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8 B2B Email Subject Lines That Get Opens

Email marketing is one of the staples of a profitable online business. In the B2B world, it is the single most effective way to produce sales, probably because for every $1 spent on email marketing it generates $42 in return.

Maximizing the success of your email marketing campaigns requires that you employ several tactics in your approach. For instance, if you want to drive seasonal B2B sales you will want to incorporate a targeted holiday email marketing campaign. This is an excellent way to generate timely leads and new business during the busy seasons of the year. 

Additionally, to tap into the full power of email marketing as a B2B sales tool, you will want to employ a proven inbound email marketing strategy that works in conjunction with your business goals. 

How do you find success and stand out in a sea of other online marketers? The key is to send emails that have a high conversion rate. To ensure that your emails convert, you need to employ specific proven strategies to increase your open rate. This is the percentage of email subscribers from your list who actually open your emails. 

Open rate is a useful KPI because it indicates a good guesstimate of how many of your subscribers are actually reading your emails. How do you achieve high open rates? 

By writing great subject lines. 

Subject lines are the key to successful email marketing because they are the first thing your recipient sees that entices them to open your email. Attracting eyeballs to your message only happens when you have a strong subject line. 

One of the reasons that a strong email subject line can help increase open rates is that it works in tandem with customer segmentation. Breaking up your list into a target audience (also known as segmenting) guarantees that your readers are interested in the content and offers you are sending them. 

In fact, recipients are 50% more likely to open a segmented email, than emails that aren’t segmented. In this post, we aren’t going to share how to segment your list, but we have found some ways that you can provide a plethora of approaches to writing great headlines, that will help you to maximize the success of your B2B email campaigns. 

8 Email Subject Lines That Get Opens

In this section, we will cover 8 examples of tested subject lines that actually get opens.

We were curious as to which subject lines received the highest open rates, so we checked with the experts and this is what we found.

1. BYE?

Creating urgency is vital to getting readers to open your emails. Without a sense of urgency or scarcity, most of your subscribers will be able to justify opening your email later, which means there’s a good chance they won’t open it at all. 

Urgency is important because most people are using their smartphones. Meaning, you are competing with texts, social media push notifications, and Candy Crush. 

As many as 50% of all emails are opened on a smartphone. To get the highest open rates possible you should strive to keep your subject lines short and to the point, and no more than 3-5 words to increase opens.

2. How 35 influencers grew their sites from 0-10K visitors

Another tried and true approach is to leverage giving the audience information about a person or company who they want to emulate in their business. The above example got a 57% open rate because it targeted readers who were trying to grow their online following as influencers. Including the 35 influencers hooked the reader and convinced them to actually open the email.

One of the reasons this email campaign was so successful is because they addressed the reader’s pain points. Subject lines that speak to problems, such as how to get your first ten-thousand followers, are part of the buyer’s persona. Intentionally writing headlines that play into the buyer’s unique persona and pain points will trigger more opens. 

Another reason that this campaign worked is that it leveraged social proof. Directly mentioning examples of other people’s success in your target market, is more likely to pique interest and achieve higher open rates. 

3. We’re starting in 5 HOURS

F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out) is real. When the doors to the train are closing, everyone is trying to jump aboard! 

Creating a last-call-style email can be a powerful way to entice readers to open your email before they miss out on your offer. This subject line has been field-tested and boasted an impressive 59% open rate. While it isn’t as subtle as other approaches, a FOMO type approach is effective because it incentivizes the reader to take immediate action.

One of the best ways to do this is to let your reader know that time is running out. Time scarcity is one of the biggest customer pain points in any market, so be sure to include the exact amount of time left to create a strong call to action. 

4. [Name], is there too much on your plate?

This is an age-old strategy that dates back to the Socratic Method. Asking a question compels humans to search for an answer. Phrasing your email subject line in the form of a question is a great way to increase open rates by as much as 10%

This subject line is universally successful because virtually everyone has too much to do. This is a covert way to use time scarcity, but in this strategy, the scarcity comes in the form of a personalized question. 

