How to Write the Best Cold Emails

Melanie Balke
October 24, 2022

There’s nothing trickier than cold outreach. You’re a stranger in someone else’s territory, and it’s up to you to show them why you’re relevant. You have one chance, and your email needs to do the job perfectly.

I’ve already covered cold email subject lines, but what about the rest of the email? You need more than a good email template to win hearts!

Fortunately, I have plenty of tips to help you maximize your cold email outreach. If you’ve been struggling to get your company name out there, then this is the perfect blog post for you.

It’s time to think like sales reps as we dig into writing amazing cold emails!

Best Practices for Cold Emailing

A header image. A photo of snowy trees features overlaid text, which reads, “Writing 101: Best Practices for Cold Emails.”

Before reaching your destination, you need to know where to go, so I’ll start with the basics.

Like any other form of communication, cold emailing has rules and standards. Following these guidelines will help you create a fantastic email! These unspoken courtesies are crucial knowledge if this is your first cold email campaign.

The Best Cold Emails Don’t Come From Templates

Now, don’t mistake my statement as a condemnation of templates! Cold email templates are useful ways to speed up your drafting process, and some of the best cold email examples are remixed templates. However, you should never rely on a plain template.

As Ashleigh Powers of ADM Productions, Inc. points out: “We crave human connection, so don’t be afraid to be real.”

An infographic features text overlaying a photo of leaves. The header reads, “Cold Emails: Should I Use Templates for My Cold Emails?” Smaller body text follows, reading, “Cold email templates are a tool, and you shouldn’t rely on them for everything! Few templates will be able to deliver the level of personalization that you need. Feel free to use templates as a guideline, but avoid copying them word-for-word.”

At the end of the day, cold emails are about connection. You’re trying to find a common interest and appeal to another person, and a generic cold email template isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you’ll want to focus on optimizing your emails for their individual recipients.

This means that you’ll have to do some research and take time to find more information about your prospect’s company. Some of the key points that you’ll want to verify before you write are:

  • Basic information about the recipient’s company
  • The best way to grab the prospect’s attention
  • Common or prevalent pain points
  • Contact details
  • Subject title and position within the company

Follow-Up Emails Can Seal the Deal

A key part of any cold email strategy is the follow-up email.

Think of these messages as friendly reminders. At the follow-up stage, you’ve already sent a cold email pitch. Now, you’re trying to secure your prospect and build relationships.

Ideally, you should have a three-part series of automated follow-ups, and each message should be a unique part of your pitch. Now, you don’t want to spam your recipient; your goal is to gently ease them into the end zone. 3–4 days of spacing will give your messages (and your prospect) room to breathe and think about your offer.

If you want to really hone in on your hot leads, manually mark your targets. Then, send them a series that outlines:

  1. What the Sales Email Pitch Was: The first follow-up email should focus on your pitch. Remind the prospect about your idea and restate the benefits.
  2. Additional Value: If the first email fails to elicit a response, it’s time to push them a little further down the sales funnel. Outline the additional benefits of your service and emphasize how you can help them.
  3. Restate the Call-to-Action: Finally, remind them what they need to do. You’ll want to include any relevant information, and it doesn’t hurt to briefly restate the biggest pain point.

If none of these follow-ups secure a deal, it’s best to leave the recipient alone for a bit. Sometimes, your cold pitch doesn’t work, and that’s okay! However, you may still have some warm leads. Persistence pays off, and a fourth follow-up email after a few months can thaw the ice.

Keep It Short

As much as you may want to, you just can’t include everything in your cold email. It’s not a blog post; it’s an email! There’s a reason why most cold email templates are super short.

People are busy. Don’t waste their time.

If your message is too time-consuming to read, then you’ll get ignored.

It may help to think of your cold email as an elevator pitch. You have a few minutes max to catch the right person and avoid the spam folder. So, what do you say? You’ll want to address the key points, and you need to do so quickly!

There are plenty of things that you can or should include in a good cold email, so it’s easier for me to tell you what you should avoid. Whenever you’re writing cold emails, double- and triple-check your message. If you see any of the following content, cut it:

  • Excessive prose
  • Fluff
  • Irrelevant information
  • Long quotes
  • Spam trigger words

Optimize Your Mobile Experience

The majority of business professionals check and respond to emails with mobile devices. This means that you — as the marketing manager — must ensure your emails appear properly on mobile devices.

Here’s the good news: Most cold email campaigns are pretty simple.

An infographic features text overlaying a photo of a smartphone. The header reads, “Mobile Emails: What You Need to Know About Mobile Optimization.” Smaller body text is below this, which reads, “24.5% of all cold emails are opened on mobile devices. When you’re optimizing your cold outreach for these devices, pay close attention to:  CTA links and formatting, proper HTML coding, responsive layouts, and subject line length.”

