5k POINTS )
      1 month ago

      If purely going for open rates, I wonder if calling out another name of a person in the prospect’s company would increase open rates. Something along the lines of Colin Campbell thinks you’d like this (insert solution). Of course, you’d have to be careful using someone’s name, but it would get my attention.

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