Blog/How to get a response with a catchy email subject line ?

You’re preparing a cold-email campaign, but are afraid that all your efforts will go unseen because you’re having trouble figuring out a catchy subject line?

This is a very common problem, wrong subject lines cause bad things to happen – from prospects disregarding your emails because the title isn’t interesting, to your messages falling into spam folders because of bad wording.

Think of a movie trailer

How would you approach creating a trailer for an epic Hollywood masterpiece? If you watch a few of them, you notice they usually:

  • only highlight the best moments
  • tell a short story
  • intrigue everyone because they’re perfectly put together

And the format doesn’t really change over time (most trailers have always been very similar).

Same goes for your cold email subject line – there are a few methods that simply work, and there isn’t much room for innovation.

The secret to getting responses from cold emails

Funniest memes with catchy emails

goal is to get the highest open rate possible.

It isn’t.

And it’s really important to stop thinking in terms of “gaining attention by any means necessary”. The goal of cold e-mail campaigns, in general, is to aim for the bullseye – prepare messaging that appeals to your target decision makers.

Have you ever tried to please everyone when ordering a meal? If someone wants pizza, you don’t give them a steak.

Ok, joke attempts aside, how do you achieve that goal?

Many think that you need fancy words, expressions and literary tricks to get attention. This might get high open rates – but terrible response rates.

Selling can be broken down as a process of perfectly matching a client’s pain with your original and effective solution. From this point of view, approaching subject email lines is simple:

Say exactly what you’re offering in catchy email subject lines straightaway

cat with uniform

Because it’s a stupid feeling when you take the time to open an e-mail that sounds very promising from the title, just to realise there’s no value for you inside. Plus, it’s been done so many times that I believe people are becoming immune to this. Only being honest can convince people to open e-mails anymore.

Example of best cold email subject lines

Say you’re selling Customer Relationship Management software (CRM). There are many companies that do it, so to stand out you might need to fit in a keyword that says how you’re different.

Let’s try to figure out the best subject line for this situation:

  • Special offer with the best CRM on the market just for {{company}}

No one believes in “special offers” anymore. Your recipients most probably know that you’re not preparing different offers for each company on your prospect list. Forget about using silly tricks to grab attention. Plus it’s way too long, recipients would see only half of it on their smartphones.

  • Close all deals with our CRM

You can’t really promise they will close each deal, it’s up to them. You just offer software that might help them do it. In general, don’t make false promises, you’re not a fairy and you don’t grant wishes.

  • Best CRM for {{company}}

This is definitely too general, plus no one believes when you say your product is the best one. A quick google search might prove that it’s not the best choice for everyone.

  • CRM to help organise sales @{{company}}

This one just might work. It clearly states what you’re selling – CRM. It obviously says what it does – helps organise sdr sales. And it’s a bit personalised because of the {{company}} custom field, everyone likes to see their name mentioned.

  • CRM with twitter integration for {{company}}

Here we have all the elements necessary for a good catchy email subject line – checks the same boxes as the previous subject line, and additionally presents the “purple cow” (the thing that isolates you from the competition).

Think about it long enough, and you’ll find that even the smallest things can be the special asset you use to convince people to read your e-mail. Just be honest and comb through your offering.

>If you notice that you found a way to provide better customer support than other companies – go ahead and add “with best customer support”. This will position you to acquire those customers that are fed up with poor support.

General rules

Let’s see what patterns emerge from the example above:

  • don’t use sketchy, salesy expressions
  • don’t make false promises
  • don’t be too general

Instead, you should:

  • be straightforward about your offer
  • keep it short
  • try to identify what differentiates you from the competition in 1 or 2 words


Remember to be patient and try new things. You can A/B test different email subject lines (send 100 emails, 50 with one and 50 with the other). Try switching it up word-by-word if it doesn’t seem to be working.

The only way that you’ll hit the sweet spot is through testing, sometimes you might find that a weirdly worded subject line delivers the best response rates.

This should help you in inventing the best subject lines for your campaigns. Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