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26 Cold Email Examples Broken Down To Help You Write Your Own

By Dmitry Dragilev 42 Comments Last updated on September 26, 2017

Getting someone to respond to an ice cold email can be tough.

In fact, maybe you’ve heard, or thought:

“Cold email is dead. It’s SPAM! Stick a fork in it. Within five years, something new is going to replace email.”

I’ve heard these complaints a lot. But I disagree.

Email isn’t dead!

What makes me so sure?

Everything I’ve achieved in my career, I’ve achieved … through cold email.

I took a startup from 0 to 40M page views and sold it to Google … through cold email.

I’ve published 1400+ guest posts and articles in most well known publications … through cold email.

I’ve built relationships with Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg founder of WordPress, the Winklevoss Twins, on and on and on … through cold email.

I grew this very blog from 0 to 20,000+ subscribers in two years allowing me to earn my first $100K from my PRThatConverts program … through cold email.

Just imagine:

You can finally build a business, land sales, and reach your goals … by mastering cold email.

I’ll teach you how with specific examples of cold emails, how they work and why.

I promise, if you can master the techniques I’ve outlined below, you’ll be golden.

Ready?

Strap in. This is going be a long–and fun–ride.

Defining cold email

Cold email is any email sent to a potential client that doesn’t have an existing connection to you.

Here’s a simple way to think about it:

If you send someone you’ve never met an email you found through a publicly available email address, it’s cold email. Or …

If you email an influencer you’ve never met asking for feedback on an article, it’s cold.

Cold emails should include:

  • Your real name.
  • Your contact information: job title, website, social media profiles, phone number, etc.
  • Customized content for the recipient.
  • A specific request.
  • A conversation starter rather than a request to take quick action.

Cold emails are also:

  • Usually sent from one business to another, or from one individual to a public figure, such as a journalist, influencer, or editor.
  • And they don’t always have a commercial motive.

Cold email is a one-on-one, personal conversation.

It’s like a cold call, but less intrusive and annoying.

A cold email is like sending an email to a business acquaintance, except the recipient doesn’t necessarily know you that well, if at all.

You’d send cold emails to get guest posting guidelines from editors, to get feedback from an influencer, or to start a conversation with a potential client.

Is Cold Email Spam?

Here’s one of the most common questions I get from students:

“How is cold email different from spam?”

Cold email and spam are polar opposites.

Here’s why…

Spam:

  • Uses a fake name
  • Doesn’t include contact information
  • Isn’t personalized (the same email is sent to several people)
  • Isn’t meant to start a conversation; rather, it’s usually targeting a direct purchase.
  • Has a commercial motive.

Spam is an example of a one-to-many email.

For example, a few days ago I received this email:

Can you see all the tell-tale signs of spam?

This email doesn’t address me by name, and it’s not customized.

Did you notice that it doesn’t have a specific request?

It’s just a generic, “Let me know if you’re interested.”

But also:

There’s no contact information. I have no idea who the senders are, or what they represent …

Compare that example with another email:

Can you see the difference?

This cold email does three things:

  • It addresses the recipient directly.
  • It has a highly specific and relevant request.
  • And it mentions a common contact.

I’m not trying to push a product, or get anyone on the phone for a long conversation.

The real world equivalent of this email would be like saying, “Hi,” to a friend of a friend you bumped into at a conference.

It’s not pushy.

It’s not annoying.

And it’s perfectly reasonable, as long as your call to action isn’t overly aggressive.

For example: “Buy my product!”

Sounds pushy, right?

But if you say: “Let’s get coffee sometime!”

That sounds a lot better.

Want a ‘sniff test’ for spam vs. cold email?

Before you send out a cold email, ask yourself:

Would I be comfortable saying this to someone I met at a conference for the first time?

If the answer is no, then it’s likely spam. If the answer is yes, then it’s a cold email.

Keep in mind that spam is illegal. Send too much spam and you will run afoul of CAN SPAM laws.

 

Cold Email vs. Unsolicited Email

It’s important to understand:

Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is the official term for spam used by FTC.

And UCE can range from a sales email (like the example above) to a newsletter from a company you’ve never heard of before.

If you don’t want to break the law, you should know:

If you didn’t explicitly give permission with an opt-in form, and it meets the spam criteria above, you can classify that email as UCE or unsolicited email.

Technically, cold email is unsolicited as well.

However, if an email has…

  • appropriate header information
  • is personalized
  • and offers value

… then, it likely won’t be considered UCE or Spam.

 

Don’t Break the Law

Are you clear about whether an email falls under the CAN SPAM laws?

It can be tricky. So let me break it down:

As per FTC, all emails can contain three types of information:

  • Commercial content, such as selling a product, promoting a sale, etc.
  • Relationship or transactional content, such as a bank sending its customer a bank statement, an e-commerce store sharing transaction details, or a blogger sending a message to his list of subscribers.
  • Other content, which can range from personal content to mixed (relationship + commercial) content.

According to FTC’s regulations, the purpose of an email decides whether it needs to comply with spam laws. If the email is primarily commercial – or is deemed to be so by the recipient – it has to comply with spam laws.

A well-crafted cold email might have a commercial tilt, but it also offers significant value.

Now, let’s get into how you can write amazing cold emails that convert!

Don’t Send Spam

The more of these best practices you follow, the less likely your email will be seen as spam:

1. Use correct headers

The “email header” tells the recipient where the email is coming from.

This is bad:

Always use your own name and personal email address. This shows that you are a real person, not a random business sending unsolicited spam.

