Emailing Strangers – the best subject lines to use…

25th October 2022

Most email titles are rubbish.

Don’t believe me?

Check your inbox. Let me guess – you have some called “FYI”, “Update”, “Miscellaneous”…

… all of them are rubbish. I mean, you aren’t exactly hurtling to open them, are you?

Some good news though: if we’re emailing someone who knows us, we might get away with a rubbish title. After all, they see we’re the sender, they know us – that might be enough.

But when we email strangers, the title becomes critical. After all, it’s our email’s First Impression. And if it’s rubbish, they will think a stranger’s sent them a rubbish email. And they’ll delete it.

Q: So, what’s the secret to creating good titles?

A: Identify what the reader will find most interesting. And include that.

For example, if you’re emailing a stranger called Sarah, and you have a mutual contact called Michael Jones, you could:

  • Ask Michael’s permission to use his name in your email, and then
  • Email Sarah with this subject line “Sarah, Michael Jones suggested I email you…”

Sarah will open this. She wants to know what Michael’s been saying.

Or you could read Sarah’s social media activity for recent posts. Example: let’s say she wrote a post called “Lockdown was better!”, you could use this email title:

Your post ‘Lockdown was better!’ – a quick question to ask…”

She’ll open this email. After all, the only reason people post things is because they want people to read it. So an email from someone saying they’ve a question about it …well, that’s going to get opened.

Or a third option: imagine you wanted to write a Tuesday Tip about emailing strangers. But you thought the title “emailing strangers” wouldn’t be enough. Well, you can add a few words after these words, to draw people in.

Do these techniques work? Well, I guess so – I did that, and you opened it!

Action Point

Next time you email someone – especially a stranger – include something interesting in the title.

And, once they’ve opened it, make sure your content’s brilliant.

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