5 Types of Sales Email Subject Lines You Should Master in 2021

by: Danny Veiga

So, you want to sell something?

You’ve probably heard that sending a sales email will do the trick…

Well, not exactly.

Every person with an email address receives a massive amount of emails every single day.

Work emails…

Credit card bills…

Wedding invitations…

Facebook and Tinder notifications…

Emails from ex-boyfriends, long-lost relatives, and high school BFFs…

Our inboxes are overflowing with so much digital correspondence that opening emails has become a tedious task in itself!

Even if you rarely watch TV, I’m guessing keeping up with those Kar-Jenner sisters is probably easier than keeping up with your own inbox!

If email users are overwhelmed with the amount of emails they receive, what makes you think they’ll even have time to open your uninteresting sales pitch?

Ouch! I know…unopened emails can hurt like a b#$%^&tch.

What this means is that while email marketing is definitely a great way to market your products, if people don’t even open your emails, then what’s the point?

You can’t really convert your leads into sales if nobody is even bothering to read what you’re trying to say.

So, how do you get people to open your emails… and eventually buy your product?

It’s not such a big secret actually.

You have to use an effective sales email subject line!

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve probably come across the one where I discussed the “7 Types of Email Subject Lines and Examples To Increase Your Open Rates”.

In that post, I talked about the different types of subject lines that can be used for all types of emails - marketing, sales, lead generation, etcetera…

While some of these subject lines can of course be used for selling, what I’m going to talk about today is going to be more sales- specific.

If your goal is to get those BUY NOW buttons clicking on repeat, this post will hopefully help you learn how to craft subject lines that will get people to open those sales emails.

While I’m going to provide samples that you can definitely steal, 

I’m going to break down the most common types of sales email subject lines which can guide you in writing your own stuff.

Let’s start.

1.   The “Problem Solver” Sales Email Subject Line

Everyone loves a problem solver.

That’s a fact.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having the same recurring problem over and over again.

Whether it’s a broken microwave oven or an inefficient web hosting provider – offering a way out to a minor or major problem is always welcome.

However, many people are unable to find the solution either because:

A. They’re using the wrong product or service

B. They don’t just have the time

C. They’re plain lazy OR

D. All of the above

So, imagine if they suddenly find an email in their inbox telling them that the solution to their problems is just one click away!?!

This makes the Problem Solver Sales Email Subject Line very effective because it doesn’t really sound like a sales pitch.

When you first see it, it looks more like a Good Samaritan wanting to help you get rid of all your current headaches.

This type of sales email subject line comes in many forms.

It can disguise itself as a question, often reflecting your innermost concerns…

“Does your site engagement need a boost?”

These subject lines offer an unwritten promise that once you click, you’ll find the answer that you’re looking for…

Which is more often than not, related to the product being sold.

The problem solver can also be in the form of a How-To statement offering an instructional guide…

“How to incorporate exercises in your daily routine”

How-To email subject lines deliver because they make the solution sound oh-so-simple.

If you’re selling something, you’d want to seamlessly incorporate your product in how the solution is presented.

For example, if your company is a cloud computing service provider, your sales email subject line may look like this:

“How to secure your files in the cloud”

Admit it.

It doesn’t sound like a sales pitch, right?

However, you’re not sending this email because of the goodness of your heart.

You’re doing this to sell more subscriptions.

So, when you write up the solutions in the email copy, make sure that you mention the importance of having a cloud provider with awesome end-to-end encryption and zero-knowledge privacy features… which incidentally are your product’s top selling points!

The idea is to seamlessly lead them to your product as THE solution so they’ll not think twice about clicking your Call-To-Action button.

2.   The “Gift Giver” Sales Email Subject Line

If you’re the kind of person who can’t help but avail of those free taste samples at the supermarket…

Or maybe you are a goner for buy one take one offers…

Then you’re definitely the type who loves sales emails that offer free stuff, bargains, and discounts.

And yes, you’re not alone!

You’re one of the millions of people who do.

This is the reason why many sales emails use the Gift Giver sales email subject line.  

50% OFF

Try free for 90 days

Further price reductions

Mega sale starts now

These freebie offers serve as a bait to hook unsuspecting would-be consumers to eventually buy whatever the end-product is.

Just like the problem solver, the gift giver is presenting you with a goodwill gesture.

After all, if something is free, it’s as if you don’t really have something to lose.

If you’re going to use the gift giver subject line for your sales email, you have to take note of the following...

