How to Write Cold Email Subject Line & Body Copy?

write subject line and email body copy

The Subject

When you have written your headline, you have spent 4/5ths of your customer’s dollar, writes David Ogilvy. When your prospect looks at her Inbox, the subject line of your email will be visible and compete with the other emails for her attention 

In How to Write Better Copy, Steve Harrison has Chapter 5 dedicated to How to Write Your Headline. Your headline should grab attention by discussing the problem or a benefit that will draw your reader to open the email body. Our article on Subject Lines can help us craft something that will satisfy you.

64% of the recipients decide to open the email based on the subject line, and 47% of the recipients open because of a catchy subject line. 

Incorporating numbers into your subject line can boost open rates by grabbing attention and highlighting specific benefits. Adding numbers can increase open rates by an impressive 45%.

Let’s look at a few best practices on how to write cold email subject lines.  

Tip #1 
Keep your subject line short, under 50 characters. Most professionals use their phones to check their emails; a short subject line would also help with visibility. This study by Backlinko has some great insights into cold email success rates.

Tip #2
Use keywords to showcase the purpose or intent of the email in your subject line. It helps prospects understand what to expect when opening the email.

Tip #3  
Personalize your subject line wherever possible. This helps in grabbing the attention of the prospect. As per Hubspot, personalized emails are the most effective. 

Tip #4 
Creating a sense of urgency. But try not to make it look like spam, or don’t overdo it. Keep it natural. 

Tip #5 
If relevant, try asking a question. This would arouse an interest in getting more information  

Tip #6  
Segment your audience and accordingly write the subject line separately for different segments. 

Here are some examples of various types of subject lines

Type #1 – Decision-Making Subject Line

This subject line gives the recipient a clear picture of what is expected from them. When the message is clear, the chances of opening the email increases. This also helps speed up the process as the recipient knows what to do next. 

Some examples are:

  • Time-Sensitive: Confirm Your Travel Plans 
  • Select Your Benefits Package for 2023 
  • Your Feedback Needed: Product Survey

Type #2 – The Solution Provider Subject Lines

This subject line pinpoints the pain point and provides the solution. 

Some examples are:

  • Overcome Writer’s Block with These Writing Prompts
  • Trouble Sleeping? Try Our Relaxation Techniques
  • Immediate Help for Your Tech Support Issue

Type #3 – Personalized Subject Lines

A personalized cold email subject line shows you have taken the time to do your homework. It demonstrates your familiarity with your prospect’s business when done well.

Some examples are: 

  • How {Prospect’s Company} Can Benefit from {Your Product/Service}
  • {Prospect’s Name}, Here’s a Customized Plan for {Specific Goal}
  • Congratulations on {Recent Company Milestone}, {Name}!

Type #4 – Nurturing Leads Subject Line

This subject line pushes your prospects lower down the sales funnel. They set the stage for email content that adds value, demonstrates knowledge, and builds trust. 

Some examples are:

  • Your Success Story Starts Here, {Prospect’s Name}!
  • Let’s Continue the Conversation, {Prospect’s Name}
  • Exclusive Tips to Enhance {Recipient’s Pain Point}

Our article on cold email subject lines provides a detailed explanation of different subject lines. Explore it for more types of subject lines and examples. 

SmartReach.io Tip: Based on our analysis, email subject lines with less than four words, all in small caps and containing a verb, has the best open rates

E.g., “Did you try it?”, “narrow your targeting”, “watch your pipeline”.

The Body Copy

Once you have written your headline, you must craft your email body. 

At the start of this Cold Email Masterclass, we mentioned converting a cold lead into a prospect who wants to talk to your business is a high-touch activity.

We also know that emails that evoke responses are relatively short. 

Putting the above together, from your first email to your final follow up emails, you need to constantly demonstrate value to the prospect, engaging with them and buying their mind-share.

To better understand how to write a body copy, let’s break it down into 5 parts.

Email body

Opening Line

Working professionals receive an average of 80 emails each day, they might not open each email, and even if they do open it, they simply scan the email all the way to the end. So your opening line needs to grab attention

Some examples that can help you get started are:

  • “I noticed you’re {mention something relevant about their company or industry}, and I have an idea that could help.”
  • “Ever wondered how to {solve a common problem in their industry}? We’ve got the answer”.
  • “Did you know that {eye-catching industry statistic}? We can help you turn that around.”
  • “Your recent achievements in {mention something they’ve done well} caught our attention, and we believe we can complement your success.”
  • Hi Bob, the top 5% of sales leaders track positive reply rates and keep click tracking off. Know why?

Email Body

When it comes to writing the email body copy, think about how you can make it really valuable for your prospect (your value proposition). The key is to focus on what matters to them. It should be prospect-centric, clear and easy for the prospect to understand and respond to. 

Don’t try to over-personalise or show extra empathy. A prospect can read through all the bs.

“They keep their eye on the ball. Meeting booked moves the needle, not clicks.

Sales engagement platforms like SmartReach focus on email deliverability to get you more responses.” 

