Cold email marketing tips

Cold email is a way to start and maintain business relationships.

To get a better understanding of what it is, let’s think of how business relationships develop in the offline world. Usually, everything starts with a conversation…

Here’s one of the possible scenarios: a salesperson goes to an industry conference or trades to meet new customers. During the event, they look for opportunities to start a conversation. But their goal is not to pitch their offer or brag about their company. They want to break the ice and start a dialogue. They aim at learning more about their prospect’s business and building rapport with them.

Cold emailing has come a long way since it was first used in sales. Back in the old days, the sole purpose of a cold email was to pitch the offer. Usually one, generic message was sent to a large group of prospects without personalization or segmentation whatsoever.

Nowadays it’s all about building a relationship with a prospect. Cold email copy should be focused on the recipient, not your product or service. Put yourself in their shoes. From the very first email, a prospect should feel that you understand their business and the challenges it entails. Don’t jump to making the deal straight ahead. Instead, let your prospects tell you more about what they struggle with in their daily work. Then show them how these processes can be improved or done in a more efficient way.

Step 1: Edit the “from” line

It may come to you as a surprise that editing the “from” line is featured as a separate step here. We usually set it up for a new email address, and after this, we don’t pay much attention to it.

Still, the “from” line is as much a part of a cold email as the body, and that’s because it plays an important role. It shows the message recipients who exactly sent the email. It’s a part that affects their first impression. What follows is that they decide whether to open the message and read it or put it in the trash and forget it.

What are some possible forms of “from” line?

There are at least 5 possible forms of from line.

  1. First name(John)
    B. First name + Last name (John Smith)
    C. First name + Last name, Title (John Smith, Head of Marketing)
    D. First name + Company name (John at
    E. First name + Last name + Company name (John Smith at

Rules to follow while editing a “from” line:

  • be consistent– let it not diverge in tone and style from the rest of your email. If you use an informal tone throughout your email, maybe you can include the first name + company name, and you’ll be all set.
  • consider your prospect‘s perspective– what would you expect to see in your inbox if you were one of your prospects? What’s their average style of communication? Try to mimic it when writing your “from” line.
  • find your own line that fits your prospect‘s expectations– don’t follow blindly any advice you found on the web. Think for yourself. You’re the one who knows your prospects best and knows what they expect to see.
  • think who your prospects would be the keenest on talking to– be specific about that. Use that info to edit your “from” line.

Step 2: Write an intriguing subject line

A cold email subject line could be seen as the key that unlocks the door to our message. Our prospects form their first impression of us while reading the subject line. That’s why we need to make it a good one.

We can avoid such situations so long as we stick to those rules:

  • consider your prospect‘s point of view– think what kind of benefit your subject line promises to the prospect. What’s in it for them after opening your email? Does it answer their needs or appeals to their curiosity? Make it about them, not about you.
  • personalize it– again, the subject line isn’t the place for self-promotion. Quite the opposite, it’s the place where you should prove to the addressee that you carefully planned to contact them. You should assure them you’re not a spammer who sends myriads of identical emails to people and waits to see what sticks.
  • intrigue them– don’t spill the beans just yet. Pique their interest. Engage their attention by making them reflect on a problem they may have. Or try using a little bit of flattery to catch their attention.
  • sound human– you’re writing to a living and breathing human being, and thus, you shouldn’t turn into a bot. Avoid sounding ‘salesy’ or too formal. Your subject line should have a casual, friendly and natural flair to it. Unless you know how to achieve this, try imagining you’re addressing a specific person you know, for example, your colleague.
  • tie it to the rest of the email– this ties back to all the previous points. Whatever you put in your subject line, you should connect it with the rest of your message. By all means, don’t fall for a clickbait strategy in your subject line. You’ll only get on your prospects‘ nerves.

What are some good examples of cold email subject lines? 

The best ones we’ve come across  include:

  • {{FIRST_NAME}}}, there is a more efficient way to do X
  • I have an idea on how to improve your X
  • Have you thought about switching X?
  • Want to scale up X at {{COMPANY}}?

Step 3: Come up with a clever cold email introduction

Right after you persuade your addressee with the ‘from’ line and the subject to actually open your message, you’re halfway through. Now you’ve got 3 seconds to catch their attention and make them read further than the first two lines. And that’s why we need an intriguing introduction.

It’s difficult to start a cold email. What we tend to do is talk about ourselves and the company we work for. It may either be because we don’t know how to start or we desperately want to close the sale with our first email. That, however, paves the way for the email to end up in trash.

Step 4: Propose some value in your pitch

Here comes the part where you tell the message receiver what you want from them, or in other words, the so-called pitch.

So how to write a  good cold email pitch?

We know we should have a ready-made formula at hand that we’ll use whenever we talk about the product/service we offer. It should be spiced up with the benefits so that a potential buyer has a clear idea of what it is that we sell. However, that’s not the best approach when we write a cold email.

Avoid salesy pitch

In a B2B sales email, we have to be subtle with our pitch. We don’t write it to close one more sale. We write it to start a unique business relationship with a potential buyer. And that calls for a personal approach.

Step 5: End your cold email with a call-to-action

You’re almost done. You just need to write a call to action (CTA) that will persuade your prospects to do what you ultimately want them to do with your cold email. It may be scheduling a Skype conversation, giving you feedback, replying to you, etc. Anything you’re ready to take care of. Any action you ultimately want them to perform. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Step 6: Polish your cold email signature

And last but not least, the often and widely ignored signature. The signature is a fully-fledged part of our message and we cannot ignore it. It should tell our addressee who we are and where they can find more information about us and/or our company.

How to follow up on a cold email?

Even a perfectly written cold email may not be enough to hook your prospects. Sometimes they may miss your email or forget to reply to you. Or simply they won’t feel interested enough to set up a call with you. Don’t worry, though, this is a totally normal thing. That’s why you should always follow-up after getting no response.