20 Sales Email Subject Lines that Get Prospects to Open, Read, and Reply to you

Everyone gets cold sales emails at one point or another, but how many do they actually open, read, and respond to? The thing is, the most successful sales emails are those that do not feel stiff and unnatural. They have that extra something that draws in prospects and drives them to respond or – better yet – buy your product or service.

To write an effective sales email, you have to use two key ingredients: personalization and value proposition. Let’s face it – most people are basically self-centered. This means that they want to know what you can do for them. How will having a conversation with you help to solve their business challenges and pain points?

If you cannot answer this question quickly and clearly right from the start, your sales email open and response rates will remain dismal – even if you are sending out 100 or 1000 emails.

That is why the email opening line is so important. Just like a secretary can act as the gatekeeper to a manager or executive, sales opening lines can easily keep prospects from paying attention to your email. That is because they act as a preview of what is to come in the email itself. Will you offer value or waste their time? Great subject lines must answer this question clearly because it might mean the difference between success and failure.

Therefore, what makes a good email opening line? The best are interesting, creative, and thought-provoking. They manage to find the right balance between being informative without giving away every detail.

However, it is no small feat to write good opening lines – as evidenced by the terrible response rates many marketers today generate. This post will show you some great examples of email opening lines for different kinds of situations. Personalize them for your own sales emails and see your numbers explode!

Sales Email Opening Lines – The Do’s and Don’ts

Do you want to turn your prospects completely off from reading your pitch? Well, then just open your sales email like this:

“Hi, my name is (blah blah blah), and I’m a sales rep at (this-and-that company name).”

These kinds of email opening lines immediately signal the prospect that someone is trying to sell them something. That is a big no-no in the email marketing world. While you should not try to make prospective customers think that you are only just a salesperson, there are far more engaging and creative ways of opening sales emails that the typical introduction.

In short, the opening above will get your email sent straight to the trash folder. You can also go wrong in other ways, such as:

  •    I work for…
  •    Our company does…
  •    We are responsible for…
  •    We have helped…

Do you know what is wrong with all these email opening lines? They are all about you and how great you are. They simply scream, “I don’t care about you just buy my stuff!” Apart from making a terrible first impression, they often mask the fact that you really might have something life-changing to offer the prospect. Unfortunately, no one will give you the chance to get that far.

So how do you keep your prospect reading? Here are three simple tactics that will help you keep the focus where it truly belongs:

1. Use strategic words

Obviously, your company is in the business of solving some sort of challenge or pain point through a variety of services and products. The problem is, so are a whole bunch of other companies. Therefore, your success will depend on just how much you can stand out from the rest.

The easiest way to do this is by creating value. Depending on your audience, there are a number of words you can use to communicate this value easily and clearly. These include:

  • Strategic

  • Profit

  • Value

  • Trust

  • Competitive

  • Advantage

  • Leadership

2. Social proof

A referral from a trusted mutual connection is one of the most valuable but overlooked ways in. Not only does it give you instant credibility, but it also provides a foolproof way to start a meaningful conversation with prospects.

However, just because you do not have one does not mean it’s the end of the world. Referencing a familiar report, industry event, acquisition, award, promotion, or press release can also be a good starting point. Whatever the case, choose something that is important to them to connect with.

3. Promote your expertise

Today’s professionals are so busy keeping up with the nitty-gritty of daily life that they do not have as much time to stay on top of current industry knowledge too. If you can find a way to offer value by solving the information gap, then you will be invaluable to your prospects. Remember, though, that this is the only time you are allowed to shamelessly flaunt your expertise!

Any industry changes – from regulatory requirements, business events, or shifts in the competitive landscape – can be the perfect way in. By merely showing your broad knowledge of such industry-related details, you begin standing out from the crowd.

For the best results, these strategies must flow seamlessly into a couple of guidelines that will help you craft the perfect email opening lines. These include the following:

  •    Use the prospect’s name in the opening line.
  •    Make sure that it is as personalized and specific as possible. Here, we mean customizing the email to the prospect’s specific interest and main business challenges.
  •    Use questions in the opening lines whenever it makes sense to do so.
  •    Ensure that your email delivers on what it states it will. Avoid using any kind of misleading language. Your email might get opened, but you will have to deal with very angry customers afterward.

With that in mind, let’s get into the different email opening lines that you should be using. If you have been struggling to think up some new and interesting ones, here are some great ideas for you.