Number one:

If you’re giving away a FREEBIE…make sure that what you’re offering is actually free.

There’s nothing more annoying than opening a freebie email only to find out that I have to shell out major cash in order to claim it.

See, there’s nothing wrong with attaching a freebie with a purchase but make sure you communicate that clearly.

Don’t mislead customers because that’s going to get you directly to the junk folder.

Second:

Make it easy for people to claim the offer.

Asking for a couple of details like name and email will do – stop making them do more.  

This is not an FBI investigation so just chill!

Make the customer experience stress-free and you’re more likely to get repeat customers.

3.   The “FOMO” Sales Email Subject Line

This may sound familiar as I’ve already talked about what FOMO is in a separate post.

If you’ve missed that – then have no fear…

FOMO means FEAR OF MISSING OUT.

This is the feeling that email marketers want to ignite so you’ll click and open those sales emails.

So how do you create FOMO?

The first technique is by using the time-bomb element wherein you put a time limit to the offer.

Consumers tend to feel a bit of a panic when they think that they don’t have much time to get the deal.

Some examples of phrases commonly found in these subject lines are:  

24-hour offer

The clock is ticking

Ends today

Last chance to buy

You have 48 hours to claim

The second technique is by presenting an aura of exclusivity.

You make the consumer feel that the slots are limited or the offer is only for VIP people.

This way you excite them to be a part of this super-exclusive club others can’t easily get into.

In these types of FOMO subject lines, you’ll often see these phrases:

VIP Invitation

Exclusive for loyalty card members

Only 8 slots left

You’re In!

The last technique is the opposite of the second one and is often effective for people who like being a part of the bandwagon.

This is FOMO tin the literal sense because they actually tell you NOT to miss whatever is on offer.

So yes, obviously, most of these subject lines start with…

“Don’t miss…”

4.   The “Pick-up Line” Sales Email Subject Line

A lot of you may not be familiar with this one, but hey, I guarantee you’ve heard of it before…

And I’m also betting you’ve also fallen for one at least once in your life (raising my eyebrows repeatedly).

Let me explain my analogy here.

If you’ve ever been in a bar, a nightclub, or on Tinder, you know what a pick-up line is.

Pick-up lines are conversation starters that are often used when one person is interested in another person.

These are often witty, humorous, or cheesy lines that often compliment the other party.

In real life, using a pickup line is more like a way to break the ice or elicit a laugh from someone you don’t know.

It makes you look less creepy when you want to introduce yourself to people.

Now... how did pick-up lines get into your inbox? 

Believe it or not, a lot of  sneaky marketers have used this technique to get you to open their emails.

Yes, it’s the same M.O. (modus operandi)

They shower you with nice words… speak sweet to you…and make you feel special…

Enough for you to open the email.

I mean, why not right?

Whoever is sending you emails took the time to tell you you’re awesome, so the least you could do is check out what’s going on.

You open the email, and you slowly find yourself drawn... and within seconds you’re clicking that red SHOP NOW button.   

Gotcha!

What do these sales emails sound like?

Here are some examples below:

Lucky you

I’m impressed

Nice work

I heard you’re an expert

5.   The “I’m not selling you anything” Sales Email Subject Line

A lot of people are way too uncomfortable with being presented with a hard sell sales pitch.

To put it simply, they don’t like it if anything sounds like an outright sales offer.

Shop now, buy now, click here, pay half, discounts – NOPE.

Those will not do the trick.

These people will just put these emails directly into the trash folder.

This is the reason why many email marketers use the “I’m not selling anything” sales email subject line.  

It’s actually very hard to tell you how these email subject lines exactly sound like because, TBH, they can be anything under the sun.

It can be a question, a statistic, a shocking line, a statement – anything goes.

As long as the subject line doesn’t sound like a sales offer but it actually is – that’s it.

I know what you’re thinking.

How can you sell if you’re not telling them that in the first place?

Well, don’t forget that the email does not end on the subject line itself.

When people click, you have a brand-new opportunity to push your message so that’s usually where you can transition to your sales pitch.

Many of these types of sales emails use very simple words and phrases in their subject.

Sometimes, too simple that it sounds quite intriguing.

Again, the purpose of this type of email subject line is to appeal to people who are allergic to sales pitches.

What are some Email Subject Lines Example?

Cold email subject lines are probably the most important part of any emails. To make it easier for you, we've compiled a list of 11 sample subject line examples with tips on how to write your own successful subject line.

