6 Email Subject Line Tricks that Actually Work

The email subject line is your gate-keeper.

Your inbox is growing even as you read this. When we’re constantly sending and receiving emails, it’s easy to overlook the importance of email subject lines, especially after spending time carefully crafting the body messaging. But here at Predictable Revenue, Aaron always says that the email subject line is your gate-keeper. Fifty percent of cold email work is just crafting and testing different versions.

inboxIf your subject line doesn’t immediately inform the reader what the email is  about and why it’s important, your email will likely end up in the trash—unopened.

Help make sure your your emails get opened with these tricks:

1. Keep It Brief.
Short, descriptive email subject lines generate more click-throughs than longer ones. Don’t use more words than necessary, making sure the subject line provides a hint of what’s to come when they open the email. To note: most people read email on their phones, which generally cuts off longer email subject lines.

2. Be Descriptive.
Your subject line should directly relate to the information in the email, keeping communication clear and focused. Using misleading subject lines or ones that aren’t relevant to the body of your email is  can decrease the open rate of your emails in the future. Nothing’s more frustrating than not getting what you paid for.

3. Personalize It.
Personalization improves the customer experience and  help you connect with your audience. Address recipients with words like “you” and “your.” If you can, include first names in the subject line to increase open rates. This strategy helps creates the illusion of a personal email instead of a cold email blast.

4. Avoid Marketing Jargon.
Buzzwords and acronyms can quickly turn off readers who feel like they are being sold something, so avoid marketing and salesy words. Don’t use  exclamation points, all caps, or  words like “free”, “reminder”, “sale”, or “buy”. These words usually trigger a spam filter and make your emails sound promotional even if they’re not.

5. Test Variations.
It’s hard to know which email subject line works best for your specific target audience , so split the groups into two and send the same email with different subject lines. By A/B testing, comparing the subject lines and gauging their performance in real time, you’ll get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t for future campaigns.

6. Use Tools.
A good way to kickstart an email campaign is by hiring a third party or use Pipeline Automation Software to help benchmark performance and optimize subject lines and messaging. so.Take time to track key metrics to  learn from your successes (or mistakes).

While the body of the email is critical, half of outbound work is testing different versions of your subject line for optimum response rate. Keep it short and use language that resonates with your Ideal Customer Profile to drive engagement and increase your click-through rate.

Read more: Email Marketing Tips To Increase Open Rates

Why Inbound and Outbound Work Together

The most successful managers understand that specialized sales roles are the single most important thing you can do to improve your sales and lead generation. Along with specializing roles, hyper-growth teams know how each role works within the sales process to produce better results than working independently.

By clearly defining expectations for each role and separating out the responsibilities, each person can focus on what he or she is best at. This practice creates experts, rather than general salespeople. Most organizations define at least two specialized sales roles: inbound marketing and outbound prospecting. Here at Predictable Revenue, Aaron says that Inbound and Outbound go together like peanut butter and chocolate; here’s how :

Inbound Marketing versus Outbound Prospecting

Inbound marketing salespeople, or Market Response Reps, qualify marketing leads that come in through your website or office line. These leads are usually a result of marketing campaigns or by word-of-mouth referrals.

Outbound prospectors, or Sales Development Reps, create new opportunities from cold or inactive accounts. Compared to inbound marketers who respond to a high-volume of leads, outbound prospectors take a proactive approach, reaching out to select prospects. This is typically a lengthy sales process, whereas inbound leads have a fairly quick sales cycle. It can take up to 4-6 months to go from zero to consistent pipeline generation with outbound, and longer for revenue. Outbound reps don’t close deals, but they do create and qualify new sales opportunities and then pass them on to account executives to close.

When specializing your sales team, communication is key and expectations need to be crystal clear. If everyone is on the same page, specializing allows sales rep to focus on one role and become experts in what they do. If your roles or sales stages aren’t clearly defined, specialization can often result in inefficiencies and confusion.

