Most salespeople spend a good part of each day trying to come up with breakthrough email subject lines to get prospects to open and hopefully read their emails. Trolling for new ideas, I happened upon the blog below offering 29 email subject lines proven to get the attention of the person at the other end. Some are great. But some you should absolutely not use if you want to stay in the game.
Let’s start with the clunkers that are obnoxious at best and rude at worst. Never would I ever send a prospect an email with some of the subject lines advised below. For example: #7 Should I Stay or Should I Go?, #4 Do Not Open this Email, #14 Where is the Love?, #15 You are not Alone, or, #17 Feeling Blue? Like Baby Pandas?‘ I mean, seriously? Unless you had a recent conversation about your client’s trip to the mountains of Sichuan, China, please don’t follow up with a random YouTube video of frolicking baby pandas. And the one asking ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?‘ practically begs the recipient to send a single word reply with the word, ‘Go.‘ But that’s just me.
Unless you’re really dialed in to your client’s sense of humor–my vote is don’t risk your brand just for the sake of getting someone to open your email. Ditto trying to force a response from someone by offering an email with a break-up subject line like #16 Permission to Close Your File? Yup, shut it. And then go away, please.
The overriding guiding principle: first bring value. These people don’t owe you anything. Remember that, and you will start winning. Because your prospects will know an email from you usually has something they need. Furthermore, people are busy, and scattered, and getting back to you with an answer isn’t their first priority, even though they swore they’d have an answer on your killer proposal by Wednesday and you are still waiting for a responses the following Tuesday.
So what are some good opening lines? I liked all the ones that led with ideas: #13 (X) Tips for (Pain Point) or #12 A Benefit for Client Name Here or #18 ‘Idea for_______, or #25 ‘Some Blogs You Might Like. And certainly the basics like #3 Our Next Steps or #11 Hoping to Help are a vast improvement over ‘Checking In’ or ‘Update?’
But what do you do to get a response from the decision maker on a lingering proposal where you’re getting radio silence? Not listed below but I’ve had good luck with: ‘Do You Have Everything you Need?‘ or, ‘Any Feedback on Proposal?‘ And if pushed where you’ve done multiple outreaches to no reaction, it’s fair to ask a direct question that doesn’t use gimmicks or threats. If you really feel all is lost then go ahead and send an email with the subject line, ‘Is XYZ Proposal Still Alive?‘ Usually you will get an answer, and sometimes it will be better news than you think, where your prospects replies with something like, “Yes, thanks for your patience. Our budget is on hold for three more weeks and we should have an answer for you then.” You keep the conversation going without nuking the bridge, which even when people deserve it, you should never do. Really. Just don’t do it. You’ll regret it when the person you sent that snarky email to becomes the CMO of a company you really want to do business with.
In summary, just be really good at what you do. And make tons of calls. Because if you do, you won’t be moved to resort to email subject lines that don’t honor you or your client. But, you should still check out the link below. Because there’s some really good ones also. And different approaches work for different people.