Your Husband and My Child: Subject Lines that Get Opened

February 11, 2021

When I first told my dad that I was going to begin making phone calls and emailing prospective leads, his first reaction was that I needed to make sure that I came up with catchy email subjects. He jokingly recommended that I send emails entitled “Your Husband and my Child,” telling me that every female prospect would open that email. While I laughed at his suggestion, within the first week of sending cold emails I realized what he was actually trying to tell me.

Every day I send around forty cold emails. More often than not my emails are either opened and not responded to, or they’re ignored entirely. I have spent time carefully researching a prospective lead and then crafting a targeted email. With the confidence and pride that comes with said perfect email, I press send and anxiously await a response. Sometimes I check every five minutes if it’s an important contact! However, the content doesn’t matter if the recipient never opens the email. The time I spent researching and writing feels like a waste if the title of the email doesn’t intrigue, and finally convince, the prospect to open a cold email from a stranger.

I quickly found that subject lines which include referrals not only got opened more often but also increased the response rate because the prospect felt obligated to actually read the content of the email. A subject line that asked about availability or interest also received high open rates, and they had fairly good response rates. I began just using the phrase “follow up” to indicate that I either had a conversation with that contact or with another person in the company that applied to them, which helps increase engagement rates. Best of all were subject lines that played up a personal connection or hobby that I uncovered through my research process. Any way to separate myself from the other SDRs reaching out was a huge plus!

Listening to my manager as well as my coworkers’ ideas for how to craft the perfect subject line has been the best learning experience. I’m fortunate enough to work at a company that shares emails that have worked, and I can then learn from them and adapt their emails to my own project.

There have been moments around three o’clock where I can imagine sending an email entitled “Your Husband and my Child,” or even “Stop Ignoring Me and Just Open This” just out of sheer frustration. The only thing that stops me is imagining the look on the prospect’s face when they realize it’s actually an email about a potential software introductory call! At least they wouldn’t forget that email and I might even get a callback, albeit not the good kind.

There is no science to crafting the perfect subject line to ensure that a prospect will actually open an email. However, after my first month of sending cold emails I have come to focus more on the subject line than I thought I ever would. After all, if the email never gets opened then there is no chance of a response!

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The demandDrive Archive has blogs from 2011 - 2018, written by various former contributors.

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