Monday, May 31, 2021

The Beginner’s Guide to Cold Emails

Cold emailing is something that most people dread. It is much harder than almost any other form of communication and requires patience and persistence. Anyone who has ever done cold emailing knows that rejection is just par for the course, and you can’t let it discourage you or keep you from continuing to try.

One of the reasons why cold emails are such a challenge is because the person on the other end of the email has no relationship with you. They are likely a complete stranger who is probably busy, and may not have the time or energy to give you (again, a stranger) the time of day. They may also be someone who is inundated with cold emails daily, and yet another one in their inbox isn’t exactly going to excite them.

However, when done well, cold emails can work. Some people find that they reach success rates of 20% with cold emails. However, before taking the plunge into the deep end of cold emails, you need to learn some tips, tricks, and basics.

What is a Cold Email?

A cold email is an email sent to someone that currently has no relationship with you. You may know this person via research, but the recipient does not know you.

This type of email is similar to a cold call but is a bit more friendly as it lets the person on the receiving side choose when he or she wants to open your email and read it (if they choose to do so at all).

Typically, cold emails serve the purpose of making a sale, a connection, or asking for help with something.

Though oftentimes people group cold emails and spam in the same category, they are not the same at all (when done correctly). Spam is usually a generic message that is not personalized and comes from a fake name. The subject line is also something that is misleading or tricks the recipient into thinking the email is different than it is.

Cold emails, on the other hand, are not generic (or they shouldn’t be, at least). They have a specific message that is catered to the specific recipient and they come from a real person with a real name (you). On top of that, the subject line gives a preview of what the email is about and does not lead the recipient astray.

3 Tools to Improve Cold Emails

It may seem like it’s easy enough to hop onto your email, craft something and send it off to someone. But it isn’t that simple, especially if you’re trying to send out a bunch of cold emails. This is something that sales teams run into. While the concept of automating emails sounds great, this is not something you want to do with cold emails to potential clients. They will quickly see through the generic message and click “delete.”

To avoid that from happening, use the below tools to take your cold email game to the next level.


Good customer relationship management (CRM) software is key to running a good business. This software allows you to focus on the customer and make sure their experience with your company is as beneficial for them as possible. While there are many CRM software companies in the industry, the one that gets our highest recommendation is Hubspot.

Hubspot offers a free plan that provides much more than any other CRM’s free plan, and that’s one of the reasons we love it. Included with their free plan you get:

  • Contact management
  • Deal management
  • Task management
  • Email tracking and notifications
  • Email templates and scheduling
  • Document sharing
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Email integration (Gmail and Outlook)
  • Live chat

But when it comes to cold emails, what we love about Hubspot is that it offers a free email template builder.

As mentioned above, personalizing cold emails is key to the success of your efforts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of templates to help guide you and give you a starting place. Thanks to Hubspot’s integration with both Outlook and Gmail, this process is much easier.

By using Hubspot’s templates, you can get real-time metrics that let you know which templates are doing well, and which ones require some work. These metrics include things such as open rates, which let you know whether it’s simply your subject line that should be changed, as well as click rates, which let you know how good of a job you did convincing the recipient to explore further.


One of the additional challenges of cold emails is finding the right person and address to send the email to. Some of this information may be easy to find with online research, while for others, it may be nearly impossible to chase down.

Enter Hunter. Hunter is a tool that helps you find and verify email addresses. Simply put in the domain name of the client you are interested in reaching out to, and Hunter’s program spits out a list of all the known email addresses for that specific domain.

Hunter gathers their information not via a single database but rather by crawling the web for email listings in all sorts of places such as social media, forums, and more.

On top of that, Hunter has a Chrome extension that gives you the ability to generate a list of email addresses for any website that you visit.


If you are looking to scale your cold email outreach without sacrificing that necessary personal connection, consider adding PersistIQ to your toolbox.

PersistIQ works to determine the information about a prospective client quickly and easily via the potential client’s website. This tool allows you to focus your attention on crafting the perfect cold email rather than spending your time researching the prospect – because PersistIQ does it for you.

One of the things we like about PersistIQ is that it won’t allow you to send out emails that have not been personalized. Since personalization is such an important piece of a successful cold email, this feature is highly beneficial.

The Basics of Cold Emails

To compose a cold email that has the potential to bring in a new client, there are some basics you need to understand. Be sure to read through these things before sitting down to start writing that cold email.


No one wants to put their time and energy into creating something that won’t be seen by the right people. This is true when it comes to cold emails, too. If you spend the time researching and writing a strong cold email, you want to make sure the recipient is even interested in what you are trying to sell.

That’s why identifying your target audience is an absolute must. This is something you should do before you get into the actual writing of the email.

To do this, you can do a couple of different things. You can look at the people that your competitors are targeting because they are people who already have an interest in what you’re selling. You can also use LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to help you build email lists based on criteria specific to your company, and it helps you find the email addresses of potential leads.


Once you have your targeted list, you next want to break it down into segments. These segments are based on a variety of things including:

  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Age
  • Company size

Segmenting your email campaigns results in a much higher click-through rate than campaigns that are not segmented.

