Email Marketing Starter Kit : 40 cold email subject line examples guaranteed to get opened

In this blog we are going to share 40 cold email subject line examples that will transform your cold outreach game. As the founders of Prelo we have to wear multiple hats. I am the “sales guy”, Emily is our recruitment person with some marketing thrown in, and we deal with everything else in between. What’s clear for me is this…  there’re often times when we’ve had to reach out to strangers to help us achieve a goal.🏆

To do that, we both had to learn how to craft and send cold emails. What we figured out was this, cold emails need to lead with an offer. Our main goal was to make our cold emails a frictionless interaction. 

Yes, over 4 billion people are using email, it’s one of the easiest, safest, most affordable, and effective ways of connecting with people. Despite being one of the oldest forms of electronic communication, email marketing still gets some of the best results compared to other more modern techniques.

That’s why we use cold emails to reach out and connect with our prospects. 🤝

cold email subject line examples on Prelo will help to improve your email open rates from 25%
25% – 37% cold email open rate is deemed a good conversion rate

What is a cold email ?

Before we dive into our killer cold email subject line examples, let’s quickly define what a cold email is.

A cold email is an email you send to a person you don’t know. The purpose of this is to get the recipient to help you achieve a goal. The goal can be anything from getting on a video call for a product demo to approaching VCs (Venture Capitalists) about your latest Startup idea.

The key to a great cold email is that it must propose a transaction beneficial to both the sender and receiver.

What makes a good cold email ?

One of the main reasons cold emailing has had a bad rep is that many people, including startup founders, don’t know how to write a cold email.

Most cold emails suck, because they are poorly written. Not to mention, most get sent to the trash folder unopened.

So what makes for a great cold email that gets opened and read?

Here are a few elements you need to get right for your cold email to work:

An intriguing email subject line

A killer cold email subject line and Personalized content are the two main ingredients of a good cold email.

From using your prospect’s name to personalizing your offer, your email copy must be personalized to be on trend. To do this, you must research your target audience well.

A good pitch

The way you ask for whatever it is you want is crucial. You must do it in a way that isn’t too pushy or salesy.

An incentive

What will your recipient get from transacting with you? Offer them an incentive that is relevant and appealing to them.

A compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Your call to action is the statement that seals the deal. It’s the statement that you use to move the reader to take the next step.

Getting your cold email right is essential to ensuring good open and conversion rates. So take your time to know your prospects and craft an email that they’ll love.

How do you write a cold email your prospects will open ?

Create a compelling email subject line to get your emails open
The secret to getting your emails opened 👉a compelling subject line

Here’s what Katia Beauchamp has to say about cold emailing.

Katia is the co-founder of the wildly successful beauty company Birchbox. Joining forces with her co-founder, they both started cold emailing CEOs in the beauty industry to get their Startup idea in front of them. Now she’s one of those CEOs. Beauchamp shared her experience,

“I cold emailed several presidents, CEOs, and brand managers in the beauty industry and the majority of people responded!”

So we asked: What are a few things that every cold email should include?

She divulged below.

1. Have a compelling cold email subject line.

“It needs to motivate the reader to open the message. At the very least it should say something more than, ‘Hello,’ or ‘Looking to get in touch.’ I used, ‘Reimagining beauty online.’”

2. Keep the email concise.

“The email should be short enough so that a person can read it without having to scroll down on his or her phone. The less time and energy it takes to read it, the better.”

3. Don’t attach a business plan to explain the idea.

“That’s asking a lot. Try a one-pager that briefly describes the idea/value proposition. We framed our one-pager by introducing the brands as the stakeholder and how Birchbox could help that brand.”

4. Ask for something that’s easy to say yes to.

“I asked CEOs and brand managers for five minutes of their time to give me advice. Those emails eventually turned into a meeting and the meeting turned into a pitch. Those pitch meetings ultimately led to partnerships with massive brands, early on.”

Using personalized email templates for targeted cold outreach ?

Because cold emailing involves sending emails to many different prospects, personalization may be daunting. To make it easier, use personalized cold email templates.

Fortunately, being a cold email, it doesn’t have to be hyper-personalized. You only need two main elements to create personalized cold emails:

Create templates for each target group/persona.

Research individual prospects and personalize an element of the email.

It’s on the second part that tools like Hyperise come in handy. They help you create personalized dynamic images for each prospect or business you’re reaching out to. Personalized images you can include in your cold emails include custom screenshots, company logos, your prospect’s profile photo, and other types of images.

Deconstructing the cold email

Pop quiz. What is the number one goal of cold emailing?

To get your email read.

Makes sense, right?

So what’s the primary goal of your first sentence?

The surprisingly simple answer is…to get the second sentence read.

Each line of a cold email must persuade the reader to read the next one, all the way through to your close. This goes for all cold emails. If you’re a founder looking to raise funds for your Startup, please adopt the same approach. When you send out those investor outreach emails or when pitching your Startup idea, please be intentional with every line you right.

Outbound marketing strategies you should be employing

Email marketing is a lot of things. But very often email marketing gets muddled together as one single process. It is not.