20 Email Opening Lines that will Hook Buyers Instantly

Clever Opening Lines Ask Questions

1. Is (relevant topic) a priority for you right now?

Nothing gets a prospect talking faster than a well worded, timely question. Marketing gurus love using such questions in sales emails because they fire up the prospect’s interest and get them to seriously think about their status quo.

This particular question can help you get a better idea of a prospects top challenges and priorities. If you somehow manage to land on an especially tricky area for them, you are in.

2. Did you know (thought-provoking statistic)?

During your research, you might have picked on the fact that the prospect is trying to handle a particular business problem that your service or product can help solve. Starting off an interesting and relevant statistic might just be your way in, paving the way especially with prospects that are more data-driven.

3. What do you think about (recent industry conference or event)?

Remember, the goal of every sales email you send out is to start a conversation with prospects. It should not be about closing the deal – at least, not at this stage. That is why using such an email opening line is so effective. It does not call for a “yes” or “no” answer, therefore prompting the start of a meaningful conversation.

4. What would it mean to you if your business was able to (specific benefit)?

One of the most important sales skills you could have is the ability to paint the picture of an idea future state. You must be able to show the prospect a “could be” scenario that gets the prospect thinking about a different way of doing things, right from the first interaction.

If you want maximum impact, use a benefit that can be backed up by data from recognized customer case studies. That will really get the prospect’s juices flowing because it shows how others have tried – and succeeded – in implementing the product or service that you recommend.

5. Yesterday, you (specific action). Why?

The prospect may have interacted with you in some way over social media. Did they favorite your tweet? Check out your profile on LinkedIn? Whatever the case, this can give you the perfect way in.

The downside is that this question might come off as a little creepy to some people. Therefore, you can clarify it further in the body of the email. Try something like, “I noticed that you viewed my profile on LinkedIn. What brought you to these parts? Did I do something?” The simplest emails are usually the most effective too.

Email Opening Lines that Hint to Trigger Events

1. Congratulations on (recent career move)…

If your prospect recently got promoted or a new job at another company, that is the perfect time to reach out. They will be so excited about their new circumstances that they will be more receptive to any offers of help. Apart from that, this move will help to start off your relationship on a positive note.

2. I noticed your business recently (relevant event)…

If used correctly, any reference to a recent trigger event will make for very effective sales opening lines. You can use Google Alerts to keep an eye on the companies that you are interested in, keeping an eye out for any major moves.

If your “stalking” pays off and you catch a whiff of some major announcement, jump on the opportunity and send a sales email that connects the event to your service or product.

3. A few suggestions for leveraging (specific opportunity)

Another great tactic that will help you close sales is offering value. Clever opening lines that show a prospect how to take advantage of their latest business moves will always produce results.

Apart from earning credibility, you will also be privy to invaluable details about the company’s situation. You will also be able to identify any roadblocks to the process of making the final sale.

Catchy Opening Lines that Boost their Ego

1. I loved your blog/post/tweet on (specific subject)

Who doesn’t like receiving genuine compliments? This type of email opening line is very effective because of a couple of key points. Not only are you starting the conversation about topics the prospect is interested in, but you have also done your research. Therefore, prospects will be more inclined to take your ask more seriously.

2. Great insights at the (relevant industry event)…

“Did you see (so and so) speak at (specific panel, conference, or event)?” These types of catchy opening lines give you an in to strike up a meaningful conversation with the prospect about an interesting presentation. As you go into the main points, a savvy salesperson will then be able to seamlessly guide the conversation into the ask.

3. I have always been a fan of (specific aspect of prospect’s work)

Does your prospect have a great blog or website? Or, do they manage a division that performs well consistently? You can use that information to make the email about them and their excellent work. Turning the focus on them helps to engage the prospect and invite their trust. Again, genuine compliments never hurt!

4. Hoping to get your advice on (specific subject)

At first glance, this might seem like a terrible way to do a sales email. “Do not ask for anything before providing value!” is something you have probably heard over and over again. While it is one that you should stick to in general, it all depends on what you are asking for.

Research shows that people like giving advice. Asking for it appeals to a prospect’s ego, and is a hard request for most people to resist. Your request must be honest and natural, otherwise, you run the risk of making the prospect quite angry.

