The best email subject lines for getting anyone’s attention

The best email subject lines for getting anyone’s attention

What’s worked on us, what’s worked for us and how to do mass customisations for email subject lines.


1. What worked on us? Social signals in the subject line and real proof in the emails.

When you get lots of emails from digital agencies only very good ones get your attention and we’ve received 100s.

This email caught our attention.

Subject: You + Software Engineers + MIT + SaaS. Can we help?

Hey Pardeep,

I came across you guys and I’d love you to consider TechStart to build your amazing product ideas, fast.

I’m Antonio, Co-founder at Techstart. We build the best products, using the best software engineers from around the world; all in a monthly model.

Here’s an example of what we’ve built:

www.dragapp.com_ (Over 30K users in 3 months. Top Product by Product Hunt, Google Featured)_

www.found.ly_ (Super-cool, scalable sales prospecting tool)_

www.replyup.com_ (Smart Gmail Chrome extension)_

Our founding team are from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and proven SaaS business people so we understand all things technical and commercial.

Do you have 15 minutes to tell us about your technology needs, and for us to explain a little more about how we work?


Why did this one work even though it’s only partly customised?

He didn’t say “Startup” he said “SaaS”. We associate ourselves more strongly with the word SaaS than startup and it means the email should be relevant.

That’s a good start but even better, he mentioned MIT.

Straight away I’m thinking ‘quality smart people’ even though if you read the email, while the founders are MIT guys, they don’t say if the actual developers are.

After that, they provide real proof of actual apps they’ve built, some of which I’ve heard of and the real number of users behind them.

I emailed them back and said we’ll get in touch when we have a need and it was not just throwing out a line. That email makes me think that they’ll be in high demand.

2. What worked for us? Use company name not domain.

We sent emails out for to encourage live chat users to buy our instant screen sharing tool that integrates with live chat.

We read somewhere that **using the company name rather than domain name **is what the professionals do.

Domain names are for the amateurs.

Fair enough, we tried it.

The email we sent

Subject header: {{company_name}} / Intercom

Hi {{first_name}},

I was researching {{company_name}}’s technology and saw that you’ve used Intercom. Have you guys tried seeing your user’s screen while chatting with them?

I work for which is becoming one of the most popular intercom integrations for support teams because they can now:

Instantly see the user’s screen and solve frustrating simple problems;

Remotely scroll and click for new users to navigate through complicated interfaces;

Resolve 1000s of simple user errors with forms, settings, navigation at 10X the speed.

I’d love to show you during a quick 10-minute demo how being able to view your user’s screen improves the experience for both customers and agents.

Are you available sometime this week?

Thank you,

Minh Saggers

Account Manager,

The good points to this email

Simple subject header involving the company name and a technology that company itself uses got them opening it.

(If you want to know how to find technologies that companies use then read about Builtwith here.)

The first line also contained the company name rather than domain and we quickly showed that we were relevant to them as they were Intercom users.

We explained the problem it fixed.


We got an excellent response, we did convert respondents into buyers **but nothing near **the number we expected.

Why was it not as good as it could have been?


If there’s one thing we learned over years of running SaaS businesses, it’s to “Get the positioning right”.

We didn’t explain how Upscope was different to normal screen sharing. Many of the replies were like ‘We use Teamviewer’ or some other form of heavy duty download based screen sharing. Upscope is co-browsing and not old school screen sharing.

It took 100+ replies like this before we dumbasses got the obvious point, people don’t understand the difference co-browsing and normal screen sharing.

If you’re interested in learning about positioning, read the book Obviously Awesome by April Dunford. Here’s a pic of the copy I keep nearby. Obviously Awesome book cover One example of positioning she gives is a company that calls it self a database company and no-one is buying their product because they compare its features to Oracle and then conclude that Oracle is better. Then they realise that some of their strongest features are around analytics so they re-position as a data warehouse analytics tool and 10X revenue. This point made a lot of sense to me. Read the book and before you do watch this Youtube vid of her talking about positioning

3. How to customise a subject header for 1000s. This is genius level customisation if you put some thought into it.

How about if you were a big fan of a few big startup guys and you saw a  subject line which said:

“I see you follow all the top startup guys on Twitter (naval, scott case, mark cuban etc)”

That would get my attention. I’ve never received that before.

Or some variation of that header.

If your likely clients often follow certain accounts then you can get them and their emails and send them that personal a subject header.

You can do this today in an hour for 1000s of people.


Go to Followerwonks ‘compare’ function:

  1. Enter in the Twitter accounts that you think are relevant.
  2. Run the search.

You will get a list of twitter users that follow all the accounts you entered.

You can find people who follow property sites, startup founders, celebrities, business advisers, tax companies… whatever you wish.

Followerwonk lets you download those people who follow all the accounts.

(Followerwonk is a paid service though they did have a trial period in the past. We previously used it for a 30 day trial and then paid monthly until we had download an incredible amount of data).

Upload that file to Anymail finder to get their verified emails.

On Anymail finder, you don’t even need to pay to see how many verified emails are within that account.

If you want to get people’s attention, now you know how! The rest of the email is up to you but we have learned that going for the sale too early is obviously a dumbass move. Ideally, we just want to get to the next step of the conversation.


If you have not seen it, look at the big giant list of customer finding methods here:

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar