How To Send Cold Emails That Work | Example Included

  • Jeff Gibbard
  • 8 min read

Generating leads isn’t always easy, especially in competitive industries. Even with the abundance of advertising opportunities available to today’s marketer, some audience targeting options are missing, leaving companies scrambling to muster up new prospects.

So, what would you do in this situation? You’d turn back the hands of time and a start cold outreach campaign.

Hello [First Name]

Several times per week, I receive some sort of cold email outreach.

I am genuinely surprised how many people are willing to waste their time throwing up hail mary attempts at new business. So, today, I’m going to do all of them a favor and dramatically increase their close rate.

Recently, this hit my inbox.

📱 On mobile? Click here for the text version.

Subject: Howdy Jeff, Q.Q

Howdy,

I know you’re probably really busy, so I’ll keep this brief.

I got your email by browsing through LinkedIn.

We create Animated Explainer/Sales Videos for companies just like yours. 

Let me know if it’s okay for me to send you a link to our portfolio/pricing schedule/calendly link.

If you want me to stop contacting you, reply STOP.


Cheers,

{Signature Block}

Let me translate.

Colloquial greeting and unclear subject line,

I’m sending an unpersonalized email as part of a cold outreach campaign.

You are receiving this unsolicited email because I was able to obtain your contact information without your consent.

I do something and I want your money for it, [activate feeling of social safety by inserting generic reassuring sentence about prior experience here].

Please do the rest of the work to give me your money. If you don’t want me to email you without your consent AGAIN, use the code word STOP to trigger my system to remove you in 30-60 days.

I’m drinking right now, so if you are too, I raise my glass to you.

Random Human

Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email in 1971. I’m sure he would be proud to see how far we’ve come.

Today Is The Day We Save Cold Outreach

I’m going to give you a method to write more effective cold emails. I have two audiences for this email.

  1. You, my loyal reader and subscriber, so that you may succeed in your endeavors.
  2. Anyone who ever cold emails me so that I can send this post back to them.

Let the lesson begin…

How To Write Better Cold Emails

Here’s the thing about cold emails: you only get one shot.

None of us are sitting around waiting for your inbox-clogging, unsolicited interruption. So, on the off chance someone opens your email, why not take your shot?

I’ll give random human above some credit, at least they offered a next step. However, the rest of the email is weak. I’m going to write this person’s email and then I’ll tell you exactly what I did differently.

📱 On mobile? Click here for the text version.

Subject: a revenue generating plug-n-play solution for Sol Marketing

Hi Jeff,

I found your agency on Linkedin and checked out your profile. I also read through a couple of your recent posts. Your post on Content Atomization was fantastic. I followed the trail of breadcrumbs until I found your email on your website. I’m reaching out to see if what we do might be a good fit for what you do.

Here’s my pitch…

As a Senior Brand Strategist, you know that clients come to you because they struggle to tell an effective story. You know that companies that fail to tell a good story, have trouble closing business. This is why so many business owners are stressed and anxious nowadays trying to compete.

I see that you do amazing work in messaging, visual design, and content. You understand the importance of marketing that sells. We do, too.
We work with agencies to create sales and explainer videos that convert. That part is good for your clients. What’s good for you is that we’re a white label solution at a price that leaves you with plenty of room for margin.

I know that seeing is believing so here are just three examples from our extensive portfolio.

1. How Your Brand Can Help You Sell More
2. The Secret of World Class Web Analytics
3. When To Hire An Accountant As A Small Business Owner

I know you’re probably busy and get hundreds of these cold outreach emails every week so here’s my very small ask: watch 1 or 2 of the videos I’ve sent and if you’re interested in a 15-minute phone call to see if we’re a good fit, reply or use my Calendly link to set up time at your convenience.

I’ll check back in with you only once more next week and after that, I’ll assume this isn’t a good fit. If you’re not interested and prefer I stop contacting you altogether, I understand. Just reply and tell me so.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Your Name

P.S. We’re the real deal. Here’s what Dana from Small Co. had to say about working with us.

