As a startup founder, you know the importance of getting your emails noticed. But how do you ensure your cold emails don’t end up in the trash? The key lies in crafting a message that grabs attention, stirs interest, and compels the recipient to take action.
Keep reading to discover the basics of cold email marketing, plus give you actionable advice on how to make your cold emails stand out without being aggressive.
Let’s dive right in and see how you can make your first cold email campaign successful.
What Is A Cold Email?
A cold email, also known as an unsolicited email, refers to an email sent to someone without any prior relationship or engagement.
It initiates contact with potential prospects, clients, or business partners who have not expressed prior interest.
The purpose of a cold email is to establish a connection, introduce yourself or your business, and explore potential opportunities for collaboration or sales.
Warm Vs Cold Emails
Warm and cold emails represent two distinct approaches to email communication. Here are the key differences between the two:
- Warm Emails are sent to individuals or organizations you have an existing relationship or ongoing engagement with—such as your colleagues, clients, or prospects who have shown interest in your product or service. They’re characterized by a warmer tone, familiarity, and a higher likelihood of response.
- Cold Emails are unsolicited messages sent to recipients with whom you have no prior relationship or interaction. They are typically used to reach out to potential leads, initiate sales conversations, or establish partnerships.
While warm emails benefit from an existing connection and familiarity, cold emails offer opportunities to expand your network, reach new prospects, and explore untapped business possibilities.
Both approaches have their place in email communication, and a well-rounded strategy incorporates a mix of warm and cold emails.
Cold Email Examples
Before we dive further, let’s see a few real-life examples of cold emails to further zoom in on what they are and how they work.
Example #1: Affiliate Partnership
You can create cold emails for any purpose. However, as a startup founder, you’ll probably focus on establishing partnerships with other businesses and influencers or attracting investors.
In that case, this particular example may be especially useful.
Why this cold email works:
- Feels personal
- Sets clear expectations
- Provides direct “next steps” instructions
What could be improved:
- May lack details about why they’re reaching out to a specific recipient
- May benefit from a more non-obligatory CTA, like “schedule a meeting to learn more”
Example #2: Service Offer
Other times, you may want to send cold emails in order to sell your products or services. Here’s an example of a cold email that aims to do the same.
Why this cold email works:
- Outlines the value proposition
- Offers a free, no-pressure consultation.
What could be improved:
- Less jargon, more straightforward
- Could provide evidence or testimonials to back up claims
- The phrase “skyrocketing into the stratosphere” sounds too overpromising.
Example #3: Cold LinkedIn Message
I included this example just to show you that there are more ways to reach out to “cold” prospects besides email. You can apply every tip I give you below for cold social media outreach as well.
You can also use any social network to find new prospects and send cold messages–but LinkedIn may be an especially good choice.
So, here’s an example of a cold LinkedIn message that recently landed in my inbox.
Why this cold message works:
- Very specific
- Explains the reason for reaching out
- Gives an “exclusive” offer
What could be improved:
- May be too long
- Makes promises that don’t feel realistic or specific enough
- Doesn’t have a CTA
With that said, keep in mind that cold emails usually work better than social media messages.
How Can Cold Emails Benefit You?
Good cold email outreach can offer many benefits to “bootstrapping” startups. Here are just some:
- Expanding your network. Cold emails allow you to reach out to potential clients, partners, or investors who may not be a part of your existing network. They open doors to new opportunities and connections.
- Generating leads. Effective cold emails can generate valuable leads for your startup. By targeting individuals or companies that align with your target audience, you can spark interest and start meaningful conversations.
- Cost-effective marketing. Compared to traditional marketing methods, cold emailing is a cost-effective way to promote your startup. It lets you reach a large number of prospects and potentially achieve high ROI with minimal expenses.
- Scalability and automation. With the right tools and strategies, cold emailing can be scaled and automated to reach a wider audience. This allows you to maximize efficiency while maintaining a personal touch.
But that’s not just me saying that sending cold emails works. The stats confirm it. Here are some below.
