Your email subject line is arguably the most important part of your entire sales strategy; that’s why I’ve assembled this list of sales email subject lines.
You can use these as you like, or modify and use them as inspiration to come up with your own subject lines.
By the way, we offer a done-for-you B2B lead-gen outreach service — so rather than worrying about doing all this email stuff on your own, we can do it for you! Interested? Grab a time from my calendar and let’s chat!
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Sales Email Subject Line?
- Cold Email Subject Lines
- Catchy Sales Email Subject Lines
- 11. [Connection] recommended I reach out
- 12. [Contact] referred me…
- 13. Hi [name], quick question for you
- 14. Did you find what you were looking for?
- 15. We met at [location]
- 16. Will I see you at [location]?
- 17. Fellow [university] alum!
- 18. I’ll cut to the chase
- 19. Let me know if I’m wrong…
- 20. I can make your life [statistic] easier
- 21. Let’s be real here
- 22. I loved your [work]!
- 23. Nice work on [topic]!
- 24. I heard you’re an expert on [topic]
- 25. Can you keep a secret?
- Email Subject Lines for a Meeting Request
- Content-Based Email Subject Lines for Sales
- Follow-up Sales Email Subject Lines
- 36. Next steps!
- 37. X action items to get started
- 38. You’re busy – but can you spare 5 minutes?
- 39. X steps to [goal]
- 40. I’d love to get your feedback
- 41. I dare you not to open this message
- 42. [Your company] and [their company] – can we work together?
- 43. Not interested in [topic]?
- 44. Are you satisfied with your [strategy]?
- 45. Closing your file…
- 46. Last chance
- 47. If you change your mind…
- 48. X quick ideas before you go
- 49. Are my assumptions correct?
- 50. Aren’t you tired of persistent salespeople?
- 51. Real quick – I forgot something
- Using a Sales Email Subject Line Tester
- Measuring Your Sales Email Performance
What Makes a Good Sales Email Subject Line?
I talk a little about what makes a “good” subject line in my article on subject lines for networking emails, but I’ll recap them briefly here.
Good subject lines for sales emails are:
- Short. There’s only so much space to work with. Keep things short and sweet.
- Unique. The more you stand out, the more likely you are to be noticed.
- Relevant. You need some relevant tie to the person you’re emailing. Why are they interested?
- Useful. A bit of helpful information or a valuable offer can take a subject line from “good” to “great.”
- Relatable. It’s even better if you can make yourself look more approachable, or give them some context for why you’re worth listening to on a personal level.
- Tied to some next action. Though you may not always achieve this, good subject lines should suggest the next ideal action for your recipient—or let them know what’s on your agenda.
Now let’s see some examples of sales email subject lines that make use of these effective qualities.
Cold Email Subject Lines
Let’s start with some basic cold email subject lines. These are best for contacting someone you haven’t met before. You likely don’t have any specific type of introduction to work with either. Fortunately, there’s still a lot to work with:
1. Introducing myself
This is a simple all-around email subject line for sales that works in almost any situation.
2. Can you help me?
The Benjamin Franklin effect purports that people will like you more if they agree to do you a favor. And human beings are fairly altruistic by nature. This subject line may seem like a reversal—after all, your prospect will be helping you—but it’s worth trying. Trust me.
3. Quick question about [topic]
I love this subject line because it works with practically any topic, so long as it’s relevant to your recipient. The “quick” element (which you’ll see in many of these examples) assures the reader that you won’t take much of their time. And again, you’re making a request for help.
4. Hoping I can help!
Here, we reverse the trend. Rather than selling something, you’re offering something—you’re willing to help this prospect with a given problem. Possibly one they don’t even realize they have. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s highly effective.
5. [Results] in [timeframe]
This line is dependent on your ability to present some compelling statistic from your business. For example, “25 percent more sales in just 4 weeks.” It’s quick, but offers incomplete information—so prospects can’t help but click to learn more.
6. Ideas for [pain point/topic]
You can use a general topic here, but it’s more effective if you can call out a specific pain point. If you happen to time this right, you could earn an open immediately. For example, imagine receiving an email with the subject line, “Ideas for how to handle a PR disaster,” when you’re actively dealing with a PR crisis. Are you really going to delete it without looking?
7. Nice to meet you, [name]!
Even if you have no idea who this person is, they might feel compelled to learn who you are if you know their first name. It’s a simple trick, but one that works great for cold leads.
8. Feeling overwhelmed by [topic]? I can help.
If your industry deals with a complicated or otherwise challenging topic, this is a great way to establish yourself as an authority. Again, you just might catch your prospects at the perfect time.
9. I noticed you’re also interested in [topic]
This is a gamble if you don’t actually know they’re interested in this topic, but it might work. You’ll have the perfect conversation starter, assuming the topic you select is significant, specific, and interesting enough to warrant a conversation.
10. Your goals
Depending on your industry, this could be a great approach. Inquiring about someone’s goals or objectives is a good way to get to know them better—and hopefully provide them with an ideal sales pitch.
