There’s a war going on. Everybody’s at it. Email is your only weapon. You’re fighting for customer affections, across multiple fronts, in every inbox. But your business is surrounded; you need to break the deadlock. It’s time to turn on the charm.

Email marketing is a direct form of marketing that is usually conducted en masse. These days, technology allows us to send personalised messages to heaps of leads and clients at once. There are a multitude of reasons for why your business might send marketing emails.

At the start of the journey, it’s important to greet your customers. Somewhere in the middle, you might want to remind a quieter client that you’re still there. Alternatively, you might need a cheap, direct line to market a new product, service, piece of content, or discount you have to offer.

The problem is that your competitors are already doing it. They’re sending emails and receiving explosive results. As marketing emails land left, right, and centre in a prospect’s inbox, your job is to stand out. But it’s not easy.

According to Invesp’s research, as many as 69% of recipients send a message to spam based on its subject line. This means you could have the greatest email in the world, but it’s absolutely worthless if it’s not opened. Even though a subject line is the shortest part of an email… it is by far the most important.

So, lock and load readers. We’re charging head-first into the dangerous world that is email subject lines.

Playing the numbers game

Email marketing is all about numbers. The more emails you send, the more responses you receive. Leading marketers have outlined some of the figures that dictate how we should design our email campaigns.

  • Keep it short and sweet.
    Subject lines with 6 – 10 words are 21% likely to be opened, but 21 – 25 worded subject lines are only 9% likely to be opened.” – HubSpot
  • Add some urgency.
    Subject lines that are urgent in the language they use are 22% more likely to be opened than ones that aren’t.” – HubSpot
  • Say it with a smile.
    “Brands that use emojis in their subject line have a 56% higher open rate.” – Experian
  • Timing is everything.
    “Tuesday is the best day to send an email and 11:00am is generally the prime-time for opening them.” – HubSpot
  • Personalise it.
    74% of marketers report that targeted personalization, such as a name in the subject line, increases customer engagement.” – eConsultancy

The “making eyes from across the room” email

You might have been recommended the perfect lead for somebody who wants to buy your product. Maybe, at the click of a button, you scraped their data from LinkedIn using your favourite CRM system. However you found them, you’ve got a new prospect. Don’t be shy: flutter your eyelashes and flex your biceps. It’s time to send a cold email.

Cold emails are the way to go when you want to target a particular business or lead that you believe is the perfect fit for your buyer persona. They are your chance to get a prospect on the line before you reel them in.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this email is it. You need to build an immediate rapport with your recipient by being open and honest about why you are emailing them.
Here are some subject lines that are bound to break the ice between you and a prospect.

  • Open with a joke… “A horse walks into a bar…”
  • Offer some intimacy… “Here’s an embarrassing story about me!”
  • Share some common ground… “I see you were at [[conference]]”
  • Show your professionalism with some formality… “[[name]], it’s nice to finally meet you”
  • Go in, all guns blazing… “so you’re the [[name]] from [[company]] everybody is talking about?”

Check out this blog post that dives deeper into how to write a red-hot cold email.

The “How you doin’?” email

Congratulations on your new user or subscriber! Whether they’ve signed up to your marketing emails to receive a discount, or created a user account… you’re in. Well, your foot is jarring the door open – you’re not quite all the way in. In fact, you’re only in once that customer has converted, and your next step is a very important one towards scoring that goal.

Welcome emails have four-times the open rate and five-times the click-through rate of other email marketing. By all means, this is your time to shine.

Welcome emails are most effective when they are clearly identified as what they are. They are a big hello and a bear hug, complimenting your recipient on their fine choice, and finished off with a bouquet of discounts or freebies. Leave no stone unturned in your quest to make a good first impression. In a welcome email, positivity is everything and making a prospect feel part of the team goes a long way.

