Proven Tips to Help You Write the Best Cold Email for Improved Results

What do business executives, recruiters, and social media influencers all have in common? They receive a ridiculous amount of cold emails every single day! No one likes sending cold emails, but the people you are trying to reach like receiving them even less.

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In fact, studies show that they are the most likely to delete such communication even before responding to them. On the other hand, others report generating a 30 to 50 percent response rate from cold emails. What can these varying results teach us? Why do people read and engage with some cold emails but do not give others the time of day?

The cold email can be one of the best tools in your arsenal for generating more leads for your business – if used correctly. There is no doubt that social media has made everyone more accessible.

However, many marketers are still struggling with how to leverage this accessibility to increase their conversion rates. For instance, LinkedIn has grown into a powerful tool for marketers and recruiters to reach high-level executives in various companies. However, a 25 percent open rate is still considered an acceptable In-Mail response rate on the platform. Furthermore, the actual response rate is even lower.

Sending a lot of messages in hopes of a response is not the answer; standing out from the crowd is. Discarding the tired cold email template and taking the time to personalize these emails will help improve the success of your outreach campaign. This article will give you all the tactics you need to start using to get people to stop ignoring your cold emails.

Proven Tips to Help You Write the Best Cold Email for Improved Results

Table of Contents

What is a Cold Email?

Before getting into the tactics, we must first ask ourselves, “What is a cold email?” Believe it or not, there are many contradictory definitions of the term. Some people would even go as far as calling it spam! Obviously, that is not the case. Simply put, a cold email is any email communication that is sent to a potential contact or customer that does not have a prior relationship with. It is just like a cold call, but much less annoying.

Cold Email vs. Spam

Forbes calls cold emailing one of the “most effective” and affordable forms of networking. Successful cold email outreach plans focus heavily on using personalized messages to contact potential customers. Learning how to connect with potential customers is one of the most important aspects of learning how to write a cold email.

While cold email is indeed unsolicited, it is not spam. However, there are certain things most people who send them do that certainly makes them look spammy. To avoid this, here are seven things you can incorporate when sending cold emails:

  • Your “from” information must clearly show who you are in order to avoid any misrepresentation.

  • Avoid using misleading subject lines.

  • If the email is an advertisement or special offer, ensure that you clearly label it as such.

  • Make sure to include your business contact information and address in your email signature.

  • Give your recipients an opt-out option. Whether it is an “unsubscribe” link or a simple call-to-action, ensure that people have a way to stop receiving emails from you.

  • Furthermore, any request to opt-out must be honored immediately.

  • If you chose to hire others to run your email outreach, make sure to keep track of what others are sending on your behalf.

How can you use cold email outreach?

Cold email outreach is primarily used to generate leads and increase interest in your product or service. However, it can also be used in other ways. First is to gauge the viability of a startup. More and more startups today are focused on bootstrapping. This lean approach has made it increasingly important to talk to potential customers even before you start going in on business and development plans. You can use cold emailing to do this and, in turn, determine just how viable your startup idea is.

Specifically, start by compiling a list of people in your target market. You can then send them an email to identify what pain points they have. This makes it easier to notice any common responses and base your research on this feedback. Alternatively, you could use the cold email to direct potential customers to your landing page and see what kind of interest is generated.

You can also use cold email outreach to ask questions or gather data and feedback on surveys. Let your contacts know that you are performing a particular study and are planning to publish the results to your site in future. This approach is a very subtle way of directing people to your website without asking for a sale directly.

Common Cold Email Blunders

The data shows that some cold emails generate a lot of responses and viable leads while others are sent straight to the trash folder. Why does this disparity exist? The main reason for it is that most of this communication is full of some basic mistakes that are quite easy to avoid. Here are the most common cold email blunders that could be setting back your outreach campaign:

1. You are contacting the wrong person

You must ensure that any initial cold email is sent to the right decision maker. If this does not happen, good luck convincing the recipient to forward the information to the right person. Remember, these are executives who receive torrents of unwanted emails every day. If they receive one that does not directly concern them, they will either ignore it or send it directly to the trash.

