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10 Sales Email Subject Lines to Get an Open, Read, and Reply - 1/4/2017 -

You’ve got the right advertising or sponsor prospect, but can’t get them to engage. Here are some email strategies to break through the silence.

By RyanDohrn

Many ad sales trainers talk about the good old days before email, when the phone was your weapon of choice. Many even suggest that email has ruined the media sales process. I could not disagree more. Email is an amazing piece of technology. If used in the right way, it can help the media sales professional win and grow business.

Before we get into the best ad sales subject lines for email success, let me offer three pieces of email sales advice.

1.Email does not replace the phone.The phone is an amazing tool when trying to build a relationship with a prospect from a distance.

2.All too often, you ignore the phone and only focus on email.Media sales superstars know how to balance phone, email, and face time to maximize the total sales process.

3.Email lacks tone and emotion. Your voice is a powerful sales tool. Do not give up on the phone even when your sales emails get you results.

Here are my top 10 email subject lines that have been getting me results in the last 30 days or less. I will also provide email examples and advice on each.

1. (Name of a mutual connection) recommended I get in touch.

"Hi Donnie. RyanDohrnrecommends that you and I touch base about ___. He and I mutually felt that this idea could benefit you. Could I have 20 minutes via phone to discuss it this week? I promise, 20 minutes is all I need.”

Advice: There is clearly no better way to connect with a new ad sales prospect than through a referral. Agree? Also, notice that I assure the prospect that I will not waste their time. Many media sales people before you have wasted a prospect’s time. You want to take pride in not being one of those "vampires of time.”

2. I was just wondering…

"Hi Rachel. I was wondering if you would be open to a 20-minute phone call about (insert sales topic)? I promise to respect your time. Twenty minutes is all I need.”

Advice: This subject line is often used as a follow-up or can also be used to offer a meeting invitation.

3. May 29th?

"Hi Ron. I will be in Clinton, Iowa, on May 29th for a meeting. Could I get on your calendar for 20 minutes in the morning?”

Advice: I often use this subject line to request a meeting date or to offer a follow-up date for a meeting.

4. 3 reasons…

"Hi John. I truly feel there are three reasons why we should work together.

1. Your mission. I understand your company and appreciate your mission.

2. Your support needs. I have a quality reputation for offering best in class customer service.

3. Your budget. We are the only company offering you payment options.”

Advice: This subject line should be used after you have tried several times to connect with a prospect via email. The idea is to list three reasons why the prospect should re-engage with you via email.

5. Did something happen?

"Hi Terry, Was there something that happened after our meeting that I can help you resolve? You sounded very positive about setting up a follow-up call. I am not trying to pressure you, but I truly want to help you with ___.”

Advice: After a proposal or a meeting, this subject line will often play with a prospect’s emotions and get you a response.

6. New idea for you.

"Hi Bob, I would love to share with you a new budget-friendly idea that is really working for other companies like yours. Twenty minutes is all I need to explain the idea.”

Advice: I like to use this subject line right out of the gate when trying to set a meeting with a new prospect. Of course, you need a new idea to share. Or, you can share a thought that will give your prospect a slight competitive advantage.

7. (Name of prospect’s competitor) is marketing very well?

"I see that John Doe is really marketing a lot these days. I have an idea for you to really give them a run for their money.”


"Hi, Rex. I see that John Doe just launched the new ABC Model. I have a unique idea to share with you that could give them a run for their money.”


"Hi, Tom. I see your competitor John Doe just bought into our system. I truly feel you need to take a look at this as well.”

Advice: This ad sales subject line will ruffle a few feathers — so be careful. I never, ever share client information with other clients. I am simply using this subject line to prompt a reply based on friendly competition. Again, you want to be ethical with what you share using this approach.

8. Wrong person?

"Hi, Michael. I hate to be that salesman that keeps emailing the wrong person. Any chance you could point me in the right direction of the person who handles ___?”

Advice: Often used as a last-ditch effort, this subject line allows the client to provide you information that you can use to move them off your prospect list. Be real, and often you will get a reply. This only works if the ad sales prospecting pattern you use is aggressive. If you only email once a month, forget about it.

9. 20 Minutes?

"Hi Nicole. I saw on your website that you just launched the A350 Model. I have an idea to help you promote that to our membership (or circulation) of 36,000. Twenty minutes is all I need to share with you an idea.”


"Hi Nicole. I saw on your website that you just won the contract forJayco. Congratulations! I have an idea to help you with the staffing issues related to that contract. Twenty minutes is all I need to share with you an idea.”

Advice: This subject line can be tricky if you do not also include a promise. You will need to tweak the above based on what problem you hope to solve or what your idea can do to save her time, money, or effort.

10. I will respect your answer.

"I would very much enjoy working together, but if you have decided to not move forward, I will be very respectful of your decision. Any update on your project decision status is appreciated.”

Advice: Not used enough. It is often taboo to allow a client to say no. To encourage them to say no is also taboo. But, what I have found is that when the client feels like they can tell you no, they will at least reply.

Final Thoughts

In the past, many sales professionals were trained to use those zinger lines that force a client to a yes decision. And, at a time when there were not many options for products and services, those sales tricks worked well.

Today, however, most buyers will not tolerate the high-pressure media sales tactics of the past. Your systematic approach to sales should rely on three things: working the right client on the right pattern with the right message. Relevance is key.

RyanDohrnis the creator of the 360 Ad Sales Training System.


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