That doesn’t mean your job is done, though! Before you send your cold emails, double-check your formatting.

  • Call-to-action links should be HTML buttons or large links
  • Images should have appropriate descriptions
  • Links should be easy to click
  • Signatures should look good on mobile and desktop
  • Subject lines should be 32 characters or less

Proofread That Message

Yes, I know this tip is obvious.

A header image. Text overlays a photo of someone typing: “Proofreading: It’s Important. It’s Essential. Don’t Forget It!”

However, too many people send emails without proofreading! A typo can be embarrassing under normal circumstances, but it may just be a disaster if it lands in your sales outreach.

So, always check your emails.

The Anatomy of a Good Cold Email

A header image. “Break It Down: The Anatomy of a Good Cold Email” is overlaid on a photo of flexing muscles.

You’ll find plenty of email templates online, but none will wow your prospects. Think of them, instead, as a guideline. The most successful cold emails are based on templates, but they’re not word-for-word copies.

Your cold email is like a movie; you want to be original without being too “out there.” Don’t copy someone else’s work! Instead, take lessons from cold email examples and apply them to your content.

After a few email templates, I bet you’ll notice a pattern: Every cold email has a very specific setup.

The Introduction

When I talk about introductions, I’m talking about more than “Dear So-and-So!” A cold email needs a punchy intro that:

  • Addresses the recipient
  • Briefly introduces the sender
  • Covers the main pain points
  • Tells the recipient why they’re the right person (and no one else!)

That may seem like a lot to include in what will ultimately be 3–4 sentences, but it’s perfectly doable. In fact, summarizing big concepts as short blurbs is a crucial skill for cold outreach.

Some great starters for your introduction are:

  • Common interests (i.e., sports teams, a pain point, or personal hobby)
  • Hard-hitting questions (“Have you been looking for a solution to…?”)
  • Major events (i.e., acquisitions, promotions, or an industry conference)
  • A mutual connection

The Pitch

Once you’ve introduced yourself, it’s time to sell yourself.

An infographic. Text overlays a photo of a man holding baseballs. The header reads, “Tips & Tricks,” followed by body text: “Tbe best cold emails find a problem and solve it.”

The best cold emails solve a problem.

Take a look at the many cold email templates you’ll find online, and you’ll quickly see the truth in this statement. Remember: Your target audience is looking for something, and your job is to help them find it. In many cases, your prospect won’t even know that they need your product until you show it to them.

In general, the best sales pitches will be:

  • Informative: Cold email outreach needs to tell the recipient what it’s selling. Beneath the formula, these messages are little more than sales emails.
  • Personal: A personalized cold email is a good cold email! Tailor your emails for your audience. After all, nobody likes receiving a cold call email.
  • Specific: Always be specific. Successful cold emails are never vague. When you promise something, back that claim up with proof and numbers. “I can improve your ROI by 15%” is more convincing than “I will improve your ROI.”

The Call-to-Action

At the end of the sales process, you’ll have your CTA. For the best results, you’ll want to optimize this link. Make it professionally bold!

An infographic. Text overlays a photo of a typewriter. The header reads, “Tips & Tricks: What to Know About Cold Emails CTAs.” Below is smaller body text, which reads, “One of the best ways to make your message sounds like an annoying cold call email is to include too many CTAs. Instead, focus on one good CTA. Great CTAs will evoke emotions.” A list follows: “Curiosity or intrigue, excitement, fear of missing out, and urgency.”

The text you include in your CTA is up to you, but you’ll want to be more informative than “Click here!” Such a vague CTA will lead to confusion, reducing your click-through rate and hurting your overall success.

Descriptive CTAs tell users what to expect when they click. For example, an link to a calendar app might be labeled, “Schedule your consultation.”

Alternatively, you might choose to use a benefit-oriented CTA. These links entice users, and they may be less descriptive than a traditional link. An example of a benefit-oriented CTA is, “See how you can get started today.”

The best call-to-action will be:

  • Compelling
  • Concise
  • Easy to follow
  • Linked to appropriate landing pages
  • Mobile compatible (HTML buttons work well)

Many marketers will also include social media buttons. These links are a good way to promote a relationship with your prospect. Moreover, the company’s social media presence will frequently provide recipients with plenty of social proof to back your claims.

Amazing Examples of Cold Emails to Inspire Your Marketing

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I know I’ve said that marketers should avoid using a cold email template, but that doesn’t mean you have to write your cold outreach without help! There are plenty of amazing examples available, and you can use these as makeshift guides.

Take a look at these fantastic email templates and examples to see how different people have crafted their successful cold email pitch!

As you browse this list, remember that the goal is not to create the same email.

You’ll experience the most success when you apply the lessons from these samples to your writing! Cold emails are all about marketing cooperation, so tailor these examples to your ideal customer. Take your prospect's company into account, too, and make sure that your email body appeals to its culture.

