Emails are a delicate subject, some people prefer the phone call. It can go either way, you can’t really say with 100% certainty that a phone call will work better than an email, it really all depends. Phone calls have the benefit that the answer to your question can be had there and then, but mass emails are easier to send. In the same way you have the first 10-20 seconds of a cold call to make an impact, you have the subject line to make an impact on readers, this will determine whether or not they read your email. There is no point having the best content in the world if the email doesn’t get opened.

Let’s take a look at great subject lines that will help your cold email to get opened, these will be ranked from completely cold emails, where you know nothing about the reader to researched qualified leads.

Generic email subject line
The rule of thumb goes, the more generic a subject line, the less likely it is to get opened. That makes sense, however there are ways of getting these opened too, just be prepared to do more work on the content of the email as this should be personalised. As to what to put in the subject line, this can be something like “Hi from Jon” or you can even leave the subject line empty. If you break down both of these subject types, you can see that they are quite vague and therefore intriguing, in a way. Of course this doesn’t mean that it will definitely get opened, all of us deal with 100’s of emails everyday at work so unless something is really pressing in the subject line we won’t usually open it.

Customised generic emails (yes really)
This will be in instances where you know basic contact details of the person you are trying to contact. Basic contact details comprise of name and company they work for or name and some event you know they’ll be attending. Also, don’t ever bulk send emails to prospects, it gets you nowhere and all you’re doing is burning through leads. Yes it takes time but if you are not going to do a job properly why do it at all? Just don’t bother.

“Hi Amanda, just getting in touch about x, would love to see you there”

Customise each email as much as you can, it may mean you can’t get to 100’s of prospects with one click but it will mean that you have a much better chance of that prospect turning into a lead. As with any emails, format, punctuation and grammar all matter so be sure to proofread.

Highly customised
This email subject line will show that you’ve done your homework and all you need to do for that is look around on the internet and find some information. The information may be about them, or their company. It is kind of flattering, getting an email talking about a recent achievement. Once the email is opened, if you are able to tie it in with what you’re trying to accomplish then even better. Try to talk about it in the first paragraph and how it ties in with you.

“Congratulations on opening that new office in London” or “Congratulations on your promotion”

Opening the email is the first hurdle, that is what we are trying to accomplish with our subject lines. The second hurdle is getting them to read through your email, if you need help on how to write an engaging email that will help turn this cold email to a solid lead, click here.

Referral, or fake referral
This is a technique I used to use on the phones all the time, it is by far and away the best technique of getting to the decision maker. It helps you to build a relationship quickly with the prospect as they have that familiarity straight away. This technique is great for booking meetings, getting past gatekeepers and even getting the sale.

This takes some prepping for, if you can’t get actual referrals from people you know, you need to call around in the company and see if you can get names you can link back to. The subject line for this would be something like,

Hey Amber, I was just speaking to Joe and he said you were the right person to contact”

The power of the internet means you can get 10-15 names of people you need from Linkedin or even just using google would mean in the space of a couple of minutes you’ll have what you need. Do your research and try and qualify each lead as much as you can.


Cold calls and emails still have a good conversion rate, use them to your advantage. GSY