How to Write Cold Email Subject Lines That Get Opened [Examples Included]

Closing Deals / March 10, 2020 / Emily

When it comes to drumming up new business, part of your strategy will likely include cold emails. When you’re looking for new leads, a cold email means reaching out to someone you haven’t had any prior contact with.

animated snow globe with email notification

Reaching out to someone you don’t know is tough, especially when you want to show them the value you offer without screaming “sales pitch.” What should you say? How do you get their attention? With thousands of emails sent and received every day, why should the reader open yours? This email is your first impression, and before you can worry about what to put in the content of your cold email, you need to master the cold email subject line.

We’ve put together a list of cold email subject line examples and tips to show you how to get your emails noticed, opened, read, and responded to!

Best practices for writing cold email subject lines


If you can show right off the bat that you’re offering something useful, instead of making it about you, you’ve now made it about the reader. It’s not what you can do, it’s what you can do for them. What do they care about? What problem can you solve for them? By providing something relevant and valuable to the reader, you make a good first impression that will make them more likely to open your emails again. Make sure your cold email subject line summarizes what they will actually find in the body of the email so you’re keeping your promises.

Cold email subject line examples with value:

  • [Competitor] has better SEO than [Company name](for now)!
  • [Industry] research your clients will love
  • [X] tips to solve [relevant pain point]
  • How I solved [relevant pain point]
  • What I’ve learned in [X] years of business

Keep it short

Long cold email subject lines that get cut off and don’t tell you anything about the content of the email usually get a one-way ticket to the trash folder. 3-4 words in your subject line are all you need to avoid screaming “sales pitch” and come off more human.

Cold email subject line examples that keep it short:

  • Got a second?
  • Quick question
  • Need my help?
  • Thanks in advance!
  • I’m inviting you!


Using personalization in your cold email subject lines can increase open rates by up to 50%! Using a lead’s first name or company name means your email will come off as less spammy and sales-y, and we’re all just programmed to look for our names, so this will help your email stick out and actually get opened.

Cold email subject line examples with personalization:

  • Do you have 5 minutes, [Name]?
  • [Company name] feedback
  • I know I forgot something, [Name]!
  • [Company name]’s website
  • Are you hitting your goals, [Name]?

Meaningful connections

You want to tie your business into something you noticed about your lead when writing a cold email subject line. It can be things like a mutual connection, something you saw on their social media or website, or common pain points your lead’s industry can use your skill set to solve. Similar to scanning for our own names, we’re more likely to open an email that is tied to other familiar names or topics.

Cold email subject line examples with meaningful connections:

  • We’re both going to the SaaStr conference!
  • [Mutual connection] said I should get in touch
  • Congrats on your promotion, [Name]!
  • Saw your post on LinkedIn
  • How I helped [Mutual connection]


FOMO(fear of missing out) is real! We all want to feel included, and that feeling of missing out can really prompt a lead to take the next step. Make sure you don’t overdo it. If every cold email subject line you send is urgent, it’s just going to become more spam that won’t seem urgent at all.

Cold email subject line examples with urgency:

  • Today is the last day
  • One spot left
  • Don’t miss out!
  • Time-sensitive offer
  • Sign up before it’s too late

Questions and favours

Everyone loves sharing their opinion and we love being asked for favours! We even tend to like people more if they’ve asked us for a favour. Asking a question in your cold email subject line that your recipient can help with will pique their curiosity and make them more likely to open your email to see if they can swoop in and solve your problem with their expertise.

Cold email subject line examples with questions and favours:

  • Can you help me understand [specific pain point]?
  • Can you do me a favour?
  • I figured you’d know the answer about [specific pain point]
  • Do you know how to fix this?
  • Can I get your opinion?

When crafting your own cold email subject lines, remember to always consider the reader and what kind of value you’re offering them. What’s in it for them? Would you open this email if you received it? You know your ideal client; when you find a lead, speak to their pain points, common problems, and how you’re offering a solution.

Don’t be afraid to test different types of cold email subject lines and track their success rates – what works for some may not work for you! When you’ve mastered the cold email subject line, check out the formula for writing warm follow-up emails to start turning those new leads into clients. To make sending cold emails, follow-ups, and interaction tracking a breeze, try a tool like Daylite to always stay top of mind with your new and potential clients.

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