Personalizing emails with the recipient’s name can increase open rates by up to 26%. Including the recipient’s name adds an extra layer of relevancy and makes it stand out among a sea of other promotional emails. Combining a question with personalization is a surefire way to pique curiosity and create a great headline. 

5. Here’s why we just spent $1.5 million 

Readers love to learn about the companies they follow. Chances are, your subscribers want to know what your company is up to and are already primed to be curious. Email marketers have found that “here’s why” style emails increase open rates up to 46%

One of the most effective ways you can play into this natural curiosity is by leaving a cliffhanger. Humans are hardwired to know how the story ends, and you can take advantage of this in your email subject line writing. Some companies do this by making their subject lines bizarre. 

The Hustle is a company that does an excellent job at sparking curiosity through strange, curiosity-inducing headlines. 

Here’s one that caught our eye, “He was facing life in prison; now he’s a startup founder.” 

Definitely bizarre.  

6. Why [Company]? And why now?

Similar to #5 this subject line invites curiosity. Most of us are curious as to what this subject line would be about. This creates a mystery for the reader to solve. 

One of the benefits of this kind of email subject line is that it creates a need for the reader to continue onto your website to read the rest of the story. Creating “why” emails can be a great way to improve click-through rates to your website

Once they’ve read the email to get a taste for what you are writing about, readers will naturally want to get the full scoop on your blog, which can also help them convert to becoming paying customers. 

7. How to keep up with digital marketing… 🏃💨

How-to emails are a great way to attract opens. We all love to learn, so why not take two minutes to open an email and learn about one of your favorite topics? This creates a sense of credibility and positions your company as the expert in your market. If you are knowledgeable enough to write a how-to email that provides value, then readers feel they can trust you. Your company’s wisdom becomes a valued perspective. 


If you want to make your reader feel more relaxed about the content they are going to learn, try adding emojis. Being expressive is a great way to add authenticity and make your subject line less intimidating than hard stats. In fact, brands that incorporate an emoji into their subject line have noticed a 56% increase in open rates.😎😎😎

Take a look at this recent email from Strikingly that used the Easter Egg emoji to offer a seasonal discount.

8. [Company] Sales & Marketing Newsletter

Sometimes simplicity is the way to go with your email subject lines. Creating a straightforward subject line resulted in email open rates between 60-87%. Instead of using clever strategies, aim to make your post relevant by appealing to current trends. This will add to the urgency, without manufacturing it. 

Also, proactively use words in your subject lines that increase open rates.  Basically, you want to use vivid descriptors as you would in any good copy. Additionally, you’ll want to choose verbiage that engages the reader, but creates a sense of urgency or importance. This is pretty basic, but forgetting to do this could make your campaigns suffer. 

Bonus – How to Check Your Subject Lines

Luckily, digital marketers don’t have to rely on guessing which headlines will work best for them. One of the most savvy techniques to improve email headlines is using online tools known as subject line testers. 

These tools can help to improve your email subject lines for better clickability and deliverability to get more replies from more prospects. This makes it incredibly easy to find the right headline for your audience. 

Here are three of the best that we found. 

The Email Subject Line Grader from Net Atlantic is a no-frills checker tool that grades the effectiveness of your headline. If you are looking for a helpful tool that is simple to use, look no further. 

The Headline Analyzer tool created by Advanced Marketing Institute is a great asset to your headline writing efforts. What makes this one unique is that it actually factors in the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) of your headline to see if it will resonate with your target audience. 

An industry-standard tool from Coschedule is their version of a Headline Analyzer tool. It checks for extras such as skimmability, clarity, and reading level. It is considered by some marketers to be the best headline analyzer tool available. 

Subject Lines Matter

No matter what type of campaign you are running, finding the right email subject line is the primary factor in improving open rate. 

By crafting captivating subject lines like the 8 examples shared above, you increase your chances of connecting with your audience. Once you have the interest of your reader, they are more likely to click through your email and convert into a website visitor, or a valued customer.

By incorporating the advice you just learned, you can expect to start seeing positive results in your next email campaign. Keep it simple and start small as you work towards figuring out the best email subject line strategy for your business. 

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