  • Make them feel part of the team… “Welcome aboard, captain”
  • Ask them to link up on social for easier engagement… “Let’s hang out on social….”
  • Show some value from the very beginning… “Hey, here’s some [[content]] to whet your whistle”
  • Thank them.. “Thanks for coming [[name]], let’s get your profile completed”
  • Smother them with discounts and freebies… “Psst… we’ve got something special for you”

The subject line is the very first impression of your first impression, so make sure it’s clickable.

The “Please don’t leave, you’re all I have” email

Maybe you sent your clients a welcome email a long time ago and nothing happened. Maybe they bought something from you and you haven’t heard something since. You feel used and it hurts… you miss them. You miss them so much you want to email them… so, do it.

You know how important it is to nurture your leads. You want to keep sales momentum going, but it’s important not to be invasive and annoying.

Re-engagement emails have a million-and-one different names, but underneath all the cheesy buzzwords they are the same beast. They are a last-ditch attempt of email marketing, and you need to effectively remind them of your business’s value before they hit that god-awful unsubscribe button.

In your subject line, why not…

  • Show some emotion… “[[name]], we miss you…”
  • Ask for feedback on why they are missing… “You tell us the problem, we will fix it”
  • Lure them back with a discount… “20% off, but only because we miss you”
  • Lather on the FOMO… “Big things are happening, here at [[company]]”
  • Ask a question… “Are you sure you want to leave us behind?”

Retaining customers that you already had is a much cheaper, more time-effective method than scouring every corner of the internet for new ones. Force the FOMO; tell them exactly what they’re missing out on.

The “I got something to show you” email

As you fight for your recipients’ attention, the standard promotional email is the rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire. They are, by far, the most common form of email marketing. You might have a new product to push; you might have simply upgraded an existing service. Either way, it’s time to tell the world about it. The cheapest, most far-reaching way to do this is through email marketing.

The problem with this form of email marketing is that it all feels a bit spammy. There’s a fine line between a well-meant marketing email and sinister spam, but it’s definitely there.

Your subject line is that fine line, so make sure it hits the mark.

  • Introduce your customer and your product… “[[name]], meet your new [[product]]”
  • Make it urgent… “Hurry up, [[product]] sale ends in [[#]] hours”
  • Be cheeky… “Your butt looks great in this new [[product]]”
  • Tell them straight… “Our [[product]] is the best”
  • Add an emoji… “👀 Check out our new [[product]] 👀”
  • Shout about your product or service from the rooftops; flaunt it. If you don’t, who will?

The “Listen to us, we’re so interesting” email

I’d like to propose a toast to the copywriters of this world, quietly churning out quality content; doing their bit to keep brands relevant and engaging. But, imagine our sad little faces when you don’t open that newsletter we spent days writing. Hang in there guys, we got this.

Content marketing is the technique of marketing your brand by creating and distributing relevant, useful content to a defined audience – increasing brand loyalty and driving sales. It’s all the rage.

Depending on its sphere, your business might host a fashion podcast, churn out tech how-tos, or even publish content about content. It doesn’t matter what it is, it matters how you distribute it. Of course, an email campaign is a priority and your subject lines need to be spot on.

  • Simply entice with a catchy title… “This is War: How to Win the Battle of the Inbox”
  • Let them in on a secret… “Psst, we’ve got something to tell you”
  • Give them something relevant… “Kicking it in Kyiv: what’s going on in the city”
  • Pique their interest… “What do we have here…”
  • Keep it classy… “The art of [blog topic]”

Shakespeare could have written a blog about the top 5 features of NetHunt’s LinkedIn integration, but if the subject line was left blank then nobody would read it.

Speaking of NetHunt, this feels like a good time to tell you about our email campaign function. Our simple, intuitive CRM allows you to send personalised email campaigns to segmented lists of contacts and leads. For more information about this feature, check out this video from our very own Anastasia, or start your free trial today!


Subscribers get bored easily, and rightly so. It’s your job to keep your offerings fresh, original, and informative. Don’t blend into obscurity – stand up and back your corner. Don’t be mistaken for spam – let your prospects know you are fighting the good fight, offering value and information.

Get your subject lines right and, who knows, you might win this perpetual war we call email marketing.

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