Friday, 23 August 2019 07:15

12 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Opened, Read, and Responded To

Email marketing alone can grow your sales by 273%.

If you want Bloominari, our San Diego Email Marketing Team to help you craft high-converting email copy and a winning strategy, contact us today.

Learning how to craft engaging email subject lines can multiply your sales. You don’t have to be a renowned copywriter to write irresistible subject lines.

To get started, you need to use two key ingredients in your subject lines and emails:

  • Personalization
  • Value proposition

Here’s the truth, the majority of your prospects and customers are basically self-centered. 

That means they’re more concerned about what you can do for them. All they care about is how communicating with you can benefit them; how it can solve their business challenges, and make them more money.

If you’re ready to tap into this undeniable fact about people, here are 12 sales email subject lines that get opened, read, and responded to:

1. The Introspective Subject Line

How do you feel when someone asks you about your goals and dreams? It can get emotional sometimes, especially when you don’t even know how to respond.

Perhaps, you haven’t thought of setting a clear goal?

A good example of an introspective subject line is:

Where do you plan to be in 2 months from now? (huge bonuses awaits)

If you’re able to ask your recipients questions that will cause them to imagine and visualize their future or see a different version of their business, you’ll get their attention.

Use this effective email marketing strategy to persuade email subscribers and potential leads to make a decision right now, in their lives and business.

A lot of smart digital marketers use the introspective email subject line. For example, Melyssa Griffin usually asks her audience where they picture themselves in 3 months:

introspective email subject line

Once the email is opened, Melyssa also provides actionable insights for getting there using Instagram marketing.

How to use it:

If you have a new product to sell or you want to generate traction for an affiliate offer, you can use the introspective email subject line to get better results.

2. "Did You Get What You Were Looking For?"

This is the type of sales email subject lines that works when you're following up on an existing prospect or website visitor.

Again, it depends on how and where they subscribed to your email list.

Did they subscribe via your blog post that addressed a particular challenge? Did they subscribe to your webinar to learn how to fix a particular problem or improve an area of their business?

Based on this premise, you can follow up to find out whether or not they have found a solution to their challenge. Also, Get excited about helping them with any challenge they may encounter along the way. Here’s an example from ClickDigit:


How to use it:

This sales email subject line works best when you’re a bit familiar with the recipient or prospect. Use it to nudge the prospect to your best products that will provide a complete answer to their question.

Better yet, if you captured the lead via your FAQs page, then it’s a good lead to ask such questions? If you’re yet to interact with them, then there’s no need to use it.

3. "Hi [name], [Question]?"

This is an intriguing subject line. It speaks directly to the recipient since you’re addressing them by their name and you also have a question for them.

Since the question isn’t obvious out in the subject line, the person would be more than eager to open it to see the question. Here’s an example from CrushKit:

"Hi [name], [Question]?"


How to use it:

Generally, asking a question is one of the best ways to get emails opened and read. But you can use it specifically when you’re looking to get feedback from the user or you want to find out what next steps they would like to take.

4. The "If-Then" Subject Line

The human brain is wired to respond to logical statements. That’s why the “if-then” statements are triggers for the brain and they influence habit formation. In fact, the known 5 ways to trigger new behaviors, thought patterns, habits solely rely on this simple “if-then” paradigm.[*]

Sumo utilizes this powerful trigger on their emails to get it opened, read and responded to. Here’s an example:

The "If-Then" Subject Line

Since most Sumo prospects and customers, even website visitors have either a website or a functional blog, they need the tools.

How to use it:

Make sure you have a proper understanding of your target audience. The “If” part of the statement must be true for the “then” to work. Otherwise, your email will not be opened. Worse, you’ll lose subscribers.

5. Keep it Personal

Whenever you address a person or company directly, they stop and listen. If you see an email pops up in the inbox that seems catered specifically to you, you’re more inclined to open and read it.

That’s the power of personalization. Personalized subject lines are far more effective than the typical email that goes out to everyone on your email list.

Here’s a good example:

Do you like [Company Name]’s lead generation tool?

LinkedIn uses personalization in their emails subject line:

Keep it Personal

How to use it:

Use personalization when you want to send product-specific information to a select group of people or a segment of your list. They must be familiar with the product or have shown interest.

6. "I Found You Through [Referral name]"

Yes, you can mention referrals in your subject line to get amazing open rates. It immediately establishes credibility and trust with the prospect and motivates them to respond to your email.

Here’s a good example:

I Found You Through [Referral name]

How to use it:

If the person who referred you is an influencer, then you’ll leverage on that to get more sales and customers. Don’t use a person’s name who isn’t trusted in the industry.