Quick Cold Email Stats
General cold email stats:
- 86% of professionals prefer email over any other form of business communication. (Source)
- 8 out of 10 (or 80% of) buyers prefer to be contacted via email by sellers. (Source)
- Cold emailing seems to be more effective than cold calling. Cold emails have, on average, a response rate of 8.5%. Cold calls have an average success rate of 0.3%. (Source, Source)
- Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. (Source)
Cold Email Optimization Stats
- Cold outreach campaigns get higher responses when they include longer subject lines. The sweet spot seems to be between 36 and 50 characters. (Source)
- Cold emails with 3-4 sentences have a 50% higher response rate. (Source)
- Cold email outreach sequences with 4-7 emails have 3x higher response rates than sequences with 1-3 emails. (Source)
How To Write A Cold Email Pitch That Gets Responses (5 Easy Steps)
Believe me when I say this: anyone can write cold emails that convert leads and get responses.
You don’t need to be a world-class copywriter or marketer—nor obnoxiously salesy. Just follow the few easy steps I’ve outlined for you below, and you’ll surely get optimal engagement and results.
1. Refine Your “From” Line
When it comes to cold emails, there’s one element that often goes unnoticed: the “from line.”
The “from” line typically includes the sender’s name and email address. For example, it could be something like Oran Yehiel, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We typically set up our “from” lines once and forget about them, but the truth is they’re incredibly important.
Think about it. When someone receives an unsolicited email, they’ll probably be skeptical about what the email contains and who it’s coming from.
That’s where the “from” line comes into play—it’s the gateway to arousing your recipients’ curiosity, earning their trust, and enticing them to explore further.
So, before embarking on your next cold email campaign, take a moment to revisit and revamp your “from” line. You can take one of the following approaches:
- Name + Surname
- Name + Surname, Title
- Name + Surname @ Company
2. Write Compelling Cold Email Subject Lines
Did you know that 64% of recipients decide to open or delete emails based solely on subject lines?
Yes—your subject line is that important. But how do you create one that motivates recipients to open your cold emails rather than delete them?
For starters, follow these guidelines:
✔ Personalize Whenever Possible: A generic cold email subject line will probably go unnoticed or even get marked as spam. Personalization adds a human touch and makes your email appear more relevant.
- Proposed Action: Include the recipient’s name or mention something specific about their company or recent achievement in your subject line.
✔ Spark Curiosity: Create a subject line that makes your recipient wonder what’s inside.
- Proposed Action: Use intriguing questions or create a knowledge gap that encourages the recipient to open the email and find the answer.
✔ Highlight a Benefit or Value Proposition: Let your recipients know “what’s in it” for them by emphasizing a specific benefit or value proposition.
- Proposed Action: Explain how your email can solve a problem they might have or offer them valuable insights.
✔ Create a Sense of Urgency: Urgency triggers FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). This triggers action.
- Proposed Action: Communicate a time-sensitive offer or limited availability to encourage recipients to open your email immediately.
✔ Use Numbers and Statistics: Including numbers or statistics in your subject line adds credibility and attracts attention. It implies that your email contains concrete information or data that could be valuable to the recipient.
✔ A/B Test and Analyze Results: Experiment with different ideas and analyze the open rates until you find the subject line that resonates best with your audience.
Examples Of Cold Email Subject Lines
Remember: a compelling subject line is personalized, beneficial, enticing, urgent, and specific. But hitting all those targets with a single subject line can be difficult.
In fact, that’s not what you should do. Most of the time, you want your subject line to hit two to three of those key points.
To help you out, here are a few ideas and formulas you can use.
1. Curiosity-Building Subject Line
- “Guess what? We’ve discovered a new way to [achieve a goal]!”
- “Have you heard about [intriguing topic]?”
2. Personalized Subject Line
- “Hey [Recipient’s Name], [specific mention or question]?” (Ex.: Hey John, I saw your last blog post about SEO—want to learn a few advanced techniques?”)
3. Benefit-Focused Subject Line
- “Get [desirable outcome] with [your product/service]”
4. Urgency-Inducing Subject Line
- “Only [limited time/quantity] left for [benefit]”
5. Question-Based Subject Line
- “Are you struggling with [pain point]?”
6. Personal Achievement Subject Line
- “Congratulations on [specific achievement]!”
7. Social Proof Subject Line
- “[Number] of [industry leaders/customers] can’t be wrong!”
3. Make A Strong First Impression
Your subject line will get your recipients to open your email, but your introduction will keep them reading.
