True or False? 5 Cold Email Subject Line Myths Debunked Based on 50 Million Cold Emails


True or False? 5 Cold Email Subject Line Myths Debunked Based on 50 Million Cold Emails

November 16, 2017

After analyzing the last 50 million cold emails sent with QuickMail, it’s fair to say we’ve done our research. Now that we’ve done our homework, we’re ready to share what we’ve learned and to set the record straight on email subject lines. That seemingly simple one-liner has become such a complicated entity, with clashing ideas flying around on how to best use the subject line to your advantage. We’re putting the rumors to rest and looking at some common subject line myths to uncover the real deal when it comes to achieving cold email success.

Myth: The right keywords will guarantee email opens.

Fact: There are tons of theories floating around on the type of keywords that lead to opens, from benefit-driven keywords like “referral” or “idea” vs. those that have a spam-like edge to them like “free” or “buy.” The truth is; however, there is no magic keyword that prompts your recipients to open your email. The difference between the two types was marginal, showing that there isn’t one win-all keyword that will guarantee that your emails get opened.

Myth: People are more likely to open an email with a personalized subject line.

Fact: Many people spend a lot of energy making sure they can personalize their email subject lines with their prospect’s name or company name. Is it worth it? It turns out that using a person’s name had little effect on whether an email was opened or not. Adding a company name was slightly beneficial, increasing the open rate by about 10%, but these are not the definitive results that many are looking at for a miraculous subject line solution. Your best bet is to test variances and see what performs well for you, whether that means adding personalization or not.

Myth: Shorter subject lines are more successful.

Fact: Add “counting characters” to your list of things to stop doing. Why? Because the length of your email subject line has little to no impact on the chances of your prospect opening it. Instead of being stuck to a hard and fast rule on length, focus more on what conveys the information you need while still sounding natural.

Myth: Subject lines should be optimized for opens.

Fact: Optimizing for opens can actually hurt your business if your email subject line is misleading. Instead, think of your subject line as a contract between you and your readers, focus on telling them what to expect when they open your email. While many people believe that a generic subject will garner more opens, the truth is, it’s better to be specific and call out to the right people, while filtering out those who will find your message irrelevant. It’s about the quality of opens, not quantity.

Myth: Your subject line is the most important factor in inboxing, reads, and replies.

Fact: There’s so much hype around subject lines that you’d think they are the most important email component, but our research shows that overall, the subject line matters much less than we think. Instead of worrying about your opener, cold email success is built on WHO you’re sending your emails to. What you say and how you say it is also important, but the biggest contributor to having a successful cold email campaign lies in your list. With the right people on your list, your emails will get the opens and replies you’re looking for.


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