10 Sales Email Subject Lines You Should Definitely Avoid

10 Sales Email Subject Lines You Should Definitely Avoid

Crafting the perfect subject line can be a challenge, but it's a very necessary one. Though it's an often overlooked part of any email campaign, in reality it can mean the difference between someone opening your message or adding it straight to the trash folder. With this in mind, here are ten subject lines that you definitely shouldn't be using if you're hoping to run a successful email marketing campaign…

1. ‘Re:......’

Starting an email with 'Re:' has become increasingly common in recent times. The idea behind it being that the recipient will mistakenly think that it's a reply from a company they've spoken to in the past. While it may get your email opened, ultimately as soon as the prospect realises they've been duped chances are they're not going to have a bad impression of your business, and therefore unlikely to engage with the message.

To be honest, though, this practice has now become so widely used by spammers and misguided marketers alike that prospects have wised up, and most will be able to spot it's a ploy straight away.

2. ‘Free….’

Having the word 'free' in your subject line is a surefire way to immediately put your prospect's back up. Along with words like 'promotion', 'opportunity', and 'act now', it signifies an aggressive sales email is contained inside, and nobody wants to receive one of those. They're also words commonly used by spammers, so your message may not even make it past the spam filter.


All caps is never a good idea - it looks like you're shouting at the recipients, and also gives off a strong sense of desperation. It's a similar case with exclamation marks; are you trying to persuade the prospect to open your message or threaten them into doing so?

4. ‘10% off today only @#!!&’

Okay, this probably seems like an obvious one, and yet plenty of marketers for some reason still insist on inserting obscure symbols into their subject lines. Granted, it may make your message stand out a bit, but it's for all the wrong reasons - it just looks tacky and unprofessional. # and @ may be part of our everyday language on social media, but they have no place in subject lines; they're more likely to get your messages blocked.

5. ‘Can I Have 10 Minutes of Your Time?’

This may seem like a good way to get your prospect intrigued, but in reality it's much more likely to turn them off. After all, why would they willingly give up their precious time to engage with a company they know nothing about? The same goes for asking to schedule a call in the first email; focus instead on building a rapport with the prospect and finding out more about their business and what they need.

6. ‘Our new solution could help you reduce costs by as much as 20% in just a few months’

Subject lines that are overly long are much less likely to catch the prospect's attention and just end up looking spammy. It's important to give a good idea of what your message is about - being too vague is never good - but keep it to as fewer words as possible; under 50 characters is best.

7. ‘Urgent….’

Chances are, it's not urgent.. so why start things on a bad footing by trying to mislead the prospect? It looks very unprofessional and potentially even shady given that it's a trick often used by phishers to scam people out of cash. Instead of trying to trick your prospects into opening your messages, focus on giving them a great reason to do so; create intrigue and make it clear that something of value is waiting for them.

8. ‘Our COS creates better CPA for lower CPL’

Always steer clear of industry jargon in your subject lines (and email copy for that matter). Just because you have no problems understanding those words and phrases doesn't mean your target customers won't, and far from impressing them you actually run the risk of alienating them altogether.

9. ‘The ultamate lead qualification guid’

Typos in subject lines are an instant way to make your company seem lacklustre and unprofessional. You only have a few words to create a good impression - so double check and check again that there's no misspellings or other mistakes.

Personalisation can be great in subject lines, but certainly not if you end up getting the recipient's name wrong. A reputable business directory with regular updates can be a good tool to ensure you've got the right spelling.

10. ‘50% off our latest security software’

If you're going to showcase an attractive offering in your subject line, make sure the email copy reflects it. For example, the recipient of the subject line above probably wouldn't be too happy if they opened the message to find it's actually only available for certain customers, or requires some kind of sign up. It's vital that your prospects see you as credible and trustworthy, so don't try and mislead them or make false promises.

The Most Important Point Of All…

Even the most carefully crafted subject lines will go to waste if your email ends up in the wrong person's inbox. You need to reach decision makers in order to start the sales journey, otherwise you'll end up wasting time and money.

Global Database eliminates this possibility, providing qualified contacts of company employees at any level, including CEOs and other high-level executives. Direct phone numbers and email addresses mean you don't have to worry about gatekeepers or having your messages waylaid, and regular validations and updates mean the data is always as fresh as possible.

Coming up with the perfect subject line can be a tricky process, but it's definitely worth it. Split (or A/B) testing can often be a good idea in order to determine what type of styles and phrases resonate best with your target audience.

Ready to test out your subject lines with new email contacts? Visit us at www.GlobalDatabase.com

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