The 39 Best Email Subject Lines for Sales That Get Opened (and Drive Revenue)

The 39 Best Email Subject Lines for Sales That Get Opened (and Drive Revenue)

- Published: - 13 minutes read

If you’re here, you know exactly how important email is for sales. It’s the common thread that ties together the entire sales process.

But crafting the perfect subject line for each stage of the sales process isn’t easy.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the core things that make a good subject line, things to keep in mind to avoid spam, and 39 examples.

Let’s jump in.

Why Is an Email Subject Line Important for Sales?

Your email subject line is the first thing that recipients see when deciding to open your email.

And with recipients getting tens and hundreds of emails, it’s a battle for attention.

So much so, that 47% of recipients have an unconscious sorting procedure when they scan their inbox to decide if they’re going to open their email based on the subject line alone.

So your subject line is the crucial element to get right to increase your chances of getting read.

What Makes a Good Subject Line for Sales?

Your subject line has one job: To grab attention and get your prospect to open your email.

Techniques like personalization and urgency can make your email stand out (which we’ll cover in a minute with specific subject line examples). At its core, the best subject lines evoke curiosity by not giving much away, like a carrot on a stick. (The carrot could be a way to get the desired outcome they care about or to know how you found them.)

Pro tip: Watch out for spam trigger words. It’s also worth pointing out that there are certain words (like free, discount, win) that instantly mark your email as spam, so they'll never be seen, let alone read. To combat this, we’ve created a free tool where you can paste in your subject line to auto-detect spam words. Try it here.

39 Email Subject Lines for Sales

Personalized Subject Lines for Sales

Including something of personal relevance in your subject line is one of the best ways to signal to your prospect that your email isn’t just another sales email.

Referring to your recipient by name is a good start, but it is more powerful when you refer to their interests or something top of mind like a recent event or mutual contact.

Here are some examples:

  • Is this you, [name]?

This subject line builds curiosity with a question that will be fully answered in the email and calls them out directly by name.

  • Could this be you, [name]?

This builds on the previous example but alludes to an opportunity for your recipient to grab attention.

  • How do you know, [mutual contact]?
  • [Mutual contact name]

These subject lines reference a mutual contact that sends a strong signal your email isn’t part of a generic sales template.

  • How did [event] go, [name]?
  • Congrats on [recent event]

These subject lines are a great way to enter the conversation already happening in the mind of your recipient.

  • I saw you were looking for [role]

Often a great time to reach out to a prospect is when hiring as it indicates growth. This is a great way to swoop into someone’s inbox with this being top of mind.

  • Did you work at [company]?

Showing someone you know them on a deeper level when reaching out to them signals that they’re not just part of a spray n’ pray email sequence.

  • I heard you’re the best for [expertise]

This subject line shows you know who your prospect is, taps into their ego, and affirms their market position to get attention.

  • I loved your post on [social platform]

This subject line shows you’ve been following your prospect on their social platform and shows you’re paying attention.

Urgency and Scarcity Subject Lines for Sales

Recipients can sniff fake scarcity and urgency, so use this with caution. But when done right, tapping into loss aversion (the principle that humans are twice as motivated by fear of loss than the thought of a gain) is powerful.

loss aversion copywriting for email

Here are some examples:

  • This is due to expire today

This is a great subject line for a proposal you’ve sent but haven’t heard back on to spur action.

  • Can I let this go?

Service-based businesses are limited by capacity. This subject line is a great way to remind prospects of your limited availability.

  • Today

This simple subject line is a great way to indicate that inside your email is something that needs action today.

Pain Point-Driven Subject Lines for Sales

As mentioned above, humans are more motivated by avoiding pain than they are towards pleasure. By knowing what keeps your prospects up at night, you can cut through the noise by connecting with them on a deeper level.

Here are some examples:

  • Need help with [problem]?

This is a great way to raise the question in your prospect’s mind that you may be able to help them with a problem and get the conversation going.

  • A new way to avoid [pain]

This subject line teases a way to solve a problem but doesn’t disclose what it is, building up the desire to open your email.

  • Do this to never [undesirable thing] again

Use this formula to tap into the pain your prospect is struggling with and tease a solution.

Outcome-Based Subject Lines

Tapping into the future state your prospect wants to be (the dream state) and positioning your email as a vehicle to get there is powerful.

This works best when you get specific about what that future state looks like. For example, instead of saying “here’s how to get more clients,” you could say “here’s how to build a year-long client waitlist.”

Here are some examples:

  • [Build a client waitlist]: Could this be you?

This subject line taps into the opposite of the pain your prospect is in, aka the ‘dream state’ where they want to be.

  • Idea for [something they care about]

This subject line could be promoting your service as a vehicle to achieve something they care about.