It’s crucial that you make a strong first impression in your intro. Follow these tips to craft a compelling introduction that grabs your recipients’ interest:
- Keep it brief. Limit your cold email self-introduction to 2-3 sentences and shift the focus to the recipient as soon as possible.
- Personalize and flatter. Reference the recipient’s expertise, achievements, or company. A hint of flattery can be effective, but be sincere and avoid excessive praise.
- Address the problems. Use the introduction to highlight a specific problem or challenge you’ve noticed that you can help solve. Show that you understand their needs and have done your research.
- Stay professional. Maintain a professional tone and keep the focus on the business reasons for reaching out. Avoid going off-topic or getting too casual in the initial introduction.
- Show deliberation. Emphasize that you specifically chose to contact them based on your research and deliberate decision-making. Demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in their company and the value you can provide.
Remember, conducting thorough research on the recipient and their company is essential before writing a cold email. This enables you to tailor your introduction and make it more impactful.
4. Personalize Your Cold Emails
A personalized cold email is a customized message specifically crafted for an individual recipient. It takes into account the recipient’s unique characteristics, needs, and interests—and demonstrates that you have done your research and genuinely understand their situation.
A personalized cold email helps you connect with the recipients, make them feel valued, capture their attention, and increase the likelihood of a positive response.
So, how can you personalize your cold emails? Here are a few helpful guidelines:
- Research, research, research. Research your prospects before reaching out. Look for common connections, recent achievements, or industry-specific challenges they might be facing. The more you know about them, the better you can customize your message.
- Example: “Hi, [Prospect’s Name]. I recently read your insightful article on [Topic] and was inspired by your innovative approach to [Challenge].”
- Address pain points. Identify the pain points or challenges your prospect is likely experiencing and address them directly. Show empathy and offer a solution or a unique perspective that can help alleviate their concerns.
- Example: “Are you struggling with [specific pain point]? I understand how frustrating it can be. That’s why I wanted to share a proven strategy that has helped other [industry] professionals overcome this challenge.”
- Showcase relevance. Highlight why your offering is relevant to the recipient’s specific situation or goals. Connect the dots between their needs and the value you can provide, and make it clear why they should pay attention to your email.
- Example: “Based on your company’s focus on [specific area], I believe our [product/service] can help you achieve [desired outcome]. Here’s how we’ve successfully helped similar companies like [competitor] and [industry leader].”
- Add a personal touch. Go beyond the superficial and show that you genuinely care. Mention a recent achievement of theirs, a shared interest, or a referral source that led you to reach out.
- Example: “Congratulations on your recent industry award! Your dedication to [specific accomplishment] is inspiring. I wanted to connect and explore how we can collaborate to further enhance your success.”
Remember: Personalization is about making a human, personal connection. Each interaction should make the recipient feel seen, valued, and understood.
By going beyond generic templates and investing time in personalization, you can stand out from the crowd and increase your chances of building meaningful relationships through cold email outreach.
5. Include An Enticing Call To Action
A CTA, or call to action, is a phrase or a line that invites the reader to… well, take a specific action.
Most of the time, the CTA is included at the very end of a cold email but can be added to the email body as well.
Every cold email needs a CTA, but not every CTA is good enough to truly make it into your cold email.
A good CTA motivates the recipient to take the desired action, makes it easy for them to do so, and guides them on the next steps.
Weak Vs Strong CTAs
Let’s explore a few examples to see what a good vs a bad CTA looks like.
Example #1: Strong CTA
“Click here to schedule a quick 15-minute demo call to see how our product can help you streamline your operations and boost productivity.”
This example clearly states the action you want the recipient to take (scheduling a demo call), provides a specific time frame (15 minutes), and highlights the value proposition (streamlining operations and boosting productivity).
It’s clear, concise, and creates a sense of urgency.
Example #2: Weak CTA
“If you’re interested, feel free to check out our website and let us know if you have any questions.”
This example lacks a clear and specific CTA. It relies on the recipient to take the initiative and doesn’t provide guidance on the next steps.
Remember, a strong CTA should be action-oriented, specific, and value-driven. It should clearly state the desired action, provide any necessary instructions or links, and highlight the benefits or outcomes the recipient can expect.
