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How to Write an Effective Cold Email

Sean Peek
Sean Peek

Cold emailing is one of the most successful ways to generate new leads for your business.

An effective outreach strategy can bring in promising sales leads for your business. The key is figuring out which tools and processes will work best. One of the most effective outreach methods is sending cold emails. Despite many people's skepticism, cold emails work well as long as you know how to write them. With knowledge of how they work and what will engage recipients, you'll be able to generate and convert new leads, make more sales, and achieve your goals.

What is cold emailing?

Any email you send to a lead or prospective client with whom you have no previous connection is a cold email. It's a one-to-one outreach attempt with the goal of building an ongoing relationship with the recipient.

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

Editor's note: Looking for the right email marketing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

If you're a startup in the process of choosing a CRM system, email marketing is an important CRM feature to include. Still, knowing how to draft effective cold emails is critical to your marketing strategy's overall success.

Did you know?Did you know? Using cold email marketing templates and automating the email marketing process can speed up your outreach substantially.

How to write an effective cold email

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

1. Be authentic.

Your email recipients have no prior connection to you or your business. The first thing you must establish to pave the way for ongoing communication is your credibility. The address from which the communication originates should seem authentic, and the email should clearly display the sender's name and relevant credentials. 

The message should have a natural flair and not be robotic. Keep it conversational, friendly and concise. 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.

Before hitting the send button, read the email to yourself and decide whether the message sounds natural. If it's similar to what you say when approaching a prospect in person and has an informal tone, your chances of success are greater.

2. Establish a connection.

Cold email outreach should aim to initiate a relationship rather than close a sale. Using the same cookie-cutter template doesn't contribute much to your sales and marketing plan. You need to find a way to connect to your intended audience. Even small things, such as addressing the recipient by name, can go a long way toward establishing a personal connection.

Email marketing best practices include conducting initial research on the recipients, knowing their pain points, finding common ground for engaging in conversation, and building a sustainable relationship. People receive a lot of cold emails every day. Establishing a connection ensures that your first email stands out from those sent by your competitors.

3. Tailor your message.

Personalize your email to cater specifically to the person you're contacting. Conducting basic research and learning more about the recipient aren't the end of personalization.

Tailor your message to convey that you have insight into their potential pain points, shedding light on how your product or service can alleviate their problem. The message shouldn't be about you. It has to cater to the needs of the person on the receiving end of the email.

4. Validate your offering.

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

If you have shared contacts, highlight them in the email. If not, you can always refer to customers or big names within the industry who use your products or services.

FYIFYI: The more credible you seem, the higher your chances of 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. They don't know you, and if the value you offer doesn't immediately strike them, they'll hit the delete button.

Short messages have a greater chance of being opened and read. Including clear directives and explicitly stating your objectives can increase 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 first communicating value. While making the pitch to a prospect, make your value proposition clear so that prospects know the benefits you offer. Clearly state all this 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. In subsequent follow-up conversations, shed more light on your solution incrementally until it no longer feels like a pitch, but rather a logical sequence of events.

7. Use a template.

Your cold email's ultimate goal is to get the recipient to read and respond to your pitch from the opening line. Here's a sample cold email template to reference when you're drafting a cold email to your prospects to boost 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 of 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 contact about 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'd obviously customize this template to suit your unique business needs, but you get the gist. Once you've figured out a way to phrase your value offering succinctly while appearing credible and trustworthy, getting responses to your cold emails should be easier.

FYIFYI: Email marketing for e-commerce businesses has some unique considerations, including addressing abandoned shopping carts.

How to track and improve a cold email

To determine whether your cold emailing strategy is working, you need to start tracking email analytics, including your open rate and response rate. This important aspect of tracking customer behavior gives you insight for improving emails and increasing your conversion rate. 

1. Track open and click-through rates.

One of the first things to track is the open rate, or the percentage of recipients opening the email once it arrives in their inbox. Tracking the open rate allows you to determine how engaging your emails are, including the subject lines. If no one is opening your emails, it's time to consider changing the subject lines, the days and times you're sending them, and the people you're reaching out to. 

If you find that people are opening your emails but not engaging with any links in the body, then you have a low click-through rate. Tracking click-throughs is important to determine the quality of your email content; it also depends on the open rate. 

2. Track the response rate.

Email responses may come in the form of direct replies, answering surveys, providing customer feedback or reviews, or scheduling meetings via email link. The percentage of people who reply to your email can reveal loyal customers, your email's engagement level and how recipients prefer to engage. To increase your response rate, you might consider using an email drip campaign, tailoring your subject line to call for action, or making it clearer in your emails how you would like recipients to respond. 

3. Track the bounce rate.

Occasionally, an email bounces back with an error message. Both soft bounces and hard bounces can affect your business. A soft bounce happens when an email gets to someone's mail server but their mailbox might be full or the file you sent was too large. A hard bounce happens when a recipient's email address is invalid or no longer exists. A high percentage of email bounces may lead to your emails being flagged as spam, but if you keep a low rate, you can avoid spam filters.

TipTip: To reduce email bounce rates, clean your email list regularly and consider segmenting your lists by engagement.

How CRM software can help your email campaign

The best CRM software can streamline and speed up your cold email campaign tracking process, help organize your data, and run CRM reports that provide critical insights. is a great project management tool with an array of features and integrations with tools like Slack and Google Calendar. Read our review of for more information.

If you're looking for something easy to use with minimal setup, Keap CRM is a good option. Keap CRM is customizable; its built-in tools streamline the email campaign process and simplify communications. Read our review of Keap CRM for more information.

There are many CRM options available, but you should choose the one that aligns best with your goals.  

Rahul Varshneya contributed to the writing and research in this article.

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Sean Peek
Sean Peek Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.