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How to Write an Effective Cold Email

Rahul Varshneya
Rahul Varshneya

You wouldn't think so, but cold emails drive the most sales.

One effective outreach strategy can transform your business efficiency by pouring promising leads into your sales pipeline. Cold emails have been around for quite a while now, but their effectiveness is being questioned in recent times.

A lot of people voice concerns that cold emails are spam, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, cold email is the channel that drives the most sales.

It definitely works, but only if you know how to make it work. Cold emailing is one of the most effective ways to generate new leads for your business, complete more sales and get you one step closer to achieving your business goals.

What is cold emailing?

Any email that you send to a potential lead or a prospective client with whom you have no previous connection is a cold email. It is a one-to-one outreach in an attempt to build an ongoing relationship with the recipient.

In principle, cold emailing is similar to cold calling, but less intrusive and more feasible. Due to the widespread availability of email automation and customer relationship management tools, cold emailing is a less resource-intensive process than cold calling.

Using cold email templates and automating the email marketing process can speed up your outreach substantially. Inclusion of email marketing is an important consideration while choosing a CRM for startups, but knowing how to draft effective cold emails is critical to the overall success of the marketing strategy.

Here are some tips for writing and sending the best cold emails.

1. Be authentic.

The recipients of your emails have no prior connection with you or your business. The first thing you need to establish to pave the way for ongoing communication is your own credibility. The address the communication is originating from should seem authentic, and the email should clearly display the sender's name and the relevant credentials. [Interested in email marketing software and services? Check out our best picks and reviews.]

The message should have a natural flair to it and shouldn't come off as robotic. Keep it conversational, concise and friendly. Add a touch of humor and wit for that human element. Don't make it sound like a sales pitch, and refrain from using a misleading or clickbaity subject line.

Read the email to yourself before hitting the send button, and decide whether the message sounds natural. If it is similar to what you say when approaching a prospect in person and has an informal tone, the chances of your cold email strategy's success multiply.

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2. Establish a connection.

The aim of cold email outreach should be to initiate a relationship rather than close a sale. Sending out the same cookie-cutter template doesn't really contribute much to your sales and marketing plan. You need to find a way to connect to your intended audience. Even small things like addressing the recipient by their name can go a long way in establishing a personal connection.

You need to conduct initial research on the recipients, know their pain points, find the common ground for engaging in conversation and work toward building a sustainable relationship. People naturally receive a ton of cold emails on an everyday basis. Establishing a connection ensures that your first email stands out from the rest of the competitors.

3. Tailor your message.

Personalize your email to cater specifically to the person you are reaching out to. Conducting basic research and learning more about the person you are sending the cold email to isn't the end of personalization.

Your message needs to be tailored to convey that you have insights about the possible pain points, and it should shed light on how your product or service can alleviate it. The message shouldn't be about you. It has to cater to the needs of the person at the receiving end of the email.

4. Validate your offering.

When you send out a cold email, you are just a stranger on the internet to the receiver of the mail. To establish that your offer is trustworthy and credible, you need to validate yourself and provide enough social proof to generate trust in your business.

If you have common contacts, highlight them in the email. If not, you can always refer to the other customers or big names within the industry who have availed your services or who use your product offering. The more credible you seem, the higher the chances of you getting a response to your cold email.

5. Keep it concise and actionable.

The people at the receiving end of your cold email campaign aren't likely to read through paragraphs of content in your email. They don't know you, and if the value you offer doesn't jump out of the mail a glance, they'll simply hit the delete button rather than go through the hassle.

Short messages have a greater chance of being opened and read. Including clear directives and explicitly stating the objectives of you mailing them in the first place increases the response rate significantly.

6. Communicate the value first.

You might be targeting a sale, but your cold email should never feel like a sales email. Don't target a direct purchase without communicating value first. While making the pitch to a prospect, make your value proposition clear so prospects know the benefits that you offer, and clearly state that in the email body.

Instead of pushing them to buy your products or services, inform them about the actual offering and invite them to ask for further information or clarification from your end. In the subsequent follow-up conversations, shed more light upon your problem in an incremental manner until the point that it no longer feels like a pitch but rather a logical sequence of events.

7. Track your performance.

To determine whether your cold emailing strategy is working, you need to find out the open rate and response rate for your emails. Tracking metrics helps you understand what is working, what isn't and what changes you need to incorporate in order to make it work.

Tweak around with the copy of your email, make modifications in your value proposition, collect the feedback and fine-tune your process till you arrive at a strategy that works for you and gets you responses.

Right from the opening line, the ultimate aim of the cold email is to get the viewer to read through your pitch and respond to it. Here is a sample cold email template that you can refer to while drafting your own email to your prospects and increase your sales.

Hey (name of the recipient),

I am (brief intro), and I got your contact from (common contact).

I am a big fan of (recipient's company or specifics or their work). I noticed (pain point of the recipient). Here's how we can help (value proposition and relevant link to the portfolio).

I am just making an educated guess here, but based on your profile, you seem to be the right person to connect in regards to this.

In case you need further details, my team can connect with you (call/meeting specifics). Let me know if you are interested, and we can set it up.


(Your name and designation)

You would need to make certain additions and alterations to this template to make it fit your unique business needs, but you get the gist of it. Once you have figured out a way to succinctly phrase your value offering while appearing credible and trustworthy, getting responses to your cold emails won't be far behind.

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Rahul Varshneya
Rahul Varshneya Member
Rahul Varshneya is the co-founder of Arkenea, a custom software development company that builds custom mobile and web apps for entrepreneurs and enterprises. Rahul has been featured as a business technology thought leader in numerous media channels such as Bloomberg TV, Forbes, HuffPost, Inc, among others. He is a columnist at Entrepreneur and has written for Forbes, Inc and HuffPost in the past.