5 Truly Awful Sales Email Subject Lines You Need to Stop Using

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but doesn’t that strike you as odd given that the cover will have the title, the author, the publisher, the genre, the plot and even a few people telling you what it’s like.

The same can be said for email subject lines. They are the first thing the recipient will see of your email. They are the cover to your email/offer/sale opportunity’s book. And just like our book cover analogy, your email content will be judged based on its subject line, so it had better be good. The thing is, sales-led subject lines so rarely are.

Ineffective email subject lines result in unopened emails and fewer sales. To help identify what counts as a dodgy subject line, let’s look through six examples of the very worst and suggests some better options…

  1. ‘Referral from [ENTER MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE NAME HERE]’A friend in common is a great way in. It’s the perfect excuse to talk and legitimises you straight away. You’re instantly gifted a level of trust and credibility. But by using a word like ‘referral’, you could very well put the person off. It’s a word that is primarily used by sales folk. So the email already smells a little ‘sales-y’.

    Alternative email subject line: ‘[ENTER MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE NAME HERE] said I should get in touch with you.’

  1. ‘Last time trying to contact you’C’mon… You don’t really need us to tell you why this kind of subject line is poor form, do you? It’s overly bossy and demanding. Your sales leads aren’t required to speak to you. In fact, if they’re not talking to you it could be because of the sort of attitude you’ve demonstrated in that email title. Sure, this is a last-ditch attempt, but it’s negative and lacks class. Try a little self-deprecation instead.

    Alternative email subject line: ‘Surely my persistence is worth a reward… Go on, open this email!’

  1. ‘Request for meeting’Talk about not beating around the bush! Okay, so some extremely forthright and straight-to-the-point types might appreciate this approach, but most people will find this pushy and overly direct. There’s nothing wrong with angling for a meeting, but you can be a little bit subtle, at least.

    Alternative email subject line: ‘Would you like to meet with me to discuss [X]?’

  1. ‘15 ways you can increase revenue in your business’ It’s estimated that the average business person receives 15 or more marketing emails each and every day. So given that’s the case, what chance do you have of an ‘open’ if your subject line is basically just copy and pasted in from a company blog, eBook, white paper or presentation? You need to focus in on the lead and humanise yourself and your approach.

    Alternative email subject line: ‘A few ideas about how you can increase revenue at [ENTER COMPANY NAME HERE]’

  1. ‘Just touching base with you’Business jargon and management speak is borderline criminal in this day and age. It’s laughable really and only serves to make you look pretentious and dreary. You’re supposed to be an enthusiastic and charming sales professional, so be enthusiastic and charming. Don’t be a tiresome cliche of a salesperson, using tired old phrases.

    Alternative email subject line: Anything. Absolutely anything other than something with the phrase ‘touching base’ in it.

Email subject lines might seem like a trifling matter. But it’s small things like this that can really make a difference… To make an even bigger difference to your sales and business performance, why not speak to us here at Indigo Inbound about what we can do for you

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