Cold email best practices: 8 tips to be successful with cold outreach

Sometimes we have to reach out to people we don’t know yet, but who might have an interest in working with us. That’s called cold outreach and is a strategy that can be used through cold email outreach or even cold social media outreach. But what works in cold outreach and what are the cold email best practices?

Alex Berman, the founder of, joined me on this live recording of “The Business Storytelling Show” to discuss how to make cold emailing a success. This article highlights some of the points we discussed on the show.

What is cold outreach?

Cold outreach at the most basic level means that we don’t know the person yet whom we are writing to. Or at least we don’t know them personally. Sometimes, I’ve sent a cold outreach campaign to somebody I know of, and they know of me, but the connection has only been fleeting and digital.

But when done well, cold email and cold social media outreach can work because we are writing to them with something that they care about or that’s relevant to them. There are some things to consider in some steps to take to make it all work, and Alex shared some tips with us on the podcast.

Some people who use cold outreach cross the line to spamming people. That can happen because of the volume of emails they are sending and the irrelevancy of the messages.

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The cold email best practices of making cold outreach work

Understanding your target audience

As is often the case, it all starts with sending the message to the right person. If the person isn’t in the right demographic, field, or at the right organizational level, they might not care about your message. So understanding who you’re trying to reach and why is essential here. Who would care about your offer, your product, and your services?

Personalization – compliment

Alex mentioned that messages should start with personalization and a compliment. So, for example, if somebody reaches out to me to sell me podcast-related services, they might say:

“Hello, Christoph, as a successful podcaster..”


“Hello, Christoph, I enjoy your podcast and…”

See, even personalization doesn’t necessarily need to be on a personal level. Let’s say I’m targeting podcasters., I don’t necessarily have to mention their specific podcast. But I can mention their success in podcasting. Or I can use a general theme that applies to many, if not most, podcasters.

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Then the offer has to be strong. What is it that I’m offering to them? What’s the service? Be specific. Make sure it makes sense. The offer can also explain the problem we’re trying to solve for them.

For example:

“I know many podcasters struggle with building their audience. Livestreaming is one way to grow it quickly. Are you interested in trying this to drive audience growth quicker?”

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Case study

Alex mentioned that it’s so important to share some success metrics. For example, who has this product helped before, and how successful was it for them? Give some examples, maybe numbers and other relevant specifics.

Read next: How Amazon calculates star ratings for different countries

Call to action

From there,  have a solid call to action, which could include:

The call to action must make sense and be easy to follow. That means it shouldn’t just be on a picture in an email that may or may not have been downloaded. You may even consider multiple links that lead the person to complete the call to action, for example:

  • The link embedded in a graphic
  • CTA link in the contextual text – i.e., “Many podcasters like you have been using a software solution to help me with this.” Then link the “software solution” to wherever you want people to go.
  • Specific CTA in text. “Click here to get started now” or “Book a meeting on my calendar now.”

The dangers of cold outreach

Email marketing strategy consultant Jeanne Jennings shared on the podcast that there’s also dangers to be aware of when it comes to cold outreach – especially on email.

Getting the appropriate opt-in by people to be emailed is so important and builds a long-term relationship, she said.

Read next: How to overcome unconscious bias in your content strategy

Cold email best practices: Follow-up

If you do choose to follow up on your initial email, make it relevant. Try to go beyond: “Did you get my last email?” (Though I’ve seen that strategy work before.) Try to be relevant and add value to the conversation every time you message.

Also, don’t just blast out follow-ups. Give people time. Maybe they weren’t ready to discuss the highly relevant offer the other day, but next week might be better.

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Cold email best practices: The tech

Using the right technology can make this entire workflow easier. Consider using whatever platform works best in your current tech stack. One option could be Convertkit.

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Cold outreach can be helpful for everyone involved when we understand who we are trying to reach and we have the right offer for them at the right time. Be helpful, and don’t spam people.

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