What makes a subject line effective?

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In one of my coaching groups, we're immersed in "targeted outreach" (one of the 3 most effective tools I recommend in the Simplest Marketing Plan and we've noticed that the most effective email outreach messages -- the ones we want to open and even respond to -- are not the most clever ones

In fact, I think the ones that work best are the most real, which are often kind of, well, boring.

Or, we could say the boring ones work because they're real -- since most of us are kind of boring.

And as I ranted recently, I think people crave real.

Because clever can come across as "salesy" and no one wants to be "that guy," right?

So when crafting the subject lines for your prospecting email messages, here are some guidelines to follow if you want to do it right!

  • Make it short -- 50 characters or less. You can even try a single word!
  • Include the recipient’s name and/or use the word “you.”
  • Make it real, from a real person (don’t be spammy).
  • Ask a question.
  • Tell ‘em how you found ‘em.
  • Tell ‘em what it’s about.

Here are a few of the subject lines I recommend when reaching out to prospects you'd like to work with but who don't know you exist -- yet:

  1. Are you in the market for (fill in the blank)?
  2. You don't know me....yet
  3. Love your work and a question.

Try it and let me know how what happens.

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