A cold email is an email that you send to someone who has no existing relationship with you and hasn’t asked to be contacted.

As an initial form of contact, cold email outreach is considered both powerful and challenging. That’s because while it is extremely inexpensive, it’s not easy to achieve results.

Here are 11 cold email subject lines that can get you better open rates (Includes two examples of subject lines to avoid):

1. <Mutual connection> said I should write to you

Advisable when you’re sure the mutual connection has a positive image with the recipient. The mention of a common acquaintance in your cold outreach forces recipients to open the email because they don’t want to ignore the mutual connection. Use it to get your foot in.

2. <Recipient name>, this should work

Works best when you are offering something that’s really valuable. That’s why this subject line must be used with a little care. And because it’s dressed like “Let me help you fix that”, your email copy should offer something concrete, not just a “30% off” deal.

3. Steal my sales strategy

One of the most preferred sales email subject lines used by sales coaches. Words like ‘Steal’ in the subject line of cold email subject lines make it sound a little cheeky. It is successful because it offers to share something that’s proven.

4. Are you taking suggestions for your blog?

Ideally suited to email outreach when you ask for a backlink in their blog. The word ‘suggestions’ serves two purposes: One, it hints that whatever you have written will be in the interest of the recipient. And two, it subtly conveys the idea that by adding your link, they are actually improving their own blog.

5. Are you making these mistakes?

Most appropriate when you are offering a new generation tool that’s significantly better. This is a classic subject line because it uses a question, something humans can’t resist responding to. It can be used equally well when the prospect is close to making a purchase decision.

6. You <or prospect business brand name> deserve a better vendor

Works best when you can afford a direct comparison and position yourself as a better, cheaper or a faster alternative. Use in cold emails when pitching to a prospect whose current vendor offers similar services to yours. Be sure to clearly mention why you are a better choice.

7. I was ridiculed

Ideal when your email copy is going to have an interesting story to back it up, maybe humor or suspense. It combines well with self-deprecatory humour, especially something that turns conventional wisdom on its head, like “My grandad roasted me like there’s no tomorrow for using the wrong hashtag.” (Because traditionally a grandad isn’t expected to know more about hashtags!)

8. Here’s why <some tool or strategy> doesn’t work today

Best when you’re trying to position yourself as an authority figure who understands how the industry is shifting over time. Marketing or SEO services, for example, can use this to demonstrate how their analytics are way ahead of the competition.

9. <Recipient name>, I will <action>

Most advisable when you’re making some kind offer “You do this and I’ll do this in return for you.” For instance, if the objective of your cold outreach is to generate a trial, ask them to sign up and offer them something in exchange. And it helps that you’ve used the recipient’s name to personalize the subject line.

10. Key challenges in implementing <solution>

Works like a charm when you’re dealing with something technical, say offering help with cloud migration. You can list out a few challenges (not too many) and show how you helped your clients deal with it. Prospects don’t ignore cold emails that help with challenges.

11. I need a little help

Recommended as one of the evergreen, dependable cold email subject lines. The language shows respect for the recipient (they are in a position to help you), which is why it gets good open rates. Pay attention to make the email copy carry the same tone or else it would immediately come across as one of those sales email subject lines masked as something else.

What to avoid

Avoid language that could raise suspicion. The following two actual Subject Lines serve as good illustrations:

Recipients will find it difficult to trust an email that suggests making $1,000 a day is easy!

The above email leverages the spirit of nationalism to serve some other purpose. Recipients could feel a little let down when they open the email.

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