email-failEver wonder why your cold emails don’t get many responses? Getting high response rates from cold emails isn’t a myth, but it’s not magic either. Focusing on one simple element of your cold emails will more than triple your response rates.

Why Subject Lines Are Gatekeepers & How to Get Past Them

The subject line is the most important part of your cold email, so you should not ignore it. Many people see subject lines as an after thought for their email outreach, but these people craft poor emails that few people will respond to.

If you want to see results from your cold emails, you should be spending 80% of your time on the subject line.


Well, if your response rates are really low, people probably aren’t even opening your emails because your subject line sucked. You have ZERO CHANCE of getting email responses if people never even open your emails.

How to Write Subject Lines that Get High Response Rates

When writing cold emails, you should spend time drafting a list of subject lines. When planning my cold emails, I often create a list of 20-100 subject lines. Some of my subject lines are better than others.

The key is not perfection, but getting your ideas onto paper. Before writing your cold emails, spend 5 to 10 minutes writing a long list of subject lines. After you’ve finished you can look at them and highlight or circle which ones are the best. By picking 3-5 great subject lines you can craft a batch of powerful cold emails all at once. Sometimes you can even use the subject lines in the body of your emails.

Here are the elements that your subject lines should have:

  1. Short & Simple: Be clear and to the point. Try to have 6 words or less.
  2. Personalization: You can use custom inserts to put the company or recipient’s name into the subject line with brackets. Depending on what script you’re using, that will probably look like one of these: <<First_Name>> or
    [First Name].
  3. Value: Why should the person receiving your mail take the time out of their day to open and read an email from a stranger? Great subject lines require understanding your reader and what matters to them. What are their pain points and what is valuable to them? You don’t have to make them fall in love with you on the subject line, but you do need to give them a reason to desire to open your email and read on.
  4. Camouflage: Mimicking subject lines that the recipient is already used to seeing is an easy way to get a message opened. This is a way to catch them off guard and force them to open your email.
  5. Intrigue: You need to catch their interest, but leave enough mystery to always leave them wanting more. Writing an interesting or unusual subject line will compel your reader to open the email and read on to satisfy their curiosity.

Examples of Subject Lines That Got High Response Rates

Here are some subject lines that have seen more than 25% response rates:

  1. <<First Name>> how is <<Company>>’s product different?
  2. Get <<Company>> more customers in 15 minutes
  3. Quick heads up about <<Company>>’s website
  4. Who’s the best person to talk to? / Can you introduce me?
  5. Found a mistake with <<Company Name>>
  6. Intro: <<My Name>>/<<First Name>>

Why are these subjects so successful?

They all follow elements that we mentioned before. Almost all of them are personalized to the recipient in some way with custom inserts, except for #4, which is intriguing and camouflages with the types of emails the recipient already receives. Subjects #2, #3, #5, and #6 all entice the reader with very clear value; some more intriguing than others.

Messages Still Not Getting Responses? Why You Need to Track Your Cold Emails.

Do you think you’re writing great subject lines, but still aren’t getting many responses?

This is exactly why you need to track your cold emails. If you’re using email tracking software like Yesware, you can see exactly how many of your emails are getting opened. If you aren’t using tracking software, start now.

You can’t see how effective your subject lines are or aren’t if you aren’t tracking email opens.

High open rates with low conversions (responses or clicking links) mean the body of your email needs work. Low opens means the subject sucks.

Why Timing Matters a Lot For Email Response Rates

Okay, you’ve learned to write amazing email subjects, but your cold emails still aren’t getting responses. What to do now?

Well, assuming your emails aren’t going straight to spam, (which you should always test by sending emails to yourself or colleagues at personal accounts) you might be sending emails at the wrong time. Some times of day and certain days of the week are better to send cold emails than others.

You want people to get your emails at times when they are the most available and receiving the least amount of emails in their inbox. Based on our own experience, we’ve seen that Saturdays, Sundays, and Thursdays are typically good times to send outbound emails. In fact, Saturday evenings have consistently driven some of the best results we’ve seen yet.

Why We Love Sending Our Cold Emails on Saturday Evenings

There’s a few reasons we believe it works so well.  Because we’re often emailing startup founders, this is a time when they tend to be checking their emails without as much pressure and other commitments as they have during the week. Also, getting Saturday evening emails may signal that the person emailing them is also a hard worker like them.

Note: You don’t actually have to send the emails on Saturday evening. You can use software and scripts to schedule your mail merges to run at different times.

Every audience is different, and you should always test sending at different times for yourself if you want to achieve the best results.

If you’d like a team of experts to manage this process for you, contact LeadGenius for a free demo.

Guest Contributor: Heather R Morgan is a writer and consultant who helps B2B startups improve their copy to get more customers. You can contact her at

We hope you enjoyed this article. Please tell us what else you’d like to see in the comments below, or tweet us @LeadGenius.

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