Creating The Perfect Cold Email Strategy
Writing cold emails is just a part of the equation. If you want your cold campaign to be truly successful, you need to invest time in crafting a well-thought-out cold email strategy, too.
A successful cold email marketing strategy involves identifying the right target audience, finding their email addresses, scheduling follow-ups, and more.
I’ll walk you through some essential elements below, plus give you actionable advice for each step.
1. Define Your Target Audience
Knowing your target audience will let you personalize your cold emails, make them more engaging, and increase your chances of conversions.
Here are a few steps that will help you find and define your target audience.
- Conduct Market Research
- Identify your industry and niche.
- Study your competitors’ target audience and messaging.
- Analyze market trends and customer preferences.
- Define Demographics and Firmographics
- Determine the characteristics of your ideal recipients (e.g., age, job title, company size, location).
- Understand the specific industries or sectors you want to target.
- Identify Psychographics
- Dive deeper into your audience’s motivations, pain points, and aspirations.
- Gain insights into their values, interests, and behaviors.
- Create Buyer Personas
- Develop fictional profiles representing your ideal recipients.
- Include details such as background, goals, challenges, and communication preferences.
- Utilize Data and Analytics
- Leverage data-driven approaches like surveys, interviews, and analytics tools.
- Gather feedback and insights directly from your existing customers or target audience.
- Test and Refine
- A/B test different email variations to gauge their effectiveness.
- Analyze open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to refine your approach.
Refer to your buyer personas whenever you’re writing a new cold email to ensure relevancy.
2. Create Your Cold Email Persona
Your “cold email persona” is all about how you present yourself in your outreach.
The goal of your persona is to create a specific, desirable impression that helps you connect with your audience and achieve your cold outreach goals.
To do so, think about what pain points your recipient might have, what communication style they may prefer, and what impression you want to make.
Let’s explore a few different cold email personas to get your creative juices flowing.
Examples Of Cold Email Personas
- The Trusted Advisor is a knowledgeable industry expert that provides valuable insights, tips, and resources. They show genuine interest in the recipient’s challenges and offer tailored solutions to build trust.
- Sample Subject Line: “Expert Insights to Boost Your Marketing Strategy”
- The Problem Solver addresses the specific pain points of their target audience. They demonstrate empathy and showcase how their product or service can effectively solve their audience’s problems.
- Sample Subject Line: “Solving Your Sales Conversion Woes”
- The Questioner engages recipients by posing thought-provoking questions. They make the recipients reflect on their current strategies, identify potential missed opportunities, and get them motivated to discover new insights and perspectives.
- Sample Subject Line: “Can Your Business Survive These New Shifts?”
- The Connector shows genuine interest in the recipient’s company and its goals, highlights relevant connections or mutual interests, and emphasizes how collaboration can lead to shared success.
- Sample Subject Line: “Connecting with [Prospect’s Company] for Mutual Growth”
- The Storyteller shares a compelling narrative about their company’s journey or a customer success story. They appeal to emotions and create a relatable experience by connecting the recipient with their values and mission.
- Sample Subject Line: “From Struggle to Success: Our Inspiring Journey”
These are just ideas, so treat them as such. Feel free to tailor every persona to your own brand, target audience, and goals.
3. Create Your Cold Email List
Collecting or finding email addresses for cold emailing requires a proactive approach and a combination of different methods. Here are some of the best methods you can use:
- Website Research. Visit the company’s official website and navigate to the “Contact Us” or “About Us” section. Look for email addresses associated with specific departments or individuals you want to reach out to.
- LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search feature (Sales Navigator) to find professionals within your target industry or specific companies. Connect with them and check if you can find their email addresses on their profiles. If not, use tools like Signal Hire (a Chrome extension for finding LinkedIn prospect emails)
- Professional Networks. Join industry-specific forums, communities, or networking platforms where professionals in your target audience gather. Engage in conversations, build relationships, and inquire about email addresses when appropriate.
- Online Directories. Explore online directories related to your industry or profession. These directories often provide contact information, including email addresses, for relevant businesses or individuals. For example, Crunchbase is a great tool for leads that relate to startup founders and investors.
