Mastering Cold Email: Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates

It's 9 A.M. on a Monday, and a small business owner has just finished doing everything needed to open their business. Now, it's time to check the important messages in their inbox. 

What they find is a slew of cold, generic emails that offer no value. They're just boring and are likely to be marked as spam. 

Was your email among them?

Think about it – we all get tons of cold emails, but only a few grab our attention. What makes those few stand out? That's what we're unpacking in this blog post. 

We're tossing out the old playbook. No more generic messages and wild hopes. It's 2024, time for smarter, more personal email strategies that connect with people. 

Ever wonder why some cold emails work like a charm? 

Let’s see the logic behind those winning emails and how you can make it work for you. Get ready for practical, easy-to-follow tips to take your email game to the next level. 


  • Cold Email Strategy: How to Get Higher Open Rates
  • Importance of Email Subject Lines
  • Key Strategies for Crafting Compelling Subject Lines
  • Examples of Successful Cold Email Campaigns
  • Conclusion: Refining Your Cold Email Marketing Approach

Cold Email Strategy: How to Get Higher Open Rates

It's time to elevate your standard cold emails into something far more impactful. 

To accomplish this, gaining a deep understanding of email marketing metrics and learning how to enhance them is key.

What are the metrics for cold emails?

Bounce Rate – Are Your Emails Landing?

Ever wondered if your cold emails are reaching people? That’s where the bounce rate comes in. It's like your email's report card, telling you the percentage of emails that didn't make it to their destination.

There are two types of bounces to watch out for:

  • Soft Bounce: Picture trying to stuff a letter into an already full mailbox. That's a soft bounce – right address, but no room.
  • Hard Bounce: This is when you send a mail to a non-existent address. You're knocking on a door that isn’t there.

A high bounce rate? It's time to clean up that email list!

Open Rate – Are They Peeking?

So, your email lands. But does it get the curtain call? The open rate is your sneak peek into how many people opened your email.

But here's the thing: open rates aren’t the ‘be-all and end-all’. They're more like a teaser, giving you hints about parts of your email game. Maybe your subject lines need more zing, or you gotta rethink when you hit 'send'. 

Cold Email: Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates

Response/Reply Rate – Are They Talking Back?

Now, we're talking about the folks who not only open your email but also shoot a reply. This is where you see if your email was compelling enough to start a conversation.

To get those replies rolling in:

  • Keep your email body clear and to the point.
  • Make sure you're chatting up the right crowd.

Conversion Rate – Are They Buying What You’re Selling?

This is the big one. The conversion rate tells you how many people went from just reading your email to actually taking action – like signing up for your webinar or buying your product.

Key things to nail here? A clear CTA and an irresistible landing page. Keep it simple and focused.

Measuring Your Success

Now, don’t worry, you don’t need to be a math whiz to figure these out. Most email platforms will crunch these numbers for you. Keep an eye on:

  • Bounce rate: Unsuccessful deliveries versus total emails sent.
  • Open rate: Unique opens versus successful deliveries.
  • Reply rate: Responses versus opens.
  • Conversion rate: Actions taken versus opens.

Without these metrics, you're shooting arrows in the dark. They tell you the story of your email campaign's life: from sent to received, to read, to action. 

It's all about understanding your audience and tweaking your strategy for those sweet, sweet conversions.

What is a good open rate on cold emails? 

Generally, a target response rate of around 10% is often considered ideal. 

However, this figure can vary by 5-10%, influenced by factors like your level of experience and the effort invested in your campaign.

What is the success rate of cold emails? 

The average response rate for cold emails is around 8.5%. That's like sending 100 emails and getting 8 replies.

If your response rate is falling below average, it could be due to some of these reasons:

  • First off, the average open rate for cold emails hovers around 10%. That’s less than a quarter of your emails seeing the light of day!
  • Maybe you’re doing the whole ‘spray and pray’ thing with your outreach.
  • Maybe your subject line is boring and not bringing value. 
  • Check your email address. If it looks like a cat walked over your keyboard (you know, something like, that’s a red flag!
  • Maybe your email popped in just when they were dreaming about their next vacation.
  • Maybe your email's hitting the spam folder. Think it's 'cause you're popping in links and images right off the bat?

The biggest reason might be that you’re knocking on the wrong doors. You could have the most polished email in the world, but if your email list isn’t up to snuff, you’re just shouting into the void.

What is the CTR for cold emails? 

Research shows that the average click-through rate for cold emails is around 3.67%

Getting about 3 or 4 clicks out of 100 emails might feel like you're doing a whole lot for pretty slim pickings. A decent click-through rate for cold emails usually falls somewhere between 1% and 5%. 