2. Use the recipient’s first name

This is the easiest way to show that you didn’t just find a list of emails and spam them – use their first name.

A Hi {First Name} goes a long way towards making you sound more authentic.

3. Make it relevant to the recipient

What’s one of the biggest indicators of a spam email?

It’s irrelevant.

Spam emails seldom address the specific needs of the recipient. They just send out the same message to everyone, regardless of their requirements.

Always ensure that your email offers at least one thing that’s relevant or valuable.

4. Don’t talk about yourself too much

Know how to write a great intro?

Keep it short.

A long intro makes your email harder to read and it makes it sound like spam.

You don’t have to tell them that you are “John Doe from Acme Industries, the leading manufacturer of comically oversized gadgets for wily coyotes.”

Remember:

The only time you should even use an introduction is if you’re mentioning a common contact!

5. Match the subject line with the email body

Have you seen these subject lines in your spam folder:

“Heard rumors about you”
“Dear friend”
“Urgent! Please read!”

You should avoid these at all costs.

Writing a great subject line is simple, just keep in mind:

Subject lines are meant to tell recipients exactly what they’re going to get in the email body.

6. Don’t use obviously copy-pasted text

Want to get sent straight to the spam folder?

Modern email clients preserve formatting when you copy-paste from one document to another.

See for yourself:

Try copy-pasting the last sentence to a new Gmail message.

If you have obviously copy-pasted text because of formatting, the recipients will be able to spot it from a mile away.

 

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

“Remember: Personalization is key for any cold email! Address the recipient by name, and use your real name with your picture in the signature. Or, better yet, create a custom video to make it even more unique!”

7. Add your contact info to the signature

Name, website, social media profiles, position in the company, phone numbers – these are the bare minimum you should have in your signature. If you can add a photograph, that’s great too.

Basically?

Show the recipient that you are a real person!

8. Track your emails

Are too many of your emails getting left unopened?

It’s a sign that your copy or your value proposition isn’t any good.

Track your email performance, then:

Fine tune to improve delivery.

The email examples below will help you understand and master these best practices:

Score a $3K contract

My old coach and current friend Bryan Harris is a cold email beast! Why?

His emails get incredible response rates!

Want to know the best part?

He shares how you can get the same response rate!

That’s how we have gems like this email:

cold email bryan harris

Do you see what makes Bryan’s email great?

  1. Bryan clearly states that not only is he familiar with the product, but he’s also a customer.
  2. He drops a big name right in the second line. By telling the reader that an industry leader, KISSmetrics, trusts his work, he is establishing respect.
  3. He links to an actual example of his work on the KISSmetrics blog.
  4. Offer value: This is where his email stands out. Bryan offers incredible value by showing what the final product might look like. Sure, it took an extra couple of hours, but by doing this, he ensures that he’ll at least get noticed.
  5. He closes with a question. This increases his chances of getting a response.

What can you learn from this?

If you give away tons of value …

It means more work upfront, but you’ll really stand out in the inbox.

But I know what you’re thinking:

How can I apply Bryan’s techniques to my own emails?

Try this template

I love (recipient’s company). I’m also a big fan of (compliment about a specific part of the recipient’s work).

I (what kind of work you do). I work with (mention a big-name client, if you can).

Here’s an example of my work: (link to the best example of your work or favorite part of your portfolio).

I just wanted to email you to see if (recipient’s company) might be interested in something similar.

I made a demo to show you what it might look like here: (link to custom sample of work that you created upfront for the recipient).

Is this something you’d be interested in?

(Signature)

Land a whale

Close.io shared this example on how to start a conversation with a prospective lead:

cold email close io

Here’s why this email converts:

  1. It clearly identifies the sender, his current role, and what he’s trying to sell. I don’t know about you, but I sure like to know who’s pitching me a product.
  2. “Stab in the dark” is an informal and fun expression. Plus, it shows that the sender has done the research and just needs a final nudge in the right direction. (Pro tip: If you don’t know who to send an email to, just ask!)
  3. The invitation to discuss the product defines an exact time and date. It also mentions the call will be 15 minutes long to respect everyone’s time in scheduling the meeting.

Write an email that works the same way

Want to score a huge meeting?

It’s not that hard:

  • Identify yourself clearly upfront
  • Verify whether you’re talking to the right person
  • Mention exactly how much of their time you want and when you want it.

Template

Hi (recipient’s first name),

My name is (your first name), and I’m (title) at (company name). We are currently offering (describe product/service).

This is just an educated stab in the dark, but based on your online profile, you seem to be the right person to connect with. Or, if not, maybe you can point me in the right direction?

I’d like to speak with someone from (company name) who’s responsible for (position relevant to your product/service).

If that’s you, are you open to a 15-minute call on (specific time/date) to discuss ways (service/product) can more specifically help your business?

Or, if not you, can you please put me in touch with the right person?

I’d appreciate the help!

(Signature)

How to blow minds

If you’re familiar with modern marketing, you probably know Noah Kagan, formerly of Mint and Facebook, founder of AppSumo, SumoMe and OkDork. Noah knows his stuff.

He also gets hundreds of emails every month from people asking for his help.

