The Ultimate Guide to Writing Cold Emails That Convert in 2023

Cold email can be an incredibly effective channel for starting relationships, sparking conversations, and driving conversions with qualified prospects. But only if done right!

In this comprehensive guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know to plan and execute cold email campaigns that engage recipients and get results in 2023.

You’ll learn research-backed best practices for optimizing your cold outreach, step-by-step guidance on strategy creation, and even industry-specific templates and examples to boost your response rates.

Master the art and science of effective cold email outreach with the actionable tips and expert advice contained in this playbook. Let’s dive in!

Page Contents

What is a Cold Email and Why Does it Matter?

Defining cold email

A cold email is an unsolicited email sent to someone you haven’t previously interacted with. It’s the digital version of a cold call, where you’re initiating contact with a potential lead or customer who doesn’t know you yet.

Unlike an email to your existing network or customer base, a cold email goes to recipients who have not opted in or requested information from you. You found their contact info during prospect research and are reaching out directly to share value, start a relationship, or pitch your product or service.

Some key characteristics of effective cold emails:

  • Personalized: Tailored specifically for the recipient based on research of their needs. Not a generic “blast” email.
  • Concise: Strong cold emails get to the point quickly and are typically 50-200 words.
  • Direct: They include a clear call to action, like scheduling a phone call.
  • Helpful: They aim to provide value to the recipient by solving a problem.

Well-crafted cold emails humanize digital communication and enable businesses to connect with prospective customers they otherwise wouldn’t reach.

How cold emailing has evolved

The origin of cold email dates back to the early days of the internet when marketers first started leveraging email for promotional purposes.

In the beginning, cold email was very rudimentary and spammy. Marketers would scrape email directories, purchase lists, or guess email formats to collect addresses. Then they’d blast identical impersonal emails by the thousands.

As inboxes became inundated with low-quality cold outreach, deliverability and response rates plummeted. Recipients grew desensitized to these disruptive tactics.

To adapt, the approach to cold emailing has evolved considerably:

  • Prospect research and list building are now more targeted. Leads are segmented and qualified.
  • Email copy and sequencing are hyper-personalized using mail merge and tracking data.
  • Warm up services help improve inbox placement and protect sender reputation.
  • Follow up cadences convert more leads through persistent, value-focused communication.

Today’s best cold email practices focus on the recipient’s needs, not the sender’s agenda. The result is mutually beneficial engagement powered by relevant, helpful conversations.

Benefits of cold email outreach

When executed strategically, cold email provides several advantages:

  • Low cost: Email is inexpensive compared to other lead gen options like paid ads or event marketing. The main costs are labor and automation tools.
  • Scalability: Once email copy, sequences, and workflows are optimized, they can be reused to contact thousands of prospects.
  • Measurability: Email analytics provide data like open, click, and reply rates to refine approaches.
  • Personalization: Individual messages can be tailored using merge tags, tracking data, and triggered sequences.
  • Speed: Automated follow-up emails move leads through sales funnels faster than manual outreach.
  • High ROI: Cold email consistently generates some of the highest ROI across digital marketing channels. According to Mailshake, cold email ROI can be as high as 42x.

When leveraged correctly as part of a multi-channel strategy, cold email is one of the most efficient ways to generate awareness, leads, and revenue.

Developing an Effective Cold Email Strategy

Succeeding with cold outreach requires much more than just blasting generic emails to any email address you can find. To generate leads and revenue, you need an intentional strategy.

Let’s explore the key elements that go into building an effective and results-driven cold email campaign.

Researching your target prospects

The first step is getting crystal clear on who you want to target. Avoid casting a wide net to the sea of random prospects. You’ll get better results focusing on your ideal customers.

Start by creating detailed buyer personas based on common traits and behaviors of your best existing customers. Look for patterns related to:

  • Firmographic data like company size, industry, location
  • Demographic data like job title, department, seniority
  • Psychographic data like challenges, priorities, goals
  • Technographic data like tech/tools used

Clearly defining your ideal customer profile allows you to tailor messaging to their specific needs during outreach.

You can expand your prospecting efforts as you fine-tune your cold email strategy for your A #1 perfect customer. Then replicate what works as you expand to secondary buyer personas.

Building a prospect list

Now that you know who you want to target, it’s time to build a targeted prospect list.

