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How do you Cold Email Effectively?

by Michael Hellerman

How do you Cold Email Effectively?

One hundred years ago you had to turn up on someone’s doorstep to kick-start the sales cycle. The telephone and the era of cold calling changed that. With the telephone you could reach out to more people and only visit those interested in your product. This is now the era of the cold email. It’s even more efficient than the cold telephone call. But how do you cold email effectively?


The question is important because of how easy and effective it is to do. Just look at your own inbox for proof. You probably get several sales emails every day. They don’t cost the sender much to send, and they obviously work, or else they wouldn’t do it.


So the question isn’t whether you should cold email. Rather ask yourself: how do you email to get the best possible result?


Before you begin


Before you start cold emailing you will need a list of people to contact. This means you have to know the type of people who could potentially become your customers. Knowing this means you won’t waste time emailing and following up with people who are unlikely to buy from you.


Then you need to put your list together. This should include as much information as possible, but at the very least you should know the full name of the person, their email address, and their position in the company. The more personalized you can make your emails, the greater success you will achieve. And you can’t personalize an email if you don’t know the person’s name.




The temptation when cold emailing is to write a generic template, personalize it with the individual names on your list, and then blast that out to as many people as possible. This might get sales, depending on your product and industry. But it is not recommended. It’s the status quo approach. And you’re better than status quo (if you’re reading this). You’ll get a much better return if you research the customer and then write a personal email.


This takes more time. But remember the person that you are emailing is busy. Checking and dealing with emails is a “to-do” in their busy day. They are not waiting for your email to magically appear in their inbox. Instead, they view your message as an intrusion – and something that needs to get filed or deleted as quickly as possible. Your email is easy to skip or trash if you do not make it relevant to their business.


The email


Now it is time to write the email. You should keep it short, talk about the prospect and their business, and include a call to action. It could look something like this:


  1. Greeting – Hello name
  2. One sentence explaining why you’re emailing (“we met at the conference”; or “I saw on your Twitter feed”; or “I was reading on your website” etc).
  3. Tell them something good about themselves or their business, again in one sentence.
  4. Give your pitch – show you know their problem and explain how you can solve it. Do this in two to three sentences.
  5. Call to action – make it simple by giving them one choice that takes one sentence to explain.
  6. Close – thank them and give your full contact details.


If you follow this template your email will be six to seven sentences long, or two to three short paragraphs. It will be about the prospect, but it will tell them how you can solve a problem for them. Plus they will know exactly what they should do next.


Now you can send.


After you send


Your prospect will:


  • Not read your email
  • Read it and discard it
  • Read it and forward it to someone else
  • Take the action you asked them to take


If they do anything other than the final option you will have to follow-up with another email. When you do this remain friendly and try different times of the week and / or day to send your email.
Finally, you have to test all of this constantly. The only way you will know if your wording, subject lines, offering, or follow-up strategy is working is to test. The methods of communication have changed over the years. But the process of sales (and testing your sales strategy) is still rooted in simplicity and relevance. Make sure this strategy is used.

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