Catchy Sales Email Subject Lines
One of the hallmarks of a good sales email subject line is that it catches the eye—it’s not something this prospect has seen a million times, and it’s not something easily glossed over.
You can accomplish this by leading with some personal connection, or by experimenting with something novel or unique:
11. [Connection] recommended I reach out
This is great for prospects that came from networking. It presents a relevant link, and may give you an immediate talking point.
12. [Contact] referred me…
This is a similar variant that trails off, piquing your prospect’s curiosity… hopefully…
13. Hi [name], quick question for you
Here’s that magic word “quick” again. Call out this person’s name and see if they’ll be willing to humor you.
14. Did you find what you were looking for?
This email subject line is a bit situational, but it stands out to people in the right context. Use it if you’ve encountered this person before, or if you have reason to believe they’ve visited your website in the past.
15. We met at [location]
This one works well if you met your prospect at a networking event, tradeshow, or similar location. You can use it many times if you met many prospects this way—just make sure you include something personal too.
16. Will I see you at [location]?
In a mild reversal, you can use this if you have prospects you believe might attend an upcoming networking event—or an event hosted by your own company.
17. Fellow [university] alum!
You might not get the opportunity to use this one often, but it provides an immediate relevant personal link. Keep an eye out for prospects with whom you share an educational history.
18. I’ll cut to the chase
This is one of several “gimmicky” email subject lines that seem to work really well. This one promises the reader that on the other side of this subject line is a quick, blatant, and anti-salesy email. To someone sick of sales emails, that can sound pretty good.
19. Let me know if I’m wrong…
If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, you know how much people love to correct each other. This is excellent bait for anyone with even the faintest streak of know-it-all attitude.
20. I can make your life [statistic] easier
This is useful if you have some interesting or eye-opening statistics to share. For example, if you know your product results in 15 percent increased productivity on average, stick that 15 percent in here. It’s usually compelling enough to get an open, at least.
21. Let’s be real here
I like this subject line, but it relies on a good follow-up. The body of your message should contain some seldom-spoken truth about your industry, or relate to a key pain point felt by your prospects.
22. I loved your [work]!
If you do some digging on your prospects, you should be able to find something they’ve worked on recently. Call it out in a subject line, and they’ll likely be eager to open your email and hear your praise.
23. Nice work on [topic]!
This is essentially a variant on the previous email subject line.
24. I heard you’re an expert on [topic]
Let’s see if flattery will get you anywhere with this prospect. This implies they have a reputation, and gives them an understanding of the type of conversation you’d like to have with them.
25. Can you keep a secret?
Who can resist a good secret? This is another gimmicky email subject line, but it seems to work well. Again, make sure you back it up with good body content; for example, you can have an exclusive deal or a special offer, just for this prospect.
Email Subject Lines for a Meeting Request
A common tactic is to send a sales business meeting request email. This is great if you’re better at closing sales in person or over the phone, and can get some great results. There’s not much variety here, since most approaches will follow the same course:
26. Are you available [date/time]?
There’s no reason to get cute with these. Get straight to the point.
27. [time/date] – are you available?
Feel free to experiment with the word order and phrasing.
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28. Would love to meet on [date]
This implies that the prospect is doing you a favor, which is an angle that could pay off.
29. Time to touch base?
Here, you’re forgoing the date/time recommendation and simply asking for some time in the future.
Content-Based Email Subject Lines for Sales
If you have lots of high-quality content, consider using some of these subject lines to draw more people in:
30. [Content Title]
If you have a strong piece of content, lead with it. Good content headlines tend to double perfectly as good sales email subject lines. Get your prospects to click, then hit them with your best writing. For example, if you have a research report titled “What works in marketing, according to 300+ marketing experts (2019 edition)” try using that as your email subject line.
31. X ideas for [topic/problem]
Numbers are always good in marketing. Give your prospect an idea of how many ideas or benefits they’ll receive by opening your email; it’s also an implicit promise that your content is easy to read and digestible.
32. Whitepaper on [topic] – thought you might be interested
The term “whitepaper” carries more clout than “blog,” so make sure this is a detailed, well-researched piece of content. If it has valuable, original information to offer, it’s bound to make a good impression—even if you don’t eventually close the sale.
33. Want to learn more about [topic]?
Try to pick a topic that’s especially challenging or hard to understand in this industry. It’s a good way to weed out the competition and make your offer seem more valuable.
34. [Name], are you interested in these blogs?
This is a combination of a personalized, named introduction and an appeal for valuable content. It’s ideal if your brand produces many blog posts a week, or if you have a massive archive of content for your prospects to explore.
35. Upcoming webinar – are you interested?
Webinars have always had mixed results for me, but if they work well for your brand, try building interest in them with your sales email subject lines. You can also include the prospective topic to make sure it’s even more relevant to your target audience.