The following email, however, blew Noah’s mind.

cold email noah

Noah has already done a pretty thorough breakdown of the email, so I won’t go into this in-depth. But there are a couple of things I wanted to point out:

  1. Successful people like to deal with other successful people. The sender, Dave Daily of Grav Labs, points out upfront that he knows his stuff really, really well. It might sound arrogant, but when you’re competing for the attention of busy people, you need to be upfront.
  2. Dave wanted to ask Noah about an app. So instead of fumbling around with an “idea,” he sketched out an entire wireframe. At a time when everyone and his grandma has an idea for an app, a wireframe alone means that you’re already way ahead of the pack.

It’s important to note:

The email is clearly about Noah – what he can get out of meeting Dave – not about Dave. This is a good practice to adopt in all your emails.

Also note the list format. There’s a reason why BuzzFeed works so well – people love to read lists, whether online or in emails.

What you can learn from it

Show that you mean business – a busy person’s inbox is no place to be shy.

You can also get away with writing long emails if you structure it well. For example, use lots of lists and have a clear focus on how it benefits the receiver.

Follow these guidelines to write one yourself

  • 1. Flatter the recipient
  • 2. Establish why your product/service will benefit them.
  • 3. Describe what makes you credible/successful.
  • 4. Suggest a specific and brief time frame for a meeting.

The best pitch ever

Didn’t I tell you that Bryan Harris is an absolute beast when it comes to cold email?

Here’s one of Bryan’s emails, but from the perspective of the receiver (HubSpot).

cold email hubspot

You’ll notice it’s the exact same email I discussed above, except this time …

It’s customized for HubSpot.

Here’s the best part:

  1. By referring to Ginny’s latest post on the HubSpot blog, Bryan is telling her that he’s not just a random spammer. He’s actually taken the time to read the blog.
  2. One of HubSpot’s closest competitors is KISSmetrics. So, of course, mentioning them in the email would catch Ginny’s attention.
  3. He doesn’t just share an idea – he makes an entire demo video. This isn’t a tweet or a 200-word blog post. Making a video takes time. The free demo not only grabs attention, but also gives HubSpot an idea of what the final product would look like.

What’s the result?

HubSpot was totally sold on the idea.

And Ginny Soskey, who manages content strategy for HubSpot, announced it was the “best cold email pitch” she’s ever received in a blog post that has been shared nearly 2,000 times.

What you can learn from it

Personalize your pitch!

How do you grab attention?

Mention something the receiver did recently (check their blog or Twitter) in the first line.

Land meetings

Takipi is a tool that helps developers understand when their code breaks in production. Since it requires an installation on a live server, selling it to developers can be tough.

Yet, Iris Shoor, the co-founder of Takipi, managed to get five installations from cold emails alone – 1.5x more than what she got through introductions.

This is an example of an email she sent out to a company that used Scala:

cold email iris shoor

Lots of great stuff here:

  1. A nice, succinct intro. Iris gets right into what Takipi does and how it’s relevant to the company.
  2. Iris knows that the company runs Scala, so instead of sending them to the homepage, she linked to Takipi’s Scala-focused landing page.
  3. She mentions the recipient’s Github page and recent projects to show she’s done her homework.

What you can learn from it

Craft an email for one single person.

Don’t tell them anything they don’t need to hear …

Don’t mention anything that might be boring.

Instead:

Personalize your email for a particular person and explain how your product/service/company can solve that person’s problem.

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

“Attracting attention through a cold email is kind of like trying to get a hot date in high school. If you’re trying to land a dinner date with one of the most popular people in school, you better prove you have something unique and valuable to offer that person.”

Grab attention

You seriously can’t miss this email if it lands in your inbox thanks to a great visual message!

Scott from Life-Long-Learner.com shared an email that uses an interesting tool to create a powerful visual message.

Here’s the example from his blog:

cold email lifelonglearner

Scott has a breakdown on his own blog, but here are his most important points:

  1. Scott jumps right in without an intro. This works when you already know the recipient. It can also serve to grab attention. Say, for exmaple, “Your site doesn’t work!”
  2. Scott doesn’t send a long email with a list of everything wrong with the mobile version of the blog. Instead? He creates a visual presentation that depicts what’s wrong (again: show, don’t tell). Also note the little sound warning – a nice touch.
  3. Scott gives value by offering to take care of this problem for Dan. This could turn into a paid contract and a fruitful, long-term relationship.

By the way:

BContext is the tool Scott uses to create these visual presentations.

And it’s free for casual users.

What you can learn from it

Remember: Show, don’t tell.

Instead of writing a 500-word email filled with abstract ideas, create a video or presentation that shows your ideas in action.

Win over a founder

This is a great email from Sam Parr, founder of HustleCon, a startup event for non-tech people.

It’s incredibly well crafted with extensive personalization. Why?

Hours of work went into each email, but when you consider the rewards …

It was time well spent!

Here’s the email:

cold email kopywriting

This email is different right from the very first word. It eschews all conventions and is just…fun.

It’s a hustler’s email, which is exactly what HustleCon is all about.

Here’s the best part:

  1. Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore that first line (reminder for marketers: what doesn’t stand out gets forgotten). Sam mentions Rick Marini’s (founder of BranchOut) barely known past and the $200k job he turned down. So he comes across as authentic, and not all bluster.
  2. A quick intro to what the email is all about, all bundled up in one sentence. Sam plays to Rick’s ego by telling him that he can come over and spread the “Marini gospel.” He knows that entrepreneurs who’ve reached Rick’s level of success care more about influence and spreading their ideas than making money.
  3. He doesn’t write a 500-word explanation. Instead? He links to a page that tells Rick more about the conference.

Sam also made these fun GIFs for all the recipients.