7. "Your Yearly [X] target"

To use this sales email subject line, you need to understand what the prospect is going through, what they’re expecting for the year, and maybe their overall goal.

Why does it work? Well, it’s a well-known fact that most people would rather talk about themselves than listening to you. Interestingly, a study conducted by Harvard shows that when people talk about themselves, the brain sections that drive motivation and reward spring into action.

It’s not a popular subject line but it works.

Sales subject line

How to use it:

Use this subject line when you’ve researched the prospect and customer very closely. If they’re in your mastermind group or have shared their experiences and goals with you, then they would appreciate it.

8. "Will Cut to the Chase"

This unique subject line is both exciting, intriguing, and precise at the same time. If a recipient sees this subject line, they know you’re in for serious business.

They’ll quickly open your email to see what you have in mind.

Here’s why it works: According to research, it’s known that most people find uncertainty unsettling. In other words, you need to be clear enough about your ideas or advice.

Will Cut to the Chase

Conversely, when you clear up areas of uncertainty and go straight to the point, you create a mentally satisfying situation. Sales representatives who have used this subject line have reported it a winner.

9. The “Remember That One Time” Subject…

In this sales email subject line, you’re reiterating an event that your prospect or customer holds there. It’s a powerful subject line.

A “Remember That One Time…” subject line gives you the opportunity to recall a specific memory and vividly paints an image of emotions, in order to trigger the senses associated with that memory.

Here’s an example as used by REI:

Remember That One Time

When used properly to improve sales performance, it sends a dose of positive memories about the event that your customers were a part of, for example, that memorable backpacking trip, that hiking experience that changed your career, etc.

10. The “Only Open If” Subject Line

You may not even want to do whatever the “only open if…” subject line suggests, but the fact that you opened this subject line subconsciously is an indication to yourself that you’re willing to at least consider it.

Why is this so?

Well, it’s a well-known fact that what we do can shape our belief system, so when you act on this email based on the subject line, you become psychologically “susceptible” to believe or for your belief system to be altered -- depending on how the body of the email is framed.

This is a bit odd at the surface, but smart digital marketers and entrepreneurs alike have used it. In fact, Ramit Sethi, founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich used it in his subject line:

Sales email subject lines get opened read responded

You might be surprised to see such an influencer use this email subject line. But that’s because it works.

How to use it:

You can use it whenever you want to persuade or soft-sell in your email. No, you’re not pushing people to do what they don’t want to, you’re only psychologically giving them a reason to.

11.Feeling [Emotion]? I Can Help!

Whether you’re a copywriter or you run your own marketing agency, one of the things we want to do more is speaking to an audience’s pain points.
When you write your sales emails, make sure the subject line communicates to recipients’ pain points.

What problems can you solve for your recipient?

It’s all about giving to the prospect, not asking for anything in return, except for their permission to do. Here’s an example:

Emotion subject line

Why would they need your product or service? Spend some time studying and learning about your audience to better understand their needs, then use those insights and data to craft emails that aim to help.

For customers who truly need your assistance, your email will be their last hope for success. If you can personalize it, that’s even better.

How to use it:

Ensure that you come off as being authentic in your email. Don’t portray yourself as a helper to the prospect, only to ignore their emails when they reply. Be there when they need you the most.

12. Quick question about [Recipient’s Business, Goal, Etc.]

You’re mainly seeking an answer or feedback when you use this subject line in your sales email.

It means you’re not looking for immediate sales, but an opportunity to communicate with the prospect and get them to like you enough to buy from you. Here’s an example from Brian Dean:

subject line length

Ask a question that fits the recipient’s goal, pain points, or business model. Make sure it’s personalized to suit them.

Ask a question you’d love to know the answer to, and if you’re yet to get a response, you can follow up 2 - 3 times in a friendly manner.

How to use:

Use this subject line to initiate and build a relationship with the prospect. When following up, you should endeavor to tweak your subject line to reflect previous connections you’ve had with the recipients.

Don’t come off as a stranger but as a friend.


All in all, email subject lines are tricky and most people give up too soon. Why?

Because the same email that generated a lot of sales for company A wasn't even opened when Company B sent it to its prospects.

That means you have to be creative in your subject lines, always be testing, and learn to follow up when you aren't satisfied with the results.

marketing lead generation

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Jaime Nacach

Marketing Strategist

I love helping small businesses with their digital marketing and business strategy. I'm a young man with a passion in entrepreneurship and international experience in business development, marketing, sales, and web/graphic design. 

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+Personal Website

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