You essentially have 3 options for obtaining email addresses:

  1. Buy a list: Purchase pre-packaged lists of prospects from specialized lead gen companies or list brokers.
  2. Use tools to find them: Leverage chrome extensions or search tools to find emails one-by-one.
  3. Use an automated platform: Use lead gen software that can scrape and compile prospect info at scale.

The best approach depends on your budget, target market, and business model. If you have a sizable budget, buying a targeted, verifiable list often provides the best ROI.

For more bootstrapped teams, using automated tools or doing manual research on sites like LinkedIn offer affordable options. The tradeoff is time investment.

No matter which route you choose, verify the emails you obtain to maximize inbox placement. Use an email verification API or send test emails before launching full campaigns.

Setting clear goals for your campaign

Once your prospects are identified, get clear on what you want to accomplish with your outreach.

Having a specific purpose and KPIs in mind allows you to craft messaging that persuades prospects to take your desired action.

Common cold email campaign goals include:

  • Getting a reply: Your primary objective may simply be to start a conversation and have the prospect engage.
  • Booking a demo: For product companies, demos are often the intermediate step to making a sale.
  • Generating leads: Capture prospect contact information by driving visits to landing pages.
  • Making a sale: Some cold email campaigns aim to directly sell lower-priced products or services.
  • Building awareness: Establish your brand in the minds of prospects for future marketing.

Set benchmarks for success aligned to your goals. For example, you may aim for a 25% response rate or want to book 50 demos.

Having KPIs to monitor the performance of your cold email campaign enables optimization. You can double down on what’s working and refine what’s not.

Creating a process for writing and sending cold emails

With your goals defined, it’s time to map out your workflow for executing a campaign.

Your process should include steps for:

  • Crafting your emails
  • Setting up automation
  • Sending initial sequences
  • Managing replies
  • Follow-up cadences
  • Tracking results

Ideally, your process will maximize efficiency through automation. Writing hundreds of personalized emails manually is tedious work.

Leverage tools like Mailshake or Woodpecker to import prospects, create templates, set up merge fields, and automate follow-up sequences.

If budgets are tight, Gmass for Gmail or Mixmax offer free options to start automating campaigns directly within Gmail.

Map out the for writing effective emails covered in detail throughout this guide, like:

  • Drafting compelling subject lines
  • Writing concise, benefit-focused copy
  • Adding clear calls-to-action
  • Incorporating mail merge

Establish rules for yourself, like limiting emails to 3 follow-ups sent 3-4 days apart if no reply.

Documenting your process in a cold email style guide allows you to train other team members as your company scales.

Following up consistently yet strategically

According to studies by Salesfolk and HubSpot, following up with prospects can increase connect rates by over 200%.

But flooding prospects’ inboxes with spammy reminders can sabotage your efforts. Balance persistence with value in each follow-up.

  • Email #1: Provide value, ask for what you want
  • Email #2: Share additional value, reiterate ask
  • Email #3: Social proof, case study, or testimonial with ask

Follow ups should add value through new information, offers, or incentives to respond. Varying your content keeps conversations fresh.

Personalize follow-ups based on prospect activity and engagement. For example, if they opened but didn’t click a link, highlight that content again.

To maximize productivity, automate your follow-up sequences. But always manually review automated messages before they are sent to maintain quality.

With a clear cold email strategy focused on who you want to reach, goals to achieve, and processes to execute, you’ll be primed for cold email success.

Optimizing the Key Components of Your Cold Email

Now that we’ve covered strategy, let’s dive into optimizing the actual content of your cold emails for maximum impact.

There are several key components that make up an effective cold email. Master these building blocks, and you’ll engage more prospects.

Crafting compelling subject lines

Your subject line is the first impression your email makes on prospects. To get your message opened, you need to catch their attention.

An ideal cold email subject line:

  • Is personalized and relevant
  • Creates curiosity with questions or intrigue
  • Promises value related to a pain point
  • Is short, scannable, and compelling

Let’s break down some proven formulas for irresistible subject lines:

{Name}, curious about {pain point}?

Using the prospect’s first name personalizes the subject line, while mentioning a common pain point they likely have creates instant relevance.


Hi John, struggling with lead generation?

{Industry insight} for {company name}

This subject line positions you as an industry expert providing valuable advice specifically to their company.


4 lead gen tactics excelling in the construction industry for ABC Builders

Quick fix for {problem}

Offering a solution for a problem prospects experience makes your subject line intriguing.


Quick fix for decreasing sales cycle length

What if you could {achieve metric}?

Presenting prospects with a hypothetical yet desirable outcome engages their imagination. Use a relevant metric for their role.