Inbound + Outbound = $$$

Inbound gets you leads, but many of these contacts have no influence. With outbound, you can go talk to whomever you want to within a prospective organization, whenever you want. If your company only relied on inbound leads, you’d be in a tough spot. When you have both inbound and outbound leads coming in, you have higher chances of converting more leads into opportunities and closing more sales.

To maximize on both your inbound and outbound efforts, identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). By nature, outbound prospecting requires a level of market research that can help develop your ICP. Cold email questions identify common pain points, an important aspect of your ICP.  Use market intelligence from your outbound initiatives to inform your inbound marketing content. This will help to generate quality leads and disqualify those that aren’t a good fit for your business..

2 Ways To Leverage Inbound & Outbound for LeadGen

  • Recycle inbound marketing content for outbound strategies. Inbound marketing is based on drawing prospects in by creating and sharing useful and engaging content. Use this content as a second avenue of lead generating by repackaging it into a newsletter your outbound reps can send to prospects.

  • Use content for follow ups to outbound.  Instead of sending a generic “thank you for taking the time to speak with me”, include a piece of content that relates to what you talked about with a prospect as a value-add to a standard follow up.

Training sales reps to become experts in specialized roles turns your team into a well-oiled machine with a streamlined process. Clear communication between the different sales roles ensures collaboration and resource sharing.

Have any more tips to share with us? Please add them in the comments below!

For more on Best Practices for Outbound Prospecting, click here.

Feature Image: Pressmaster / Shutterstock

How to Optimize Your Email Template

We all have the same experience: you check your inbox and see what looks like an insurmountable number of messages continuing to rise. Once you start going through them though, many are newsletters or spam from various companies you follow.


Since email is the main form of communication in business, unsolicited spam and marketing emails fill most of our inboxes. If your email looks like all the rest that come through, chances are it will end up in a spam folder or trashed along with the rest.

Check out these tips to help ensure your emails are actually opened… and read. What an idea!

1. Take real-time feedback – Seems simple enough right? Well, most people forget to ask for feedback on their emails. Show your draft email to friends and colleagues and ask them whether they think the content makes sense and whether they would reply to it. This helps you gain perspective on what the reaction to your email will be when it reaches a lead. Note down all the feedback you get and adjust your copy accordingly.

2. Try different subject lines – Because the subject line is your gate-keeper, 50% of the work you put into cold emails should just be crafting and testing different versions for the best response rate.

3. Stagger your emails – Having a plan for your email campaign is as important as the content itself. Create a strategy around when to send emails. Instead of sending email in bulk, send them in groups of 20–25 per day to better track open and response rates. This tactic gives you insight into which template works best.

4. Track the performance and follow up – If you’re not tracking your email performance, they’re probably not as impactful as they could be. Email marketing apps provide stats about open and response rates as well as which subject lines worked best to help you pinpoint where you can improve and further optimize.

5. Differentiate your product/service – There’s a TON of marketing jargon out there. Differentiate yourself by speaking to how your product or service is unique (remember that you’re speaking to real humans). Once you nail your niche, create content that speaks to that specific market segment.

6. Add value – There’s a fine balance between adding as much value as you can, but without overwhelming readers with too much info. Be clear about the value you’re offering in your email headline. Are you sending links to valuable resources or free tutorials? Set expectations and provide as much value as possible before asking for the sale. This helps build relationships with prospects based on trust. If you provide enough of the right value, when prospects are ready to buy, you’ll already have their ear.

Even with so many ways to improve email templates, none are guaranteed to work. Because every client is different, test and track results on a regular basis and adjust on the fly. These best practices should help you gain a greater understanding of what works for your company… and just as importantly, what doesn’t. Plus, it kinda makes crafting emails a little less dull. It’s easy to make it a game when you’re trying to beat your best open rates month over month.

Why No One’s Responding To Your Cold Emails

Feature Image: Mon’s Images / Shutterstock