GIFs are a great way to personalize your message without being stuffy and corporate-y.

cold email hustlcon

What you can learn from it

Have fun!

And mirror your brand’s image in your language.

If you’re branding yourself as a fun, youthful alternative to stuffy conventional conferences, don’t use the same stuffy, conventional language in your emails.

Score an Interview

John Corcoran was a writer for the Clinton White House, so you bet he knows a thing or two about writing amazing copy.

John wrote a piece in the Art of Manliness where he mentioned Noah Kagan.

For a follow-up, he wanted to interview Noah about the importance of failure.

How’d he do it?

With this email:

cold email artofmanliness

Now there’s a whole process before this email (covered here), but the email itself has lots of gems:

  1. John mentions the recent interaction he had with Noah on another platform. That’s a great way to remind the recipient that you aren’t total strangers.
  2. It’s important to reassure busy people that you won’t take up half their day with a request. John clears this upfront by mentioning the interview will take 5-7 minutes.
  3. John mentions Andrew Warner, of Mixergy, and his recent Forbes post. How does this help? It establishes that John and Noah have a common contact. And it proves John’s work has appeared in reputed publications like Forbes.
  4. More namedropping.
  5. John knows how much Noah loves tacos.

What you can learn from it

You can use this example, too, if you can mention a common connection.

Remember: Even a distant connection is better than no connection.

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

“Would you have the nerve to walk up to a total stranger and ask them for a date? What if you two had a friend in common? Mentioning your common connection would likely help your chances of landing that date. The same goes for cold emails!”

Kickstart a relationship

This email from Sidekick is simple, clear and well-thought out. It isn’t designed to do anything fancy or win over celebrities to speak at your gig. Instead, it focuses on driving leads and relationships further down the sales pipeline.

Take a look:

cold email sidekick

There’s nothing fancy going on here, but you’d be surprised by how many B2B salespeople get it wrong.

This example is short, crisp and clear – exactly what you’d want in a B2B email.

  1. A clear, simple introduction. Use a familiar example: People might not understand what “logistics accountability” is, but they definitely understand FedEx and Target.
  2. The email focuses on benefits, not features. There’s no mention of any fancy tracking algorithm or smart platform. It’s all about how they can save the recipient time and money!
  3. The email ends by asking for 15 minutes, a reassurance to busy people.

What you can learn from it

Focus on benefits instead of features.

This rule applies to everything – landing pages, sales letters, emails.

Land a $15K project

Lots of cold emails are all about writing the perfect pitch or personalizing the email to the extent that the prospect just can’t ignore it.

This one from Messwerks, however, focuses on what you can achieve if you target exactly the right audience.

Take a look:

cold email messwerks

Looks like nothing special, right?

It has three lines, a simple subject, and no fancy gimmicks.

Yet, it got Messwerks a $15K consulting gig. Why?

Because they focused obsessively on targeting the perfect client.

You can read about it on the blog post linked above, but here are the most important takeaways:

  1. Messwerks targeted growing companies that had already raised some funding. These businesses have their hands full and usually need help with UX and design work. Since these businesses are already looking for help, the opening line works like a charm.
  2. A brief overview of what Messwerks can do – increase sales (super nice), engagements (who wouldn’t want that?), and conversions (every startup’s dream).

What you can learn from it

Choose your targets wisely.

You can do a lot with a simple email, if you send it to the right group of people.

Don’t skimp on your homework …

Research your ideal customer thoroughly before you even send an email.

Grab customers early

This one-paragraph message from Ash Maurya is chock full of wins.

It ticks all the right boxes:

It’s succinct, it’s targeted, it’s personalized, and it has a clear objective.

cold email ash

Everything I love about it:

  1. Ash mentions that he saw the recipient at an event. This establishes a connection and proves you probably share the same interests and passions.
  2. Further establishing shared passions: Someone who breeds horses would love to talk about how they select bloodlines.
  3. Flattery works, and there’s lots of it here. It tells the recipient(s) that they are among the most “exceptional” breeders in Texas and states they’re “impressive.”
  4. Closes with a specific request for a phone call, plus a mention of the recipient’s future activities. This again hammers in the fact that you aren’t a creepy sales guy who’s just out there to land a deal. Instead, it establishes the fact that you’re a business owner who has a common interest.

What you can learn from it

Don’t be a slimy sales guy! How?

Be human.

Show you care about the people you email …

Tell them about your shared passions and interests.

Remember:

Your objective is to build relationships, not just close deals.

Connect with a pain point

Yep, this is the third reference to Bryan Harris in this article.

I said he is an absolute beast, right?

In this blog post on his site, Bryan shows how to use data to create a targeted list of prospects. Then?

He sends them a clear, straightforward email about how they can make their business better.

Here Bryan Harris receives an email from the highly esteemed Nathan Barry, founder of ConvertKit:

cold email videofruit

The hard part is creating the list of prospects, but Bryan’s blog post goes pretty deep into that so I won’t cover it here.

Rather, I’ll focus on the best parts of the email:

  1. The subject line is a single word: InfusionSoft. Since Nathan’s list of contacts is targeted (bloggers who are sick of InfusionSoft’s complexity) this one word subject will stand out in the inbox.
  2. “How are you liking it?” If you’re a blogger who uses InfusionSoft, you probably aren’t overjoyed about using it. This single line is a great way to bring the reader’s attention to the issue, without stating it outright.
  3. The actual subject of the email: The alternative to InfusionSoft that’s designed only for bloggers.
  4. A specific date and time for a call. Saves several back-and-forth emails to decide a meeting time.

