The most effective subject lines for sales email outreach

The most effective subject lines for sales email outreach

Most emails to prospects don’t lead to sales. Composing an email that will get opened – guaranteed – is an ambitious undertaking. In fact: A lot of those emails never even get opened. Current statistics show that nearly 70 percent of emails today are reported as spam from the contents of the subject line alone. Think you’ll get a better response by personalizing? Think again – emails with the word “you” in the subject line are opened 5% less frequently than those without.

Yet all is not lost – for every action that decreases an email’s open rate, there is a corresponding action that may increase it. In this post, learn how to compose the most effective subject lines for your next sales email campaign.

Keep it Short and Sweet

There is a good chance the folks you are trying to connect with are busy (very few slackers sit in positions of power!). So the only thing you show them by rambling on is that you are not busy … and thus someone not worth connecting with.

60 months of research highlights the importance of brevity in email campaigns as well. In short, the faster a recipient can read your email, the more time they will have to respond (rather than hit “delete”).

Example: “Tomorrow, Monday 12/10 at 3:30pm?”

40% of emails are opened on mobile first – where the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words max. (Source: ContactMonkey)

Say Their Name

There is a reason so many people are willing to appear on television and in print doing stupid things … especially if that is the only way they will ever see their name in lights. Even the busiest executives will take pause if their own name suddenly pops up on the screen – or so the data says. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened.

Example: “Mr. Jones – There is a Free Offer Waiting!”

Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. (Source: Adestra)

Ask for Mentoring Not Money

How often have you asked someone for advice and gotten silence? Whether they happen to know anything about the topic or not, it is very difficult for most of us to refrain from giving advice when it has been asked for.

Be short but very specific (here, think respectful, not brown-nosing) in why you are specifically asking that busy person for advice and your chances of hearing back increase even further.

Here, whatever you do decide to do, don’t include asking for cash. These emails end up in the round file about 100 percent of the time.

Example: “Great Ted Talk – Would Love Your Advice”

Include “Hot Button” Words

Subject lines that include words like “video,” “free,” “tomorrow,” “new” or “sale” boost the likelihood your email will get at least opened (from there it is up to your copy to keep the recipient reading).

On the other hand, steer clear of words like “newsletter,” “you,” “meeting,” “quick” or “fw” (for forward). They spell doom for the email inside.

You want numbers? A research by Sidekick reveals that emails with “free” in the subject line were opened 10% more than those without. Emails with “quick” or “fw” in the subject line were opened 17% less than those without. The word “newsletter” used in subject lines can even overtop this: 18.7% decrease in open rates.

Use Humor and Be Specific

You are trying to sell your recipients something – eventually – and people like to buy from people they like and trust. Building likability starts with a smile and a chuckle. Building trust starts with being specific, including proposing a date and time to speak or meet.

Example: “To Meet or Not to Meet – That is the Question”

With these heavyweight subject line tips in hand, you are ready to begin composing an email campaign that is guaranteed to get opened and read!

[no subject]-Surprise

The most incredible fact at the end: Subject lines with 3 or less words are opened more often than those 4 and more. But the guys at Sidekick found out that emails with no subject all together were opened 8% more than those with a subject line. Shocking, right?

Try this for yourself and start testing in a few quick steps

  1. Split the prospects you need to email into two even buckets.
  2. Download an email tracking software, such as Sidekick, to see if they opened or not.
  3. Send one list emails with a subject line, and the other list emails with another subject line.
  4. Check to see which emails were opened, and which weren’t opened.

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