- Use Email Finding Tools. Leverage email-finding tools, such as Hunter.io, to search for email addresses based on a person’s name and their company’s domain.
|Bonus tip #1: Consider using email verification services like ZeroBounce to validate email addresses you have collected or to find valid email patterns for specific domains.|
Bonus tip #2: Always comply with applicable laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the CAN-SPAM Act, when collecting and using email addresses for cold emailing. Respect people’s privacy and ensure you have proper consent where necessary.
4. Don’t Cold Email Too Often
The ultimate question: how many cold emails should you send?
To answer this question, we need to look at it from two perspectives:
- how many cold emails can you send to people in general?
- how many cold emails should you send to one prospect?
Let’s start by exploring both questions in more depth.
A) Stick To The Sending Limits To Avoid The Spam Folder
Email service providers (ESPs) often set specific limits on the number of emails you can send daily to prevent abuse. While these limits may vary among providers, it’s generally advisable not to send more than 200-300 cold emails per day.
That way, you’ll probably be able to avoid triggering spam filters and damaging your sender reputation.
With that said, the best approach is to start small. Start with 10-20 emails per day and gradually increase the volume as you monitor the deliverability and engagement rates.
This gradual increase allows you to assess the effectiveness of your emails and make necessary adjustments along the way. By focusing on targeted outreach and staying within the sending limits, you’ll improve the chances of your emails landing in the recipient’s inbox and generating positive responses.
B) Don’t Send Too Many Cold Emails To The Same Prospect
It’s difficult to say how many cold emails you should send to the same person before giving up. Marketers and entrepreneurs often don’t see eye to eye on this point.
Take Stephen Hart, the CEO & Founder of Cardswitcher, as an example.
He suggests sending up to three cold emails over a couple of weeks, as he believes this is sufficient to gauge a prospect’s interest in your offering. If you don’t get a response after your third cold email, it’s time to move on.
Others say you should send an average of seven emails to the same person, as this aligns with the “Marketing Rule of 7”—a rule that says a prospect needs to hear (or see) your message at least 7 times before taking action.
It’s totally up to you what you’ll decide, but we suggest sticking to 3-5 cold emails per prospect. Of course, you should also test different approaches, measure your results, and optimize your strategy accordingly.
5. Plan Your Follow-Up Emails In Advance
A well-executed follow-up strategy is key to maximizing the effectiveness of your cold email outreach:
- Planning your follow-up emails helps you avoid delays or missed opportunities in reaching out to your prospects.
- Following up multiple times increases your chances of getting a response. By planning a series of follow-up emails, you can persistently engage with your prospects and keep your brand top-of-mind.
- Planning allows you to tailor each follow-up email based on the previous interactions or lack thereof. It enables you to adapt your messaging and provide value that aligns with your prospect’s needs and interests.
Now that we understand the value of follow-ups, let’s see how you can successfully send them and make them a part of your cold email strategy.
Tips For Effective Follow-Up Email Sequences
- Define a Follow-Up Timeline. Determine the ideal timing for each follow-up email and create a schedule that maximizes engagement without overwhelming your recipients.
- Although you should experiment with different timeframes, I suggest you send your first follow-up email within 2-3 business days after your initial cold email.
- I also recommend you space subsequent follow-ups 3-5 business days apart. This should help you maintain engagement without being overly persistent.
- Persistence is key in follow-up emails. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s recommended you send at least 3 follow-up emails to maximize your chances of getting a response.
- Vary your Messaging. Keep your follow-up emails fresh and engaging. Experiment with different angles, offers, or personalized elements to capture your prospects’ attention and encourage a response.
- Provide Value. In each follow-up email, offer valuable insights, resources, or solutions related to your prospect’s challenges or interests. Position yourself as a helpful resource, showcasing the value you can bring to their business.
- Use Different Mediums. Consider mixing up your follow-up approach by incorporating other communication channels such as phone calls, LinkedIn messages, or personalized video messages. This multi-channel approach can increase your chances of getting a response.
6. Track Cold Email Recipients And Progress
Tracking recipients and progress involves keeping tabs on your recipients and how they interact with your emails. The purpose of tracking is to gain insights and measure the effectiveness of your outreach efforts, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your strategy for better results.
Here’s what you should track as part of your cold email campaign:
- Recipients: Make sure you keep track of who you’ve already reached out to so that you don’t send the same cold email or follow-up twice.