Email marketing is an umbrella term that covers several uniquely different forms of sending an online message to potential or current customers. Treating it as a singular process can be kind of vague, confusing, and even detrimental to your email marketing strategy. When really, email marketing is a symbiosis of sales and marketing tactics.

So when you plan to implement “email marketing” into your Startup’s growth strategy,  make sure you know what you’re getting into. That means, differentiating email marketing into its distinct subsets.

Think of your email marketing strategy as a family tree. A happy family tree with marketing and sales as the parents. And their budding offspring are cold email prospecting supported by cold email subject lines designed to excite your prospects. Tell them about your new features and how it’ll make their lives easier. This is what we do at Prelo, every new feature is a marketing opportunity. 

What’s a good open rate for a cold email ? 25%

25% or more is a good open rate for your cold email outreach campaign and if you hit over 37%, you may consider the first stage of your campaign as being very successful. 

Your cold email subject line dictates how likely your subjects are to open your email. Higher open rates can help you set more precise and realistic goals for your future cold email outreach campaigns based on your particular industry average stats. However, email open rates can sometimes be misleading, as a result it’s better to focus on real performance metrics such as the response rate for your cold emails. 

For our first startup, this was before we launched Prelo, we regularly hit 45% email open rates, while this was great we struggled to convert our prospects.

What’s cold email outreach in marketing ?

Cold email outreach is an effective and budget-friendly outbound sales prospecting technique for generating leads. In this approach, you’d start with a cold email subject line to build your personalized cold email message. Simply send this out to initiate a conversation and kick start a relationship with prospective customers you had no previous contact with. 

Once you’ve initiated this relationship, it’s a lot easier to nurture the prospects who respond to your cold emails, and gradually convert them into customers over time. That’s what cold email campaigns are meant to do!

Create compelling subject lines to warm prospects ?

Despite all the negative talk around cold email, it works. That’s especially if you take your time to create cold email subject lines that will move your prospects into engaging with your email.

Crafted well, your cold email subject lines will undoubtedly warm your prospects up to your offer.

Using the tips above, craft cold email subject lines that will stand out in your recipient’s crowded inbox. Remember, your subject line determines whether your email will be opened or not, so give it the love it deserves.

Write highly converting emails with Prelo’s email templates

On Prelo we share some dynamic cold email subject lines examples for you to personalize
Prelo‘s library of 100+ email templates

On Prelo we have created a list of outbound marketing, customer nurturing and client introduction emails just for you. It’s the easiest way to craft your outreach emails. Right now we use our own email templates to build out our  prospecting pipeline.  

Our cold outreach emails have been curated based on what we’ve personally tested and what other successful Startups have used to build out their customer base.

In the next two weeks, we’re going to be populating Prelo’s email templates list with cold email subject lines and templates. These will be specific to companies that reach out to VC funded Startups. We’ll be making email templates for SaaS Founders, Digital Marketing Agencies and VC’s looking for founders to invest in. 

40 Email subject lines to change your prospecting game

1 – 5 Helpful Generic Introductions

1. Let’s talk about (insert topic/idea)!

Note: Do enough background research on your prospect to make sure that they actually have the problem “coffees are on me, let’s talk about (insert topic)”

2. Request to connect.

Note: This is an open request to connect, really this is as cold as emails get. I’d change this to “I’d love to connect” or “Would you like to connect?”

3. Can I help you with (a goal that’s personal to them)?

Note: Again similarly this requires at least 5 – 10mins researching your prospect to make sure they have the problem

4. (Insert Name) I need your advice.

Note: This is a nice easy way in, this is a strategy we use when we send bulk messages to people we don’t know but need their feedback or support with our launch

5. Have you solved your (insert their problem) yet? 

Note: Making assumptions is always risky but worth a try and needs research as previously mentioned

6 – 10 Problem Focused & Goal Focused Introductions

6. Free to talk at (insert date)?

Note: Again another rather random open request, I see people use this a lot in SaaS Marketing. It feels somewhat impersonal, but works better if you add what it’ll be about “Free to talk about fundraising at 3pm”

7. Essential resources to help you with (insert problem).

Note: I love this type of engagement, it leads with an offer to help and creates a frictionless engagement

8. I noticed that…(insert a problem, knowing you have the solution)

Note: Another high stakes subject line that focuses on the problem. When you say that you notice, make sure this is indeed a fact.

9. A faster way to reach your (insert business-specific goal) 

Note: This is a safe “middle of the road subject line” it’s a 50/50 whether it gets opened

10. The most exciting opportunity for companies in 2022

11 – 20 Value added introductions

Note: A little generic for me, perhaps something like, it’s better to go with “this month”. 2022 feels as though your prospect has all year to commit 😏”A revenue growth opportunity you can’t afford to miss this month”.