Email Opening Lines that Leverage Common Ground

1. (Name of mutual connection) recommended we talk

Social proof is a truly powerful force for (your) good. Learning how to take advantage of it will help turn your low open and response rate woes around.

A great example of its effectiveness is this: what is the first thing you do before buying anything on the Internet? Unless you are a truly brave and trusting soul, you check out the product reviews online.

That is the same way using a mutual contact works. The closer a prospect is to your mutual connection, the better. This is because some of the trust they have in this person will inevitably shift to you, giving you an easier time of selling your product or service.

2. How do you know (name of mutual connection)? We worked together on (specific project)

You can use this email opening line if you and the prospect have a mutual connection, but that person has not expressly referred you. This line helps you take advantages of social proof without misrepresenting your relationship to the prospect.

Mentioning a particular activity, hobby, or cause that you have in common with the prospect is always a good move. This is because it helps to build a real and lasting rapport with them. Studies show that we are more inclined to trust people that are more relatable to us. This email opening line will ensure the prospect opens your email and keeps reading.

Email Opening Lines that Provide Value

1. I recently came across this article and thought you’d find it helpful…

If you are able to provide value from the very first email, then the prospect will know that you will not waste their time. Look up useful and interesting reports, blog posts, or eBooks to share with your prospect. This material will give you the perfect chance to get their thoughts on a topic that involves your product or service.

2. I have an idea to solve (specific challenge)

If the prospect has been struggling to find effective ways to deal with a particular problem, then they will appreciate any help in the right direction. These types of sales opening lines capture a prospect’s attention right off the bat.

3. I have been following (prospects’ channel/work) and I’m curious to learn more about (specific topic)

Experts say that marketers have been missing a valuable trick in connecting to prospects. That is because many of them work very hard to be seen as experts, but rarely adopt the role of curious students. In sales, sometimes curiosity works better than credibility.

Remember, most prospects love talking about themselves and the work that they are doing. Go on; ask a smart question about a division they oversee or project they are working on. Chances are very high that they will be more than happy to answer.  Chances are, this could also open the door to more questions and meaningful conversations, leading to you closing the deal.

4. I’m not sure how you feel about (specific activity), but to me, it’s (your opinion)

For example – If you study ads for some reason, you might have noticed that this kind of sentence is really popular with copywriters. The fact that they also make for great email opening lines makes it even better.

This approach is effective because of two main reasons:  while empathetic and relatable, it does not pretend to know what the prospect is feeling. Therefore, you do not come across as too pushy or cocky. Prospects love it because it also allows them to say “no” without feeling guilty.

5. I help companies like yours solve (main challenge) by (your product or service)

Since prospects do not have a lot of time to go through all their email every day, some of them might prefer a more direct approach. However, there is a right and wrong way of jumping straight into the ask. Instead of talking about your company or who you are, state your value proposition right off the bat. This, in turn, will make your email relevant to the prospect from the very beginning.

The Final Word…

Did you know that prospects will only give your email only 15-20 seconds before they decide whether or not to read it or delete it? Not to stress you out, but that is a lot of pressure to perform well. Given that direct email outreach has become one of the most effective tools for bringing in new customers and increasing revenues, no doubt your blood pressure levels have started to creep up slowly.

One of the saddest statistics to see is the fact that most marketers generate response rates of only one to two percent for every campaign. While this can mostly be attributed to terrible email copy and generic templates, a significant part of the blame usually falls on ineffective email opening lines.

The opening lines you use must capture the prospect’s attention and encourage them to read more and even respond. Email opening lines are just like the headline of a newspaper. Keep in mind that many smartphones today let prospects see both the subject and headline at the same time! Therefore, you really have to make it count.

That is why these email opening line examples are such an important resource for any marketer who wants to drive up their sales numbers. Keep in mind that people want any sales email to focus on them and how they can benefit. They want to know, for example, can you help them improve engagement with their customers? Or, do you have tools that can help them become more organized?

These are just some of the questions that prospects want you to answer. As long as you do your research to identify a prospect’s top challenges, and use the tips highlighted here, your sales emails will generate mind-blowing results for you and your team.

Finally, do not get discouraged if a prospect does not respond to your first emails. Maybe they have been busy and forgot to get back to you, or their inboxes are so full that your message got lost in the shuffle. A non-response should not deter you. As long as you resist the temptation to blast prospects with hundreds of email, try and try again!