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A Guide to Writing Cold Emails That Will Get Responses

Follow these tips for writing cold call emails to boost the chances you get a response. Sending cold emails can be tricky, but this guide breaks it down.

There are many ways to make connections online and create opportunities for your business. Cold emailing is one common method for expanding your network and making business connections.

Even though cold emailing is a common practice, that doesn’t mean it always works. Many cold emails get ignored because they don’t provide value to the recipient or speak to their unique needs.

Cold emailing can be a powerful tool when used effectively. Whether you’re an entrepreneur seeking out investors for your startup or a salesperson attempting to generate fresh leads, a cold email campaign enables you to connect with the right people and achieve your goals.

If you want to learn how to write cold emails that work, this article will give you some guidance.

In the sections below, we explain how to cold email by providing you with valuable tips that can help you craft a good subject line, address key pain points, deliver a stellar call to action, and write a personalized cold email that generates results.

Read on to learn more about how to create effective cold email campaigns or skip to any section of the article using the links below.

What is cold emailing?

Most people know what cold calling is—if you’ve ever worked in sales, you’re almost certainly familiar with the term.

Cold calling is when you reach out to individuals and businesses who you have no current business relationship with and attempt to sell your products and services. This was, and continues to be, a common tactic for sales professionals seeking to generate qualified leads and generate new business opportunities.

With the rise of the internet and the popularity of email, cold calling naturally progressed to cold emailing. Cold emailing is when you send an email to a specific person with whom you have no established relationship with the hopes of beginning a business relationship.

Typically, the people who you send cold emails to are strangers that haven’t expressed any interest in connecting or speaking with you (hence the word “cold”).

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between sending out cold emails and sales emails. While cold emails may be concerned with sales opportunities, that’s not necessarily the case every time.

For instance, if you’re an author, you might write cold emails to more acclaimed writers asking them to review or provide feedback on your latest book. Or, if you’re a business owner, you might use cold email outreach to connect with others in your industry and grow your network or form strategic partnerships.

Cold emailing tips

If you’re considering undertaking your first cold email campaign, you may be wondering where to start.

While it can be tempting to plug some basic information into a cold email template you find online and send it out, putting more thought into your cold emails will generally produce better results.

A personalized cold email can help you get a prospect's attention and generate a response. Below are some tips that can act as a cold email cheat sheet and help you write a great personalized cold email and run a successful cold email campaign.

Personalize the email

Personalizing emails is a key part of any successful cold email outreach campaign. Those who receive your email want to see that you’re interested in them and know a little bit about what they do. Sending a generic email doesn’t present value to the recipient and they generally won’t take the time to reply if it doesn’t look like you put in the effort when reaching out.

So what does email personalization look like? Of course, you may use the recipient’s name or address their job title in your email. However, effective cold emails tend to take personalization a step further.

Take the time to do some research on the recipient and try to identify their values and interests. By addressing the recipient’s unique wants and needs, you can demonstrate that you devoted time and effort to understanding who they are.

When the recipient can sense a real person on the other side of the email, they may be more inclined to respond.

Edit email “From” line

Many people fail to pay attention to the “from” line when sending cold emails, and this can be a costly mistake. The “from” line, which is located right near the email’s subject line, indicates who an email is from and it can have a significant impact on whether or not a recipient opens an email in the first place.

According to LinkedIn, 68% of Americans decide whether to open an email by looking at the “from” line. If your “from” line appears to be trustworthy and relevant, then there’s a better chance the recipient will open your email.

So, as you devise a cold email campaign, put some thought into what you want your “from” line to be, whether it’s your first name, your full name, your job title, the name of your company, or something else. The best “from” line will vary depending on the person you’re reaching out to and your business goals.

Craft a strong subject line

Like the “from” line, the subject line is something a recipient will see before they even open your email. Well-written cold email subject lines will draw someone in, while a poorly written subject line can send your email straight into the trash folder.

As you write your email’s subject line, consider personalizing it or tailoring it to the recipient’s point of view. Also, try to add a hint of mystery or intrigue that will make the recipient want to read the rest of your email and hear what you have to say.

Introduce yourself

A proper introduction is the first step in virtually any personal or business interaction, and the same holds true for cold emails. When sending cold emails, you’re essentially reaching out to a stranger. They don’t know you and they may be unsure why you’re reaching out in the first place.

With a warm, friendly introduction, you can explain to the recipient who you are and why you’re contacting them. As a general rule, keep the introduction to a few sentences and try to quickly get to the point of why you’re sending the cold email.

mail envelopes with snowflakes around them to designate "cold emails"

Explain why you are emailing them

There’s probably a good reason why you reached out to a particular person with your cold email. They likely have the ability to help you in some way, whether that’s through purchasing a product, making an investment, or doing you a favor.

However, in order for the recipient to help you, you have to make a case for what you’re offering and the value you’re providing.

As you explain your reasons for contacting the recipient in the email body, try to identify and address a major pain point for the recipient as well. By identifying a good pain point and providing a potential solution, you can demonstrate value to the recipient and make a case for why they should care about your proposal.

Be courteous

When sending cold emails—or any business email—it’s important to always be courteous and polite. After all, you’re sending a cold email to someone who may be a busy person and they’re taking time out of their day to read your email and consider your proposal. Make a good first impression and respect their time by maintaining a polite, warm tone in your emails.

Finish with a CTA

A clear call to action is a crucial part of any effective cold email. At the end of your cold email, you should clearly state what you want the recipient to do or outline the next steps to take.

For instance, you might provide a date range and time frame where you’ll be available for a short call. Whatever your cold email CTA may be, just make sure you ask your recipient for a single, clearly defined action.

Send a follow-up email

If you don’t receive a response from your initial cold email, sending a follow-up email can be a good way to re-engage with the recipient and stay top of mind. However, be careful that you don’t send a follow-up email too soon and don’t send too many.

As a rule of thumb, you might give recipients a week to respond before sending a follow-up email. If two to three follow-ups doesn’t yield a response, it’s time to move on to the next prospect.

Avoid spam filters

When sending a cold email, the last thing you want is for your message to get stuck in a spam filter.

Part of this involves creating high-quality email content that doesn’t come across as spam, while the other part is understanding how spam filters work. Take a look at our article on how to avoid spam filters for tips that can help prevent your cold emails from ending up in the spam folder.

80% of people prefer sales reps to contact them via email.

Start sending cold emails

Sending cold emails can be an effective way to accomplish a variety of business goals. By following the tips above, you can write great cold emails that enable you to establish valuable business connections and acquire new customers.

However, if you’ve undertaken any kind of email campaign before, you know that personalizing and following up on dozens—or hundreds or thousands—of emails can be extremely tedious and time-consuming.

With Mailchimp’s marketing tools and cold email software, you can quickly and easily create personalized cold email campaigns. Try Mailchimp’s email marketing software today to gain access to all types of email templates, optimize email design, segment your audience, measure analytics, and more.

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