Cold Email Subject Lines

Cold Email Subject Lines: How To Make Sure Yours Stands Out  

Writing cold emails can be daunting, but knowing how to do it in an effective way that keeps your email from ending up in the spam folder is key.

There are many important parts when it comes to writing cold emails but the subject line is the first thing whoever you’re emailing is going to see. 

That’s why making sure you create a subject line that grabs the attention of the reader is important for achieving success in receiving a response to that cold email. Here are some ways to help you ensure your email makes it to the inbox folder and avoids being flagged as spam. 

What Your Subject Line Should Include 

There are key components to include in your subject line in order for it to stand out and make it past the spam folder. Knowing how to write the subject line in a way that gets to the point but also grabs attention is what will set you up for success. There are a few tactics used to write up a good subject line when cold emailing. These tactics include: 

  • Make it personal 
  • Keeping it short and simple 
  • Make and utilize connections 
  • Catch their attention 
  • Include keywords 
  • Experiment with subject lines and see which works best 

Using these tactics when writing your cold email subject lines can help lead to success and potential responses. Writing cold emails can be nerve-wracking but having tools that lead you in the right direction can make the job a little easier. Let’s take a closer look at each of these tactics and how they can help you succeed. 

Make It Personal  

When it comes to writing cold emails you don’t want to come off as a robot. Email servers have technology that detects spam versus inbox mail and a good way to avoid being put in the spam folder is to sound human. Not only will this help you escape the spam folder but it will also help grab the attention of whoever you are emailing. 

Readers can sense the info within the email by the subject line so if your subject line shows off your personality it increases the odds that someone will read it. Ways that you can personalize your emails to show you know about the person or company are by including:

  • Product names
  • The company name 
  • Relevant titles to blog posts or videos from their website 
  • Conference or event you met or saw them at 
  • Their first name 

There are many ways to add personalization to your email subject lines that not only show you did your research but that you are contacting them with a purpose. 

Making sure your subject line is personalized is a great way to get responses to your cold emails. It also ensures you are putting your best foot forward when making that first connection. 

Short & Simple  

Subject lines are the first thing the person you are emailing is going to see in their inbox, making sure that the subject line is short and to the point is ideal for gaining a response. There is no need to tell your whole life story in the subject line but rather short snippets that will invoke the reader’s attention and make them want to open the email to learn more. 

Besides gaining interest from the reader, making sure your subject line isn’t too long will ensure that it is not cut off on whatever device the user is reading your email from. For example, if your email is being read from a mobile device and the subject line is too long then most of it will be cut off and it will lose its readability value. Some examples of short subject lines include: 

  • Need any help 
  • You’re invited 
  • Trying to connect
  • (First name), nice meeting you at (event) 

Making sure your subject line is short and simple makes it seem that much more personal and conversational. The reader should be able to glance at the email subject line and get a good idea of what the email will involve because it’s in that initial moment that they will determine if they will read the email or not. 

Use Your Network 

When sending cold emails it can often be to people you do not know, but sometimes it’s someone you share a mutual connection with. When it’s someone you share a mutual connection with, it’s best to capitalize on that connection using it to your advantage.

Whether you attended the same college, conference, grade school, or anything similar, any connection will heighten the chance they open your email. People tend to open up when they have something in common with someone, and having a mutual connection with a cold email prospect will make your email stand out that much more. Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate a mutual connection into the subject line: 

  • (mutual connection), suggested I reach out to you
  • Recommendation from (mutual connection) 
  • We met at (mutual event) 
  • Great speaking with you at (mutual event) 
  • (mutual connection) thinks we should chat 

Showing similarities with the person you are cold emailing, will help gain their attention to read and respond to your email. Don’t be afraid to use any mutual connections you have to network and make connections that will lead you to success.  

Catch Their Attention 

The goal of cold emailing is to get a response back that hopefully leads to a successful connection, in order to do that your subject line of the email has got to catch the reader’s attention. There are multiple ways you can catch the attention of the reader either by asking a question or gainingtheir curiosity. 