Higher is better, but the real deal is figuring out why folks aren't opening or engaging with your emails in the first place.

Is a 30% email open rate good?

Typically, yes! An open rate of 30% is considered good across most industries. 

Take a look at this benchmark:

Average rate cold emails

Importance of Email Subject Lines

Have you ever wondered why some emails get opened immediately while others linger unread? The answer often lies in the subject line. 

You could spend hours perfecting your email content, but without a captivating subject line, it might go unnoticed. Remember, the first thing your recipient sees isn't the content, it's the subject line!

In the sea of daily emails, it's the compelling subject lines that grab attention. Here's a golden rule: people make time for opportunities, not spam

Your subject line should present an opportunity, not just push content.

Key Strategies for Crafting Compelling Subject Lines

Targeting with Geography and Business Type

Tailoring your email campaigns to specific geographic locations and business types can significantly enhance their relevance and impact. 

By focusing on particular areas and industries, your messages resonate more deeply with the recipients. 

Let's explore how to do this effectively:

  • Instead of a general 'Florida Business Update', try 'Downtown Tampa Retail Insights'.
  • 'Restaurant Owners' is too broad. 'South Tampa Pizza Shop Updates' hits the mark.

The Art of Asking Qualifying Questions in Emails

Engaging your email recipients begins with asking the right questions. Qualifying questions are a powerful tool to create a connection and understand your audience's needs better. 

Let’s dive into how these questions can transform your emails from mere information to engaging conversations:

“We help businesses in X sector overcome Y challenge. Are you facing this too?” 

This approach initiates a dialogue, making your email more than just a pitch.

What Makes a Good CTA in an Email

Crafting an effective Call to Action (CTA) in your emails is crucial for driving engagement and eliciting a response from your audience. 

A well-designed CTA can be the difference between an email that converts and one that gets overlooked.

  • Keep it simple: Aim for a 'Yes' or 'No' response rather than complicated instructions.
  • Share success stories: Include brief case studies showing how you've helped similar businesses, enhancing credibility and interest.

Remember, your subject line is more than just an introduction to your email, it's a critical gateway to potential business opportunities. Make every word count.

Examples of Successful Cold Email Campaigns

On January 2nd (2024), I had this cool opportunity to help a customer get the hang of our Resquared platform. 

It was their first rodeo with it, and my goal was to show them how to whip up an awesome template that gets results. 

I only spent like 10 minutes on Resquared, fired off 100 emails, and boom – got 8 replies in just under two weeks. It pretty much nails the average response rate we're talking about, right? 

Example of sucessful cold email campaign

But I did all this in way less time than what most sales folks usually need. Check out the template I used:

Subject: Space Available for Piza Restaurant in Santa Clarita


Hi! I’m working with a Santa Clarita shopping center right next to the Metrolink and have a space available for a pizza restaurant. After reading about [business_name], I think you might be a great fit! Do you have any plans to relocate or expand? Let me know and I can send you a flyer or set up a tour.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Tyler Carlson

Template ready-to-use cold email

The success I achieved was due to 1) an engaging subject line, 2) a clear and concise email, 3) using my name in the sender address, and 4) using the right platform that saved time.

Example of 'from name' and 'from address'

Consider these examples of messages that typically land in my spam box. Some attempt to appear friendly, but the subject lines and email addresses are suspicious:

Suspicious cold emails

Reflect on this: if your inbox is cluttered like mine, what catches your eye immediately? 

Example of inbox full

For me, it was 'State of Email 2023', '$19.4 billion SEO', and 'Re: Space’'. 

Why? I recognized the names (Mailmodo, Neil Patel, Lynda) or their brands, and all the keywords are relevant to my interests in email, SEO, and campaign responses.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you too.

Conclusion: Refining Your Cold Email Marketing Approach

And there you have it – a deep dive into turning cold emails into hot leads. It’s not rocket science, but it does take a bit of savvy. 

Remember, the power of a cold email lies not just in its delivery, but in its ability to resonate and engage. From crafting irresistible subject lines to targeting the right audience and nailing that perfect call to action, every element counts.

We've explored how metrics like open rates, bounce rates, and conversion rates can be your guiding stars in this journey. 

But the real takeaway? It’s about connecting, not just sending. It’s about understanding your audience’s needs and crafting messages that speak directly to them.

So, go ahead, and give these strategies a shot. Test different approaches, keep an eye on those metrics, and fine-tune your tactics. 

Remember, every successful email starts with a desire to truly engage the person on the other side of the screen.

Ready to take your email marketing to the next level? Subscribe to our newsletter for more insights, tips, and real-world strategies that work. Let's make every email count!

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