2. Your email is too vague (and maybe a little bit egotistical!)

Another great tip is to never leave a potential client guessing. How do they know you? Do you have any mutual connections? What are you offering? How will it add value to their organization? These are some of the questions that must be answered very clearly by the end of the email. In cold emailing, talk is cheap. Prove your claims with feasible facts and figures that are good enough to help prospects make an informed decision.

3. Your email assumes too much

Make sure that you use a subject line that is clear and straightforward, but without being too presumptuous. Do not go into your cold email outreach campaign with the assumption that every prospect should fall over themselves to connect with you. Instead, reach out with a genuine desire to build relationships.

4. Your email sounds condescending

Coming across as arrogant or condescending is the worst mistake you can make during this process. Talking down to prospective clients could have serious negative consequences for you and your company.

A common method used when making clear and concise points is by simplifying your language and ask “easy” questions. However, it is important to avoid sounding condescending. This approach will only send the wrong message to your prospects.

5. Your email is too long

As you implement your cold email outreach campaign, it is important to remember that you will be sending people unsolicited email. Therefore, get to the point fast. The recipients likely do not know you or your company, so they are definitely not interested in a full run down of your organizational structure or product descriptions.

Therefore, ensure that your cold email is short and sweet. It should not take more than 15 to 20 seconds to read. A simple explanation of who you are, what your company does, and why you are reaching out should be enough.

6. You are still using automated emails

The main goal of a cold email outreach campaign is to reach as many people as possible in a short period of time. This is the main reason why cold email templates gained popularity in the first place. They allow you to send a slightly personalized email to a large number of people. However, this personalization usually extends to just changing the name, company, and location.

A lot of marketers have so far failed to find the tricky balance between using a template and making it a fully customized communiqué.   Unfortunately, it is very easy to spot these kinds of automated emails, and they are an immediate deal breaker for most prospects. This is why you must be careful when coming up with your templates.

7. You are pushing for a call without explaining why

If your cold email fails to capture the attention or interest of the prospect, why would they want to communicate with you any further? That is why you must ensure that you give prospective a good reason to care about your company or product, and then they will be willing to find out more.

8. Do you follow up?

In the course of your cold email outreach campaign, it is normal that a few people will be interested but fail to respond for whatever reason. You have crafted the perfect cold email and filled it with actionable data that will both entice and engage your prospects. However, you might have simply caught them at the wrong time and they might forget to reach out.

This is why sending at least one follow-up email is vital. If your first cold email does not succeed, try again! It might also be helpful to schedule a reminder to follow up as well as short notes to keep you updated on your progress.

How to Write a Great Cold Email, with Examples

We have already established that it is pretty easy to write a bad cold email. Here is one commonly used template that could be hindering your outreach efforts severely:

Hi (Name)

My name is (XXX) with (your company name).

I wanted to learn how your company handles (a particular function) at (the company name) and show you what our company is working on.

Are you available for a brief call at (time).


(Your name)

You have to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. They have to deal with hundreds of emails every day on top of their own normal workload. They will delete this kind of email immediately because there is no effort to connect or engage.

Experts argue that writing effective cold emails comes down to, basically, mind reading. Yes, you read that right! We might all be different but the brain generally reacts to certain psychological triggers in the same way. If you can understand these nuances, then you will be able to find creative ways to convince others to follow a desired course of action – such as replying to your emails.

Here are six proven principles that you can integrate into your cold emails to improve your open and response rates:

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1. Provide social proof

One of the oldest tricks in the marketing book is using peer pressure – but the good kind. It still accounts for why cold emails that mention a mutual contact or stakeholders in a relevant company generate higher open and open rates. This is because people still make decisions based on cues from other people.

What does this mean for your cold email outreach strategy? Prospects want to see proof that colleagues from the same industry also like your ideas. This could explain why templates like this have been so effective at increasing reply rates by as much as 33 percent:

Subject: Improve Sales by 100% with (Your Product)

(Contact Name),

(Mutual contact) said he was interested in getting (your product) for the sales team.

Our customers at (other company name) and (other company name) have told us that sales data from (other product) are usually inaccurate and need more transparency. That is why they chose (your product) to sync their sales activities and build reports specific to their needs.

Are you available on Friday at 10am EST to discuss how (your product) can help the sales team be more productive?


