5 No-Gimmick Subject Lines for Higher Open Rates… and More Replies

Before you think about writing your subject line, you need a well-crafted email with a compelling offer. Here are 5 gimmick-free subject line templates that prioritize clarity, personalization, and genuine conversation for higher open rates.

The first rule of successful email subject lines is: don’t focus on your subject line.

I know, that’s a weird way to open a blog about subject lines, but it’s true. Before you even think about writing your subject line, you need a well-crafted email with a compelling offer. If you don’t already have one, go back to the drawing board and come back when you’re ready.

*Twiddles thumbs*

Welcome back! Now that your email is ready for your prospects, it’s okay to spend some time thinking about a subject line that will entice them to actually open and read it.

But sometimes, you just want a quick-and-easy subject line you can be confident will do your email justice without requiring too much time or brain power on your part (after all, remember the first rule of subject lines).

Here are 5 gimmick-free subject line templates our clients have used to generate high open rates… and more first-time appointments with good prospects:

5 Gimmick-Free Subject Lines


EXAMPLE: “Meeting—IT services for Business Wise”


EXAMPLE: “New break room for InterTech—can we meet?”


EXAMPLE: “Janitorial quote for AB Industries”

“Phone call—idea for [YOUR VALUE ADD] at [PROSPECT COMPANY NAME] ”

EXAMPLE: “Phone call—idea for employee perk at Smith Staffing”

“Hi [PROSPECT FIRST NAME]—have time to meet about your [PRODUCT / SERVICE] issues?”

EXAMPLE: “Hi Tom—have time to meet about team-building event issues?”

Why They Work

As you can see, all five subject lines are variations on a common theme, and share the same key components:

  • They’re personalized to the individual prospect or company. When your prospects believe they’re receiving information specific to their unique circumstances and needs, they’ll be less likely to dismiss the email as SPAM, and more likely to open and read it.
  • They describe what you offer. Subject lines that are too generic (e.g., “Tom, can we meet?”) might generate higher-than-average open rates, but they often fail to attract the right kind of opens—those from prospects who actually need what you offer. In subject lines, as in all marketing, clarity is your friend.
  • They’re straightforward. Almost all of these subject lines mentions a phone call or a meeting. After all, that’s what you want, right? Prospects will reward direct and respectful requests. The words “meeting” and “phone call” are also effective attention-grabbers.
  • They’re conversational. No gimmicks or marketing speak allowed here. That kind of thing may work well for online shopping and click-bait content, but when you’re looking to engage with a real person, it’s a good idea to talk (and write) like a real person.

So pick your favorite and use it as the subject line for your next email. Save your brain power for what to say when your prospects reply.