Fact: Email subject lines will never be perfect for every snowflake on your email list.
Looking at my own inbox, there are emails I delete because they just reek of desperation.
I analyzed over 1,100 emails from my personal ‘good cold email’ folder in gmail and found that the MOST common word occurrence in the list of subject lines for cold email was shocking: my first name.
Using my ‘first name’ had a 63% greater chance of getting added to the folder tagged with ‘good cold email’ followed by my company name, Replyify.
If you don’t get a response to your initial cold email, you have to follow up with prospects.
Follow-up emails are important for many reasons. A well-crafted follow-up email can establish a relationship or solidify a sale rather easily. A poorly written follow-up email, or one that is never sent, can end an already positive relationship or prevent one from being established.
Recent data suggests that at a given point in time only 3% of potential customers are ready to purchase something, 56% are not at the point of buying, and 40% are in the process of getting ready to buy. Follow-up emails staged at different intervals will help you connect with potential customers when they are ready to buy.
If you send one email you will only be appealing to the 3% that are actively ready to make a purchase. Follow-up emails allow you to spread out contact which will place you in the inbox of individuals when they are more in the early stages of researching and again when they are likely to be interested in buying.
Creating a high-quality follow-up subject line for your email is the first step of the follow-up email process. Below we will discuss some reliable do’s and don’ts for creating high quality subject lines that will get your email opened.
Why a Good Follow-Up Email Subject Line is Important
It is safe to assume that most people filter through a lot of emails in a given day. Subject lines are quick indicators of the level of importance of an email. Because of this, subject lines are important if you want your email to get read in general. They’re very important if you want your email to be read in a short timeframe.
Compelling subject lines will cut through the clutter of your recipient’s inbox and stand out. If you write something that is eye-catching enough, someone who quickly scrolls through their unread mail will take the time to stop and open the email you sent.
Additionally, dedicating a little bit of time to writing strong follow-up email subject lines can have worthwhile returns when it comes to getting your emails opened.
If you have already met who you are emailing in person or over the phone, then the right subject line will instantly remind them who you are and how you can help them. This is helpful because people are more likely to open emails from people they already know.
Along these lines, make sure your email shows as being sent from you or another person from your company. Emails from a specific person as opposed to a company name have higher opening rates and higher click-through rates.
A good subject line can help your email be opened in a timely manner. The longer an email sits in an inbox, the less likely it is to ever be opened.
What is in a Good Follow-Up Email Subject Line
Creating a great subject line does not have to be complicated. If you have been engaging in strong conversations already, consider using the same subject line from earlier emails. This will stick out and help the recipient know that this is an email they want to read because they are already invested in the conversation.
If you are attempting to make a first or second contact, you will want to take some time to consider what the best follow-up subject line will be.
While everybody is different and some clients might respond better to different methods, there are some tried and true pieces of advice that will increase the quality of your follow-up email subject lines.
Common Characteristics of Exceptional Follow-Up Email Subject Lines
An effective subject line will contain some common characteristics regardless of the approach you take. A conversational tone, personal touch, and information to get the recipient interested will need to be present in any subject line.
Most subject lines should make it clear that what you have to say is important to the recipient. The information you want to present will likely benefit you, or you wouldn’t be sending the follow-up email, but make it seem like the recipient is the only person you are thinking of.
Your goal with a subject line is to get your information into the hands of someone who will use it in a way that benefits you–whether that means more sales, a networking relationship, or a discount on a product you need.
Getting your email opened is only the first step in the larger goal of getting your email read. Click-bait subject lines might have higher open rates, but those rates will usually not translate to higher click-through rates. A thought-provoking question is a good idea, but an outlandish subject line crafted to get an easy open will not have the same long-term success that a straightforward, but compelling subject line will.
The same is true of a misleading subject line. Untrue information that sounds good can get an email opened, but an opened email is nothing if it doesn’t lead to a positive relationship, sale, or another worthy goal or metric.
Perfect subject lines do not exist, but you can get close if you include some of the good follow-up email subject line tips below. Keep in mind that you do not have to stay boxed into one subject line category. Feel free to mix and match some when it makes sense and doesn’t add clutter or confusion.
The email subject line examples below are not comprehensive, but they provide a good place to start and can help get your brain working as you write your own email subject lines.
Personalized Subject Line
Using the recipient’s name in the subject line has a few advantages. First, it will draw their attention to the email because their own name will stick out to them. Second, it will create a sense of relationship.
Adding personalization to your email subject lines is a good place to start if you do not feel creative enough to come up with something else. It is easy to add a name to a subject line with the information you already want to convey.
Subject Line Examples:
Did You See My Previous Email, Eleanor?
