How to Write Cold Emails That Get Responses: 6 Simple tips for cold emailing that actually work

Written By: Sara Gorry

You’re just starting out on your copywriting venture. Spending countless hours sitting behind your laptop. Working on portfolio pieces and getting your web copy just right. 

Now onto the next step –  getting clients. You know, the kind that aren’t related to you.

But the mere thought of cold emailing has stopped you dead in your tracks. Especially if you’re an introvert – reaching out to potential clients might be your worst nightmare. Right up there with public speaking and radioactive spiders.

If only clients would magically show up to your virtual doorstep on their own accord.

That would be nice.

You want to nail it – you want to send cold emails that get responses

But how do you do that when your mind is racing with self-sabotaging thoughts? What if they don’t respond? Or worse –– say no. 

What if they’re rude? 

What if they think my prices are too high? 

What if, what ifWHAT IF?

Well, what if I gave you tips on how to write cold emails that get responses? Tips for cold emailing that actually work. Proven methods that aren’t salesy, inauthentic, or make you feel icky.

If this has you singing “tell me more, tell me more,” well, keep on reading…

Before You Start Writing Your Cold Email

If you’ve delved into researching how many cold emails you should send per day, you might have experienced a case of shell-shock. Some marketing websites suggest sending out 200 cold emails a day. Excuse me, say what now? 200 emails per day? 1

Here, let me help you pick your jaw up off the floor.

No wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed.

This advice comes from the same people telling you to be sure not to go over 200, since your email account could be considered spam and then get shut down. But serving your clients shouldn’t be about spamming them…

This number is likely based on the idea the more emails you send, the more chances you’ll have at gaining clients. But when you start cranking out 200 generic emails daily you’ll find your response rate is incredibly low –– or nonexistent. Leaving you feeling defeated and exhausted.

You see, the problem with this method is you’re favoring QUANTITY over QUALITY –– not the other way around.

Don’t get me wrong, cold emailing is a numbers game. But if you’re sending out 200 generic emails to anyone with an email address, you’re wasting everyone’s time – especially yours.

Think of someone’s inbox as their front door. How would you feel if someone randomly showed up at your door and started talking about themselves and pitching a service right from the get-go?

You’d probably get annoyed, be dismissive, utter a few choice words, and tell them you’re not interested. And on a cranky day, maybe you just shut the door.

The same goes for cold emailing. Cold emails that get responses should be authentic and provide value.

This may be a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is people don’t care about you and your services. Not until you show them how it will help improve their lives and/or their businesses.

That’s the secret sauce to sending cold emails that get responses.

Know Your Goal and Your Value

Before you even put your fingers on the keyboard to start typing up your cold email pitch, take a few minutes to think about what you hope to get out of the email. 

What do you want to happen after you find the courage to click send?

  • A response?
  • A referral?
  • A discovery call?

This helps clarify your message and keep you on track.

Another crucial thing to remember when crafting cold emails – this is not about you or your business. This is about how your services provide value to them and their business.

So you need to know the value of your services and what you have to offer. And don’t just tell them. Explain why it’s important to them and their company and back it up. But more on this later. 

Writing Cold Emails That Get Responses

Okay, so now that you know your goals and your value proposition, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Here are six simple tips for cold emailing that will get you results.

#1: Personalization

People are getting an average of 147 emails per day.2 And to make things more challenging, they’re deleting 71 emails in under 3.2 seconds.

The takeaway?

If you’re blasting people with boring, non-specific, or “all about me” emails – you know the ones  they’re going to end up in the trash.

Hi,

My name is (blank) and I’m a (job title).

I help (target audience) with/achieve (whatever it is you do).

I checked out (name of company)’s website and would love to (learn more about, talk to you about…).

BO-RING.

If you’d delete this email at first sight, you can bet your potential clients will too.

Personalization is key. 82% of marketers report having an increase in open rates because of personalized emails. 3

It’s always best to start an email with a person’s name versus a generic salutation. Try to find a specific person in the company to email (the owner, head of marketing, etc.) and their company email address.