I was initially skeptical when Salesplainer Videos reached out to me, but I took a chance on them and our first project together rocked! Our client freaked out, in a good way. We’re baking them into almost every project now.”

The Breakdown

OK, so the first thing you’ll notice is it is much longer. Let’s look at what I added.

Be Personal

I start out by being personal. I address the email by name. I call out something specific, in this case a piece of content. I spell out how I got the contact information in a way that shows my interest rather than my ability to generate or buy a giant list of random industry emails.

Be Honest

At the end of my opening, I’m very clear:
I’m reaching out to see if what we do might be a good fit for what you do. Here’s my pitch…

What’s important to note about this is that by being forthcoming about my intentions immediately after a personal opening. What follows feels somewhat less icky that the ones that just jump into it. It sets you up to expect a personalized pitch.

Start with a Problem

Pay attention to this one. 99% of the pitches I get do not mention a problem…at all! They jump right into their solution. They have not set any context for me to think about their solution.

In my version, I wrote my solution, in context, by STARTING with the PROBLEM. Think about the problem that your recipient is experiencing, explain it, add a dose of emotion, and then you can move into your solution.

State the Solution

Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t get cute. Don’t get clever.

Just say it. What do you do? Further, what is the benefit/result of what you do? Why would I care?

Make sure that the “what you do” is a solution to the problem that you just mentioned. In this case, I talked about the benefits this solution provides to both this person’s clients AND this person’s agency.

Give Examples

Especially if you’re in a creative field, don’t make them hunt for examples of your work. Include the examples and, ideally, include examples that are relevant to the person you’re emailing. Look at their business and look at their client list. If you don’t have one that is relevant, send the one that is most relevant and contextualize it by talking about the process. “I know this example isn’t the sort of client you work with, but our process allows us to create unique and interesting videos that convert for any industry.”

If you’re not in a creative field, consider a case study of a recent success.

Provide Next Steps

I’m definitely not railing against the random human that emailed me for his use of Calendly. I use it for everything. However, in a cold outreach, someone may want you to use their Calendly link, or put you in touch with their assistant, or something else. Provide some options.

You’ll notice I also explained my follow up process so my recipient doesn’t need to fear getting caught in automated CRM follow ups for the next 6 months.

Leverage Social Proof

I added a testimonial that was one that is specific to the objection my recipient might have. You want testimonials that help you sell. That’s why it’s important to gather testimonials related to objections.

Never make up testimonials. Always be honest.

If you lack testimonials I do have a suggestion that could fit certain Brands. You could make one up,but disclose that is is fake in a humorous way. For example: “Here’s what Dana (not a real person) from Small Co. (not a real company), (would’ve) said about working with us (you know, if she was real and had worked with us).”

Take your shot

In closing, assume you only get this one chance. So, take your shot.

Include all of what you might need to make a compelling case in this one email.

  • Be personal and honest. Warm it up as much as you can.
  • Start with the Problem
  • State the Solution
  • Give Examples
  • Provide Next Steps
  • Leverage Social Proof

Go forth and go send better emails.

Sincerely and Heroically,

Jeff

P.S. If you emailed me

Feel free to try again, but this time, try writing a better email.

Don’t just copy my work from above. Show me what you learned.

2 replies on “How To Send Cold Emails That Work | Example Included”

  • December 26, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Thanks Jeff for these tips and taking the time to share with everyone. As someone who uses email to reach potential contacts, it’s a good reminder for what may effectively work and to see things from the other side.

    • Jeff
      December 26, 2021 at 10:04 am

      Thank you, JoAnn. Like so many things in business (and life) we often imitate what we’ve seen, regardless of whether or not it works, or we go with our gut… which isn’t always smart. I like to try and give what to do but also the thinking behind it. I’ve sent plenty of terrible cold emails and then somewhere along the way, after getting enough of them, I started writing emails for my recipient instead of myself. It works a lot better.

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