A/B Test Subject Line

Include an interesting fact or statistic related to your business and ask the readers if they would like to know more. Readers who answer "yes" will receive the next email in the series; those that answer "no" will not be bothered again unless they email you asking for more information. This is especially effective when used within larger email-marketing campaigns where different groups of people are being sent different subject lines.

Question Subject Line

It's important to ask questions within each email you send, whether they be rhetorical or something that requires a response. These questions have the biggest impact because they make readers think about your business and what products/services you can offer them. The more time people spend thinking about your company, the more likely they will be to buy from you in the future. If customers don't know enough information about your company or its services, using one of these subject lines can stir up interest and compel them to learn more by visiting your website. Examples: "What is Your Favorite Product?" or "Have We Changed Our Logo?"

Call to Action Subject Line

This is one of the most effective subject lines you can use to encourage readers to take a specific action. It involves encouraging readers to purchase an item, sign up for your email list, or visit your website. Examples: "Buy Now" or "Sign up Here."

Offer Subject Line

Use this type of personalized subject lines when offering any type of special deals. For example, if your business has a limited time sale on a certain product, use the following subject line: "Limited-Time Sale!" This can really skyrocket interest in your brand and drive traffic to your store. If you have enough interesting products then being able to offer them at a lower price will help bring people into your online shop or brick and mortar storefront.

Promotional Subject Line

When planning promotional campaigns try to think of catchy subject lines that will draw people's attention. Try to keep the subjects more or less generic so that they can be used for different promotions at different times. This way you won't have trouble remembering what each email is about when creating them and sending them out later . Examples: "Five Specials at Your Store Today" or "Big Sale- Visit Our Store Today!"

Customer Service Subject Line

While people may not be as interested in your customer service than a special deal, they still appreciate being included in the loop. We all want to know if there are any problems with our order of service. This is especially helpful if you are trying to recover from a bad experience. For example, "We're Sorry" or "Missing Item?"

Creative Subject Line

Want to spice things up? Use your creativity and be unique! Be as innovative and interesting as possible. Think outside of the box and stand out from your competition by adding a personal touch to your emails. If you can manage that, you will see that your ROI (Return on Investment) will increase dramatically! Add something creative in the subject line of each email just to keep people interested in what you have going on. People like to know what they are getting themselves into when opening an email and even if it's a simple picture, it will help them understand the rest of the content better and grab their attention more than if there is no visual aid at all.

Follow-Up Subject Line

A follow up subject line is one used after already having sent a previous and relevant email. This type of subject is usually used for sales or promotional offers but can be helpful to create sales quotes as well, such as holiday sales or other seasonal offers. A follow up email will be sent after the promotion ends to customers who were interested in your product, giving them an opportunity to purchase it at a lower price than before. For example: "Holiday Sale Ends Today" or "End of Season Clearance."

Time Sensitive Subject Line

Have a time-sensitive offer? Use this type of subject line! When planning promotional campaigns with a short time frame, you can use one of these types of emails to remind shoppers that if they don't take action soon, they might miss out on some really good deals and/or products . In terms of timing, you can use phrases such as: "Act Now" or "Today Only ."

Urgent Subject Line

Do you have an urgent situation? You can use this type of subject lines if you think it is appropriate. For example, "Urgent Message" or "Important tip!" This will definitely grab the attention of your readers and as a result they might open your email message. However, don't overdo it with too many emails using such a line.

The Wrap Up

So, that’s it for this topic - short and to the point.

The good news is that you can use these compelling subject line that can be used for sales emails.

You can use one or more of these types depending on the product or service you’re trying to sell.

A good exercise is to try to create a subject line using each of these types for every email that you want to send.

Instead of creating one subject line, use the examples below to create multiple options.

You’ll then have 5 different subject lines that you can test… this way you can see what works best with your audience.

For example:

If you own a denim company and you want to push the sales through email, here’s how to do this exercise:

Problem Solver:

How to find the right pair of jeans that fit

Gift Giver:

You’re welcome! FREE SHIPPING on all denim purchases

FOMO

Don’t miss out on the BEST. JEANS. EVER.

Pick-up line

🎶 So you can keep me, inside the pocket of your ripped jeans…🎶

“I’m not selling you anything”

Don’t fade away… 

-

Why don’t you try this exercise and don’t forget to share what you’ve got in the comments section! 

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Danny is a 7-Figure Online Business Growth Expert, one of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs under 40, and a Growth Revenue Strategist who’s helped scale his clients to over $50M worth of sales online.
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