How to write the perfect cold email – 4 step tutorial


The modern inbox is a noisy and fiercely competitive place. Our sales experts break down how to write a cold email into four digestible parts.

The modern inbox is a noisy and fiercely competitive place. However, whether you are a consulting agency or an international B2B sales company, cold emails are often necessary in day-to-day operations.

Cold emails are a useful and effective strategy to reach out to and connect with potential customers. Yes, they require time and effort to write well, but you can reap some impressive results once you know how to do it right.

In this blog, our sales experts divulge why you should adopt this tried and true method and will break down a cold email into four digestible parts. Don’t have time to read our step-by-step guide? Check out our cold email templates that will help you boost your response rates immediately. But first, let’s start with the basics.

Why use cold emails?

When devising a marketing strategy, you will most likely include outbound marketing techniques meant to break the ice and start a dialogue. Cold emails—named this way because this is the first time someone hears about you or from you—are one way of doing that. It’s a tactic meant to start and maintain business relationships. It’s a way of kickstarting a conversation with someone that knows little about your organisation. Such as companies who visit your website but take no action and fill in no contact form.

The goal is to learn if a lead is the right fit for your product or service, not to close a deal. But for cold emailing to be an effective channel, you will need to craft a compelling email that turns your prospects into warm leads.

Consider your subject line

Your subject line is one of the most important components of your cold email as it’s the only element which is visible to the recipient before they open your email. A strong subject line catches a user’s attention and should give the reader an idea of what the email is about. A poorly written one will lead to your email not being opened or worse, marked as spam.

So to craft a compelling subject line, keep it short (five to seven words), intrigue the recipient while describing the purpose of your emails and add a touch of personalisation to it. Here are a few good examples:

  • Helping your [department] team accomplish X
  • [Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch
  • 10x [prospect’s company]’s traction in 10 minutes
  • Feeling [insert emotion]? Let me help

Write an engaging introduction

Once the prospect has opened your email, you have about five seconds to tell them why you are reaching out and persuade them to keep reading further.

Now, many of us use this space to talk about ourselves, our company and our services. But this paves the way for your email to end up in the trash. Instead, consider the purpose of your email and include aspects your prospects care about—something about themselves, their company, their problems, or a solution to their problems—to get them reading further.

You can touch upon any of these aspects by asking a question, mentioning a mutual connection or referral, complimenting recent work or publication, or acknowledging their pain point. For example:

  • I just ran across your website and noticed you were using [your competitor’s product]. How do you like it?
  • I work a lot with [your targeted industry], I noticed that [company name] recently [company action/achievement]. Congratulations!
  • Do you have 10 minutes to talk about how to grow [company name] fast? I have an idea that has already helped [examples of other companies/competitors] double their traffic to their website.
  • I work with dozens of [industry] companies that struggle to generate enough targeted leads for their sales teams. Do you ever have that problem at [Company Name]?
  • My name is [name], and I wanted to reach out to see if you would be interested in joining our upcoming webinar on [topic].

Depending on your reason for reaching out, your data about the company’s browsing patterns and your target audience’s interests, you will use a different introduction. These all have in common that they show that you’ve done your research and care about the recipient and their company, rather than going straight for a sale.

Add some value to your pitch

Once you’ve written an introduction, it’s time to tell the reader how you can help them, i.e. what you want from them. However, remember, this is still not about you. You are a stranger in this person’s inbox.

So rather than sending a standard sales pitch, put your recipient at the centre of your email. Provide them with value, offer them a solution and showcase how your product or service can improve their life. Personalise your email to fit the individual, company or position you are reaching out to. Use storytelling to express to the reader:

  • Their problem or challenge and how you can help them.
  • How they specifically will benefit from your solution.
  • How you are different from your competitors.
  • Offer social proof if possible and appropriate.

This demonstrates your understanding of the prospect’s company and how they can improve on one aspect of their business by implementing a solution—which you just happen to offer.

End your email with a Call To Action (CTA)

You’re almost done writing your email. You just need to include a CTA that will guide the recipient towards the action you want them to take. It may be booking a demo, giving you feedback, or simply replying to you. Whatever your objective is, make it easy for your lead to do what you’re asking of them.

When brainstorming the ideal CTA, keep it short and to the point. Ultimately, your CTA should aim to clarify your email in a single sentence. For example:

  • Can we jump into a call this Friday at 10 AM  to discuss how we can help you generate more qualified leads?
  • Would you be available for a 10-minute phone chat next week?
  • Who would you recommend I speak with to take this forward?

Optionally, you can incorporate a CTA into your email signature, giving your cold email a personal touch and making it less pushy.

Create cold emails people want to open

Cold emails are still a highly relevant and powerful prospecting channel that can help fill your sales pipeline.

The secret to writing powerful cold emails is prioritising the reader. From the subject line to the email body and CTA, tailor your email to demonstrate that you care about the person, their business and their success.

By reaching out to users, such as website visitors who have taken no action, you can initiate new business relationships and get more new hot leads for your company.

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