11. Read this email if you need (insert solution)

Note: A little direct – some people like this… remember people don’t like being instructed to do something “Looking for funding? then read this”

12. (Insert name) 5 minutes can change your life 

Note: Hmmm this is a little gimmicky for me.. some people perhaps like this, but 5mins to change my life sounds a little far fetched. Try to be specific. It’s better to try something like this. “Hey Olu, 11 minutes can 2x your revenue”

13. Double your revenue in half the time…

Note: Ok if this happens to be a highly saturated sector where revenue is all that matters “Sales” then this subject line works if you’re selling a Sales Enablement SaaS tool. For a subject line better to go with “2x your revenue in (time/duration)…”

14. Almost all (insert their position) make this mistake.

Note: This is a “catch-all” subject line, this is a goodie. Here’s an example”Almost all tech founders struggle with marketing”

15. A quick idea for improving your (insert problem area).

Note: Another high conversion subject line for you to create frictionless engagement. Lead with an offer always

16 – 20 Urgency & FOMO Introductions Emails

16. You don’t want to miss out on this…

Note: Personally, this is not one I use.. not for cold email. Having said that for nurturing and sharing news and giveaways it’s great

17. Your competitors use these (insert number) industry secrets…

Note: For a highly saturated industry, this is a great intro. It immediately sets the prospect thinking that they are behind the curve

18. Don’t tell anyone we shared this with you…

Note: Not sure how this works, it’s clearly an automated email going out to a distribution list so – not sure. “Don’t tell anyone we shared this with you.. 🤫”

19. Hi, (recipient name) are you tired of (insert problem)?

Note: This is somewhat generic as I’ve mentioned on a couple of subject lines above. the problem needs to be one word (ideally)”Hey Olu, are you tired of “Spam”, we have a solution”

20. This offer is valid until (insert time).

Note: This is great, leading with the offer that could be a discount is always good. Here’s how I’d re-write this one”50% off all Premium Plans – Offer valid until May”

21 – 25 Question Focused Email Subject Lines

21. Thanks for your time (recipient name).

Note: This suggests you’ve met before, and forces the prospect to open it, the problem though is this – if you’ve never met before, not a great way to start a long term business relationship

22. Did you miss this? 

Note: This is another one of my favorites. I love helping people and this one works. However, clarify what’s “helping” and what’s “paid service”

23. Get this now before it’s too late!

Note: As per previous messages, I’ll use this in a nurturing email before I use it as a “cold email intro”

24. I’d love to give you some advice on (insert topic)

Note: This is a tough one for me, you typically do not want advice from someone you do not know, so why not rephrase this as : “I’d love to share 5 things you could do about (insert topic)”

25. Hey (insert name)(insert question)?

Note: Perhaps more common with Startups and Startup founders with a B2B2C business model. The question must be something you know they’re not doing well right now

26 – 30 Miscellaneous Email Subject Lines

26. (Insert mutual connection) suggested I reach out to you.

Note: Love love love this! The number of emails I’ve opened because they’ve mentioned a connection I know and respect

27. Act QUICKLY and you’ll see results…

Note: I don’t like to be forced into doing anything quickly, so maybe not one for me personally, but I can see why it works. Tough as a first outreach message though I feel

28. (Insert name) is there too much on your plate? 

Note: Another gimmicky subject line – a risky approach, especially if I haven’t actually got a lot on my plate at that particular time. “Let’s make talent sourcing our problem”

29. Remove the guesswork from (task/activity) today.

Note: This is a great one, works with analytics tools. Especially marketing tools or predictive tools to help grow your business

30. What would you do with (insert number) more hours per week? 

Note: An email subject line that focuses on solving a Time Related problem. It should typically target extremely time-poor prospects

31 – 35 Mystique Introductions Emails

31. Time is money. How are you spending it?

Note: Another one that focuses on saving time, solutions for HNWI is always a great candidate for this type of subject line. 

32. Some content to go on (insert relevant topic).

Note: I like this, I’ll qualify the word “content” with something like “useful” – some curated content to ….. perhaps” here’s a curated list of HealthTech VCs for your fundraise”

33. I’ve got what you need…

Note: Not so sure about this.. I think I’d be inquisitive enough to open this email… one to see how accurate they were with guessing “what I needed”

34. Discover what’s possible with (insert solution).

Note: This focuses on the solution your service or product offers. The email body must do an amazing job of selling the vision.

35. 5 things you didn’t know about (insert relevant topic).

Note: Great knowledge share, as an “industry expert” you’d want to open it to prove that you’re an expert and as a noob you’d also want to open to learn more.

36 – 40 FOMO Introductions Emails

36. Companies are saving big with this (insert product or solution) right now.

Note: This is leveraging the fact that you’ve sold your product your prospects competitors

37. (Insert product/solution) empowers companies like never before. 

Note: A generic subject line that will not necessarily convert the recipient

38. Are you falling behind? 

Note: This is a good one, I’d qualify it to give it some context “Are you falling behind with (your taxes)”

39. What more could you want? 

Note: A gimmicky subject line that says very little to the prospect about your ability to do a simple research. I’d go with something specific. (Insert Specific Value). What more could you want ?

40. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.

Note: Hmmm more gimmicks. Doesn’t tell the recipient anything about the product or service. Also saying you’re the “best” opens you up to be heavily critiqued. Lead with humility

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On twitter : 🐤 @oluadedj
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We’ll catch up again soon, many blogs coming up.

Founder, Prelo
I tweet about helping founders win!