How To Guides

How to Write Cold Outreach Subject Lines

Writing cold outreach subject lines can be hard at times. Learning how to perfect them will be a game-changer in your email marketing campaigns. Subject lines will be the first thing that the recipient reads from your email. Because of this, subject lines are mainly what will affect your open rates. In this article we will go over the best strategies and practices to write cold outreach subject lines that will increase your open rates and improve your email marketing campaigns.

Understanding the Importance of Subject Lines

Similar to the headline of a newspaper article – the subject line needs to grab the attention of the reader. In cold outreach, where the recipients aren’t expecting an email from you, it is even more important that you get their attention from the start. Learning how to write cold outreach subject lines is the difference between your emails being ignored or opened.

Why Subject Lines Matter

  1. First Impressions: The subject line is you or your company’s first introduction to the recipient. A good first impression is always important to start things on the right note.
  2. Open Rates: A well crafted subject line can be the difference between your email being ignored or opened.
  3. Brand Perception: Always using good subject lines will create good brand perception overtime.

To understand how to write cold outreach subject lines that resonate with your audience, let’s explore some key elements and strategies.

Key Elements of Effective Cold Outreach Subject Lines

1. Personalization

By personalizing your subject lines by using a first name or company name, you can make your email stand out to the recipient.

Example: "Hi [Name], Quick Question About Your [Industry] Strategy"

2. Clarity and Relevance

There should be a relevant purpose in your subject line. Try not to be too vague in your subject lines so as to not create a sense of mistrust.

Example: "Improve Your Sales with These Proven Techniques"

3. Curiosity and Intrigue

Mystery can be good, however, it should be used wisely. Making your recipient curious is a good step in increasing your open rates, but going to far may cause your emails to look like spam.

Example: "Unlock the Secret to Doubling Your Leads"

4. Urgency

Urgency is another tactic that you can use at times. Making an email seem urgent is a great way to get a recipient to open it, however, make sure that you are not making it so urgent that you seem pushy.

Example: "Limited Time Offer: Boost Your Marketing ROI"

5. Value Proposition

Your recipient wants to know what is in it for them. By showing value in the subject line you are increasing the possibility that a recipient opens your email.

Example: "Exclusive Insights to Grow Your Business"

Understanding how to write cold outreach subject lines that incorporate these elements will significantly boost your email marketing success.

Strategies for Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

1. A/B Testing

A/B testing is the practice of testing multiple different subject lines before committing to one. By sending out multiple subject lines in small email lists, you can discover what works and what doesn’t. Use what works.


  • Version A: "Increase Your Revenue with Our Latest Tools"
  • Version B: "How to Boost Your Revenue with Our Tools"

2. Keep It Short and Sweet

Long subject lines will sometimes get cut-off, especially on a mobile device. Make sure that your subject lines are short and to the point.

Example: "Grow Your Email List Fast"

3. Use Action-Oriented Language

Action words can prompt recipients to take immediate action. Words like "Discover," "Learn," "Unlock," and "Boost" can be very effective.

Example: "Discover How to Write Cold Outreach Subject Lines"

4. Avoid Spammy Words

Specific words that sound like spam will trigger email clients to put you in the spam folder. This gives you virtually zero chance at getting your email opened. Make sure that you are not being spam-like when writing your cold outreach subject lines.

Example: Instead of "Free Money Now," use "Budget-Friendly Marketing Tips"

5. Segment Your Audience

When writing cold outreach subject lines, try to tailor them to a specific audience. Being relevant to your recipient gives you a higher chance of them opening the email.


  • For new leads: "Welcome! Start Your Journey with Us"
  • For existing customers: "Unlock New Features in Your Account"

By understanding these strategies on how to write cold outreach subject lines, you’ll be better equipped to capture your audience’s attention.

Real-Life Examples of Successful Cold Outreach Subject Lines

Learning from real-life examples can provide inspiration and practical insights. Here are some successful cold outreach subject lines that have yielded high open rates:

  1. "Quick Question About Your Marketing Strategy" – Simple and direct, this subject line sparks curiosity and promises relevance.
  2. "Can We Collaborate?" – This subject line is personal and suggests mutual benefit, making it inviting.
  3. "Exclusive Offer for [Recipient’s Company]" – Personalization and exclusivity can make the recipient feel special and valued.
  4. "How to Double Your Sales in 30 Days" – Clear, benefit-oriented, and creates a sense of urgency.

Analyzing these examples will help you understand how to write cold outreach subject lines that are both engaging and effective.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Outreach Subject Lines


  1. Do Keep It Relevant: Always make sure that subject line reflects the information in the email.
  2. Do Personalize: Always try to be personal to the recipient whenever possible.
  3. Do Test Different Approaches: Regularly test and refine your subject lines to see what works best.


  1. Don’t Mislead: Avoid using subject lines that don’t match the email content. This can damage your credibility.
  2. Don’t Overuse Capital Letters: Using all caps can come across as shouting and can be off-putting.
  3. Don’t Use Spammy Words: Words like "Free," "Discount," and "Buy Now" can trigger spam filters and reduce deliverability.

By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll learn how to write cold outreach subject lines that respect your audience and maximize your chances of success.

Tools and Resources for Crafting Subject Lines

There are several tools and resources available that can help you craft better subject lines. Here are some that can assist you in learning how to write cold outreach subject lines effectively:

1. Email Subject Line Graders

Tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and Send Check It’s Subject Line Tester can provide feedback on your subject lines and suggest improvements.

2. A/B Testing Platforms

Platforms like Mailchimp and HubSpot offer A/B testing features that allow you to test different subject lines and see which one performs better.

3. Templates and Examples

Websites like HubSpot and OptinMonster offer templates and examples of successful subject lines that you can adapt to your own needs.

Using these tools and resources can streamline the process of learning how to write cold outreach subject lines that get results.

Conclusion: Mastering the Art of Cold Outreach Subject Lines

Learning how to write cold outreach subject lines is an art. It will require some creativity, testing, and an understanding for who you are emailing. Focus on personalization, clarity, curiosity, urgency, and value to increase your open rates.

The key to learning how to write cold outreach subject lines is continuous learning. Always be testing different subject line approaches that you can use. Analyze the results and use the best ones.

By using the tips that are discussed in this guide, you can be on your way to writing subject lines that have high open rates. Happy emailing!