Your email subject line is the first part of your pitch that your prospects see. It’s vital that you use it to catch their attention, give them an indication of why you’re reaching out, and frame the interaction moving forward.

In this guide, we’ll show you tips on writing email subject lines for sales outreach, as well as actionable examples you can use in your own campaigns.

  1. The Importance of Your Email Subject Line for Sales

  2. 3 Tips for Writing Emails Subject Lines for Sales

  3. 12 Example Email Subject Lines for Sales to Test in Your Campaign

  4. How to Approach Your Follow-Up Sales Email Subject Lines

  5. A/B Testing Your Sales Email Subject Lines

Let’s dive in.

The Importance of Your Email Subject Line for Sales

Your sales email subject line matters. It’s the first thing your prospects see, and it frames the interaction they’re expecting from you.

However, we always recommend that you avoid spending too much time on it. 

Data from millions of emails sent with QuickMail found that the subject line doesn’t make a big difference to the average email open rate or reply rate.

Why is that?

Well, most of your prospects will open every email they receive, as long as it lands in their primary inbox.

Once they open your email, they’ll forget about the subject line and will be focused on your email template and core value proposition being pitched to them.

As long as it’s authentic and doesn’t come across as spammy, you’ll be fine.

3 Tips for Writing Emails Subject Lines for Sales

1. Add Personalization Using Attributes to Boost Relevance

A simple but powerful way to make your emails stand out is to add personalization to your subject lines.

The most direct way to do this is by including your recipient’s first name or their company name.

Here’s a good example in a sales email from Intercom:

By including both the recipient’s first name and the company name, it’s clear who it’s intended for and will stand out in the recipient’s inbox.

This won’t take the sender any extra time, either.

By using a cold email platform like QuickMail, you can do this in seconds.

When you’re writing your subject line, you can hit the ‘Attributes’ button. From there, you can choose which custom attribute you want to include.

When your email campaign sends, this will be personalized to every person on your email list.

2. Avoid Using Uppercase on Every Word to Look More Natural

If you were sending an email to a colleague, you wouldn’t use upper caps. It comes across as inauthentic and would be more suited to a marketing email that needs to adhere to specific brand guidelines.

In your sales emails, use lowercase letters for your words.

Compare these two sales email subject line examples:

  • “Help With {{}}’s Email Marketing Strategy”

  • “Help with {{}}’s email marketing strategy”

Even though they say the exact same thing, one of them would feel instantly more personal in your inbox than the other.

3. Treat Your Subject Line as a Contract Between You and Your Prospect

This tip is a general approach to subject lines, rather than a direct and actionable tip.

When writing your subject lines for sales emails, treat every single one as a contract between you and your prospect.

As soon as they see your subject line, it should give them an idea of what you’re going to be talking about in the rest of your email.

If you’re reaching out to help them with lead generation, then there needs to be a reference to that in your subject line. If it’s about helping with their recruitment process, you need to mention it.

Having this mental model in mind ensures you don’t end up writing vague or clickbait subject lines, and are instead focused on helping your prospect understand why you’re contacting them from the moment they see your email at the top of their inbox. 

12 Example Email Subject Lines for Sales to Test in Your Campaign

1. The Simple Question Subject Line

One of the most popular frameworks for writing sales email subject lines is using a simple question.

By using a question, you incite curiosity into your recipient and at the same time, can frame what the rest of your sales email is about. Here are some examples:

  • “Helping {{}} with Google ads?”

  • “Help with landing page copy at {{}}?”

  • “{{}} sales goals for Q3?”

  • “Is lead generation a priority for {{}}?”

2. Reference a Mutual Event or Acquaintance in Common

A shortcut to getting a response from any cold prospect is by referencing something you have in common.

The more tangible the mutual connection, the better this will work.

For example, if you’ve attended the same conference for SaaS CEOs, that’s a perfect icebreaker. If you both worked with a specific colleague at a previous company, or live in the same city, those are also good examples.

If you do this correctly, your prospect will immediately feel a level of goodwill towards you that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

Here are some examples you can test:

  • “Morning coffee meeting in {{prospect.custom.City}}?”

  • “Following up after [conference] in {{prospect.custom.City}}”

  • “Saw that you also worked with [mutual connection]”

  • “Congrats on opening {{}}’s new office in {{prospect.custom.City}}”

3. Skip Straight to Your Call-to-Action

One way to use your email subject line is to cut to the chase and use it as a call-to-action (CTA).

This is a higher-risk strategy because some prospects may think you’re being too forward. However, if you have an offer that’s hard to refuse due to it being a perfect fit, you can test this type of subject line.

Here are some examples to consider:

  • 15-mins to talk about lead generation on {{=day+2}}?

  • Collecting case studies from {{}}’s best clients

  • Working together to boost {[}}’s landing page conversion rate

  • Interested in trying a new AI marketing tool to grow traffic?

How to Approach Your Follow-Up Sales Email Subject Lines

In most sales email campaigns, using the same subject line in your follow-ups is a best practice. Your prospects will appreciate that you’re not changing your message every few days in order to catch their attention.

However, if you do want to test a new subject line, you can easily do this in QuickMail.

When you add your follow-up email step, the default option is leave the subject line blank. This will use the same subject line as your previous email.

However, if you add a new subject line, it will send the email with a new subject line variation.

You can also choose whether to send the follow-up in the same email thread, or in a separate one.

This is an excellent way to boost your response rates if your emails are being ignored and you suspect it’s due to an underperforming subject line.

A/B Testing Your Sales Email Subject Lines

If you think your subject lines aren’t effective enough, you can use QuickMail to run A/B tests.

First, add a new email variation to your campaign.

Then, write your new email subject line variation and save it. It’s best to only test one variable at a time, so when you change your subject line, don’t change anything else in the campaign. 

When your email campaign sends, you’ll see which one is generating the best results. When you have significant data, you can pause the underperforming variation and send the top performer to all remaining prospects.

It’s a powerful way to test your hypotheses and ensure the subject lines you’re using are as effective as they can be.

Wrapping Up

Your sales email subject lines affect your overall campaign performance, so it’s vital that you spend time on it at the start of every campaign.

The tips we’ve shared and example subject lines can help you quickly get started. Always make sure to tailor your subject lines to the specific audience and campaign you’re sending.

When you’re ready to start sending personalized sales emails and start conversations with decision-makers, you can start using QuickMail for free today.