What you can learn from it

Once again, it’s simple:

Address the customer’s primary pain point.

Tell them how you can solve it.

Then, pin point a time for a short meeting.

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

For example: “How does 9 a.m. Tuesday sound?” Don’t worry, if they’re busy, but interested, they’ll just ask to meet another time.

Start a relationship

Before I share this PR outreach cold email example, if you need to find a PR outreach tool head over to this article rating every PR tool with pros, cons, and prices.

The cold email below is a great way to kickstart a relationship with a blogger or journalist.

It references their past work, directs them to something that might interest them (based on their past work), and opens the possibilities for a longer conversation.

cold email press

Here’s what I love about it:

  1. The first paragraph references their recent work, then directs them to a story from a trusted website (here: Gizmodo) that talks about the same thing.
  2. The second paragraph brings attention to a related topic and plugs your own blog post. (It can be somebody else’s blog post, too, since your only objective is to start a relationship.)
  3. The email ends with a question, which opens up the chance for a longer conversation.

What you can learn from it

Journalists and bloggers care about their work.

By referencing their recent work and directing them to something similar, you show that you care about them, and that you have similar interests.

Over time, this can help you develop a relationship.

Help someone out

Have an excuse.

What’s a better excuse than to point out typos and grammatical errors?

You’ll be surprised how effective this can be, especially with writers who take their work seriously.

cold email typo

  1. Warning!People can be touchy about their grammar. Instead of saying “your grammar is wrong,” be friendly and polite.
  2. Asking what the journalist is working on next is a great way to continue the conversation.

What you can learn from it

Show a genuine interest!

Ask what they’re working on next to start a conversation.

Use a hook

There’s nothing influencers love more than knowing how their strategies and tactics have helped others.

Share your results with them, and they’ll be happy to spread it to their fans and followers.

It establishes a great connection, and it gets them great press!

Here’s a simple template on how to do this:

cold email results

  1. Mentions the recent post, states how you’ve been following it, and how it has affected your life.
  2. A link to the post, along with a subtle suggestion that the influencer can share it with his audience.

What you can learn from it

If you’ve ever followed any influencer’s advice, share your results with them.

It’s one of the best hooks for building a relationship with them.

Get published

For this example to work, you need two things:

  • An interesting story
  • And a person willing to tell it.

The former is something I can’t help you with.

For the latter, monitor your Twitter feed, or start conversations using some of the templates above to see if there are any writers, bloggers and journalists looking to cover stories similar to yours.

Then, send them this email:

cold email story

  1. Mention how you found the story idea – on their blog, via email, or on their public Twitter feed.
  2. Your story – in as few words as possible.
  3. Tell them how this ties into the topic they wanted to write about, plus the results from your story.

What you can learn from it

Writers and journalists love it when they can get a personal, human angle on a story.

If you know journalists who are writing about a topic that you have relevant experience with, it’s a great idea to pitch them stories.

Win a backlink

This is one email every marketer has to send sooner or later: a backlink request.

Here’s how to do it right:

cold email backlinks

The first step, of course, is to ensure that you have top-notch content.

Then, find a list of people who link to resources similar to yours, and send this email.

Here’s why this email works:

  1. Clearly mentions the specific post and how you found it, social media, search, etc.
  2. Links to the reference post that you improved on (aka the ‘Skyscraper method’).
  3. Asks for feedback, then puts a subtle plug for a backlink.

What you can learn from it

The best way to get a backlink is to improve an existing resource.

Then, ask all those who’ve linked to it to take a look at your improved resource – and perhaps give a backlink in return.

Nail a sales call!

If you’re in B2B sales, or are a sales manager you’ll have to make dozens of calls every day.

This example ensures that you’ll get more yays than nays:

cold email sales

  1. It asks for just 10 minutes. That’s good enough for most busy people. And what company wouldn’t want 100 more great customers?
  2. It name drops a close competitor or industry leader, and shows the results they got from this idea.
  3. A very simple three-line email, but if someone promised to get you 100 more customers and asked for just 10 minutes of your time, wouldn’t you be interested too?

What you can learn from it

Tell prospects exactly what kind of results they can expect. Then…

Tell them how long you’ll take to achieve it!

cold email

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

“Here’s a recap of some of the most important aspects of cold email: do your research; make it personal; offer value; sound credible; close with a question; suggest specific meeting times; focus on benefits versus features; track your performance; and do what you can to build a long lasting relationship!”

More Cold Email Resources

I promised you tons of email resources…

And I’m not going to back out of that promise!

I’ve covered tons of examples with templates here.

These will help you craft stellar cold emails of your own.

And don’t forget you can get 15 more templates here, too!

But, if you want even more help writing an amazing email?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Here are more go-to resources for writing cold emails:

1. How to get early customers to respond to your emails

Feedback from your early customers is vital to your product’s success.

However, not all early customers are that eager to respond to emails. This link to LeanStack will help you with that.

 

2. How to write a great email to a cold lead 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer, a marketer, or a founder, you’ll have to send out emails to cold leads if you want to grow your business.

This link gives a great overview of how to write an effective email that can win you deals.

3. How to automate prospecting to land clients fast

This is something every freelancer has been guilty of:

You spend far too much time dealing with existing clients instead of looking for new ones.

That’s bad for the long-term health of your business. Use the advice from this email to automate your prospecting with cold email.

4. How to write an email that doesn’t suck

93.9% of cold emails suck.

