In January on the DemandZEN blog, we discussed the properties of effective subject lines for follow-up emails. But we wanted to take it a step further and give you concrete sales email subject line examples that convert. Each of the following subject line pairs with a specific situation.
The situation: Cold email
The subject line: Question about [solving your problem]
This is your first email to a prospective client. So you need to let them know about your company while also expressing something about them. The easiest way to do this is to appeal to the solutions they need for their business problems. This lets them know what problems your company is solving, and asks the question if this problem affects them. For instance, if your company focuses on security you might ask “Question about optimizing your server security.” If you sell a big data tool you might ask “Are you getting valuable insight from big data?” How you phrase it is up to you, but the goal is to suggest a possible problem.
This subject line also allows you test whether or not they are a qualified lead. Disqualifying leads early is beneficial since it allows you to spend your time on qualified leads who care about what it is you have to say.
The situation: First call follow-up
The subject line: [Your company] – Per our conversation – [problem your solution solves]
You just had your first call, and you think it went pretty well. But you weren’t able to set a meeting. Maybe the lead is busy. Maybe they want you to call back in a week. Either way, it’s important to keep that connection going and send a reminder regarding your conversation. And it’s important to not only remind them of who you are, but why they care in the first place.
This subject line reminds the customer who you are. Try sending it within 15 minutes so you stay top-of-mind, and they know exactly who sent this email. But be careful to keep your subject line within 50 characters.
The situation: Setting the first meeting
The subject line: Meeting [dd/mm/yy] – [company]’s [solution] – Please Confirm
Confirming a meeting can be as easy as sending a Google calendar notification. But to get that “yes” confirmation in the inbox, make sure you title the event as clearly as possible. Remind the prospect of the date you discussed and who you are and what solution you offer them.
Also, don’t skimp on the details within the Google calendar invite! Is this a phone call or video conferencing call? How do they connect? If you have a specific agenda to stick to, type it out so that the prospect can review it before the meeting. After all, most likely they want to prepare for this meeting as much as you do. Giving a prospect everything they need ahead of time creates a favorable opinion of both you and your company. Just like any relationship in your life, you want to start off on the right foot.
The situation: The conversation has stopped
The subject line: “Is [solution] still important to you?”
Sometimes leads go radio silent. And when that happens, you need to get their attention. Let them know you’re still around. But you also need to test if they’re even interested.
This subject line reminds the prospect of your solution, and asks the important question if it’s still important them. If the answer is yes, they’ll want to let you know! Maybe they’ve been busy, they’re considering other solutions, or in fact this solution is no longer a priority.
Asking a direct question after a pause in the conversation increases the likelihood you’ll get an answer. The lead will feel like they’re hanging you up, and they need to tell you how to proceed.
Additional alternatives are “Are you still alive?” or “Did I make you mad?” These subject lines elicit an emotional response. And you’re nearly guaranteed at least an open.
The situation: They need more information
The subject line: [Solution] information – per our conversation
Some leads need additional details before committing. Phone calls aren’t enough, they want to see white papers, testimonials, demos — and that’s great. If you have that content, share it. But you want to make sure that your lead actually opens it up and reads it.
This subject line isn’t just a reminder email, it’s actionable. It’s restating that this information is being sent specifically so that they can give you an answer. Without giving a due date, you’ve suddenly started a countdown toward the decision.
The situation: Closing
The subject line: Next steps for [solution] – per your request
You have them on the hook. You just had a fantastic conversation that ended with them committing to buy. But a verbal confirmation is not the same as a signed contract. And you do not want to be stuck chasing down prospects to sign a contract.
So send an actionable email that lists the final steps with appropriate links and attachments. We love the subject line “Next steps for [solution] – per your request” because it’s a reminder of the client’s problem. If they have any last-minute doubts regarding your product, they’re suddenly confronted with the possibility of no solution. And that is not a happy thought.
It’s also important to remind your prospect that this was their idea.
While not every situation you will encounter as a cold caller is represented, this list gives you a good foundation. Focus on goals, solutions, and what is interesting to your client. And like with so many other things, listen to them. More tactics for gaining leads using cold emails can be found here.