What if you could decrease client acquisition costs by 25%?

No matter which formula you use, compelling cold email subject lines spark interest and enjoyment by making prospects intrinsically want to open your email.

Writing strong opening lines

Your opening sentences must instantly convey value and relevance to prospects. Wasting their time right off the bat can tank your response rates.

Effective cold email opening lines:

  • Address the prospect directly by name
  • Establish common ground through a shared connection
  • Compliment a recent achievement
  • Sympathize with a known pain point
  • Refer to recent news related to their company
  • Request advice to flatter them

Pepper in personal details from social media or news sources to demonstrate you did your research. But avoid coming across as a creepy stalker.

The goal is to make a stellar first impression by proving this email was meant for them specifically.

Here are some opening line examples that work:

“Hi [first name], as a fellow marketer, I know the hassle of sourcing great content.”

“I saw your recent promotion to VP of Sales on LinkedIn. Huge congratulations!”

“As a startup founder myself, I know how hard it can be to acquire customers cost effectively.”

“I read your recent interview in Forbes about franchising. Impressive stuff!”

An relevant, personalized opening line sets the stage for prospects to be receptive to your value proposition and call-to-action.

Structuring your email pitch

The body of your cold email needs to quickly communicate how you can provide value. Focus this section on relevant benefits to the prospect.

An effective pitch should:

  • Name one of the prospect’s likely pain points
  • Explain the negative impacts of this problem
  • Position your solution as the ideal remedy
  • List 1-2 specific benefits the prospect would enjoy
  • Include a testimonial, statistic, or guarantee to build credibility
  • Use casual language and conversational tone

Avoid long-winded elaboration of your product’s features. Keep the focus on tangible outcomes for the prospect.

Here are two email pitch examples using the problem-agitate-solve-benefits framework:

Example #1

As a marketing manager, you probably struggle with generating enough qualified leads month after month. When your pipeline dries up, it makes hitting growth goals impossible.

Our proprietary prospect research automation eliminates wasted time sourcing and verifies lead quality upfront. So you can focus on closing deals, not hunting for prospects.

Our clients typically experience a 2X increase in sales appointments after just 3 months.

Example #2

Running a successful e-commerce site requires juggling a million things at once. I’m sure downtime and website errors give you major headaches.

When your site goes down, you lose sales plus customer trust and loyalty. Website crashes can seriously jeopardize your entire business.

Our web monitoring detects 99.9% of issues before customers notice them. We even provide 24/7 emergency support from digital marketing veterans.

You’ll never have to panic about your website again thanks to our 100% uptime guarantee.

After your value prop, end your pitch by addressing any potential concerns the prospect may have about working with you, a new company.

Ending with a clear CTA

Without a solid call-to-action (CTA), even the most compelling cold emails see dismal conversion rates. Explicitly telling prospects what to do next is crucial.

Effective CTAs:

  • Are concise, direct statements rather than vague questions
  • Include a sense of urgency with time-bound offers
  • Suggest next steps that advance the prospect relationship
  • Offer multiple options to remove friction
  • Use action verbs that drive momentum

To maximize responses, ask for a small commitment upfront, like a quick phone call or demo.

Here are some cold email CTA examples that work:

“Book a free 30 minute consultation this week to discuss how we can help.”

“Let’s jump on a 15 minute call on Mon or Weds to explore working together.”

“Click below to see a live demo and get 1 month free with annual plans:”

“See for yourself. Try our platform for 14 days, no credit card required:”

With a solid call to action, prospects know exactly how to engage with you next.

Incorporating a professional signature

Don’t neglect your email signature. This element enables prospects to learn more about you with a simple click.

Elements to include:

  • Your name and contact info
  • Company name and website
  • Job title or department
  • Link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Relevant resources like case studies or testimonials

Keep design elements like images and logos simple to avoid getting flagged as spam.

Signatures also reinforce brand awareness and credibility with each cold email you send.

Prospects will appreciate having your contact information readily available to take the next step.

Keeping your email concise yet personalized

With flooded inboxes, cold emails must be scannable yet compelling. But personalization typically requires more length.

To balance brevity and personalization:

  • Front-load relevance with personalized subject line and opening
  • State value clearly within 2-3 concise paragraphs
  • Elaborate on value specifically for the prospect in 1-2 more detailed paragraphs
  • Use personal details, statistics, testimonials related to prospect
  • Include merge fields to reference prospect company, role, etc.
  • Break up text with bullet points or bold formatting

The sweet spot for cold emails tends to be around 150-200 words. But if each sentence resonates specifically with the recipient, you can push that word count higher.