Hoping to Connect Again About Networking, Miguel
Information From Today’s Information Call, Ana
Chris! Let’s Touch Base About Your Machinery Needs
Can We Setup a Specific Meeting Date, Joan?
Subject lines are meant to pique the recipient’s curiosity, not be the entire message. The bread and butter will still be in the body of your email. Keeping your subject line short can help your message stand out.
Mobile devices tend to cut subject lines off early, so it is wise to create shorter messages so they’re conveyed in their entirety.
Subject Line Examples:
Touching Base After Today’s Call
Questions About Financing?
Let Me Answer Your Questions
Quick Note, Jill
We Have a Mutual Acquaintance–Ben Josephson
Something They Asked About
Personalized emails that are about the recipient are more likely to be successful. If you are able to address information that came up in a previous conversation in a subject line you will likely have more success. Additionally, providing information that the individual specifically asked for will be even more likely to be successful because you are not only bringing something to the table that they have requested, you are showing dedication and follow-through.
The fastest way to show that the information in your email is useful and asked for is by foreshadowing the information in the follow-up email subject line. You don’t have to address the fact that they asked for the information; they will remember that. Just give them a taste of the information they asked for and give the longer details in the email.
Subject Line Examples:
Quote For Kitchen Renovation
Data On Monarch Migration
Availability For June Appointments
Front Desk Job Application
Re-Stock in Mid-January
The Blog Post I Mentioned This Morning
Connection to a Previous Conversation
Similar to including information that a connection has asked for, referring to a previous conversation can create a positive relationship. Email subject lines that reference past discussions can mention details of the meeting, location, or time as a way to catch the recipient’s attention. Any way that you can briefly mention your prior contact will help your email stand out.
Subject Line Examples:
Great Meeting This Morning
Follow-Up From Our Chat at Lunch
More Conversations Like Thursdays?
Further Information About Mobile Devices
Reaching Out After Connecting at the Culinary Networking Event
Who doesn’t like a little intrigue? Including something unique or interesting in a follow-up email subject line can captivate a recipient’s interest. As was mentioned above, you will want to make sure that the intrigue you are creating is closely tied to your message and isn’t cheap click-bait or nonsense.
A follow-up email subject line that is intriguing can double as a personalized subject line with details about the individual or previous conversations. It can also be the segue into information someone asked for in the email body. Subject lines don’t need to showcase entirely new information to be considered intriguing.
The intrigue can come from the way the information is presented. The subject line doesn’t have to be about information that is mysterious in nature.
Subject Line Examples:
How Much Can You Save on a Water Heater?
Can You Guess How Many Spots We Have Left For Our Seminar?
Guess Who Our Mutual Connections Are!
After Today’s Phone Call I Had An Idea…
I Found The Answer To Your Question!
When to follow up can vary depending on the level of contact you have had with a person. In general, if someone has reached out to you, it is best to follow up as soon as possible. Following up promptly can increase the chances of a positive long-term outcome.
If you are following up on an email or voicemail you have left that has not been responded to, then two to three days is a respectable amount of time to wait. This allows enough time for the email to have been read and not so much time that the information has been forgotten.
Typically, people will open and respond to an email the first day they receive it if they plan to read it. Follow-up emails are important at the two to three day mark because without a follow-up, the recipient will likely not engage. Sending a new email can reset the clock and create a new first day because it is the first day they received that email.
It is wise to lengthen the amount of time between each follow-up email. Slowly stretch out the number of days between follow-ups, especially for individuals who haven’t responded or who have sent a negative response. Continual close together attempts at contact can make you sound desperate or pushy.
If you are following up after meeting with someone or receiving their initial contact details, then it is advantageous to send an email shortly after meeting.
Subject Line Examples:
Sorry I Missed Your Call
Have You Had a Chance to Read My Previous Emails?
Have You Seen My Initial Email From Monday?
Quick Response to Your Recent Question
Wonderful Meeting Today!
It has been said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Being personable in your subject lines will open more doors than anything else. Catching the attention of your recipient can be done in multiple ways, and all of the ways discussed in this article so far should be coupled with likability for the best results.
Interjecting a little personality, wit, or humor can also have a positive impact. It goes without saying that any subject line humor should be basic and not include any hate speech. It is one thing to playfully joke about a rival (such as Kleenex taking a jab at Puffs), it is another to make a joke at the expense of a specific person or entire racial, gender, religious, or sexual group.
Bottom line: use the few words you have in your subject lines to show you aren’t a robot, but always be kind, even to prospects who’ve seemingly ignored you.
