Strategies for a World-Class SDR Program

What’s The Best Subject Line for my Email?

Since posting about using A/B testing to write a killer subject line recently, we’ve received a slew of emails asking about how to write subject lines for specific markets and personas.

The truth is that I don’t know. I can speculate, but your guess is as good as mine without testing. Making data-driven decisions is one of the three keys to killer email prospecting.

AB Testing subject line

However, there are some general guidelines I can share that may help you find a starting point. Most of them are simple:

– Keep it short (I never use more than 7 words)

– Be honest (It’s illegal in the US to use “deceptive subject lines”)

– Avoid salesy words like “opportunity” and “savings”

Additionally, there are two questions that you should consider before writing a subject line for cold email prospecting.

1) What pain do your prospects feel?

Is there a specific pain that all of your prospects share? If so, can you create a subject line that hints at your ability to solve their problem?

I’ll explain by way of an example. I sold high quality prospect data for a company that crowd-sourced prospect information. Our service solved a problem that most sales and marketing teams face: low-quality data.

Some of my best performing campaigns had minimal personalization and began with simple, direct subject lines like:

– How does {{company}} source prospect data?

– Potential leads for {{company}}

– Free prospect research for {{company}}

However, if the product or service you sell has lots of different use cases, then there may not be a single pain for you to address. If this is the case, then it may be worth spending additional time to

  1. a) create mini campaigns to address different needs or
  2. b) utilize additional custom attributes to better personalize each subject line.

For additional information on custom attributes, take a minute to read this post.

2) How many prospecting emails does the recipient receive?

Of course there’s no way to know exactly how many sales emails your prospects receive, but there are some indicators to help you make an educated guess. The most powerful indicator is whether their information was difficult to find.

Realtors have a strong incentive to make their contact information easy to find. This means that most realtors get lots of cold emails. To stand out in a crowded, spam-filled inbox, you have to invest a little extra time in personalizing subject lines to the recipient.

It’s probably worth spending some time to add creative personalizations to your emails. Here are a few that you can easily work into a subject line:

– Geography (neighborhood, city, Etc)

– Company name

– Colleagues’ names

– Education (mention their alma mater)

On the other hand, if your prospects’ email addresses are difficult to find, then you may not need to invest much time in researching data for personalized subject lines. Chances are that a generic (though not salesy) subject line will achieve a decent open rate.

TLDR: I don’t know what subject line is best for your situation. It’s up to you to make an educated guess and A/B test subsequent ideas until you find a killer subject line. However, there are a few simple rules that may help you choose a solid starting point for your testing.

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Taft Love

Taft Love

Taft Love is an experienced sales development and sales operations professional who has worked with dozens of startups in and around San Francisco in recent years. He now leads teams of SDRs and Sales Operations analysts for SmartRecruiters in San Francisco.

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