4 Best Practices when Crafting Prospecting Email Subject Lines

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Andrew Chao Daongam on 07 Jun 2018


Writing an email could take up a lot of time and resources. You could write the best email, but it wouldn’t matter if no one opens it. This is why subject lines are an important factor to your email composition.

Subject lines act as a gatekeeper. Similar to a book title, those who find the title appealing may read through the summary and skim the back of the book to know more. You want to do the same with your email subject lines, which is to stir up curiosity within your recipients so that they want to know more.

There are probably countless other businesses that offer the same solutions out there. Many of which who may be trying to reach out to the same potential customers as you are. With the right subject line, you can help make sure your emails end up being read rather than being ignored or tossed into the inbox trash.

Here are 4 best practices for prospecting email subject lines that will increase the email open rates.

1. Keep it Short:

Subject lines get cut off in inboxes. Where the cut-off is depends on the inbox setting and the size of screen. According to HubSpot, 74% of smartphone users use their devices to check their emails. Knowing that, it is important that we optimize the length of the email title for mobile users. We would recommend using 5 to 10 words at most. For smaller phones such as the Iphone SE, the subject line may be cut off by the 6th word.

The trick is to think of subject lines as book titles.


Long: Here is a newsletter that we recently published - The Truth About Alternative Investments in 2018 
Short: The Truth About Alternative Investments in 2018 - January Newsletter

2. Avoid Salesy Words:

This touches upon both the recipient and the inbox itself. Using words such as “FREE” “WIN”, “DISCOUNT” or any salesy words that are along the same lines could trigger as a spam and the email will automatically be placed in your spam folder. As you may know, anything that falls in that folder will most likely be deleted or the recipient may not even be aware that they received it.  

If it does end up in the primary inbox of your recipient, salesy words are suspicious these days and will often be filtered out.  

The trick is to be relational rather than transactional. See example below


Salesy (transactional): Get a FREE Iphone X When You Invest $500K.  
Better (relational): An Iphone Gift to You When You Invest $500K.

3. Make it Straight to the Point

You want to keep your subject lines simple and straight to the point. There is no need to add details that are already implied, putting words that add fluff or exclamation marks to grab attention.

The trick is to write subject lines as statements or as questions.


Typical: Great News! A possibility IRR of 15% vs 12% for the real estate project. Time to invest.
Investment Update: IRR increases to 15%

4. Personalized when needed

There may be several occasions where adding personalization such as a name and location to an email subject line could give a major facelift to increase open rates. This is because it sounds more like a conversation. Again it comes back to being relational.


Non-Personalized: Let’s meet to discuss. 
Personalized: Charlie, let's meet in Toronto to discuss.

We hope that these 4 pointers are helpful when it comes to crafting your upcoming subject lines. You need to be mindful that your potential customers may be receiving emails from multiple companies.  Keep those subject lines short, relational and straight to the point to stand out from the rest.


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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Inbound Sales, Email Marketing

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