Cold email best practices: Cold emailing tips that actually work

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I hope this article finds you well! Cold outreach is certainly not dead, as evidenced by my perpetually full inbox. So, it clearly works well enough, but there are cold emailing tips that should be followed to be relevant to the recipient and not be spammy!

Cold email outreach can be a key strategy leveraged by marketing teams and sales teams. And cold email best practices for sales teams and marketing teams exist for a reason. They work!

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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, a strategy that can be used through cold email or even cold social media outreach. But what works in cold outreach, and what are the best cold emailing tips? Alex Berman, founder of, shared several on “The Business Storytelling Show.”

What is cold outreach?

Cold outreach at the most basic level means we don’t know the person 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  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.

Read next: Email marketing rules to follow

How about warm outreach?

On the other hand, warm outreach is if you have made a fleeting connection with the person before. Growgetter’s Jenn Mancusi makes the case that warm outreach also includes when people know about you or your brand when you reach out, so it’s not necessarily a “we both know each other.” But they know YOU or at least YOUR BRAND.

The cold email best practices for making cold outreach work

Several steps should be followed to heat up your cold outreach results. The first one seems “duh, obviously,” but it’s worth mentioning because many emailers seem to miss this!

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?

“Even when emailing businesses, there is still a person that will read that email,” said email strategist Samar Owais  on “The Business Storytelling Show.” Keep the reader and their needs/interests in mind when drafting your outreach.”

Good subject lines

Subject lines must be good or else nobody will ever open your email. After all, 64 percent of recipients decide to open or delete emails based on subject lines.

I follow this process:

  • Draft ideas, sometimes with AI
  • Run them through for best practices check and updates

“Subject lines that create a sense of urgency or exclusivity tend to get higher open rates,” said Jay Schwedelson, founder of on “The Business Storytelling Show. ” But don’t overuse superlatives like ‘biggest ever’ that people may start tuning out.”

Personalization with a compliment

Personalization is a matter of revenue! Companies using advanced personalization report a $20 return for every $1 spent

Alex mentioned one of his cold email tips is 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…”

Here’s the offer

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?”

Samar offers this brilliant tip:

“When drafting your email, write out the full draft first. Then, cut out the first third of the email. This will help sharpen your focus and get to the main point quicker.”

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Back up that you can help

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.

Good call to action

Including one clear CTA in emails boosts clicks by 371 percent!

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

  • book a meeting to learn more
  • try the software on a trial basis
  • buy the book on the topic

The call to action must make sense and be easy to follow. The preceding copy also must do a good job selling it. A great CTA that hasn’t been sold won’t get clicked either. The call to action doesn’t even have to be clickable. Consider a question or encourage people to reply.

Follow up appropriately

A campaign with just one follow-up email can convert 22 percent more prospects.

If you do choose to follow up  on your initial email and you should, 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, give people time. Maybe they weren’t ready to discuss the highly relevant offer the other day, but next week might be better.

The dangers of cold outreach

Email marketing strategy consultant Jeanne Jennings shared on “The Business Storytelling Show” that there are 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.

Other dangers include:

Damaging Perceptions: Sending a large volume of unsolicited emails or contacting people at inappropriate times can come across as spammy, unprofessional, or disrespectful. This can tarnish a sender’s reputation and make their outreach efforts less effective.

Legal Consequences: Failing to comply with email regulations when sending cold emails leaves senders vulnerable to legal action. This includes not providing compliant opt-out options or adhering to anti-spam laws.

Wasting Resources: When cold email campaigns don’t work, somebody still had to create them and that can be a waste of time and money.

Harming Reputations: Having emails continually disregarded or flagged as spam can seriously damage a sender’s credibility over time. This reduces email deliverability for future campaigns and further limits the success of outreach initiatives.

Cold outreach can be helpful for everyone involved when we understand who we are trying to reach and have the right offer for them at the right time. That’s why it’s so important to follow these cold emailing tips. Every one wins in that case. Where we run into problems is when companies just blast out emails and pray that they may reach the right people. Lots of the wrong people are reached that way!

Read next

email marketing rules by chad s white


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