And you want to be mindful of and match the tone of each company you’re emailing. Pay attention to their voice. If you’re sending a cold email to an MD whose website uses professional language, it’s a good idea to match that – AKA don’t start your introduction with “Hey there!”

Sarah Tuner’s YouTube videoCOPYWRITING 101 | Structuring Cold Emails, includes this great example of matching a company’s tone:

Hi Dr. David,

Hope you’re doing well!

As a leader in the [XYZ] industry, you understand the importance of excellent and engaging content – but it can be hard to find consistent, high-quality writers who specialize in the complicated and ever-changing world of [XYZ].

This email matches the professional, but friendly tone of Dr. David’s website.

#2 Pay Attention to Detail

The Hot Copy Podcast, Sending cold emails with Laura Lopuch, advises giving a compliment.4 It doesn’t have to be over the top. But dig a little deeper than simply saying “your website looks great.” Anybody could say that just by glancing at a website.

Mention something specific to them or their website. This small gesture is key to helping establish trust.

Another example would be:

Hi (Name),

Hope you’re doing well! I recently came across (company) website, and I love your (blog post, mission, recent video) about (mention specifics).

Boom. Simple as that.

Notice the difference between this and “your website looks great”? They’ll know you actually took the time to look at their website and learn about their business. You don’t have to spend hours analyzing it either – find something they’re doing well or mention what piqued your interest.

Bonus tips for cold emailing: When it comes to cold emails that get responses, Sarah Turner talks a lot about reciprocityUm, what does that mean?

It means that the recipient may be more inclined to respond because of a gesture on your behalf. For example, including an unbranded recipe, checklist, or an e-guide for them to use however they see fit. Whatever you feel is relevant and useful to them.

This little gift will go a long way.

#3 Be Helpful and Kind

After warming up with a compliment, it’s time to transition into your introduction and why you’re emailing them. They know you didn’t send them an email just to exchange pleasantries. So you might as well lay your cards on the table.

Did you notice their blog was last updated six months ago? Do they have a mailing list sign up but no opt-in? Be clear with what you noticed on their website and why it’s significant enough to make you reach out. How will making these changes to their website or marketing improve their business? 

Keep their pain points in mind, are they looking to:

  • Create conversions to generate more revenue?
  • Drive more traffic and grow their mailing list?
  • Spend less time writing blogs and more time with their family?

If you notice more than one area that needs attention, focus on the most important one based on their pain points. Pointing out more than one issue will seem nit-picky and will raise their defenses.

Look at it from this perspective – if someone came to your website and gave you a tip on how to improve your metrics, you might be grateful. But if they tell you to update your blogs, have an opt-in, and your “About Me” section is too much about you… it’s going to take all your willpower to keep your cool and not tell them to bug off.

It’s important to remember there’s a person on the other end of your email. They may be skeptical, hesitant, and have questions.

Before you even hop on a call, you can address and ease these objections. If you’re recommending regular blog posts, back up your claims about why they need this (to improve SEO) and how it works (by driving traffic to their website).

Find statistics or articles by leaders in the industry. Doing this helps showcase your credibility.

Bonus points if you have your own personal examples of how you helped someone else solve the same problem.

My name is (name). I’m a (your niche) copywriter and I’ve helped companies like yours (drive in X amount more traffic, increasing revenue by X amount, etc.) by (what you did to achieve these results – writing weekly blogs, crafting persuasive newsletter sequences, etc.).

As long as your personal examples are true, go for it! Brag a little.

Seriously – the proof is in the pudding.

# 4 Have a Strong Call to Action

Put your copywriting skills to use. Having a strong call to action is the golden ticket to cold emails that get responses. You won’t get the desired results without telling your recipient what to do next. 

It’s like telling someone all about an upcoming party – but not extending an invitation. Cool, thanks for the information. Should I just show up whenever or am I not invited?

Make it clear what you want them to do. 

Reply to your email? 

Get on a call? 