With these optimized components working together seamlessly, your cold emails will captivate and convert.

Avoiding Common Cold Email Mistakes

It’s not enough to just know what you should do when cold emailing. You also need to avoid common pitfalls that sabotage deliverability, engagement, and response rates.

Let’s explore some frequent errors people make so you can proactively prevent them.

Sending overly salesy or promotional emails

The #1 fastest way to get your cold email instantly deleted is making it too salesy. Avoid aggressive selling language, flashy offers, and excessive promotion.


Because prospects don’t know you yet. So if your very first interaction is pushy about pricing and products, you’ll trigger skepticism instead of interest.

Focus your cold email on providing value, not making a sale. Build trust and rapport first through helpful information and pleasant conversation.

Save the sales pitch for after prospects opt-in by scheduling a call or requesting a demo. Don’t try to push it on them prematurely.

Here are signs your email may be too sales focused:

  • All caps, excessive exclamation points, urgent demands
  • Cheesy sales lingo like “Act now!” or “Buy today!”
  • Too many mentions of your product/service unprompted
  • Mainly talking about discounts or limited-time specials
  • Little personalization or relevance to the prospect’s needs

Shift your perspective from trying to sell to aiming to serve. Provide useful tips, actionable advice, or an intriguing viewpoint.

If you establish value upfront through education, recipients will sell themselves once they experience what you offer.

Having vague or irrelevant subject lines

Prospects receive dozens to hundreds of emails per day. So if your subject line seems generic, they’ll simply skip over it.

Subject lines must create instant relevance and make it abundantly clear your message merits attention.

Avoid vague phrases that could apply to anyone, like:

  • Partnership Opportunity
  • Just Checking In
  • Follow Up
  • Quick Question

Instead, make the subject line hyper-specific to intrigue recipients. Reference details like:

  • Their first name
  • Their company or role
  • Industry news they’d care about
  • A known pain point they likely have

Without personalized and compelling subject lines, even the best cold email copy never sees the light of day. So carefully craft this critical component.

Making your email too long or wordy

With back-to-back meetings, phone calls, and other obligations, professionals have minimal time to read emails.

That’s why concise cold emails consistently outperform lengthy ones.

According to research by HubSpot, the ideal cold email length is 50-125 words. Beyond that, response rates start plummeting.

Review your email and cut any fluff or unnecessary elaboration. Here are signs you need to tighten up your wording:

  • Giant blocks of text without paragraph breaks
  • Overly wordy sentences that meander
  • Cramming multiple points into one paragraph
  • Using three examples when one would suffice
  • Repeating the same point multiple times
  • Writing more than you would in a real conversation

Stick to two to three concise paragraphs with one main idea each to retain reader attention.

Failing to personalize for each recipient

Personalization is perhaps the most important ingredient for cold email success. When you can demonstrate this isn’t a generic blast, but a message crafted specifically for them, you generate engagement.

But it can be tempting to take shortcuts, reuse the same message, or only insert the prospect’s first name and call it a day.

Don’t give into that urge if you want results. Personalization requires tailoring each email to resonate with the recipient’s individual situation.

Elements you can customize include:

  • Subject line with their name and company details
  • Opening that refers to a recent event or achievement
  • Their specific pain points based on research
  • Benefits aligned to goals implied by their role
  • A case study from a company in their industry
  • Call-to-action offering times that work based on time zone

Personalize every aspect of your email to prove you did your homework on the prospect as an individual. Anything less comes across as mass blasting.

Neglecting to add a clear call-to-action

Imagine you receive an intriguing cold email that piques your interest but gives you no direction on what to do next. Frustrating, right?

Without a clear call-to-action, even recipients who want to engage with you have no obvious path forward. Don’t leave them hanging.

Explicitly tell your prospects the next step you want them to take, like:

  • Click a link to access a free trial
  • Reply to schedule a quick phone call
  • Book a meeting during your open calendar slots
  • Fill out a lead capture form on your website
  • Check out a case study or sample content

Calls-to-action should use action verbs and provide specifics on the desired next interaction.

Don’t assume prospects will naturally take action on their own. Spoon feed it to make the moment of conversion effortless.

Not following up consistently

You wouldn’t give up asking someone out after one try, right? Treat cold email similarly. One message is just the beginning.

