Sales Email Subject Lines: How to Increase Your Click Through Rate

Sales email subject lines

If you enjoyed last month’s sales email templates article at ActiveCampaign, this article will be the perfect companion. To provide a balanced perspective, we partnered with Daniella Alscher, a G2 Content Marketing Associate, to learn more about writing the best sales email subject lines. She is the author of the following article.

No matter how long you spend writing your email, there’s little chance that anyone will see that content unless your subject line grabs their attention. Subject lines are truly the most important part of your cold emails. Without a great one, who’s to say your email will be opened at all? 

Four tips to make your subject line shine

Salespeople have approximately 35 characters to convince their recipients to either open their email or delete it. Igniting curiosity in a prospect in an original manner is a surefire way to convince them to open your email, but this is much easier said than done. 

1. Keep it personal

Marketing automation software makes it easy for us to send emails, but it can also make it easy for us to fall into the trap of a formula when it comes to our body copy as well as our subject lines. While there’s nothing wrong with a little “plug and play”, the least you can do is keep your subject lines personal. 

In fact, it’s been proven that using your prospect’s name in the email subject brings open rates closer to the surface than without. While doing this in every email you send may get a little old, mixing it in with other tactics is one way to make your subject line worth clicking. 

Hey, [First Name]! We have good news!

We’ve got our heart set on you, [First Name]

I’ve heard great things about you, [First Name]!

2. Keep it simple

Just because a recipient can read 35 characters in a subject line doesn’t mean they have to. Less is more, especially when it comes to the subject line of your email. The fewer words you use, the more you’ll be making your prospects wonder what else it is you’re trying to tell them. 

Short subject lines are difficult to achieve, which is all the more reason that salespeople like you should be striving to write them. In an inbox cluttered with newsletters, coupons, and miscellaneous messages from coworkers, your short, succinct subject line is sure to stand out from the crowd. 

“Big news!”

“One last try.”

“Saw your last article!”

3. Don’t forget to experiment

Sometimes, the problem isn’t that you don’t have any ideas for an email subject line – it’s that you have too many. But nobody said you had to limit yourself to one creative idea: why not A/B test your subject lines? 

Taking the time to sit down and write out ten different subject lines for the same email will not only start to exercise your creative muscles, but it’ll give you a few different ideas to choose from. Email automation software allows you to not only A/B test the content within your email, but also the subject lines that you’re writing for each email. 

Pick your top two favorites, paste them into your software and keep track of the results. Analyze the winner and the loser. Take notes of what you think worked well and what to avoid for the next round. 

A: Last chance to take advantage of our sale!

B: Our sale ends tomorrow! 

A: Five new features you need to check out. 

B: Have you checked out our five latest features? 

4. Know the golden rules

The above tips are definitely all about strategy and require a bit of effort to track and tweak. Below, we’ve added some additional rules that the email community considers “no-brainers” when it comes to their subject lines. 


If you were sending an email to a friend, you probably wouldn’t scream your subject line. Full word capitalization should only be used for emphasis to add a more “human” feeling. And not every subject line calls for emphasis. Instead of capitalizing every letter of every word, research suggests that title-cased subject lines work best. Sentence-case can also be effective, while using all lowercase isn’t recommended. 

This Is An Example of Title Case

This is an example of sentence case

this is an example of lower case

Avoid excessive use of exclamation marks

You have a limited amount of characters available in your subject line. Why would you waste them with exclamation marks? Excessive punctuation not only makes you look desperate, but also makes the subject line difficult to read, especially on mobile. If you’re trying to suggest that an email is important, consider the language you use in the subject line rather than the punctuation. 

Avoid spelling errors

We all make mistakes, but there’s no excuse for spelling errors in a subject line. Think of your subject line as your leads’ first impression of you: you want to dress to impress here and a typo isn’t going to do the job. Read over your subject lines carefully before sending and if you have even the slightest doubt about the way something is spelled or phrased, get a second pair of eyes on it before sending.

Watch your open rate soar

Your recipients’ inboxes are cluttered with unread messages, but you and your team don’t have to be a part of that. Instead, get creative and use the power of words to convince them to click through. When you take the time to write a subject line that stands out from the noise, you’ll capture the attention of your recipient and lift your open rate beyond your wildest dreams.

Daniella Alscher

Daniella Alscher is a Content Marketing Associate for G2. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s listening to true crime podcasts or sitting on the couch. Or both.

The #1 online tool for scheduling meetings