Subject Line

We have all gotten emails where we saw the subject line and immediately threw the message into the garbage. That is because the subject line didn’t speak to us in any way, and we deemed it spam.

47% of people decide whether or not to open an email based simply on the subject line, so there is no denying its importance. The best subject lines are those that are short and possibly even actionable. Typing a subject such as “Looking to Connect” won’t get you the open rates you’re looking for.

Emails with the recipient’s name in the subject line are more likely to get opened, and emails that create a sense of urgency or exclusivity also have higher open rates.


If you are sending mass emails, personalizing can be a bit difficult and time-consuming, but it is worth taking the time to do so. If nothing else, at least include the recipient’s first name, rather than simply writing “Hello there” or “Hi, you!” A study from Experian showed that personalized emails have a 29% higher open rate and a 41% higher click-through rate than those emails that fail to personalize at all.

So take the few extra moments to add the recipient’s name into your cold emails, and reap the benefits.


You have done the research and gathered information about the person you are cold emailing, but keep in mind that they don’t know you at all. And why would they be interested in what a stranger has to say? If you can craft the perfect subject line that intrigues them to open the email, keep them reading the email and hopefully clicking through by showing that you are a credible and trustworthy person.

There are a few ways you can do this. If you have a mutual friend or contact, be sure to mention that. This name-dropping turns you from a stranger to a friend of a friend.

If you don’t have any people that connect you two, state your credibility or authority on the subject of your email. Don’t spend too much time on this, as you don’t want to come off braggadocious. Just a line or two is enough.

If you have neither of the above, then find something that you have in common, such as a hobby.

6 Tricks for Cold Emails

With the basics of cold emails down, now it’s time to consider some tricks that can increase the success rate of your efforts.

Give Them What They Want

Everyone has problems that they would like solved. If you are cold emailing someone trying to sell them a product or a service, make sure you explain how what you’re offering can help solve a specific problem of theirs. This requires research and personalization of your cold emails, which are two key things we’ve mentioned above.

Keep in mind that most of the people you email are busy and don’t have the time or energy to respond to emails that they don’t feel will help make their lives easier, or help them tackle a pain point. Thus, either offer a solution or provide them with something else, such as a connection to someone that they want to meet.

Keep it Short

There is no denying that short emails have a much higher chance of being read from start to finish than long ones. Have you ever opened up an email to find a novel of writing and closed it out because you just didn’t have the time or energy for something that long? I know I have. So keep your cold emails short and to the point, and make sure that the action you are requesting is very clear from the beginning.

One of the most natural ways to keep it short is to treat the email as a normal in-person conversation. When you chat with someone in real life, you wouldn’t spend a long time pitching. Instead, you would introduce yourself, mention a common interest or contact, and state why you want to talk to them. Treat your cold emails the same. Be nice and respectful, but keep them short and get to the point.

Show Appreciation

Keep in mind that a cold email is essentially asking someone to do you a favor. And this person you’re asking a favor to is a stranger. One way to soften this and make the recipient feel more willing to help is by showing appreciation. This extends beyond a simple “Thank you for your time.” The appreciation should be much more genuine, and be in the email at least a couple of times. Something more along the lines of “Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to consider this” provides a much more gracious tone and increases the chances that the recipient will help you out.

Include Contact Info

Put all of your contact information in the signature of your cold email. The last thing you want is to have the recipient chase down any information about you – because they won’t do it.

This contact info needs to include:

  • Your name
  • Your job title
  • Your company
  • Your company’s physical address
  • Your company’s website

You may even want to include a phone number in case they prefer talking on the phone over email. Don’t close any doors of ways this person could potentially get in contact with you.

Close With a Question

One of the worst things you can do is end a cold email with a line like “Let me know if you want to chat.” This places the decision-making on the recipient, which they may not want to take the time to do. This also puts the responsibility on the recipient to set up a time to chat that is best for them.

Instead, provide options. “I can chat on Thursday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Does a time in there work for you? If not, what time does? I will make it work.” This narrows things down and allows them to pick a time in a very specific time frame that is ideal for them.

Follow Up

You may feel like a nuisance doing this, but following up on cold emails is a necessity. Many salespeople find that cold emails require five follow-ups. It’s not always the case that the recipient isn’t interested – you may have just caught them at a bad time, or your email may have gotten lost in their inbox. There are plenty of reasons that someone may not respond to a cold email but do not automatically assume that it is because they aren’t interested.

To make the follow-up process and painless as possible for both you and the person at the receiving end of the email, there are a few things you can do.

  1. Stay friendly. Don’t ever say “I didn’t hear from you, so am reaching out again.” Rather, say something like “Just checking in to see if you’ve had a chance to consider what I shared with you last week.”
  2. Allow some time between follow-ups. Sending follow-ups daily looks desperate and comes off as annoying. Instead, wait a week between each follow-up email.
  3. Give them a chance to opt out. To keep from wasting your time and theirs, if they are not interested, provide them an opportunity to say so. A good way to do this is by using a phrase such as “Please let me know if you aren’t the right person to chat with about this.”

from Quick Sprout