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How to Craft a Compelling Subject Line

The subject line of your email is a lot like your cold call opening statement. It’s your first, and sometimes your last, chance to get the prospect’s attention. Many people will glance at the subject line and the sender of an email, and if neither seems interesting, that email goes into the trash folder unread.

If the person you’re sending the email to already knows you, you won’t have as much pressure because recognizing the sender will usually get someone to at least open the email. If you’re sending a cold email, though, the subject line is absolutely crucial. Here are some tips for crafting subject lines that at least get your email opened by the recipient:

Personalize the subject line as much as possible. For example, if you know the recipient’s name, put it right in the subject. You can also use the prospect’s company name, job title, industry, or anything else you know about them. The more personalized the subject line, the more likely the recipient is to open the email.

Stick in a keyword or two that you know will appeal to your prospects. For inspiration, turn to your company website’s analytics report or ask the marketing department what keywords they’ve purchased with search engines. Brochures and white papers that your company publishes are also good places to look for keywords. Those are the words that will grab a prospect’s attention and get him interested in what you have to say.

Avoid any styles or phrases that sound like spam. Not only are they a turnoff for the recipient, they may cause automatic spam filters to toss out your email before it even lands in his inbox. Hopefully you already refrain from using bad language in your business emails; other things to avoid include word repetition, lots of capitalization, and multiple exclamation points.

About the author

My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.

As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.