It takes a matter of seconds to make a judgement about someone we meet in person. We size them up, from their facial expression to their attire and their posture, in an instant – often without consciously being aware of the decisions we’re making. Emails doesn’t have the benefit of that face-to-face first impression. Instead, your first impression via a networking email is your subject line.
Forty-seven percent of recipients choose to open an email based exclusively on the subject line. You have just a few seconds and a few words to show someone why your email is the one that’s worth reading out of the 121 emails they receive daily.
Networking emails may seem easier. After all, you’re not trying to sell a product. But you actually are – you’re selling yourself.
Here are 26 email subject lines that can help you stand out when sending networking messages – and can hopefully help you score that face-to-face meeting or connection that you’re working towards.
1. “Fellow State College grad”
2. “Hello from a Delta Nu sister”
3. “Your role with the Library Foundation”
4. “Elizabeth Bennett from the Pemberbley Club”
These email subject lines all show a common interest. An email with a personalized subject line is 26% more likely to be opened.
Even when it comes to automated emails, birthday and welcome messages are among the most likely to be opened. That’s because the recipient assumes the messages are targeted specifically to them, so they’re more likely to open something that’s specialized and personal.
While you want to make your reader feel special and thereby compelled to open your message, there’s one catch: Make sure you’re using information that’s public knowledge so that you come off as informed instead of creepy.
5. “Enjoyed your presentation at the AMA meeting last week”
6. “Your article on baby dolphins”
7. “Last Friday’s entrepreneur panel”
These subject lines show an interest in things your recipient has created in their public/career space. It’s flattering to know that someone enjoyed your work and took the time to send a message.
Take a couple of minutes to show them that you’ve paid attention to their work, and those efforts can pay off when it comes to open rates and action being taken.
Technically, this is just another form of personalization. Marketers who take a personalized approach report experiencing an 82% increase in open rates, as well as higher click-through rates and an increased willingness to build relationships.
8. “Our mutual friend, Alexis Ellis”
9. “The Freelancing Females Facebook Group”
Name-dropping is the best way to connect.
It’s like any other referral: when someone’s vouching for you, even in the figurative sense through an email, it makes people feel more interested in exploring the connection and more confident about interacting with you.
Think of an introduction email subject line as the email equivalent of a wingman. It means you have someone on your side and willing to vouch for you, and it means the person on the other side of your email knows it, too.
10. “Where’s your favorite coffee shop?”
11. “A message from Pam at Dunder Mifflin”
12. “New networking opportunity – are you interested?”
13. “Something new I learned about the Dallas Mavericks after our conversation last week”
Curiosity subject lines play on our innate human desire to be in the know. A clever subject line can be an attractive novelty and can generate additional opens just because the recipient wants to know exactly what you’re getting at.
Be careful with curiosity subject lines, though, as they can come off a bit sales-y in some situations. You’ll need your email content and ask/CTA to be stellar to back up the curiosity factor – otherwise, you’re just sending the email equivalent of clickbait.
14. “Can we meet for a coffee?
15. “Interested in the lunch seminar at 500 Pearl?”
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or so economists say. However, offering a free lunch, or coffee, or website audit, whatever the case may be, can garner a second glance from busy recipients scrolling quickly through their inboxes.
Your offer needs to be something real, and something you’re ready to back up.
Don’t offer a $150 coupon for your product if the product actually costs $1500 – that’s not really an offer, it’s more of a sales promotion. You may get an email open but you’ll leave a bad taste in your potential connection’s mouth, and may not get the follow-up you were looking for.
16. “The five ways our businesses can work together”
17. “Two ways I can save you money – from Ben at the mixer”
18. “Three ebooks I thought you might like”
These types of email subject lines are typically associated with sales, but people like to see hard data – again, without being too creepy. Data in subject lines generates a far better open rate than a tease does; some studies even show a 500%+ increase in open rates when the recipient knows exactly what they’re getting.
Some of the best email subject lines can be combinations of two of the above. For example, a personal reference plus an offer is a great way to ensure your email gets attention.
19. “Hello from Shawn Spencer – are you a fan of delicious flavor?” (Introduction + curiosity)
20. “Baylor grad student – interested in meeting for lunch?” (Connection + offer)
21. “Fellow book lover – three places I’ve found with great book sales” (connection + data)
Problem / Solution
A problem / solution networking email is powerful because it gets to the point. It answers the question of “what’s in it for me.”
It might seem like more of a direct way to reach out to a potential contact for networking purposes. However, once the subject line does the job of grabbing attention and getting them to read the body of your email, you can take the time to build some rapport.
Then, you will be able to craft a more personal conversation from there. But don’t sound too salesy, you’ll want to tie in a reason that you reached out to them. Otherwise it will seem like a generic pitch that you mass emailed to other people as well.
22. “Your trouble filling your analyst role is over”
23. “Heard that you’re remodeling the office, I can help”
24. “Noticed your sales process could be more efficient”
25. “Jane told me you could use a hand on the product launch”
26. “Want to reduce your printing costs? We should chat.
Content is king online, but when it comes to email, your subject line is the gatekeeper.
Give email networking subject lines a try with multiple different versions. If you don’t get an immediate response, don’t be afraid to try another version and give your email a second try.
After all, it can take up to six emails to seal the deal on a sale. It makes sense that it might take more than one to get through your desired contact’s busy inbox.
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David Campbell is the editor of the Right Inbox blog. He is passionate about email productivity and getting more done in less time.