Call-to-Action

Add a clear call to action (CTA) in your email. It should tell your prospect what to do or evoke a response. Avoid having multiple CTAs as it might confuse the prospect..

Here are a few examples

  • “Join us for a webinar this Friday?”
  • “Click here to explore our latest products.”
  • “Request a quote to get started.”
  • “Download the free e-book now.”

“Would you like a case study of an agency that scaled meetings using this strategy? Reply “yes”. Shall email it to you”

Email Signature

Your email signature is your digital business card. It’s a subtle yet crucial element in cold emails, helping you appear professional, approachable, and trustworthy. Keep it concise and friendly, and it’ll leave a positive impression on your recipients.

Interested in knowing more about email signatures? Check out the detailed article

After analyzing thousands of campaigns, we learned that emails with high response rates had simple email signatures. As if the sender typed it

“Cheers,

Stan – smartreach.io”    

Not Interested

Techniques from copywriting

The following copywriting techniques can be applied : 

  1. AIDA – draw Attention, create Interest, evoke Desire, and then, finally, a call to Action
  2. ACCA – Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action
  3. 4Ps – Picture, Promise, Prove, Push ( call to action) 

Your initial emails may be a mental action from your prospect, like acknowledging a problem exists. But your follow ups slowly add value and amplify the desire in their mind for the solution that you have. Notice that all the above 3 techniques end with a call to action. 

Eye Relief

One of the tips from Bond Halbert – is providing Eye Relief: Sentences and paragraphs that are short and easy to read, separated by whitespace. 

This paragraph is deliberately hard to read. It has words that are longer than the average and will make you want to skip ahead because it will appear as a wall of text and a much higher load on your brain’s frontal lobe, and the second sentence is very long.

‘At times, he may indulge himself with a long one, but he will make sure there are no folds in it, no vaguenesses, no parenthetical interruptions of its view as a whole; when he has done with it, it won’t be a sea-serpent with half of its arches under the water; it will be a torch-light procession. [Mark Twain example]

Personalization

Personalizing an email will garner a higher response. Researching your Prospect on LinkedIn, a LinkedIn Post or article they have shared,  or if they maintain a blog will give good ideas to open a conversation.

Adding Conviction

Testimonials from customers, customer outcomes, case studies, and whitepapers can all be part of the follow up emails that attract your Prospect’s attention and your product or service’s potential outcome for their business.

Follow ups Emails

Now, you may wonder why we talking about follow-up emails in this lesson. Well, its simple. The best practices for writing the initial email and follow-up emails are the same. And we didnt want waste your time. So, capturing only a few key best practices here.

If you visited a showroom for a product you were just introduced to today, would you buy it on your first visit? 

This may surprise you, but you may want to maintain at least 10 follow ups. The Business News Daily talks about persistence in sales follow ups. Your first email will work with your follow up emails to convince your Prospect of the value proposition. Reinforcing the argument made by Jeb Blount in “fanatical Prospecting”, it takes between 20 to 50 touchpoints to convert a cold prospect into someone who wants to interact with your business. 

Of course, the number of touchpoints needed to convert a customer will vary depending on the industry, the product or service being offered, and the buyer persona. However, Blount’s advice is a good starting point for salespeople who want to increase their conversion rate.

So, more follow-ups, more replies, no follow-ups, no replies.

Your follow up email is a reminder in case your prospects missed out on replying. It’s a polite way of saying, “Hey, remember me? Can we talk more about this?”. 

If I had to sum up the best practices for cold email follow-ups

  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Highlight the KEY benefit for the prospect
  • Make it easy for the prospect to respond.
  • Reply in the same thread
  • Timing is crucial

SmartReach.io provides a report that shows the best time to send

A/B Testing 

What if you come up with multiple Headlines and Body copy and don’t know which one to go with? If your cold email software has a way of running them both, measure the results of which one has more opens or responses and then move to the one that works better from the reports.

Longer subject line vs. Shorter Subject line

Longer body copy vs. Shorter Body copy.

SmartReach.io allows you to add different variants where you can test different types of

  • Templates
  • Images
  • Subject Lines
  • Call-to-actions
  • Opening lines
  • And email text.

A/B testing helps to make an informed decision on which email gives better results. 

Sample Email Cadence 

Let’s quickly review a sample cold email sequence and some pointers to remember.

Initial Email

Personalize your email. It shows that you value the relationship. Add a personalized opening line.

Follow-up 1

You can add some reports, testimony, or social proof to help the prospect build trust in your organization and clear any objections.

Follow-up 2

Clearly state what you want the prospect to do next. Whether replying, scheduling a call, or taking another action, make it easy for them to understand and act on. Mention a previous conversation, meeting, or email to provide context. Avoid lengthy explanations or unnecessary information in emails

Follow up – 3

Add a little humor by adding cute images that match the situation.

More than 50% of emails convert after 5th follow up, so keep sending. After some time, you will get a feel of the number of follow-up emails you’ll need for a select prospect list.

Your follow ups should be planned carefully. Having automation take care of this for you is vital for good cold email prospecting and your mental sanity. You can get much better clarity from our blog on follow up emails

Loved it? Spread it across!
Scroll to Top