Chapter #2

Perfecting Subject & Opening Lines

In chapter #1, we began talking about the importance of grabbing your prospects attention. If you are going to have any success in writing cold emails, the first thing you need to do is grab their attention via the subject & opening line, this sets up your entire email, gets the prospect engaged, and ready for what you’re asking of them.

When writing subject and opening lines, you want to (somewhat) keep Pareto’s Law in mind (the 80/20 rule). Most cold email “experts” suggest that you spend 80% of your time focused on the subject and opening lines… but we don’t follow this rule completely. We’re more on the side of a 60/40 rule, with 60% of your time going towards subject & opening lines, and 40% of your time going into the body and call to action. The same principle holds true for both the 80/20 and the 60/40… without great subject and opening lines, you’re not going to have much success.


Subject Lines That Get Opened

The subject line is the first thing your reader is going to see, and it makes all the difference… 47% of recipients decide whether they will open an email or not solely based on the subject line! (Hubspot)

It is imperative that your email is opened to have any success; therefore, writing an amazing subject line is the first step towards your success.

So how do you write amazing subject lines?

Follow these 6 best practices below…

Keep It Short!

No one wants to read a novel just to start the conversation… so keep it short!  According to Hubspot, you should keep your subject lines shorter than 50 characters.  This ensures that people scanning your emails are able to read your entire subject line – remember that over half of people are reading emails on mobile devices, and therefore are reading on a much smaller screen.

Use a Real Sender Name

If the email is coming from a company instead of a person, it’s less likely to get opened.  Using a real name such as John@xyz.com compared to Sales@xyz.com is proven to boost open rates.  Joanna Wiebe talks a lot about this in a Copy Hacker’s article found here.

Be Personal

Campaign Monitor reports that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

Inside of our data lists, you’ll find that, we offer personalization options such as first name, company name, and a whole lot more.  Test out different options, see what works best for your audience!

We’ve found that using the first name or company name in our subject lines makes a world of difference…

It’s the simple switch from: Here’s an easy way to boost sales – vs – John, here’s an easy way to boost sales

See how easy that was?

Make Them feel special

This is a big psychology play, use exclusivity in your subject lines.  When people feel lucky that you’re reaching out to them, they now feel like they’re in the “in crowd” with you.  You’re basically starting a friendship via the subject line.

Be clear & Useful

This should be common sense, but too many people think that “fluffing” their subject line will help them out, it simply doesn’t.  Do you open messages that are full of fluffy or internet markety words?

  • Your subject line should clearly contain a benefit
  • Tell them why your message is useful to them

Before you decide on a subject line, ask yourself one question: If you were to receive this email, would the subject line make you want to open the email?

If the answer is no, it’s back to the drawing board.

talk like a human

Talk like you would to someone you meet at the bar.  Keep in mind the people you are sending to… if it’s a big wig in a corporate environment you’ll probably talk more formal than you would to a small business owner.

Medium has a great article in which they talk about the importance of writing like a human.

Opening Lines That Engage Your Prospects

Writing great subject lines in order to have success isn’t a big secret.  Even if you didn’t think of it before, it’s likely that you’d eventually realize your emails aren’t getting open and that’s the first step to having any success…

What is less know is the importance of your opening line… this is the 2nd most important part of your cold email.  If you already got them to open the email, you had better capitalize on that!  Don’t start your email with formal bullshit, grab their attention and hook them to keep reading further.

A good opening line will follow suit with your subject line, and engage the reader to continue reading to your email body.  After all, that is the whole point of every sentence you write… get them to continue reading onto the next line.

Let’s look at some examples of bad opening lines, and how we can re-write them to make for a more engaging opening line:

Example of a bad opening lines…

  • I am writing to…
  • Just checking in…
  • I’m just following up…
  • I hope this finds you well…
  • My name is Chris, and I’m writing to….
  • I’m sure you’re busy, but…

Do you see a commonality between all those?

They are all either focused on you, or they are clearly showing that you don’t know them.  Although this is a cold email, you don’t want it to feel cold to the prospect!  Read more here on opening lines you want to avoid.

The key objective with the opening line (much like the subject line) is to get them to continue reading.  They haven’t even hit the meat of the email yet; if you scare them off here there is absolutely no chance you’re going to turn this cold prospect into a lead.

What does make a good opening line?

  • Focused on the prospect
  • Engages the prospect: makes them think or leaves them curious
  • Relevant to their day-to-day
  • Did I mention it focuses on the prospect?
  • Stays in line with your subject line
  • Is clear & concise

Once you have a great subject line and opening line, your prospect will be engaged and ready to move onto the body of your email…