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3 Things That Your Email Subject Lines Need

3 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Apr. 4, 2016

Email personalization at scale is one of the toughest tasks in the sales development process. While email automation has been scorching the prospect earth, customization and hyper-personalization have been moving their way to the front seat.

But what good is a hyper-personalized email if no one opens it?

Finding the right level of personalization within an email body is one thing, but defining what aspects of email subject lines influence open and reply rates is a whole different beast.

We wanted to take the guesswork out of email subject lines, so we went to the lab here at Salesloft for some authentic data around email tracking.

The first step in uncovering the best subject lines was defining what deems an email template the “best” overall. So Salesloft Support Engineer Andy Perez went deep diving into the stats, and decided to pull out which email templates were getting the strongest open rates. It was by these standards that we deemed email templates receiving the most views and replies as “best,” since they were the ones garnering the most positive activity.

But what gave those specific templates such successful open rates? Andy dug a little deeper, and noticed that many of these high-performing email subject lines had a few things in common:

1. A dynamic tag
2. A question
3. Three words or less

Of the templates with a view rate greater than or equal to 50%, we came across each of these characteristics among the top performers.

For example, the subject line “{{company}}, Highest Cash Values” had a 61% open rate, “Third time’s the charm?” coming in with a 50% open rate and a 25% of replies, and “Get press for {{company}}” with a staggering 71% open rate.

The common thread between these characteristics all come back to our most devoted theme: hyperpersonalization.

When you’re selling to salespeople in this SaaS industry, it’s easy to reach for automation in daily sales emails. But email subject lines that are long, wordy, and unpersonalized are likely going to bypass the inbox and go straight to trash.

By using the same touches of customization that you would in the email’s body, your chances of resonating with the receiver are infinitely higher. The personalization of dynamic tags, combined with the brevity of short, direct questions, show your prospects that you not only care about their individual account, but that you respect their time and attention.

While there’s certainly no hard and fast rule behind getting a human being to open an email, these specific aspects of email subject lines have proven data behind their success. But, when it comes to hyper-personalization, testing is key. Dive deeper into your sales development team’s email tracking history, uncover the successes (and even the failures) within your data, and then use that data when injecting finding your place on the personalization-automation continuum.

A personalized sales process is a sincere sales process, so why not take the time to find out what works best for your email subject lines?

Want more advice about email personalization? Download our eBook on the 7 Secret Sauce Ingredients To A Sales Email Tool: