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How to Write a Cold Email (Step-by-Step Guide)

18 min read
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Cold emailing is a sales technique that allows your organization to acquire new customers through a hyper-personalized sales pitch. A variety of individuals are under the impression that cold emailing is ‘spammy’ or simply irrelevant (outdated as they say). Cold emailing works and has had proven results innumerable times.

Cold emails can be tough to write as they require a bullet-proof strategy that is goal-oriented. If your cold emails are not yielding results, then there is a problem with the way you are crafting these emails. A well-thought-out cold email campaign fetches an average response rate of 30%! 

In order to achieve desirable results through cold emailing, one must adhere to certain pertinent practices. These practices are specifically designed to yield results while simultaneously helping you achieve goals. This blog thoroughly explains how exactly the perfect cold email is written and the best practices to keep in mind that will give your organization opportunities to grow and soar high.

6 Best Practices To Use To Craft The Perfect Cold Email

There are a few principles that we must adhere to in order to craft an impeccable email copy. These ‘ground rules’ will help you connect with your prospects better, improve engagement rates and eventually have a direct impact on your conversion rates. 

One of the main principles of cold emailing is building a relationship with your prospect. Remember, they know nothing about you or have minimal knowledge of your organization. The email copy should be focused on the recipient, not on what you’re selling.

When you sit down to write your email copy, put yourself in their shoes. From the first email to the last, a prospect should feel like their pain points are understood by your organization. When you jump the gun and start making deals directly it stifles them. Give your prospects the opportunity to explain their challenges to you.

After you know exactly what they are dealing with, offer them constructive ways of resolving these issues through your product or service. Personalize the solution to their pain points; this method is effective as it shows them how exactly it will be resolved. This increases your chances of converting them into paying customers.

Every reply you get from your prospect allows you to learn a little more about them. Hone in on that opportunity, use it to understand the depth of their pain points. 

Use A Strong Opener (Introduction)

opening line email

Your opening line is doing most of the heavy lifting! If you have a strong opening line, then chances are your prospects will read on. When the email is opened, you have a few seconds to grab their attention. We live in a digital age and that means our attention span is short. A recent study found that our attention span has fallen to 8 seconds in recent years. 

With this information in mind, we need to make the best use of those 8 seconds; from the time the email subject line and snippet are glanced upon, to the time the opening line is read.

Your opening line needs to be personalized in a way that evokes a sense of curiosity. Do your homework on the prospect! Research about them thoroughly, their organization, and the industry they are in. 

A little flattery will also help you establish a bond; of course, don’t overdo it by listing all of their recent activities (that will hundred percent scare them away).

So how do you craft a good opening line? 

  1. Recent news about the prospect (awards won, notable achievements, new blog posts published, recent promotion, the opening of a new branch, etc)
  2. Knowledge about their website/product 
  3. Common interests 
how to cold email a potential client

Offer A Solution Tailor-Made To Their Specific Pain Points 

Once you have successfully grabbed their attention, you need to explain why you are reaching out to them. Recipients generally don’t care how awesome your organization is (harsh, but true). They want to know why they were contacted, so once you have a great opening line, get straight to point and talk about: 

  1. Reasons for reaching out 
  2. How your organization is going to add value to their life 
  3. The advantages of starting a professional business relationship with you 
  4. Case studies showcasing how other organizations have benefited from what you are offering 

If you’ve done your due diligence then you probably have identified a major pain point for the recipient. This solution needs to be highlighted (consider this as the main body of your email copy). 

Refrain from listing out product features and instead highlight the benefits your prospects will gain from them. Specificity is key over here. You don’t want your message to get lost through ambiguity. 

Another tip to keep in mind is to avoid sounding too sales-y. Yes, it is a sales pitch; however, the antiquated sales pitch that encompasses enumerating features is boring. The sales pitch needs to be subtle. You need to help them understand that you are here to help and further learn about their pain points. 

how to cold email a potential client

Showcase Your Value By Validating Yourself 

Have you ever heard of the concept of social proof? Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon that is based on the ideology that people will conform to other similar behaviors demonstrated by influencers. 

As a cold emailer, you are a full-blown stranger to your prospect; you have done your research so you know a little bit about them. But if you turn that table around, they don’t know anything about you. 

You need to build credibility and trust. Why should they trust you? How can you provide them with value? 

Social proof is the answer. 

If you share a mutual connection, then you use that to your advantage; that is a huge social proof being handed to you on a silver platter. If you have any form of authority, credibility, or social status relevant to your prospect then use that to elicit a response. 

If you have close to no social standing, then this is not a cause for concern. Look for any commonality that you can find, being from the same city/country, similar hobbies, being a part of the same group, etc. 

Another way to build credibility is to share case studies, testimonials, and user-generated content. Mentioning how you helped your well-known customers is an excellent way to build credibility and trust. Present them with actual statistics and numbers. Reading reviews and testimonials helps prospective customers in understanding the benefits one can avail through the use of your product or service. 

cold email to potential client

Use An Attractive Subject Line

The subject line of your cold email should be given much more attention than the content. It should be regarded as the key that unlocks the door to your message. The first thing a prospect lays their eyes on is the subject line. 

Adding a catchy and clever subject line is a good rule of thumb. Additionally, A/B testing allows you to test out which subject lines are fetching open rates. 

Personalizing your subject line will increase your open rates by a whopping 50%! Adding their first name, last name, birthdays, anniversaries, location, and interests are some examples of elements you can use to personalize your subject line.

A poorly written subject line can cause the recipient to ignore your email. Spammy verbiage such as ‘free’, ‘grab’, ‘double’, ‘extra’ are regarded as ‘spam trigger words’ by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and will relegate your email to the spam folder. This will affect your email deliverability and could result in a compromised sender reputation. It would be even worse if the recipient themselves mark the email as spam if they see spam trigger words being used. 

email subject line

Pro Tip: Several studies have shown that adding emojis in email subject lines can increase open rates by 56%. So one or two emojis (don’t overdo it) to bolster your subject line. 

Keep It Concise

When writing a cold email, always assume the individual reading is a busy one. Business professionals receive around 129 emails per day. So in order to garner their attention, the content of the email needs to be concise and to the point. 

We are all aware that short emails are more likely to be read than long ones. Write your email the way you would talk to this person in real life. Have you heard of the ‘elevator pitch’? A cold email is exactly like that. You have a few seconds to woo your prospect into choosing your product/service. 

A lot of marketers and salespeople get overeager and divulge all the information in the first primary email. The primary email is one of many that will be sent out (at least 7 follow-up emails are recommended for a healthy email campaign).

So aim to spark intrigue and curiosity in prospects. Get them curious about what exactly you have to offer! If you reveal everything in the first email and don’t receive a response then what will you write for the rest of the emails in the sequence? 

A recent landmark study found that cold emails ranging between 50 to 125 words received the highest response rates. This is largely due to the fact that these emails got straight to the point, catching and retaining the attention of the prospects that only had 15 to 20 seconds to read the email. 

The best way to maximize open rates is to undertake A/B testing to determine which message length is working for you. 

End With A Call-To-Action 

This is the last step in writing your cold email, adding a call-to-action at the end. A call-to-action (CTA) can be in any form, from scheduling a Zoom meeting to signing up for a free trial. It is best to stick to one CTA to avoid confusion. Keep it simple and straightforward. 

CTA cold email

Your CTA should clarify the purpose of your email in one single sentence. The CTA should propel them to undertake the desired action you have put forth. Ensure the CTA is short and to the point, don’t leave any room for ambiguity. 

Don’t ask for too much either! A simple request for a call or an email response will probably work better in your favor than scheduling a 1-hour long meeting. The first email is crucial, so don’t put too much pressure on the prospect to do something they might not be interested in yet. 

The main objective of your CTA is to open the lines of communication; to get things into motion.

Cold Email Examples

#1 Sales Cold Email

Subject 

{{First Name}}, Congratulations on {{Name of Award}}!

Body

Hi {{First Name}},

I just heard that you won the {{Name of award}} at the {{Event Name}}. Congratulations! Kudos to you and your team!

Your speech on the {{Topic}} was quite insightful. In your speech, you described the problems you are facing within your organization. 

This caught my attention as my organization specifically aims to resolve such problems for several companies. 

{{Your organization’s name}} can resolve this by {{Add solution specific to their problem}}.

If you are willing to learn more about this, grant me 15 minutes from your schedule. I will show you how we can solve your problem with a practical demonstration. 

You can schedule a call with me by clicking here.

{{Link to meeting booking page}}

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

{{Your Name}}

#2 Recruiter Cold Email

Subject 

Introduction from {{mutual connection}}

Body 

Hi {{First Name}}, 

One of our mutual acquaintances {{name of the person}}, recommended your name for a {{name of position}} at my organization {{name of your organization}}. 

He spoke very highly of your qualifications and background, and I was extremely impressed. 

We are an IT firm that specializes in {{add the name of product/service}} and have over 200+ clients. We are looking for esteemed individuals like yourself to be a part of our journey; to help actualize our vision and mission. 

I have browsed through your LinkedIn profile, and I would love to set up an interview with you. 

Let me know if you are interested in discussing the role and company in more detail. 

Best, 
{{Your Name}}

#3 Sales Cold Email – 2

Subject 

{{First Name}}, some interesting insights on your {{Campaign/Product/Service}}

Body 

Hey {{First Name}},

I am impressed by your organization’s initiative {{Campaign/Product/Service}}. I have shared it with some of my contacts who are in the {{add industry name}}.

As I was browsing through {{mention where you saw their product/service/campaign}}, I noted a {{problem}}. It is most likely a {{problem category}}. 

Our organization {{add name}}, creates {{product/services}} that aim to resolve {{how your product can resolve their problem}}. 

If you would like I can send a write-up that you can share with your {{Department}}. Alternatively, we can schedule a meeting to discuss this further. 

Let me know if you are interested! 

Wishing you continued success! 

Regards,
{{Your Name}}

#4 SaaS Cold Email

Subject 

Hey {{First Name}}, I noticed something on your website! 

Body

Hi there, {{First Name}}

I’m finding myself spending a lot of time on {{Company Name}} blog — I follow a few of your team members on Twitter, and I appreciate your content. 

In visiting your website frequently, I found {{problem}} and thought an update would improve your rankings and traffic by at least [X]%. 

I own a {{SaaS organization}} that optimizes websites for companies like {{name some of your clients}}.

I wanted to see if you’d be interested to get on a free 15 minutes call. I can help you by outlining more such areas of improvement. It’s not a lot, but at the very least, we could talk business and learn a few new things about each other’s respective spaces.

I’ll leave a slot open over this entire week, to make it easier for you {{Calendar Link}} —book it, and I’ll see you then!


Regards, 
{{Your Name}}

Now that you have a clear idea of the best cold email practices, how do you go about it? Manually sending individual emails is a sheer waste of time and resources.

 In order to maximize the results, you see from cold email campaigns, using a platform that bolsters the needs of the campaign is recommended. 

One of the biggest reasons we recommend using a cold email tool is because of the scalability it offers. 

When you remove manually undertaking tasks from the equation, you find yourself with more time on your hands. Time that can be used to focus your efforts elsewhere. 

Cold email software will allow you to personalize emails at scale, schedule automated follow-ups, manage your prospects, provide an insight into the campaign and improve overall email deliverability. 

There are a number of cold email software available in the market. In accordance with your needs, you can select one that best suits your goals. Here is our recommendation:

How To Use Saleshandy To Send A Cold Email Campaign? 

Saleshandy is a premium cold emailing platform that prioritizes prospect personalization. It is an email outreach tool used by several business professionals and individuals. Saleshandy makes your cold email outreach more effective with useful features such as mail merge tags, automated follow-ups, email verification, A/B testing, advanced analytics, real-time notifications and so much more. 

Step 1: Sign up for Saleshandy (14 days free trial available)

Step 2: Connect your email account (Outlook or Gmail) to Saleshandy 

Step 3: Add custom fields 

Step 4: Create your first email sequence (content can be added here, A/B testing option available) 

Step 5: Import your prospects list

Step 6: Set email sequence settings as per your liking 

Step 7: Activate email sequence 

And you’re good to go!

Why will Saleshandy help you craft high converting cold emails?

All the features of Saleshandy are inclined towards boosting open and conversion rates. Having cold email software that has your best interest in mind is essential for a successful campaign. 

You need a tool that will allow you to craft the perfect cold email and simultaneously provide you with data to make your campaign more effective.

Mail Merge Tags for Personalization

Mail merge tags allow you to hyper-personalize your email content. This feature allows you to import data from a CSV file with up to 30 custom fields for email personalization.

 The data from the CSV file will appear on the content of the email if the merge tag is selected, for example, Hey {{First Name}}, {{Name Of Organization}}, {{Your Name}}, {{Greeting #1}.

Automated Follow-Up Steps

Automated follow-ups help you minimize manual work. They can be created for email sequences with relevant intervals and worldwide time zones. This feature also allows you to set up 9 different sequential cycles with a variety of trigger actions, ‘not opened’, ‘not replied, ‘been sent’, etc.

Email List Verification

email list verification
Email addresses with an exclamation mark next to them are considered risky.

Once your prospect list has been imported successfully onto Saleshandy; you will be able to identify email addresses that are not valid. This helps your deliverability rate and decreases bounce rate, both of which have an impact on your sender reputation. Saleshandy uses AI-backed technology to identify faulty email addresses on your prospect list. 

Custom Domain Tracking 

custom tracking domain

Use your own custom domain tracking to monitor the links in your email. A custom domain tracking also improves deliverability by guaranteeing that your message reaches the recipient’s primary mailbox.

Email Templates

email templates

Templates can be created instantly and stored within the platform for all your team members to use. The templates created can be accessed through the compose window itself. All templates can be personalized with merge tags that correspond with the data provided in the CSV file. The option of HTML templates is also available.

Advanced Analytics

Every step of your campaign can be tracked through the actions a user takes (also known as email engagement tracking). This feature allows you to learn how a user interacts with your email in order to acquire data-driven insights. You can track email opens, link clicks, reply rates, etc.

Inbox Warm-Up

inbox warm up

The inbox warm-up feature is especially beneficial for new domains (email addresses). The feature allows you to start sending small batches of email and then gradually increasing that number daily as per the percentage set by you. This entire process is automated and runs in the background to help your domain build superior email deliverability. 

Email Assistant

cold email to client

The email assistant feature acts as an ‘advisor’ of sorts, to help you craft the perfect email content for your outreach. It can be accessed in the compose window. As and when you type out your content, the email assistant that is AI-powered gives you suggestions on making your email copy more effective. 

Email Health Score

cold email to potential client

The email health score feature gives you an overall score of your domain to give you an insight into your email deliverability. The email health score is based on your email authentication protocols and the age of your domain. 

Conclusion

Cold emails are essentially very straightforward and simple. If you follow all the best practices mentioned above then you are guaranteed to yield favorable results. Remember to keep your emails short and personalized.

If you don’t receive an instant reply, don’t be alarmed; this is quite common in a cold email campaign. Add automated follow-ups to keep checking in with prospects in case they aren’t convinced. 

Cold emailing requires persistence without being too pushy. Nudge your prospects in the right direction by proving to them that you are here to help and aim to resolve their pain points. 

Cold emailing is indeed a powerful lead generation machine if used correctly. 

Follow the tips mentioned above to a Tee and you’re all set!

Ready to write your first cold email? Good luck!

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