3 of the best InMail and email subject lines I’ve found

Time to read: 3.5 minutes. Why aren’t your email or InMail subject lines working? They’re probably too long, too specific and they’re telegraphing what you want—a meeting. After months of researching with reps and recruiters I’ll share 3 of the best InMail subject lines I’ve found.

Point blank: The job of your subject line is to get your email opened—in a way that doesn’t backfire in your face.

Let’s qualify prospects faster with more effective InMail and email messages that rock.

Why humans open InMail & email

We all open email from strangers for the same reasons. We are either

  • anticipating the message,
  • scared by it or
  • something about the email makes us curious.

And that something starts with the subject line. It had better be effective. If not? Delete key!

If it makes your prospect curious it will get opened. Even if the customer doesn’t know you. Make ’em curious and you’ve got a great chance. But only if your subject line creates curiosity.

Be too specific? Delete key.

Sound too vague? Delete key.

Your email or InMail subject line must be a little vague and yet familiar sounding to get your message opened.

Don’t let this kill your subject line

Effective email subject lines can blow up in your face. Make sure yours is filled with integrity. For example, if you use the word “question” or “help” in a prospecting email it can be effective.

It can also be deadly.

By positioning your email as a request for help or asking a question a prospect might believe you to be a customer, not a sales rep. Be careful avoid making prospects feel tricked or mislead.

Effective subject line tips for your wall

Writing effective subject lines for email or LinkedIn InMail takes training. So here’s a way to train yourself… form better habits. Don’t press send until you’ve consulting these do’s and don’ts.

AVOID Subject lines that

  • Ask a yes/no question (this is a common one!)
  • Are overly specific
  • Are too vague
  • Ask for meetings or time
  • Sound like a newsletter (this is a common one!)
  • Aren’t believable
  • Sound familiar

I host an online workshop to help get into this habit. Join me. Come to an InMail Writing Clinic. Otherwise … remember everyone on Earth scans their inbox the same way. Without exception.

We want to know:

  • Who is emailing me? (is this spam?)
  • What do they want?
  • How long will this take?

Ask a yes/no question and half your prospects will say no. Bingo. Delete key.

Tell them what’s inside your email by being too specific? Delete key.

Weird or odd is good. But a total disconnect with the prospect risks the delete key.

Please, never ask for a meeting in your subject line—or telegraph you want someone’s time!

For Heaven’s sake don’t write your subject line like an email newsletter headline. What do you do with anything looking like that—coming from someone you don’t know? That’s right. You delete it!

DO make Subject lines

  • Appealing (relevant to pain)
  • Useful (goal-oriented)
  • Specific yet also vague
  • Believable
  • Provocative yet credible
  • As short as possible (2-4 words is best)

3 of the best InMail subject lines I’ve found

“Know this about _________?”

Here’s what to place in the blank. Think of what your prospect is aware they need to know … or suspects they might not know enough about. Leverage that uncertainty. Here’s how: Inside the email reveal a specific fact or alarming trend most customers don’t know right now—but should. Warn them.

Don’t waste time introducing yourself in the first sentence. They can see who you are in your signature.

Help your prospect think, “I didn’t know that. Damn, what else does this person know that I should know?” or “Wait. I didn’t realize that. I need more details. How exactly does that work?”

The best InMail subject lines spark curiosity—and create an urge to know more (hit reply).

Focus on making your email message sound like a message from a person—not a marketer or sales rep. This way you can get invited into a discussion about what they are receptive to talking about right now.

“Advantages of _______”

This InMail subject line and email message technique can be doggone effective. Because it’s odd. Weird. Strange yet relevant enough to be interesting. And that sparks curiosity.

Do you know of something your prospects are aware of—but do not associate with an advantage? Something on the horizon. Maybe it’s an upcoming government regulation they must comply with. Or bad news—something they’re not looking forward to dealing with.

Your product or service can help. But don’t focus on that. Instead, present a hidden advantage this regulation or bad news will create. Tell the prospect something they don’t know. But don’t tell them too much. Present just enough to make it credible. The rest is going to take hitting reply and asking you for more details.

Not about what you sell—or any kind of solution. Prospects will want to know more about how this hidden advantage works. Or if you have any other hidden advantages to reveal to them.

They’ll want to talk to you. All because you started with one of the best InMail subject lines out there. It’s more of an effective subject line formula than it is a cut-and-paste subject line.

Is this a fit for _______?”

If you received an email asking, “Is this a fit for you, John?” wouldn’t you be curious about what “this” is? Just a little? That’s because “this” is a trigger word.

This is just one example of a mental trigger. Pair this kind of approach with a bold, no-nonsense first sentence and you’ll earn better response.

Most email clients reveal the first few words in the opening email message. Combined with a subject line that sparks curiosity this dynamic can jack-up your response rates. Especially if your first sentence continues the stream of curiosity. (encourages the prospect to read the next sentence… and the next after that)

Don’t ask for the meeting

Remember: Your goal is not to book a meeting with your first touch email. Instead, get an invitation to discuss a challenge, fear or goal they have. The meeting will come. Trust in it. This is part of what I teach in my InMail Writing Clinics.

This week a client of mine using this technique sent me an email saying, “We are getting more information out of prospects without even asking for meetings than we were getting with meetings!”

Isn’t that the point? Email should help you qualify leads faster!

Good luck applying the best InMail subject lines I’ve found in your environment. Let me know how they work for you?

Photo Credit: Jen R


cold emailing, InMail, subject lines

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  • Excited about getting great tips on how to write effective in mails and getting connected to job recruiters…

  • You state to NOT use Yes / No questions in subject lines, yet 2 out of the 3 best subject lines are Yes / No questions. Please explain.

    • Hi, Mark. Sorry… I should update the post! The subject lines that involve questions (which I recommend as effective) cannot easily be answered — without opening the email. Questions that can? Those are dangerous. “Can we meet?” = probably another sales rep asking for a meeting — delete key!

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