According to Salesfolk, 80% of sales require a minimum of 5 follow-up attempts. So set expectations upfront that this won’t be the last prospect hears from you.

To maximize responses, send 2-4 email follow-ups to non-responders on a consistent cadence.

Time your messages 2-5 days apart, depending on the lead’s typical sales cycle length.

With each follow-up, offer new value through:

  • Industry insight or trend analysis
  • A relevant blog post, ebook, or template
  • Product updates or new feature announcements
  • Client case studies and success stories
  • Limited-time special offers or discounts

The key is adding value and incentive, not simply repeating yourself. Demonstrate you’re focused on assisting, not annoying them.

Following up persistently, but politely, proves you’re serious about creating mutual benefit for the relationship.

Leveraging Technology to Optimize Your Cold Emails

Executing a manually intensive cold email campaign across hundreds or thousands of prospects is incredibly laborious.

Luckily, technology can automate the busywork for you allowing you to focus on strategy.

Let’s explore some of the ways software and tools can enhance your cold outreach and free up more selling time.

Using email warming services

Sending a campaign to a brand new domain or email address is risky. With no reputation yet established, your emails are highly likely to get spammed or blocked.

That’s where professional email warming services come in. They gradually build sender authority on your behalf to improve deliverability before your launch.

Here’s how warming works:

  1. You provide the new sending domain or address to be warmed.
  2. The service sends volumes of legitimate emails from it to vetted inboxes.
  3. As the address establishes good sender reputation, your emails increasingly land in inboxes.
  4. After the warming period, your domain or address is ready for your cold email blast.

Look for warming services that offer a dedicated IP address, customized warming schedule, and deliverability consulting.

Warming is ideal preparing any new domain, sender address, or account to achieve optimal inbox placement.

Incorporating email tracking and analytics

How do you know what’s working if you can’t measure your cold email performance?

Email tracking and analytics provide the data you need to continually refine and improve your campaigns.

Here are key metrics to monitor:

  • Open rate – Percentage of people who opened your email
  • Click rate – Percentage who clicked links within your email
  • Reply rate – Percentage who responded
  • Unsubscribe rate – Percentage who opted out from your list
  • Bounce rate – Percentage of emails that bounced back or failed

Segment data by factors like subject line, sender, time/day, follow sequence, or audience trait to uncover optimization opportunities.

Tools like Mailshake allow you to run detailed reports to pinpoint strengths to double down on and weaknesses to improve.

Testing different approaches with A/B testing

Take guesswork out of your optimization efforts with A/B testing.

A/B testing allows you to isolate variables and determine which version of each performs best by sending slight email variations to smaller groups.

Elements commonly tested include:

  • Subject lines
  • Sender name
  • Opening & introduction
  • Message length
  • Call-to-action

To run a test:

  1. Identify the element you want to experiment with.
  2. Create two versions of that element.
  3. Send Version A to 50% of your list and Version B to the other 50%.
  4. Check which version had better open, click, and reply rates.
  5. Winner becomes your new standard; loser gets scrapped.

Repeat this process testing other components until you’ve fine-tuned your entire email for maximum effectiveness.

Automating follow-up emails

We know that most opportunities require multiple touch points and follow-ups.

But coordinating timely, personalized follow-up sequences manually is incredibly labor intensive.

That’s where email automation platforms come in. They allow you to:

  • Instantly turn around mass personalized responses
  • Schedule and batch future messages upfront
  • Trigger customized follow-up workflows
  • Integrate with your CRM and other business software
  • Handle unsubscribes and bounces automatically

This eliminates hours of manual busywork freeing up your time for higher value sales activities.

With automation, you can send hundreds of sequenced messages that feel custom.

Integrating with your existing sales tech stack

Chances are your team already uses tools like:

  • A CRM to store prospect data
  • Email services to build lists and manage campaigns
  • Call, text, or live chat messaging to communicate

Look for cold email tools that integrate or sync with these other platforms for maximum efficiency.

Bi-directional integrations allow you to:

  • Create campaigns directly in your CRM
  • Log email data back into your CRM
  • Access additional data to personalize outreach
  • Use alternate channels like calls or texts to follow up

Connecting your tech stack into an all-in-one solution minimizes busywork by centralizing data and workflows.

Leveraging the right supporting technologies supercharges the effectiveness of your cold email strategy and execution. Don’t do it the hard way through spreadsheets and individual emails. The software available today provides all the capabilities you need to reach peak performance and spend more time selling.