Follow-up Sales Email Subject Lines
Of course, a major element of email-based sales success is the follow-up. Most people won’t respond to the first email you send, but may find themselves clicking on the third or fourth email you send. These subject lines may be the perfect way to capture someone’s attention, whether they’ve opened your emails in the past or not.
36. Next steps!
If you’ve touched base with this prospect, this is a good way to make sure they open your follow-up. If they didn’t respond to your first email, this is a kind of trick—it makes them think they’ve engaged with your content in the past, and gives them a reason to open your email to verify. Just be careful using ruses like this; it’s a good way to lose customer trust if you’re reckless with it.
37. X action items to get started
Remember, in marketing, numbers are powerful. Giving your prospect a fixed number of action items helps make your email seem shorter, quicker, and more approachable, which can incentivize an open.
38. You’re busy – but can you spare 5 minutes?
If you don’t hear back from a prospect, mention that you know they’re busy—they’re likely overwhelmed with emails, and a quick shout-out to that fact can help you establish an empathetic connection. The “5 minutes” promise is also valuable.
39. X steps to [goal]
If you know what your prospect’s goal is, convince them they can get there in a handful of steps. Assuming they truly want to know more about this area, they’ll be inclined to open your message.
40. I’d love to get your feedback
This sales email subject line serves a couple of purposes simultaneously. If you’ve failed to get their attention, this is a good left turn to try and get it once again. If they’re genuinely not interested in your messages, they might be prepared to respond to this email with suggestions for how you can improve; for example, you might learn that you’ve been annoying your prospects.
41. I dare you not to open this message
Does reverse psychology really work? The short and honest answer is “sometimes.” Give it a try and see if it works on your specific prospects.
42. [Your company] and [their company] – can we work together?
Include both your company names in this subject line. It doesn’t include a relevant link (i.e., a topic), which is a risk, but it’s a decent angle to take if you have significant brand recognition in the industry.
43. Not interested in [topic]?
If your prospects aren’t responding to your topical emails, verify their lack of interest with this subject line. If they are interested, this is a good approach to get them to open your message.
44. Are you satisfied with your [strategy]?
This is a plain-vanilla subject line, but it’s also refreshingly direct. If prospects are satisfied with their work in a given area, they won’t open your email, and you can probably just move on. If they have needs in this area, they’ll be inclined to want to read more.
45. Closing your file…
I’ll admit, this line is a bit guilt trippy, but it works for prospects who have thought about opening your messages and just never got around to it. If you stay true to your word, you can remove this prospect from your email list if they fail to respond to this.
46. Last chance
If you have a specific offer, put it in front of their face one more time. If you have a percentage off your normal prices or something for free, mention it.
47. If you change your mind…
If you’re ready to leave a prospect, this is a good final email to send. Present your contact information, and leave things be.
48. X quick ideas before you go
Another in our series for uninterested prospects, this allows you to showcase a piece of content or list a few ideas for your prospect before you give up entirely.
49. Are my assumptions correct?
This poses the matter as a question. It’s another email subject line that allows your prospects one more chance to provide you with feedback, and is still compelling enough to incentivize an open.
50. Aren’t you tired of persistent salespeople?
Haha! Get it? This subject line is a good-natured acknowledgment that you’ve been sending a lot of emails. It’s usually seen as warm and inviting, since it’s such a display of humility.
51. Real quick – I forgot something
“Quick” makes another appearance in this subject line. It makes you seem more human, since it implies you made a mistake (even if you didn’t), and makes people wonder what they missed out the first time.
Note that humor often works well here, too—but for an effective humorous subject line, you have to come up with something original. Copying and pasting what others have done simply isn’t going to cut it. Try to come up with a pun related to your industry, or make light of a newsworthy event related to your business; it can really catch people’s attention.
Using a Sales Email Subject Line Tester
Now that you have a bunch of sales email subject line examples, it’s time to get scientific. Experiment with many different subject lines, then measure the results.
Take the subject lines that perform best, modify them further, and throw out the ones that aren’t working.
You can start by using a sales email subject line tester like SubjectLine.com. There, you can type in a subject line and get an automatic evaluation of its deliverability (to make sure you’re not triggering any spam-related red flags) and its marketing appeal.
Then, use a combination of tools to measure email-related KPIs, like open rates, click rates, and click to open ratios. The better you understand these statistics, the easier it will be for you to determine which subject lines are working (and why).
Measuring Your Sales Email Performance
I hope these sales email subject lines help with your outreach efforts!
And in addition to the tools I referenced in the previous section, check out these sales prospecting tools to make your life easier, as well as this big list of sales statistics to help refine your strategy. Finally, make sure you’re using EmailAnalytics when you send out sales emails.
EmailAnalytics is a comprehensive, data-based email analytics tool. You’ll be able to dissect things like how many emails you send and receive, the average length of your email threads, as well as your average email response times.
With it, you’ll be able to perfect your email strategy—and ultimately close more sales. Sign up for a free 14-day trial of EmailAnalytics today!
Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.