This is what Anand Sanwal of CBInsights discovered after analyzing 147 cold emails. Read this post to figure out what makes a bad cold email, and how to write a good one.

5. Seven sanity checks for sending emails out

You’ll want to read this post before you hit send!

6. Quick tips on how to write a subject line for sales emails

The subject line is the single most important part of any cold email. Read this post to get it right the first time!

7. 15 commandments for every email sequence

Read this to learn the 15 rules you must follow before sending out a cold email. I love the advice about mentioning competitors and mirroring your target’s tone.

8. How I Wrote an Email that Got A 50% Reply Rate

This links to a full case study of my very carefully targeted cold email campaign aimed at experts — the aim was to set up an interview.

It talks all about where I found my prospects, how I personalized each email, and more.

9. Email Signature Perfection: Should I Buy One or Create One?

This link shows you why email signatures are the most neglected tool in daily communications and how to ensure yours is effective.

So there you go – lots more resources to help you master cold emails.

 

Cold Calls Don’t Work!

According to PFL, a maker of marketing solutions, cold calling campaigns have a measly 1% success rate.

Given how labor intensive it is, and how many rejections you have to endure to get one “yes,” it’s not a surprise fewer and fewer salespeople are making calls.

Cold emailing is much more effective at putting yourself in front of prospects and nurturing them into customers. Here’s why it’s a whole new ballgame.

Cold emailing is scaleable

You can only call one person at one time. With email, you can use outreach automation tools to create automated cold email sequences and nurture hundreds of prospects at once.

The other limit of cold calling is that you have to catch a decision-maker at the right time. They rarely return voicemails. With email, you can stay on the first page of your prospect’s inbox for at least three to five hours, increasing your chance of getting noticed and opened.

How to send an automated cold email sequence to convert the maximum number of prospects into customers

In a cold email drip sequence, you write four to six emails ahead of time, leaving a few words and phrases to be personalized for each prospect, such as their name, where you found them, and what industry they work in.

Remember to write each email based on the customer perspective!

Be specific about how you can help your prospect solve a big problem for them.

You may already know this, but it’s easy to get stuck inside your own perspective as soon as you start typing.

For example, if you say, “My tool can help you rapidly build a targeted leads list.”

Then, you’re describing a feature instead of a benefit, and it’s from your perspective.

But, if you say, for example:

“Never worry about running out of new sales opportunities …”

Then, you’re describing specific benefits and how it can solve problems from your customer’s perspective.

Dmitry
Dmitry’s take

Another way of thinking about benefits versus features is looking at the difference between your product, or service, versus the results your prospect will get from it. For example: Your product might be SaaS, but the result will be time saved!

Using an outreach automation tool like Prospect or Outreach, you can add the emails in your sequence, upload your leads list and set up a send schedule for it.

Your email sequence and schedule can go something like:

1st day: Introduction email

There are many approaches you can use for the initial introduction email including:

1. Ask for a connection to the right person in the company

Source: Breakthrough Email

2. Ask the prospect for honest feedback on your product

Source: Datanyze

3. Ask if you can share a valuable idea to grow their business

Source: Sales Hacker

4. How your company can help with a recent industry/competitor event

Source: Andrew’s Musings

3rd day: Provide value or offer to provide help in a follow up email

Source: Blogarama

5th day: Invite them to a relevant high value webinar where you can demonstrate your expertise and skills

Source: SumoMe

8th day: You’re welcome to pick my brain email

Source: Datanyze

Why send a sequence instead of just a single email?

Many prospects require a few touches before you a) catch them at the right time when they can type out a reply or b) can get them to understand why it’s worth their while for them to reply.

When Heather Morgan of Salesfolk ran a cold email campaign for Ambition, they received responses as far along as the eighth, and last, email in the sequence!

You can easily track your open and response rates

With cold calling, unless you call using special software, you have to manually input most of the data including how many callbacks you received and how many calls you had to make before you connected with your prospect.

With email, tools can automatically track sends, opens, link clicks and responses so you know exactly how well each sequence is performing.

This also helps you analyze patterns that most often lead to closed deals:

What send times got the most opens?
How many touch points does it take on average to get your prospect to respond?
Does it make a difference what sender name you use?

You can also tweak certain elements of your emails like the subject or the calls to action to see what improves your response rates.

It’s much more difficult to A/B test cold call approaches since many non-trackable variables can impact the success rate from your tone of voice to your choice of words (unless you read verbatim from a script every time).

Screenshot taken from Prospect.io

It’s much easier to find and guess emails than phone numbers

Many companies do not publicly list the direct phone numbers of their employees. So it’s an uphill battle to convince gatekeepers to connect you.

With email, since most companies use predictable naming format like [email protected] or [email protected], there are many tools that can ‘automagically’ provide you a list of email addresses based on first and last names and the company they work for including:

https://www.voilanorbert.com/https://www.makesmail.com/

 

Additionally, prospecting tools like Skrapp lets you add relevant people you find on LinkedIn to your leads list and finds their emails for you:

If email-searching software is giving you trouble, you can also try Googling

“@company.com email”

This sometimes turns up the email addresses of company employees published on a page and shows how their emails are formatted, so you can reliably guess the email of the person you want to reach at that company, if you know their name.