Putting It All Together – A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve covered all the elements that make up an effective cold email campaign, let’s walk through how to pull it all together into a complete strategy.

Follow this step-by-step guide to plan and execute a results-driven cold email outreach campaign from start to finish.

Research and build your prospect list

Lay the groundwork for success by carefully selecting and qualifying your targets.

Start by developing detailed buyer personas based on existing high-value customers with common traits and behaviors.

Then conduct thorough research online and through tools like Lusha or ZoomInfo to build a targeted prospect list that fits your ideal customer profile.

Take the time to verify each email address and clean your list of bounced, invalid, or duplicate entries which can sabotage deliverability.

Segment your prospects by factors like company, industry, role, lead score, or customer lifecycle stage to tailor your messaging and cadence.

Investing upfront in curating a hyper-targeted and verified contact list ensures your cold emails reach the inboxes of qualified, prime prospects first.

Craft your email templates

With your list ready, turn your attention to crafting optimized email copy that converts.

Start by developing 2-3 base templates that align to your major prospect categories, offer variations, or outreach goals.

Build each template following the cold email best practices covered in this guide, focusing on value, relevance, brevity, and clarity.

Carefully hone compelling subject lines, strong openings, benefit-rich pitches, and clear calls-to-action tailored to each template and audience.

Use mail merge tags to easily customize and scale your templates for personalization while maintaining consistency.

Test your templates on friendly prospects and refine based on feedback before full launch.

Invest time perfecting your email content, and it will pay dividends through higher engagement and response rates when you begin sending at scale.

Set up your sending cadence

With templates completed, map out the flow and timing for sending your initial and automated follow-up emails.

First, configure any email warming requirements to maximize deliverability for new domains or addresses.

Next, determine your initial daily sending volume and frequency based on recipient tolerance and sender reputation limits.

Typically, start by blasting no more than 50-100 cold emails per domain per day and assess inbox placement before increasing.

Then set up your follow-up sequences to automatically send at ideal intervals. Most common is 2-3 follow-ups 2-4 days apart.

Use email analytics to identify and optimize the best sending days and times according to your audience’s unique engagement rhythm.

Finally, integrate your cold email tool with your CRM and ensure necessary data flows back and forth.

With your detailed sending cadence established, you’re ready to launch effective campaigns at scale.

Send initial emails and automated follow-ups

Now the fun part begins – it’s time to put your strategy into action.

Segment your verified contact list into appropriately sized batches for any A/B testing or controlled sending sequences.

Activate your first batch, sit back, and monitor the data to assess open, click-through, reply, and unsubscribe rates.

Use insights from your early results to modify any elements underperforming before sending subsequent batches.

Continue iterating and expanding your outreach in controlled increments until you’ve contacted your entire list.

Let automation handle sending timely, relevant follow-up emails to non-responders to boost conversions.

Reply promptly, cheerfully, and helpfully to prospect responses to accelerate building relationships with warm leads.

Track results and iterate

Diligently measure performance at every stage using key metrics like open, reply, click-through, and unsubscribe rates.

Run regular campaign reports to detect trends, uncover conversion bottlenecks, and identify areas for refinement.

Test new subject lines, email copy, and follow-up offers through A/B experiments to further optimize based on data.

Monitor social and other channels to gauge brand sentiment and buzz generated from your campaigns.

Regularly update your buyer personas and contact list as you segment most engaged prospects for prioritization.

Use insights gained to strengthen future campaigns and personalize outreach for maximum impact.

Refine, refine, refine – successful cold emailing is an iterative process, not a one-time effort.

With this comprehensive step-by-step framework guiding your efforts, you have the blueprint to executing high-converting cold email campaigns that drive results.

Cold Email Templates and Examples by Industry

While all effective cold emails share common ingredients, messaging should be tailored to resonate with prospects based on their specific industry.

Let’s look at template examples optimized for several major industries.

Information Technology

Subject: Tired of siloed client data, Hannah?

Hi Hannah,

As a customer success manager, I know firsthand how hard it is to get a unified view of your clients’ full history and engagement across teams when data is fragmented in separate platforms and spreadsheets.

This constant swiveling between various systems eats up your day leaving less time for proactive outreach to at-risk accounts and strategic retention initiatives.

Our customer data platform automatically aggregates all client information into unified profiles accessible to your whole team in one place.

You save at least 5 hours per week that can be reallocated to enhancing customer experiences. And with full visibility, you identify upsell opportunities early and retain 20% more revenue each quarter.