If you’re bringing knowledge and valuable information, make that known in the subject line. If you’re trying to ask a question, let them know what it may be about by hinting at it in the subject line. You want to give just enough information that they want to know more by opening your email. Some

 ways you can incorporate questions and valuable information into subject lines are: 

  • What’s next for (topic)
  • Need help with (topic)
  • New ideas for (topic) 
  • Looking to collaborate on (topic) 
  • Questions about (topic) 

Giving them a reason to open your email whether it be a question or valuable information adds purpose to them reading your email and responding. 

Incorporate Keywords 

Writing subject lines can be complicated and sometimes you can overdo it with the length of the subject line and by including too much information. This is where keywords come in, by including keywords in your subject line it will help make your email stand out while keeping it to the point. 

Focusing on keywords will also help eliminate the use of any words that flag emails as spam line “free”. Keywords are used to showcase the email’s purpose if the email and what you want from the person receiving the email. Keywords that explain the purpose include: 

  • Info – if the purpose of the email is to provide information to the reader 
  • Request – if the purpose of the email is to request something from the reader 
  • Action – if the purpose of the email requires the reader to take further action 

By including keywords like these it will help your email stand out in the reader’s inbox. It helps you hone in on the real reason you’re sending the email and lets the reader know right away what the email may be about. 

While keywords like these are useful when it comes to writing subject lines that get to the point, there are also keywords you can use that will bring out emotion in the reader encouraging them to open your email. Sometimes it is necessary to use emotion as a tool to bring attention to your email and what it’s about. There are different genres when it comes to choosing words that evoke emotion from the reader. 

These genres include words of encouragement, fear, greed, safety, or anger. Knowing the different genres will help you decide which keywords to choose to bring out the emotion that matches the tone of your email. Some words that can bring about emotion from a reader from the different genres include:

Beware  Life-changing 
Caution  Phenomenal 
Effortless  Captivating 
Enthralling  Brutal 
Costly  Save 


Words like the ones mentioned above can bring out emotion from the reader, enticing them to open your email and see what it’s about. Keywords allow you to connect with the reader by making them curious, creating a trustworthy narrative, and influencing them to get the outcome desired.

Keywords make it easy to write subject lines that are short and sweet which as mentioned before helps the reader analyze what your email may be about in a timely manner. Rather than go into detail and ramble in your subject line, incorporate a few new words that fit the goal of your email and personalize it making it enticing to the reader. 


There are a lot of options about the format you can choose when creating your cold email subject line. From going on a personal route to asking a question, or all of the above. It can be overwhelming to decide, but one good way to figure out which email subject line works best for what you are trying to achieve is by experimenting. 

You can create a spreadsheet that incorporates all the subject line options you’re testing and keep track of responses, seeing which ones gather the best responses and which go ignored. You can also test how readable your subject line is through grammar applications like Grammarly. It is always important to look at the subject line and ask yourself, would you open this email? 

What Not To Do 

While writing a cold email subject line may seem simple enough, there are a lot of mistakes people make when creating the subject line that results in no responses or ending up in the spam folder. 

  • Making False Promises: While making a clickbait-worthy subject line is enticing, it is not good to mislead the reader about what the email contents include. Your subject line should be relevant and hint at what the body of the email involves. If your subject line strays from the point of the email you lose the trust of the reader and they may trash your email as a whole. It’s best to make sure the subject line and the email body match up.


  • Lack of originality: Tons of people write cold emails each and every day, there are also lots of informational blog posts showcasing tips and tricks for writing cold email subject lines. Being original with your subject line is important because if not it will get lost with all the other cold emails sent that day with the same subject lines. This is where showcasing your personality comes into play when writing your subject line, nothing is more original than being yourself. 


Being knowledgeable about what not to do is helpful when trying to put your best foot forward in your cold email. While there are chances of getting a response from cold email subject lines that are clickbait or have general subject lines, it’s always better to be original. 

Next Steps 

People get tons of emails to their inbox a day, so oftentimes when sending cold emails those emails can go ignored. That is why by using the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can curate your cold email subject line in a way that makes your email stand out amongst their email inbox and heightens your chance of getting a response.