- Deliverability: Monitor metrics like bounce rates and spam complaints to assess the health of your email deliverability and ensure your cold emails are reaching your prospects’ inboxes.
- Engagement: Tracking engagement involves monitoring open rates, click-through rates, and response rates. By analyzing these metrics, you can understand how recipients are interacting with your emails and gauge their level of interest or responsiveness.
- Conversion Metrics: If your goal is to drive specific actions or conversions, such as product purchases, demo sign-ups, or meeting "bookings", it’s essential you track your conversions. This involves monitoring the number of recipients who complete the desired action as a result of your cold email marketing strategy.
- Different cold email variations: Conduct A/B testing for different subject lines, email copy, or CTAs to identify the most effective elements and refine your approach for better results.
By analyzing recipient engagement and response data, you can make data-driven adjustments and improvements to your cold email campaigns. This iterative process helps you optimize your messaging, targeting, and overall strategy to increase engagement and improve outcomes.
Use A Cold Email Tool
While you can try tracking your recipients and progress manually, it’s much easier to do so using specialized tools.
Most cold email platforms let you see your recipients, engagement, deliverability, and conversion metrics at a glance, conduct A/B testing, and, often, increase your chances of landing in your prospects’ inboxes rather than spam folders.
Here are some of the best cold email platforms you can use:
- Hunter Campaigns offers email tracking and analytics features to monitor the performance of your campaigns. It also provides advanced personalization and email verification capabilities.
- Mailshake provides email tracking functionalities, allowing you to monitor open rates, click-through rates, and other engagement metrics. It also offers analytics to measure the success of your outreach efforts.
- Woodpecker enables you to track recipient engagement, automate follow-ups, and personalize your cold email campaigns. It includes features like reply detection and randomizing sending frequency.
- Yesware integrates with Gmail and Outlook to track email opens and attachments. It also offers automation features for follow-ups and email templates.
- SmartReach provides a detailed prospect feed for tracking open and response rates of your cold email recipients. It helps analyze recipient engagement and optimize your outreach strategy.
- SalesHandy offers email tracking features to monitor opens, clicks, and replies. It also provides real-time notifications and detailed analytics for effective cold email tracking.
- Lemlist allows you to send personalized and automated cold email campaigns. It offers features such as email tracking, personalization tags, and integration with CRMs.
- GMass.co lets you turn Gmail into a (cold) email marketing platform. It allows you to use mail merge personalization, send automated follow-up responses, and much more.
I suggest you pair specialized platforms with CRM systems to make the most out of your cold outreach campaign.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM, will help you streamline your cold outreach campaign and effectively manage your customer relationships.
Here are just some of the tasks they can help you perform:
- Store and organize contact information,
- Track and manage leads throughout the sales pipeline, and
- Segment your contacts based on various criteria, such as industry, location, or purchase history.
7. Send Your Cold Email At The Right Time
Last but not least, try to find the best time to send your cold emails to maximize your ROI.
Here are a few things to consider before deciding on your send time:
- Relevance. Ensure your cold email aligns with the recipient’s current needs, industry trends, or events. Timing your outreach to coincide with relevant milestones or developments can increase the likelihood of a positive response.
- Availability. Avoid sending cold emails during peak business hours when recipients are inundated with messages. Opt for off-peak times, such as early mornings or late afternoons, when their inbox might be less crowded.
- Follow-up strategy. Plan your cold email sequence with a well-defined follow-up strategy. Timing subsequent emails strategically allows for gentle reminders and keeps you on the recipient’s radar without being too intrusive.
- Testing and analysis: Conduct A/B testing to determine the best sending times for your target audience. Analyze response rates and engagement metrics to refine your timing strategy over time.
There’s no universally perfect time to send a cold email. It depends on your target audience, industry, and specific circumstances. Experiment, analyze results, and adapt your approach to find the timing that works best for you.
Avoid Common Pitfalls Of Cold Email Outreach Campaigns
You already know how to write successful cold emails and make great outreach strategies. Let’s quickly recap some of the main points by looking at the common pitfalls you should avoid.
1. Lack Of Personalization
As I’ve mentioned, personalization is key to grabbing the recipient’s attention and fostering a connection.
Generic, impersonal emails are likely to be ignored or deleted, so take the time to research and understand your target audience. Tailor your message to address their specific pain points and show genuine interest in their needs.