Let’s hop on a quick 15 minute call to see if our platform is a fit to solve your client data woes. I’ve got time available on Tues at 2pm or Weds at 11am.

Looking forward to connecting!

Melanie Clark
VP of Sales, Unumify
(555) 555-1234
[email protected]

Financial Services

Subject: Idea for reducing new client onboarding time Amy

Hi Amy,

As an operations manager at a rapidly scaling financial planning firm, I imagine you need ways to trim the time it takes to onboard each new client without sacrificing compliance or accuracy.

Slow, inefficient client onboarding bogs down your whole team, decreases advisor productivity, and leaves new clients frustrated.

Our automated onboarding and documentation software was created specifically for wealth management firms like yours. It includes:

  • Digital document collection and e-signatures
  • Streamlined compliance workflows
  • Auto-population of client data
  • Real-time progress tracking

We typically reduce onboarding time from a 20+ hour headache to less than 10 hours of smooth sailing.

Got 20 minutes to jump on a Zoom demo later this week to check it out?


[Your name]
[Your company]


Subject: Hello Emily, are you looking for ways to go paperless?

Hi Emily,

Making the transition from paper to digital workflows is a massive undertaking for large hospital networks like yours. But as you already know, it’s also an essential step to reduce healthcare costs and medical errors that creep in through outdated manual processes.

At HealthcareTech, we’re on a mission to convert every healthcare facility into a model for digital process efficiency. Our proven step-by-step framework has helped organizations increase digital adoption by 87% within 6 months.

I’d love to learn about your specific digital transition roadblocks and walk through how we can help you finally ditch the paper for good.

Let me know if you have 20-30 minutes for a quick call on Tues or Thurs this week. I look forward to connecting!

[Your name]
[Your company]


Subject: Quick question about hybrid learning models

Hi Molly,

I hope this email finds you well! My name is [your name], and I am a fellow educator working to empower faculty as they adapt to increasingly hybrid class formats blending in-person and remote instruction.

At [company name], we partner with universities to build flexible digital learning platforms tailored to modern pedagogy and delivering high-impact learning experiences for hybrid environments.

With many students still opting to learn remotely, I imagine that designing an inclusive experience across both physical and virtual classrooms poses many challenges.

I’d love to learn more about your hybrid learning rollout and collaborate on potential technology solutions to support your faculty and students through this transition. Do you have 20-30 mins this week for a quick call?

Looking forward to hopefully connecting soon!

[Your name]


Subject: Interested in optimizing your supply chain John?

Hi John,

I hope you’re having a great week! This is [your name] from [company name]. I wanted to reach out because I know unpredictable disruptions over the past two years have caused immense strain on supply chains and generated immense waste and losses for manufacturers like yours.

We work with leading manufacturers to build transparent, agile supply chains leveraging predictive analytics and blockchain to maximize efficiency.

By connecting all entities in your production ecosystem, we empower businesses to:

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I’d love to learn more about your supply chain operations and explore whether our solutions may be a fit to drive optimization. Are you free for a 15 minute intro call later this week?

I look forward to your reply!

[Your name]
[Your company]


Subject: One easy way to increase ecommerce conversion rates?

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[Your name]
[Your company]

FAQs About Cold Email Outreach

Let’s wrap up this complete guide by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about maximizing the effectiveness of your cold email efforts.

What is the ideal length for a cold email?

When it comes to cold emails, shorter is almost always better. According to data from HubSpot, the ideal length is 50-125 words.

Prospects are busy and inundated with hundreds of emails per day. You want to quickly grab their attention, succinctly communicate your value, and prompt a specific call-to-action.

If you have a highly tailored message with deep personalization, you can stretch the word count a bit longer. But it’s tough to keep recipients engaged for more than 150-200 words max as a cold sender.

Save any elaborate details for after you’ve scheduled a call and have permission to send more info. Don’t overwhelm cold prospects who don’t know you yet with dense blocks of copy.

How often should you follow up?

Following up is critical in cold outreach since most prospects won’t respond to your initial email right away. According to data from Salesfolk, it takes an average of 6 follow-up emails to get a response.

As a rule of thumb, you should send 2-4 email follow-ups spaced 2-4 days apart. Any more than that and you risk annoyance. Any less and you may give up too quickly.

The optimal cadence depends on your industry norms. Test to see if following up more rapidly or slowly improves your response rates.

Also, vary your message and offer with each follow-up to provide new value. Aim to nurture leads by building trust and credibility over time.