The Flattering Cooperative Request

Sometimes, the best way to do some cold email outreach is to ask for some marketing cooperation. That’s what PandaDoc’s Mark Lindquist does in this fantastic email template:

An email from Mark Lindquist. The subject is, “Featuring [blog] as a top sales blog.”

Mark from PandaDoc here! I’m putting together a huge roundup post for the PandaDoc blog on the top sales blogs, and naturally, I’ll be including [Blog].

I’m reaching out because there are two things we’ll be including for each blog we mention, and I’d love to get your input on them!

1. A 2–3 sentencer introduction in your own words on what [Blog] is all about.

2. A link to your best piece of content. Your article on “[topic]” is one I found particularly interesting but wanted toc heck with you to see if you have any other sales-focused articles or resources that you think would be a better fit.

Thanks, [First Name], keep up the great work and look forward to hearing from you!


Mark Lindquist


Flattering the contacts in your target account list is a great way to establish a relationship. In this case, the recipient is asked to provide the sales rep with some basic information. This easy-to-follow request will then be followed by additional information. It’s a clever way for sales teams to dodge the spam filter and find like-minded business partners.

Other highlights of this email are:

  • A clear signature with the sender’s company name and job title
  • Clever use of personalization
  • A dynamic email template subject line
  • A narrow focus on the right person
  • Leveraging a mutually beneficial situation

The New Hire Email

As the head of HubSpot’s freemium sales team, Caroline Ostrander knows a thing or two about cold email outreach. That’s why hers are so effective! Take a look at this example, which was sent to a newly hired employee:

An email screenshot. The subject line reads, “Congrats on the new role RE: call follow-up.”

Hi [Name],

Just left a quick message at the office for you. I chuckled a bit when I got an automated email this morning from your predecessor, [Name], who we worked with briefly, and before him, [Name], who we worked with as well.

First and foremost, congrats on coming into this new role! I’m sure you’ve got a lot going on — so this conversation might be timely or not. If you’re stressed, this is my go-to. :)

My role here is working with businesses (in the area) on how they can effectively and efficiently drive more traffic to their website, increase conversions, and nurture leads into new customers.

How has your first month kicked off so far?

— Caroline

Now, this email is a little bit lengthy, but it needs to be that way. Otherwise, it wouldn’t effectively resonate with the recipient. This high degree of simple personalization is what makes this an amazing cold email example! If you opened this email, you’d feel as if you’re on a first name basis with the sender.

This is how you effectively tailor a message for your target audience. Other key qualities of this email are:

  • Avoiding grandiose subject line promises
  • First-name references to prior contacts
  • Not sounding like a sales email
  • Open-ended CTAs

The Results Hook

Finally, I have an example from copywriter Laura Lopuch:

An email with the subject line, “Successful $8 million raise / experiences case study writer available.”

Hi Malcolm,

Hope your week is going well! Congrats on WizRocket’s recent successful $8 million funding I read about in TechCrunch!

I was checking out WizRocket’s website and noticed you don’t have any case studies.

Do you need help with this? As an experienced case study writer, I turned positive customer experiences into captivating stories.

With your new money infusion and impressive client roster, I imagine you have lots of great stories to tell that showcase the impressive results you’ve helped your clients achieve.

As you may know, research has shown that a 2-page case study is one of the most effective content marketing methods to generate leads. You can use case studies at strategic parts of your marketing to convert leads – like in new client packets, on your website to earn email addresses, or attached to a follow-up email after a new client meeting.

Recently, I helped a travel products company boost awareness – and blow their funding goal out of the water – with a case study. You can check it out here.

Also, I help companies with their other content marketing needs, like blog posts, e-newsletters, reports, white papers. Because of my background as a legal software specialist and writer, I can clearly explain complex software issues and tell a compelling story to build your audience and get WizRocket new clients.

When are you open for a 15 minute call next week to chat about how we can work together? Looking forward to hearing from you!



The fantastic email showcases the benefits of precise personalization. Lopuch focuses on the target’s marketing as a pain point and suggests a bit of cooperation. It’s a persuasive form of cold email outreach.

Thanks to her copywriting background, Lopuch’s talents also shine by highlighting:

  • A good cold email subject line
  • Cross-selling (particularly social media posts)
  • The importance of properly researching your prospects
  • Statistics to back her claims
  • Using a company name to promote familiarity

Outsource Your Emails and Save Time

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this information, that’s okay!

Email marketing is hard, and you’ll need more than a few email templates to succeed. That’s why companies like The Email Marketers exist. My team of amazing marketing experts is always ready to help anyone make their company name known.

We handle every part of the cold email outreach process — from the subject lines to the CTA. That means you can spend less time drafting every cold email campaign and more time handling your business.