(Your name).

2. Provide a good reason

Harvard social psychologists have found that at least 93 percent of people are more likely to go along with a request if you use the word “because.” This means that you will be more successful when asking people for favors if you provide a reason.

3. Break the ice

You have been in constant communication with a prospective client and then they suddenly go MIA. This is a very common occurrence in the world of cold email outreach. A lot of marketers give up here, but you do not have to! What should your next move be? You should throw in a bonus.

A study found that sellers who used humor during negotiations were more likely to close the sale. This is because it makes people relax, which in turn breaks down any objections and helps you win over unreceptive prospects. In fact, it is such an effective tactic that it has been proven to improve response rates by 46 percent. Here is how you can use this in your cold emails:

Hey (contact name)

I have not heard back from you in a while and that tells me one of three things:

  1.    You are still interested in working with us but have not had the time to get back to me yet.
  2.    You have chosen to go with another company for this. In that case, please let me know so that I can stop bothering you.

iii.    You threw out your back and can’t get up. In that case, let me know and I will call 911.

Please let me know which one it is so I can stop worrying. Thank you in advance, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


(Your name)

4. Keep it brief

Brevity is the key to effective and successful emails. Studies among top-level executives, recruiters, and researchers show that shorter emails generated faster response times. It also led to as much as a 42 percent increase in reply rates. Therefore, keep your prospects’ time in mind and make your information easily digestible and actionable. Here is a great example of this:

Subject: Thoughts on (your product)

Hi (Contact Name)

You have been using (your product) for a while now and I’m planning to reach out to (XXX) to evaluate it.

Do you know if your team would be interested in a corporate license?


(Your name)

5. Use their name…a lot

Research on brain activation shows that your name is linked intrinsically to your identity and self-perception. Thus, using someone’s name makes them more trusting and engaged in a conversation. This shows that personalization is the key to more effective cold emails. Try placing their name in the subject line and ask for a reply that needs more than a yes or no answer. Throwing in their name in the email’s closing line is a nice extra touch.

The Follow-Up Email

Many marketers believe that the goal of a follow up cold email is to close a deal. However, this is not the case. Instead, it should be about finding out if a prospect is right for you. If they open your email, it is a great way to know that the prospect is open to having further conversation with you. In that case, here is a great example of an effective follow up cold email:

Hey (Name)

I could not help but notice that you had a chance to check out the email I sent you yesterday.

I wanted to know if I could answer some questions for you? I would be happy to give you a quick (time) demo. Of course, I can also send you (the required info, links etc.) to get you up and running in 10 minutes.

What do you think?


(Your name).

How to Write A Cold Email For A Service Business

Experiment 27 showed that it is possible to close business worth $400,000 in just 30 days using cold email. Here is how you can do it:

1. Select a narrow target

Your cold email will only stand out if the prospect feels like you know them. Find ways to show you found their website, know their company is your ideal customer and went to the right decision maker.

2. Find new leads

Digital tools like the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Rapportive, and Hubspot CRM are great places for finding your ideal client, details about the company, and information on the right decision makers to approach.

3. Create a lead magnet

Lead magnets are more than the cheat sheets or ebooks you give away on a site’s landing page in order to collect email addresses. However, you can also use personalized lead magnets to make your offers an offer they cannot refuse.

4. Keep your emails short

You do not have to use a lot of words to pass on your message. Instead, focus on the one thing you want your prospect to do.

5. Be funny

The most successful marketers have all credited humor with helping them get their biggest clients. It does not even have to be full of funny jokes, but using a clear and friendly tone will definitely help.

6. Track the response

There are many tools that you can use to help you know when a prospect has opened your email or clicked on a link. This analysis should tell you when you need to send a follow-up email for the best results.


Cold email outreach can be a very effective method of generating leads, collecting data, and gauging the success of a future business venture. However, it can only do so if you prepare and send out your cold emails with a lot of attention to detail.

Furthermore, remember to keep your cold emails short, clear, and straightforward. It is also a great idea to infuse a little bit of your personality into any cold email templates you use. This will keep your prospects from feeling like they are talking to a robot. Stay away from the blunders that are highlighted above and you will soon start seeing a significant change in your cold email outreach.

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