2 Minute Subject Line Drill

Subject lines are the gateway to your cold email’s success. You could have the best email list, a personalized ‘hook’, low-commitment call to action, and a value prop that induces fear or solves the prospect’s problems but if your subject line sucks, your email doesn’t even have a chance at getting acted on.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time analyzing your subject lines, don’t worry, you are not alone.  Most folks send email thinking about how to position themselves or their company as a superior option to the prospect. We call this the ‘why me’ method and it’s the completely wrong approach. ‘Why me’ subject lines highlight what’s important to the sender and read like this: ‘sales acceleration software’ or ‘website design services’ or ‘partnering with xyz company’.

PRO TIP: Starting today, pay attention to all the unsolicited emails you receive so you can learn from them. Every cold email sent to me goes in a ‘Vendor Cold Email’ folder and is tagged with ‘opened’, ‘bad’, or ‘replied’ tags. Try it. You may be surprised that the emails you flag as ‘bad’ sound a lot like the emails you are sending. 

Here’s a two minute drill to create subject lines that get opened. Open a blank document or grab the google doc template here and make a copy to edit. 

  1. Goal: Get the email opened (don’t change this, this should always be your first goal when thinking about subject lines)
  2. What’s the purpose of this email? Download an app to help take a nap without falling into a deep sleep. (change to your CTA Outcome)
  3. Micro-Conversion (CTA): Take a quiz on sleeping habits
  4. Subject Line Brainstorm: Start Writing (2 minutes max). Don’t over think this. Just write. If you need more than 10, then keep going.

Subject 1: Take a nap

Subject 2: Take a nap & grow your business

Subject 3: qq – do you take naps?

Subject 4: get paid to take naps

Subject 5: 4 hour nap week

Subject 6: how to work less, sleep more

Subject 7: I took 5 naps last week and increased productivity 300%

Subject 8: Mark Zuckerburg takes naps, do you?

Subject 9: Put your business on auto-pilot and take a nap

Subject 10: Learn how to be more productive by taking naps 

Now, go to your email account and send yourself 1 message for each of the subject lines. Look at the emails you sent yourself on your computer and phone. 

How do they look? Which email(s) would you open? Show them to other folks on your team and take note of their feedback. Pick two subject lines for your first A/B test and start writing your email. 

Bonus: Here’s the first draft (longer than most emails I send, but remember it’s a draft). 

Hi {FName},

You had to have that second cup of coffee today, right? Ever wonder why some people just seem to have more energy than anyone else in the room?

You feel tired because your body isn’t getting the sleep it needs to recover and prepare for the next day. Don’t worry, you are not alone, most people don’t get enough sleep.

Business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Warrent Buffet share 3 things in common: they sleep less than 4 hours a night, run the largest companies in the world, AND they all take naps! If you want to be more productive at work, start taking naps. 

Take this short quiz to see if your body shares the same nap taking ability as Bill Gates!

Cheers, Ryan from SellHack 

ps – want to know the formula we use when writing emails? Claim a spot for our ‘Email Like a Boss’ crash course here.