How To Write A Cold Email: Best Cold Emailing Practices

Cold email is one of the best ways for you to get clients, mentors and valuable contacts. You don’t know the people you’re cold emailing, and they don’t know you, in most cases, but still something beneficial for both parties involved can come from it. You can use this strategy to pitch a story to a successful blogger/journalist, get some advice from someone relevant on your latest project, and even score freelancing jobs. But, in order for this to work, you need to know about the best practices of cold emailing.

Before we begin, it’s important to make one note: you are not always going to get a response, and that’s perfectly normal. However, it’s better to get into it with some knowledge than just go stabbing in the dark. Also, be prepared to send a lot of emails, especially if you are looking for a job – 100 to 200 emails might do the trick, or it might not. In any case, here are some general things you should keep in mind when cold emailing:

How To Write A Cold Email - Best Cold Emailing Practices

Make it about the person that’s receiving your cold email

Imagine being in their shoes: you’re successful at what you do, and you get a ton of emails every day from less successful people… And these emails are all about them and what they need from you, not about what you need. Why would you even open or read that?

This is why it’s important to make your cold email about your potential service to them. They get something, and more importantly, you get something. All other strategies might fail if you don’t execute this one properly. The person you’re emailing won’t care about your great subject line, if there’s not any use for them and their business in your proposal.

A strategy that’s always good for approaching is to tell your recipient you’ve noticed something that needs improvement in their content. Whether it’s a blogger’s typo or you have a suggestion for a better SEO strategy, use it to your advantage.

You get the idea – adjust this approach to your situation and your response rate will be greatly improved.

Research who you are sending the cold email to

Do your research, and show that you did it. It’s hard to pique someone’s interest about what you do, if you don’t know anything about what they are doing. Play the card of your mutual passions and interests. Also, reference their past work in your email and mention how much you liked it. People love receiving compliments, but more than that, they love meeting someone passionate about their work. This means they will be more inclined to help you.

Also important is to mention any things or references that you may have in common, and you probably won’t know this unless you research. Even the attendance at the same event can be a good thing to mention to break the ice and make the person you are sending a cold email to warm up to you.

Research works for writing cold emails as well as for deciding whether it is the right person to even send the cold email to – maybe they are not quite the right fit for what you need and the cold email would fall flat no matter what.

Keep to good emailing practices

As with email job applications, cold emailing is all about keeping it short and precise. Now, you can opt for any approach as long as you stick to this guideline. First, make sure your email reads naturally. Or to say it more clearly, that it sounds like normal human communication and doesn’t resemble a robot. Additionally, you should format it to be easily readable on a smaller screen, and your subject line should be clear.

Another important thing to note when it comes to subject lines is that it’s advisable to avoid superlatives, such as “easiest/quickest way”, vague greetings and courtesies like “hello” and “congratulations”, or to make promises that you can’t fulfill such as “5 second question”.

Follow up your cold email

This is something a lot of people don’t do after their initial cold email. But, one could argue that it’s critical to the achievement of their goal. If after 5-7 days you haven’t gotten a response, don’t be shy and send a follow-up email. Maybe your prospect forgot about it or didn’t have the time to reply.

A good thing to do here is to reply to your original cold email. That way the person you emailed doesn’t have to slave through their inbox to find the first email. And if you crafted it well, you don’t have to think about the follow-up itself much – just remind them of your offer. You can add a little extra benefit of what’s in it for them that you haven’t mentioned before. Also, don’t be afraid to follow up more than once – sometimes it takes a few attempts.

Let’s sum it up

– Craft a precise subject line explaining your purpose
– Introduce yourself in one sentence
– Show you know their work and that you did your research
– Mention any social proof that shows you’re the right person to help them improve their business
– State what’s the benefit for them and leave them the option of contacting you
Follow up after a few days if you don’t get a response, and do it a few times if necessary

Don’t stop here! There are plenty of resources on cold emailing out there. Here are some helpful templates, and here is an insightful breakdown from the other side: what makes a cold email bad and how to avoid writing one.

If this article was helpful to you, make sure to leave a comment below. Additionally, if there is anything we didn’t mention, we’d love to hear your feedback! In any case, stay tuned for more writing advice.




Jana Glavonjić

Writer, freelancer, editor, avid reader of fantasy and the best sister in the world.

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1 Response

  1. Milan says:

    Excellent article. Lots of useful information.

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