Example:

Based on that result, we can see that Salesforce formats their employee emails as:

[email protected]

Subject Lines that Work

Subject lines should entice your prospects to open your email. The holy trinity of good subject lines:

1) short (8-10 words max)

2) use a casual tone (prospects do not want to read an email that sounds like it came from their lawyer)

3) not deceptive (if they feel you tricked them into opening, they won’t respond, and it sullies your company’s reputation)

Here are a few high performing subject line formulas to use as a reference

For initial introduction emails

  1. [Colleague] recommended I get in touch

If you use the appropriate person email template shown above, you can mention the name of the colleague who referred you in your subject line.

  1. A few ideas [to resolve their biggest pain point related to your product]
  1. 10x [prospect company]’s [area they would want to grow – example: sales, user retention]
  1. I found you through [Name]

To be able to use this subject line, see what mutual connections you share with this prospect on LinkedIn and mention one of them in the title.

  1. Congratulations on [recent good event that happened to their company]
  1. Been following you on [site where they publish content] and wanted to reach out
  1. Are you the right person to speak with?
  1. Saw you use [complimentary product] – you may find this interesting
  1. A new [area that your product is in] strategy for [Company]

For follow up emails

  1. My brain is an open book for you
  1. Should I stay or should I go?
  1. Can you blame me for swinging for the fences 🙂
  1. Re: subject line of your first email

Only do this for one of your followups.

  1. Saw that [event relevant to their industry/company or something the prospect recently did]

Bonus: Cold email pro tips!

1. Create a separate email address from which to send your cold email campaigns.

In case you get any spam complaints or servers flag you for sending a lot of similar emails at the same time, this protects the sender reputation of your primary email.

2. If you can find this data point on your prospects easily, separate your prospects into different lists based on their time zones.

This way, for example, you can time your emails to go out exactly at 10AM their time.

Without accounting for timezone, they may get your cold email at lunch time and miss it entirely.

3. Make it easy for anyone to schedule a call with you in one click.

For example, Calendly lets you set what times you’re available and your prospect can instantly book a free time with you, eliminating the need for any back and forth.

4. When setting up your first cold email campaign, it helps to write unique emails to your first 10 or so prospects.

Try to use a slightly different approach, timing and copy for each prospect.

Based on the open and response rates of your different approaches, you will see which subject lines work, what calls to action get the most clicks, and when it’s the best time to send the emails.

For one-on-one cold emails, you can use Mixmax to track the emails.

5. In the last 2-3 emails of your sequence, you can offer a way for prospects to opt out of your emails to avoid annoying those who aren’t interested.

Many outreach automation tools let you insert an unsubscribe link into your emails. Clicking on it removes the contact from your list (similar to email marketing).

You can use a line like:

No longer interested in hearing from me? Click here.

All right, that’s a wrap! These are all the cold email templates and tactics I’ve used for over eight years, and now I want you to do the same!

As always, give me a shout if you have any questions or comments!

Enjoyed the article? I have more, just for you!
Written by Dmitry Dragilev

42 thoughts on this article
    Message Sumo  Reply

    Love these templates! These are the type of templates people need to be using within http://messagesumo.com.

    Justin McGill at LeadFuze  Reply

    Appreciate you linking to the Cold Email Best Practices guide. Great roundup of examples here!

    Mark  Reply

    Great detailed beefy post Dmitry.

    You mentioned the Breakthroughemail above … looking at your post and the pdf you shared, do you recommend their purchased system, at all?

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      come again? can your rephrase, I’m not sure I understand you.

    Sam  Reply

    Your english sucks 😉
    The name Scott takes two “t”. (Paragraph #6, below the screenshot).

    No seriously, thanks for sharing. Great post.

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Haha, fixed! My pleasure.

    Aaron @ aarongriffith.net  Reply

    Thanks! These are great!

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      No prob!

    Tohnny  Reply

    Thanks for the awesome post! So helpful. VA recommendations on cold emails are too sales-y to hold my attention. I’ll definitely be referring back to this as a reminder to keep it personal and light.

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      happy to help!

    Jaime  Reply

    Way helpful. Thanks mucho!

    Myriam Caron  Reply

    Great Examples. Cold emails work great. Uber used cold email to launch in Chicago and several other cities. Cold email obviously won’t scale, but it can be extremely effective in developing that early momentum and cultivating early evangelists for your product. Here some good tips listed to write irresistible cold emails. SalesHandy has some amazing blogs on emails.

    Lerentech  Reply

    Great post and examples of excellent, effective emails. Thank you for taking the time to write and share all this. When I started in sales I used similar emails to get appointments, but to further improve my prospecting and appointment setting I would also mail similar letters, personalized. That can stand out. I combined direct mail, letters, post cards, emails and phone calls.

    Javier Sardá  Reply

    Great article, Dmitry. One (small) observation. In point 12 you mention that Bryan Harris is sending the email. Bryan did not send that one. He is the one receiving it. The one who sends it is Nathan Barry (founder of ConvertKit).

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Fixed! Thanks for the spot!

    Dana  Reply

    Thanks! This is an awesome resource.

    Emmerey Rose  Reply

    Awesome piece Dmitry! Thanks for taking time to share these tips! However, I want to know what is your take on writing emails to bloggers for your outreach with a casual tone (e.g. using emoji)?

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Hey Emmerey, thanks for compliment, glad you liked the article. TO answer your question I don’t typically use emoji in my cold emails, I find them a bit spammy to tell you the truth, that’s just me though haha. They typically work well for newsletters sometimes. What are you trying to use emoji for? Who are you emailing and for why?

    www.le-riva.com  Reply

    whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your posts.

    Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are hunting around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

    Dr. Christopher Croner  Reply

    Any company with a dedicated sales team responsible for marketing efforts such as cold emailing potential clients can benefit from these email templates. Thank you so much for sharing such specific details about each one. I often find that making emails conversational in tone, including a clear call to action, and something as simple as proofreading emails before clicking send can also go a long way when it comes to receiving replies in response to what a company has to offer.

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Thank you sir, great point on “proofreading” – it’s such an important part of any cold email, spelling mistakes have been shown to decrease response rate by as much as 50% in some studies since the quality of the offer or ask is ill perceived with spelling or grammar issues, or typos.

    Kawsar Hossain  Reply

    Excellent post.

    Charlie Liang  Reply

    Great article, Dmitry!
    I recently broke down the best one I’ve received – take a look & let me know if you agree with the analysis (and if you’ve seen a better one): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-sales-prospecting-email-ever-charlie-liang

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      This is great stuff! Love it! Just tweeted. Thanks for sharing Charlie!

    Jonathan Seet  Reply

    Can’t remember how I stumbled upon this page but it is a goldmine.

    So many powerful tips and suggestions I can’t wait to test and try out for some of my sites. Will update you on my progress once I’ve blast some of them out.

    Cheers,

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Thanks Jonathan! Feel free to come back and let us know how these are working out for you as well as share any new ones you’ve used which work well.

    Andrew Swon  Reply

    A good way of getting responses is also to use humor. Just read an article about some funny emails here: http://blog.1000leads.co/funny-sales-emails-that-work/

    Tracy Woods  Reply

    Hi Dmitry
    My client was trying her hand at cold emails and it was a collossal fail. Of 263k emails to 3 target segments, there was only 16k opens and no leads generated.

    I’m passing this post on to her, there’s some great points here that could have really helped with this campaign.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Awesome! Thanks Tracy. Feel free to have your friend ask any questions as she gets going!

    Benjamin  Reply

    Thanks for showing us how to properly write down cold email templates.

    Dave  Reply

    I actually noticed that in the very first example (one of Bryan’s), he writes “video’s” instead of “videos” when he’s clearly talking plural, not possessive.

    Hate to say it, but that’s the sort of thing that’s an instant turn-off for me when I get a cold email (sometimes even a non-cold one). When you can’t write about the very thing you’re selling in proper syntax, it makes me wonder just how much of an “expert” you could possibly be!

    I have read some articles that suggest the occasional (deliberate) misspelling can be used to convey a sense of a cold email being “genuine” rather than mass/bulk-emailed, and written personally from the sender. An example might be writing “I’m hoping we cna find a time to talk later this week” (cna instead of can). But it’s important to make sure, if doing something like that, that it reads clearly as a typing error and not ignorance/lack of writing skill!

    (I’m also not entirely convinced of this tactic, because seriously, who doesn’t have spellcheck?)

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Hey Dave, thanks for the shout. I have been on the fence lately with spelling mistakes in emails. Personally I don’t like to see it either. On the other side I have used them much like you suggest in your example and they have helped me get more responses. It also depends what type of outreach you’re doing, if it’s marketing and PR based the tolerance to spelling mistakes might be a bit different from sales outreach. What type of outreach are you doing?

    Janja Jovanovic  Reply

    Hi Dmitry, this is a very useful article. Thank you! I just created one cold email. What do you think?

    Subject: Valuable content for [name of the site]

    Hi Daniel,

    I love reading your sales blog posts on xxx site and think you’re providing awesome information that truly helps. Keep up the good work!

    My name is Janja and I am an online marketer specialized in content writing. Since I am currently a member of the https://platformax.com CRM team, I do a lot of research and writing on different topics related to business and sales.

    I was wondering if you would be interested in me writing a guest post for your blog?

    I would be happy to write for you on topics such as sales, management, marketing, team organization etc.

    Don’t worry, my guest posts are >1k words, fresh, unique, not keyword overstuffed and above all, they don’t have any toxic links.

    In the meantime, you can check one of my blog posts – Five underhand tactics that buyers play on you (linked)

    Please let me know whether content like this would be something you’d like to see on your blog.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you!

    Best Regards,
    Janja Jovanovic
    [contact information]

    Ashok Kumar Kammara  Reply

    Hey Dmitry, your content is a joy to read. Great insights into how to write cold emails to generate leads. Keep up your awesome work!

    Arnav Khanridoy  Reply

    Thanks for showing us how to properly write down cold email templates. This so useful.

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      You’re welcome, happy to help. Send over any questions as you modify and try some of these templates out.

    jio mobile  Reply

    Hate to say it, but that’s the sort of thing that’s an instant turn-off for me when I get a cold email (sometimes even a non-cold one). When you can’t write about the very thing you’re selling in proper syntax, it makes me wonder just how much of an “expert” you could possibly be!

    I have read some articles that suggest the occasional (deliberate) misspelling can be used to convey a sense of a cold email being “genuine” rather than mass/bulk-emailed, and written personally from the sender. An example might be writing “I’m hoping we cna find a time to talk later this week” (cna instead of can). But it’s important to make sure, if doing something like that, that it reads clearly as a typing error and not ignorance/lack of writing skill!

    nik  Reply

    Remail, for me, is simply the best at what they do. I have tried probably 4 other softwares to see if they can keep out with Remail and I always come back to Remail because I know I can rely on them

      Dmitry Dragilev  Reply

      Yea, I used to use them a while back, need to take a look at them again. Thanks for the tip.

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