6 Tips For Writing Effective Cold Emails

6 Tips For Writing Effective Cold Emails

Cold email outreach is an important part of any outbound sales strategy. When done well, cold email is an excellent way to acquire top of the funnel prospects and customers.

Reply rates are the golden metric of cold emails as they measure how many recipients were interested enough to respond. When sending cold emails, reply rates are greatly affected by the content and structure of your email body. Since the average person spends 10 seconds reading an email you need to be diligent with the content you include.

After sending thousands of cold emails and talking to some of the most successful users of our platform, we collated 6 simple tips to help you get started writing effective cold emails. The goal of these tips is to enable you to create emails that will be more relevant to the people you reach out to, resulting in higher response rates.

1. Personalise Your Email

Personalised emails have been shown to deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

They help you build rapport with your recipient, which is important in cold email as you do not yet have a personal relationship with them.

Personalisation can include a small piece of information about:

  • The recipient
  • Their company
  • Something they wrote about recently on LinkedIn/Twitter/Blog
  • A recent achievement
  • Anything else that is unique to the recipient

Examples that we’ve used at actionable.me include:

“I came across your profile on [Service] and was really impressed with the work you did for [Company]”

“I read your recent blog post [Post title] and really agree with [Point made in blog post]”

“Congratulations on your recent transition to [Role] at [Company]!”

Whilst personalising each email will involve spending more time crafting each email, we’ve found this to be time well spent with up to a 4x increase in reply rates in some of the campaigns we personalised vs campaigns we didn’t.

2. Keep It Concise

If the average person spends 10 seconds reading an email then you need to make every word count. Where possible try to follow the rule of threes and use only three paragraphs:

  1. Opening introduction sentence to set the tone for the email (try to include personalisation sentences here to build a rapport with your recipient)
  2. An explanation of the problems that your product/service solves, including social proof (more on this below)
  3. A call to action (more on this below)

3. Finish with a Call to Action (CTA)

This can involve finishing your email asking the recipient to:

  • Book a quick phone call
  • Visit a website
  • Read a blog post
  • Signup for your service
  • Get their opinion/feedback on something
  • Reply to a yes/no question

Try to take into account the level of effort required for the recipient to complete your CTA. If you’re asking them to signup for your service then this might take up to 5 minutes which can be a significant ask if your recipient is busy (especially in cold email since you don’t have a personal relationship with the recipient yet). Asking them to take an easier and less time consuming action, such as visiting a website or reply to a yes/no question, will make increase the chances that your recipients completes your CTA.

4. Add Social Proof

Social proof involves building trust around your product or service by using other people (such as your existing customers) as evidence. Adding social proof to your cold email can be as simple as name dropping a few customers that your service/product has helped, and the problems that you solved for them.


“We’ve helped customers including [list 2-3 customers] with [Problem X] and [Problem Y]”

5. Schedule Your Email Delivery Time

The chances that your recipient will open and read your cold email are greatly affected by the time that your email is delivered their inbox. A study of email open rates (Best Time to Send Email Backed By 10 Data-Driven Studies) summarised that Tuesday & Thursday are the best days to send emails, with 10am & 8pm the best time of day. Your mileage may vary depending on your audience as well as the action you want them to take.

Schedule delivery times in actionable.me tool screenshot

Make sure to take into account your recipient’s location if they are not local. Every Time Zone is a great tool to use for this purpose, allowing you to visualise different time zones easily. Having worked in offices in the US, United Kingdom and Australia, I can draw from personal experience when saying that the last thing you want to do is send emails to your recipient at 3am because you forgot to take into account their timezone!


Every Time Zone timezone helping software screenshot

6. Don’t Start the Email with “My name is”

A common sentence used to begin a lot of cold emails is “My name is”. This sentence is redundant as your name will already appear in the “From” address as well as your email signature. Since the first sentence is the commonly the most read sentence in cold emails, replacing “My name is” with something of value will make your cold email more effective.


Do you have any other cold email tips?
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