2. Poor Cold Email Subject Lines
The subject line is the first thing recipients see and can determine whether they open your email or not.
Vague or uninteresting subject lines are often overlooked. Make your subject lines compelling, concise, and relevant to the recipient’s interests.
Consider using personalized elements, intriguing questions, or a sense of urgency to pique their curiosity and entice them to open your email.
3. Lengthy And Cluttered Emails
Long, rambling emails are overwhelming and likely to be ignored. Keep your emails concise and to the point.
Clearly communicate your value proposition and the desired next steps. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and white space to enhance readability.
Remember, the goal is to capture the recipient’s attention and encourage them to take action, so make every word count.
4. Lack Of Follow-Up
One-off emails rarely yield optimal results. Many recipients may not respond immediately, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested.
Persistence is key in cold email campaigns.
Implement a well-planned follow-up strategy to stay on your recipients’ radar. Be respectful and polite in your follow-ups, reminding them of your previous message and emphasizing the value you can offer.
5. Neglecting A/B Testing
A/B testing allows you to experiment with different elements of your cold emails to optimize performance. Neglecting this testing phase means missing out on valuable insights and potential improvements.
Test different subject lines, email structures, calls to action, and personalization techniques. Analyze the results and iterate based on the data you gather.
6. Ending Up In The Spam Folder
One common pitfall of cold emailing is the risk of getting flagged as spam and ending up in the recipient’s spam folder.
It’s crucial you take proactive measures to increase the chances of your emails reaching the intended inbox. We’ve already mentioned some in other contexts, but let’s recap and introduce other measures you could implement:
- Craft a legitimate “from” line. Use a recognizable sender name that reflects a real person or a reputable company. Avoid generic or suspicious-looking email addresses that may raise red flags.
- Personalize your content. Spam filters often scrutinize emails that appear mass-produced or lacking personalization. Customize your emails by addressing recipients by their names and referencing relevant details about their industry or company.
- Avoiding spam trigger words and characters. Steer clear of aggressive sales language, excessive use of exclamation marks, or phrases commonly associated with spam—such as “free,” “limited time offer,” or “guaranteed.”
- Optimize your email formatting. The formatting of your email can impact its deliverability. Avoid excessive use of HTML, large image attachments, or unusual fonts and colors that might trigger spam filters.
- Monitor your email deliverability and engagement rates. If you notice a decline in performance, review your content and adjust your approach to improve your chances of avoiding spam filters.
7. Not Keeping Up With Responses
One common challenge of running cold email campaigns is managing the influx of responses. Still, responding as soon as possible is essential for preventing potential leads from slipping through your fingers.
Delayed responses can result in prospects seeking alternatives and finding other providers who can cater to their needs.
Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you overcome this pitfall:
- Set up systems and processes to ensure quick response times.
- Consider using automation tools to handle initial responses and inquiries while personalizing the follow-up communication.
- Strike a balance between automated and manual follow-ups to maintain a human touch and keep leads engaged.
By promptly attending to responses and employing effective follow-up strategies, you can maximize lead conversion rates, build trust, and establish yourself as a reliable and responsive partner.
8. Emailing The Wrong People
If you don’t have a well-targeted contact list, you risk wasting your time and effort on prospects who probably won’t be interested in what you have to offer.
So, before you write a single cold email, make sure you actually have a relevant contact list.
- Begin by identifying your ideal customer profile (ICP) and defining the characteristics of your target audience. Conduct thorough market research to understand their pain points, preferences, and demographics.
- Use various channels, such as industry-specific directories, social media platforms, and networking events, to identify relevant prospects.
- Implement a combination of manual prospecting and automation tools to gather and manage your contact list.
- Leverage data analytics and tracking to refine your targeting efforts over time.
- Continuously assess the performance of your contact list and make necessary adjustments to ensure you are consistently reaching qualified leads who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
By investing time and effort in designing a well-defined contact list strategy, you increase your chances of reaching the right audience, improving response rates, and generating valuable leads for your business.
Bonus: Plug-And-Play Cold Email Templates
Finding the right cold email template can be difficult because each situation and recipient is different.
However, it can be useful to start with a good template and customize it to your specific needs—especially if you’re just starting out and don’t know how to create an engaging cold email.