Subject Line Examples:
Hello, Is This Thing On? I Don’t Think You Can Hear Me
I Hope This Subject Line Finds You Well
If I’m Assuming Correctly, I Have Information You’ll Want
We Have a Mutual Connection: Good Deals
Not One of Your Average Sales Emails — I’m a Cool Sales Email
Frustration sets in when there is no response. When you are creating your follow-up subject line, it is important to keep a professional tone, even when you are upset. The subject line isn’t a place to air grievances or shame someone into a response.
Avoid pointing fingers, calling someone out, or picking a fight in follow-up subject lines (or any subject line for that matter). While it might feel nice to let the recipient know that you know they are ignoring you, you are potentially burning a bridge that could be advantageous down the road if you show anger.
You can be specific, set boundaries, and even professionally express disappointment, but avoid outright aggression or anger. When possible, try to convey a sense of humor or good attitude even when you are following up during a time of annoyance.
There is also always the possibility that your message wasn’t received because of a technical error, your email inadvertently going to a junk folder, the recipient having a busy week or is out of office, information was sent to the wrong person due to incorrect contact data, or a myriad of other potential problems.
A lack of response does not mean that your message was not heard. It is important to always be personable because the recipient can still be a key part of your target audience. The same person who ignored your initial campaign can reach out when they do need your services.
Subject Line Examples:
Am I Eggs? Because I’m Beginning to Think I Go Well With a Spam Folder
♫ Don’t You Forget About Me ♫
Do You Want Me to Stop Contacting You?
Maybe I Need a Map. Did My Initial Emails Get Lost?
[Insert Cricket Noises Here] Hello…?
Identify Pain Points
Every business has at least one pain point. Take some time to reflect on the information that has already been shared with you and do a little research of your own to see if you can identify what the recipient’s pain point is before composing a follow-up email. When appropriate, work that information into your follow-up email subject line.
You will want to make sure you can offer a solution to the problem before using this method to kindle your recipient’s curiosity. The subject line likely won’t share this information, but it should be present in the actual email or you run the risk of poking a bear.
When done well, the email subject line will raise a problem and the body of the email will provide a solution. This frames your information in a way that benefits the person you are emailing. Whenever you are able to make a follow-up email about the other person, you will have more success.
Subject Line Examples:
What is Missing From Your Company Culture?
Make Your Cold Emails Successful
Your Windows Are Not Energy Efficient
Is Your Hiring Manager Overwhelmed?
Get More Blog Post Readers
The techniques used above and the email subject line examples are a good place to start if you need help creating engaging follow-up subject lines.
Automation Tools For Follow-Up Assistance
Follow-up emails can be difficult to write. Tracking them and knowing how successful they are can be even more difficult. There are some automation tools that can help you get more from your follow-ups.
One of the most useful elements of a marketing email automation platform is the statistics that it automatically tracks. Find out who is opening your emails, how long it is taking them to be opened, if your target audience is clicking through, what your bounce rate is, and more.
By tracking your statistics you will be able to get an idea of which follow up subject lines are generating the most activity.
Statistics can also let you know the right number of people to include in a mass email campaign. Including too many recipients can sometimes trip filters on your recipient’s end that can automatically send your message to a spam folder.
Follow-Up Email Campaigns
Another beneficial feature is the automated follow-up campaign element. You can schedule follow-up emails to be delivered at the most successful intervals.
If you receive a response to your email message, the campaign automatically stops so you can re-evaluate what needs to be said and when. You can also manually stop future automated emails if you communicate via a different method that will not trigger the auto-stop.
You can input client details, such as company name, job title, client name, address, and so on that can then be used in automated personalization efforts. Not only can this feature be used in your subject lines, it works with email templates.
Automation is helpful if you want to send the same information to multiple people, but still want it to be personalized. You can decide which areas of the email template will autofill with information and which areas will remain the same.
Make sure your date is correct though, as input errors can prevent your message from getting to the right person.
It is easy to drop the ball when you are following up. Setup reminders for when you need to follow-up and don’t let an email go unsent again.
Integration Into Your Preferred Platform
Most email automation services will integrate into the email service you area already using. You won’t need to know any coding or technical information. It is ready for you to use with a simple installation.
Email Services That Help
A good follow up email subject line will often make the difference between a follow-up email moving straight to the trash can and it being opened and read. A lot of the success of your follow-ups will rely on your subject lines and tone.
There are programs that can help you optimize the results of your follow-up emails though.
Replyify provides automation services that will help you send follow-up emails that make a difference. Their live statistics coupled with automated email campaign features and reminders will keep you on your toes as you juggle the many aspects of your job.
Don’t let follow-up fall through the cracks. Use a system that can help you work smarter. You can chat with a representative at Replyify about their product offerings and how they can be integrated to help you have more success.