Visit your website? 

Tell them. It eliminates the guesswork.

Sarah Turner suggests a simple, “Do you have time for a quick phone call this week? I’d love to chat about how I can save you time. You can schedule a call with me here [include a link where they can schedule a call].”

The beauty of this is it encourages a response. Without a call to action, it’s easy to let replying to your email slip through the cracks.

# 5 Don’t Ignore the Subject Line

These tips for cold emailing are all well and good. But if your email doesn’t get opened in the first place then it’s all for nothing. Imagine writing a killer email, one that ticked every box, one you know you knocked right out of the park… only to get crickets.

The most critical element for cold emails that get responses is to get them opened.

Remember, virtual first impressions are just as important as face to face impressions. And your subject line, well, that’s your first impression.

The saying may be “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but you will be judged – and fast. In fact, 47% of emails get opened or deleted based on subject lines alone.5

Catchy is great if you can pull it off but clarity always wins.

Subjects you can try:

  • Quick question.
  • Thank you in advance!
  • Can you spare 5 minutes, [Name]?

Experiment to see what works. Send yourself an email with your chosen subject line. If it doesn’t stand out or make you want to click it, try something different.

Bonus tip: Steer clear of emojis, unless you know for a fact the company is emoji-friendly.

# 6 The Follow-Up

With people’s inboxes filling up with over 100 emails daily, the fact of the matter is, some will get missed.

Even if you use the best subject line in the history of subject lines, nothing is going to work 100% of the time.

This is why follow-ups are so important. The recipient might not be ignoring you on purpose. There’s a good chance they simply missed your email.

Follow-up emails actually outperform the initial cold mail. Studies show emails with four to seven messages get 3 times more responses compared to those who follow-up one to three times.

Not comfortable sending three follow-up emails? I get that. The good news is sending at least one follow-up email increases your chances of getting seen – and replied to.

Here are some subject lines you can use in your next follow-up:

  • Just in case you didn’t receive my previous email
  • Let me know if I’m too persistent
  • Thanks for your time, [Name]

Experiment with different subject lines to how they perform. If you find one is getting a lot of responses, stick with it. You know what they say, “if it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash 

(Laptop with motivational quote desktop background on a wooden table)

Cold emailing can feel like a daunting task when you’re first starting out. But if you follow these six simple tips for cold emailing, you’ll find yourself sending cold emails that get responses. So take a deep breath and go cold email with confidence!

And if you want to continue upping your copywriting game – go watch Sarah Turner’s YouTube videos!

1. McGill, J. (2020, September 01). Stop Making These Common Cold Email Mistakes (w/ Templates!). Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.leadfuze.com/cold-email-mistakes/

2. Insights from 5 MILLION EMAILS. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.baydin.com/boomerang_infographic.pdf

3. Agarwal, A., Antara Agarwal Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, Antara Agarwal is a full time marketing consultant at Outgrow. She can be found packing her bags for her next trip, & Posts, S. (2020, August 05). 19 Personalization Statistics you Need To Know In 2020. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://outgrow.co/blog/personalization-statistics

4. Hot Copy – Belinda Weaver & Kate Toon. (n.d.). Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://open.spotify.com/show/2DMHP2USWwCnwZKLC55KzS 

5. Rudolph, A., More by this author:Why Video Marketing is Crucial for Your Online BusinessHow Social Media is Changing Customer Service [Infographic]How Important is your SaaS Pricing Strategy? Strategies to Consider [Infographic], & Author:, M. (n.d.). Understanding the Importance of E-mail Subject Lines [Infographic]. Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.business2community.com/infographics/understanding-importance-e-mail-subject-lines-infographic-01492127

6. 8 Cold Email Statistics that Will Change How You Do Cold Email Campaigns. (n.d.). Retrieved September 01, 2020, from https://www.propellercrm.com/blog/cold-email-statistics

About Sarah

I’m an entrepreneur on a mission to help other people become entrepreneurs.
My blog is a place where I provide business building advice and explore how we can create more meaningful work.

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