Networking is a vital part of advancing your sales career. It can not only lead to future career opportunities, but it can also drive traffic to your product or service. Email is one effective channel to network through, especially considering 86% of business professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes.

The networking email subject line can either make or break the chances of your email even getting opened.

What are networking emails?

Traditionally, sales reps send networking emails to strangers or mutual contacts to meet new people and advance his or her career. If you’re a sales rep, you can also use networking emails when reaching out to referrals.

The overall goal is to establish mutually beneficial relationships between the sales rep and contact. In other words, both parties should benefit from the connection. Here are a few mutual benefits from networking:

  • Develop new skills. Maybe you are an expert in affiliate marketing. Your contact is an SEO expert. As you are both in content marketing, you could gain from skill sharing.
  • Learn about a different industry. An industry influencer can help you break into a space you’re passionate about. Your benefit to them might not be immediate, but you could offer valuable contacts or insights later on in your career.
  • Close a new deal. You might network with someone who has a specific problem — a problem that your product or service can fix.

Although subject lines aren’t the only thing that makes someone open an email (the 10-15 word email preview has also become important), they are still a vital part for grabbing the recipient’s attention.

Networking email subject line examples

Without a good subject line, your networking email won’t even be opened. Learn how to write a good networking email subject line from the B2B startup experts below.

Cold networking emails

These types of emails are sent to people you’ve never had any interaction with before. They could be

  • Influencers in your industry
  • An executive of a company you’re interested in
  • A peer with a business or skills you can learn from.

Your goal is to strike up a conversation and turn these contacts into warm relationships.

1. Sumo: Let the recipient know you’ve done your research

sumo networking email subject line

“I Found You on LinkedIn”

Never contact someone without first doing your research, which can be through Twitter or LinkedIn. Sift through these platforms to find the contact’s interests, as well as if they’ve written for any publications. Then use your subject line to show the reader that you’ve already done some digging.

Sumo’s email subject line resulted in an open rate of 64%. It also sets up the body of the email for a conversation. For example, maybe the Sumo sender used the email body to reference a direct Forbes article they found on their LinkedIn profile and why they liked it.

Try this approach with your own networking email subject line. You can also tweak the subject line to apply to any platform such as “I Found You on Twitter.”

If you already have a connection with the person, substitute the platform with a referral’s name such as “I Found You Through Ben Brown.” This approach is proven to have an 84% open rate.

2. Curalate: Make it personal

curalate subject line

“Can you help me?”

Leo Strupczewski, Marketing Director at Curalate, says, “In a previous role, we used this subject line: “Can you help me?” to find warm intros when a priority contact wasn’t getting back to us. It worked—constantly.”

This subject line follows the principle of using “You” rather than “I” or “We.” According to the author of The Transparency Sale, Todd Caponi, this approach ensures that your email speaks specifically to the reader.

You can also continue to use this approach in the body of your email.

“While the subject line was great at getting an open, I believe the reason the email worked on the whole is because we were being human, showing our vulnerability and explaining why we were looking for the help,” Strupczewski says, “What we found was that, at the end of the day, most people are happy to help another person; you just have to do it in a way that is authentic. If you can, you can get some great results from it.”

3. Danny Rubin: Ask for advice

Danny Rubin email

“[Title of your role] who needs your advice“

Danny Rubin, author of Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, used the above networking email subject line to achieve a 96% open rate.

Asking for advice both compliments the recipient and heightens the chance that they’ll respond. It makes the recipient feel qualified. You can experiment with different versions of this subject line such as, “Junior Sales Rep Looking for Advice From the Best.”

But be careful with your networking email subject line wording. For example, don’t ask “for a favor.” Posing the subject line like “Junior Sales Rep who needs a favor” makes it sound like the recipient isn’t getting anything in return. Asking for advice makes the recipient feel honored or even humbled to share their knowledge, not pressured to complete a homework assignment.

Warm networking emails

Use these subject lines in emails you’re sending to people you already know or have interacted with before. Maybe you met them at a conference or already had a phone conversation. Continue the conversation with these subject lines.

4. Sales Hacker: Name drop a connection

Sales Hacker

“Mutual connection with [name of connection]”

This example isn’t completely warm. Your referral may or may not have made the intro in advance. However, including a shared connection immediately creates trust by making you seem familiar.

“The secret to a strong networking subject line? First and last names,” says Danny Rubin. “When possible, the title of the email must contain the names of people relevant to your message. By flagging who you are and how they know you, you improve your email’s chances of getting read.”

And don’t be afraid to ask current customers for a referral. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals despite the fact that 91% of clients say they’d happily give one.

5. Campaign Monitor: Refer to where you met

Campaign Monitor

“Great to meet you at Dreamforce last week.”

Have a goal in mind when you go to events like conferences or company meetings. JBarrows recommends setting S.M.A.R.T. networking goals such as “I want to meet at least 10 people tonight, get 10 business cards and find at least 3 strong prospective clients.”

As you meet people, ask if you can follow-up at the end of each conversation. Get their contact information and make some quick notes about who they are and what you discussed.

Then, follow up a few days to a week after the event with an email. Refresh their memory of who you are with your networking email subject line. It should open a way to continue the conversation.

6. Give the recipient something of value

“Here’s that {helpful resource} you wanted”

As puts it, you don’t want your email to be spammy. Sharing a resource offers value to the recipient and gives you a legitimate reason to be emailing. When networking at an event, learn about a problem they’re trying to solve. Discuss possible solutions and suggest that you’ll follow up with a resource.

For example, maybe your contact shared that they are struggling to align their sales and customer service departments. Your value offering could be as simple as a helpful eBook or guide such as this whitepaper Optimize your Sales CRM to Improve Customer Service.

Lead with the value you’re offering in your subject line. This approach communicates that you care about the recipient’s success. Just make sure that the value you promise in the subject line is actually in the email!

Write your own networking email subject line

Networking is a game of bridge, not a game of spoons. It takes time to build relationships, especially those that start via email.

Considering that 47% of recipients choose to open an email based exclusively on the subject line, use your networking email subject line as one of the first steps to effectively engage and expand your network.