So, to help you out, here are two cold email templates you can use for yourself. Feel free to tailor them to different prospects or your startup’s brand.
Subject: [Your Company] Can Benefit from Your Expertise
Hi [Recipient’s Name],
I recently came across your article on [topic], and I was super-impressed by your views on [industry/subject]. As someone who is passionate about [industry/subject], I wanted to reach out and introduce myself.
I’m [Your Name], a [Your Position/Role] at [Your Company], a leading provider of [Your Product/Service] for [relevant industry/sector]. With over [number of years] of experience in the field, I have successfully helped companies like [Company A] and [Company B] achieve [specific results or accomplishments].
I noticed that [Recipient’s Company] has been making remarkable strides in [specific area of interest or achievement]. Given your expertise in [related topic], I believe there could be a great opportunity for collaboration or a valuable exchange of ideas between our organizations.
I would love to set up a brief call to discuss how we can mutually benefit from sharing insights and exploring potential synergies. Are you available for a 15-minute call next [suggest specific date and time]?
Looking forward to connecting and exchanging valuable industry insights!
[Your Name] [Your Position/Role] [Your Company] [Your Contact Information]
Subject: [Recipient’s Company], Let’s Drive Success Together
Hi [Recipient’s Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I recently came across [Recipient’s Company] and was impressed by the incredible work you are doing in the [industry/field]. As a fellow [industry/field] enthusiast, I wanted to reach out and explore potential synergies between our organizations.
At [Your Company], we are passionate about [specific value proposition or solution]. We have a track record of helping companies like [Company A] and [Company B] achieve remarkable results, such as [specific outcomes or achievements].
I believe that by combining our strengths and expertise, we can drive even greater success for both our organizations. I would love to set up a time to discuss how we can collaborate and create mutually beneficial opportunities.
Are you available for a quick call next [suggest a specific date and time]? Let me know.
I’m excited to explore the possibilities and look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to connect with you soon!
[Your Name] [Your Position/Role] [Your Company] [Your Contact Information]
Quick Recap Of Key Points
- A cold email is an email you send to someone you had no prior relationship or engagement with.
- Cold emails are different from warm emails. Warm emails are sent to prospects that have initiated communication themselves, either by messaging you or otherwise expressing interest in your offerings.
- Learning how to cold email is essential for “bootstrapping” startups. It will help you expand your network, generate leads, and market yourself or your offerings without breaking the bank.
- A good cold email is personalized, direct, enticing, and specific.
- Writing compelling cold emails is only a part of the equation. Your strategy is just as important, so invest time into honing it.
- Define your target audience and cold email persona before launching your campaign.
- Plan your follow-up emails in advance and use tools that help you keep up with your recipients and responses.
- Avoid common pitfalls, like ending up in the spam folder or choosing the wrong email list, by following our tips.
- Use our plug-and-play cold email templates and customize them for your brand, target audience, and end goals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Cold Emailing Illegal?
No, cold emailing is not inherently illegal. However, it is subject to certain regulations and laws, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, which requires senders to include accurate header information, provide an opt-out mechanism, and refrain from using deceptive subject lines. Different countries may have their own laws governing cold emailing, so it is essential to comply with local regulations.
Why Do Cold Emails Fail?
Most of the time, cold emails fail because one of the following reasons:
- They end up in spam folders rather than intended inboxes,
- They target the wrong audience,
- They fail to establish real connections with the recipients,
- They lack clear CTAs.
How Long Is A Cold Email?
Most marketers agree that the ideal length for a cold email is 200 words or less. Usually, the shorter it is, the better.
How Do I Find Clients For A Cold Email?
You can find them via social networks or through industry-specific directories. Additionally, you can use some of the paid tools I’ve mentioned.
Is Cold Email Spam?
No, cold email is not always spam. It’s only considered spam when it’s not personalized or uses common spammy words I’ve mentioned above.
Cold email is one of the most cost-effective ways to get new partners, investors, and buyers. However, many startup founders don’t use it because they feel it’s too sleazy–or because they get discouraged when they don’t get immediate results.
The key is to not approach it in an overly salesy way. Focus on building real connections instead of trying to sell yourself or your startup.
Also, implement the tips I’ve recommended in this blog post to get better results faster, so your progress can motivate you to keep going.