  • Get [outcome] in [time]

I like this subject line formula because it promises an outline in a specific amount of time.

Follow-Up Email Subject Lines

It’s a cliché, but the money is in the follow-up, and getting it right without looking desperate is an art.

These are follow-up subject lines I use with Mailmeteor’s plugin for Gmail that automatically sends follow-ups for you.

Here are some examples:

  • How was [event], [name]?

Sometimes projects are put on hold due to upcoming events. This is a great way to check in on something top of mind and continue the conversation on the next steps.

  • It was great to meet you (next steps)
  • The details we spoke about
  • Next steps

These subject lines are great for a prospect you had a recent interaction with, promising further information on the next steps.

  • 3 things I need from you, [name]

This subject line is great to show prospects (or clients) that they need to do something to keep your project moving forward.

Meeting Request Subject Line for Sales

Meetings form a key step in the sales cycle. Whether it be a new prospect or upselling an existing one, these subject lines will give you a way to kickstart the next step.

Here are some examples:

  • Can we feature you?

This is my go-to subject line for requesting case study interviews with clients. It implies there is something in it for them (not just you).

  • Let’s meet next week?

This is to the point and gets specific about when you’d like to meet to get them thinking in advance about the prospect of meeting with you. Inside the email, you can provide a couple of times to make it easy for them and explain what’s in it for them.

  • Let’s look at your Q3 goals

This is a great way to show someone you’re thinking of their best interests and you’re up for chatting about it without much commitment at this stage.

  • How’s it going with [goal]?

If you’ve spoken to your prospect before and know they’re working on something right now, this is a great way to start the conversation with how it’s going.

Follow Up After No Response Subject Line for Sales

People rarely respond to the first email you send them. According to Zoominfo, 50% of sales happen after the 5th follow-up, yet 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up.

While you could look at that as a lot of money left on the table, it presents those who follow up with an insane opportunity. We actually wrote a blog that shows you how to automatically send follow-ups using Gmail (and the best time of day to send them).

But here are some follow-up if no response subject lines to get you started:

  • Are we on the same page?
  • Are you no longer interested, [name]?
  • Quick question about [project]
  • Can I close this today?
  • [Name]?
  • Let this go to someone else?
  • I recorded this video for you…

Referral Request Subject Line for Sales

Word-of-mouth marketing is the best way to get new customers. Here are a few subject lines you can use to ask for introductions and referrals:

  • Know anyone just like you?

This subject line is great because it compliments your client at the same time as asking for a referral/

  • Your go-to [service provider]?

This subject line is great because it makes the person you are asking think, “Who is my go-to person for [service]?” Then, in the email, you can explain what you do and ask them to keep you in mind.

Key Things to Keep in Mind with Email Subject Lines for Sales

1. Keep it Brief

You might be wondering, how long should an email subject line be?

A study done by Marketo found that the sweet spot for subject lines is 7 words. However, like anything in life, don’t take this as gospel.

Arguably, the emotion your subject line evokes is far more important than its length, so don’t be afraid to keep testing. After all, if everyone else is following ‘best practices’ in your recipient’s inbox, breaking these rules could be the best way to stand out.

2. Use Email Preview Text to Bolster Your Subject Line

When your recipients receive your email, they see a preview of your email below the subject line, just like in the Gmail screenshot below.

With tools like Mailmeteor for Gmail, you can customize this text to build on your subject line to create even more desire to click.

Email preview text

3. Always Be Testing

While the examples above work as a good starting point, what works for your business and ideal customer will be unique to you. That’s why you should send out your sales emails using a tool like Mailmeteor.

With over 5 million users worldwide, it’s the most trusted solution for Gmail and Outlook — and gives you a way to A/B test different subject lines and track opens and replies so you can dial in what works.

Test Your Subject Lines Before Sending?

With our free subject line tester, you can check your email for length, spam words, and get actionable variations for you to test and improve.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should the subject of a sales email be?

Research shows short subject lines (7 words or less) work best to be seen on mobile. Including personalization like the prospect’s name and creating curiosity with implied benefit tends to get the best results.

What tools can I use to write email subject lines?

Tools like our free subject line generator can help you check the length and likelihood of triggering spam with your subject line and suggest powerful alternatives. Plus, our subject line testing feature and email tracking can help you dial in what works.

What is a professional subject line?

When writing subject lines, it’s a balance to not be overly abrupt or come across as unprofessional. Often it’s best to tap into specific pain or something of personal relevance to your prospect rather than trying too hard to grab attention with silly, catchy subject lines. This can look unprofessional.

This guide was written by Harry Lawson, content editor at Mailmeteor. Mailmeteor is a simple & privacy-focused emailing software. Trusted by millions of users worldwide, it is often considered as the best tool to send newsletters with Gmail. Give us a try and let us know what you think!

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