What is the best day and time to send cold emails?

Most studies indicate Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the best days for cold email, with open and reply rates dropping on Mondays and Fridays.

As for time, you typically want to hit inboxes early morning, like 8-10 AM, when people are sipping coffee and getting into work mode. However, inbox traffic peaks then, so a late morning or early afternoon lull can also work.

Again, testing different days and times yourself is the best way to determine the optimal cold email sending schedule. Consider the work habits of your specific audience as well.

For example, late night may work well for contacting busy executives who check email after normal business hours.

How can I make my cold emails more personal?

Personalization is key to boosting cold email effectiveness. Here are some tips:

  • Research prospects to reference recent news, achievements, or interests
  • Use their name, company, role throughout the email copy
  • Mention common connections you share
  • Note previous conversations or meetings you had
  • Include personal offers like exclusive content access
  • Segment and tailor emails by location, firmographic data, lead score
  • Follow up with references to previous emails in the same thread
  • Craft targeted subject lines using data points unique to them
  • Automate mail merge to reference prospect details
  • Set up hyper-personalized triggered email sequences

Every email you send should feel like it was written specifically for the individual recipient. Personalization shows you put in effort just for them.

What open and reply rates are good for cold email?

It varies based on factors like your industry, offer, and audience. But according to Mailshake research, the average open rate is around 20-25%, with a reply rate between 2-5%.

Benchmarks to aim for:

  • Open rate goal: At least 20%
  • Click rate target: Around 3%
  • Reply rate goal: 2%+
  • Overall conversion rate goal: 0.5%+

Test and optimize your campaigns to inch each metric upward until you surpass industry averages.

Tools like Mailshake and Woodpecker make it easy to run detailed reports to analyze your performance against benchmarks.

Keep in mind, less is more when you first start out. Don’t overdo it. Slowly ramp up your outreach as you refine your approach and build sender reputation.

Key Takeaways

Cold email outreach is one of the most effective ways to spark new relationships with qualified prospects and convert leads into sales.

Here are the key takeaways to maximize the impact of your cold email campaigns:

  • Clearly define your goals and ideal customer profile upfront to focus your efforts on prime targets. Research thoroughly to build hyper-targeted prospect lists.
  • Personalize every aspect of your emails, from the subject line all the way through your signature. Use data points and language tailored to each recipient.
  • Craft compelling subject lines that grab attention, convey value, and use the prospect’s name or company to establish relevance.
  • Write concisely, highlight prospect pain points, focus on benefits, and include a strong call-to-action.
  • Avoid common mistakes like aggressive sales language, spammy offers, and neglecting to follow up repeatedly.
  • Leverage technology like email warming, tracking, automation, and A/B testing to optimize and scale your campaigns.
  • Continually refine your outreach strategy based on measured results so you can improve over time.

With careful audience research, hyper-personalized messaging, and persistence combined with value in following up, your cold email efforts will deliver impressive ROI.

Apply the tips in this guide, and you’ll be on your way to mastering this vital outreach channel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s review answers to some of the most common questions around building and executing effective cold email campaigns.

Q: What is the best day and time to send cold emails?

A: Most data indicates Tuesday-Thursday are the optimal days, while mornings around 8-10 AM tend to have the highest open and reply rates before engagement drops off later in the day. However, test different days/times with your audience.

Q: How long should a cold email be?

A: Concise is best. Keep emails under 200 words. The ideal length is 50-125 words. Prospects won’t read long blocks of text from an unknown sender.

Q: How many follow-up emails should you send?

A: Send 2-4 follow-up emails spaced a few days apart until you get a reply. Too many is annoying, but additional value-focused touches show persistence.

Q: What open and reply rates are good?

A: Shoot for 20%+ open rate, 2%+ reply rate as a baseline. Tools like Mailshake provide benchmarks to measure your performance.

Q: How do you get past spam filters?

A: Use email warming prior to campaigns, avoid spam trigger words, and slowly ramp up volume as you establish sender reputation.

Q: How do you write a cold email?

A: Follow best practices like personalization, compelling subject line, concise copy focused on value, clear call-to-action, and consistent follow-ups.

Q: How do you build an email list for cold outreach?

A: Use lead generation tools and manual research to build targeted prospect lists. Verify emails and segment your list to customize messaging.

Q: What tools can you use to automate cold email?

A: Leverage dedicated platforms like Mailshake, Woodpecker, or Lemlist to automate personalized campaigns and follow-ups at scale.