The Definitive List of Cold Emailing Best Practices

Cold emails are more demanding than most communication approaches for two reasons. There's no relationship with your audience yet, and you won't get non-verbal feedback; hence, you can't adjust your line of communication in real-time. Consequently, most cold emails fail.

Still, they can be effective. Cold emailing isn't as intrusive as cold calling, but it helps you reach new prospects cost-effectively. What's more, it's less costly.

People have launched start-ups and built careers with this approach. Typically, cold emails help with:

  • Lead generation
  • Talent acquisition
  • Link building
  • Market research
  • Public relations
  • Influencer marketing
  • Fostering partnerships

So what does cold emailing entail, and what are the most effective ways of writing a great cold email that would achieve your objective? This detailed guide has all the insights and guidance you need.

What's A Cold Email?

This is the initial email you send to begin a conversation with a prospect. Typically, you'll reach out to someone you don't know (or who doesn't know you) for a specific legitimate reason.

The cold email approach is somewhat reminiscent of cold calling, where you phone prospects to find out whether they're interested in your service or product. The main difference is that the former is less intrusive, sending intelligently crafted emails that don't push a hard sell.

Cold emails will engage your audience when done right, providing the necessary information to facilitate a favorable response. But most of the time, crafting successful email messages for a cold pitch is easier said than done.

Fortunately, including the essential elements and paying attention to cold email best practices can make your pitch effective. 

The Primary Elements of an Effective Cold Email

So what constitutes an effective cold email? 'Effectiveness" has numerous definitions. But for this purpose, we can define effective cold emails as those that attract positive responses. Your audience responds with more information, visits your website, downloads your content, or shops on your platform.

To achieve this, you must include the essential categories that constitute an effective cold email. Typically, these include:

  • Deliverability – The email has to end up in your intended recipient's inbox for it to work, or it sticks in the spam folder. The primary objective is to ensure you've got accurate prospects' details and avoid triggering spam filters. Fortunately, several tools can help with this.
  • Targeting – It's essential to send the cold email to the right audience for a valid purpose. It's not right to forward the same message to 100,000 people. Everyone has specific values, needs, wants, and priorities, so your email should cater to a particular niche audience.
  • Immediate appeal – You must make a great first impression and capture your audience's attention so that they don't hit the delete button. Therefore, begin with a strong subject line and salutation.
  • Value – Finally, you must offer your audience a compelling reason to interact with your brand. You must convince them that the message is worth responding to, downloading your content will help them, or your service or product is worth the money.

Effective Cold Email Best practices

There are no standard cold email approaches, structure, or content since these pitches vary in purpose and across sectors. However, several best practices stand out. Pay attention to the following for the best results.


Without a doubt, it's essential to personalize the cold email. The bar is higher these days, and personalization will give you an edge. Generally, the approach is your entry ticket to the competition.

This core element of cold emails lets you stand out in your audience's inbox. It can drive conversation when you do it right or end up in the spam folder if it goes wrong. So make sure you research adequately.

Personalization means you consider who your target audience is, their perspective of the world, what they want, and the things that interest them. In essence, you should have your "theory of mind" about them. This shows you've dedicated some effort to understanding them.

You must also make them realize why you've sent the email to them and not anybody else. People are more motivated to help if they feel uniquely qualified for the action. Therefore, outlining precisely where they fit in will tell your target audience a story that makes sense.

Automating Follow-Ups

Does following up help if you don't get a response to your cold email? How does one properly follow up on an email they sent? How many follow-ups should one send?

No matter how great your cold email is, don't be shocked if it gets ignored. If you're still on edge about whether to follow up the cold email, consider that email campaigns with more follow-up sequences (with four to seven emails) increased their reply rate by 27%. Shorter campaigns (with less than three emails) managed only a 9% reply rate.

From the stats, it's clear that following up is the easiest way to boost your responses if you haven't been doing it. You must be relentless in your approach until the audience requests you to stop contacting them or you've ascertained that the lead is no longer viable.

Following up with potential clients can easily fall through the cracks between the different hats you have to wear in a day. This is more likely if you've done so several times. Beyond this, most manual lead-tracking systems out there are inefficient and cumbersome. Keeping up can be difficult – especially when you're out of pocket and on the go.

This is where follow-up automation comes into play.

Automating your follow-up emails simplifies acquisition, retention, and loyalty and increases a prospect's lifetime value like child's play. You'll easily automate requests for feedback, share exclusive offer details with high-spending clients, and facilitate re-engagement campaigns.

Include A Clear Call-to-Action

Sending a cold email without including a call to action is like celebrating a birthday party without a birthday cake—really sad times.

Assuming your outreach email impressed your recipient and has made them consider working with you. What next?

It would help to guide them on where they'll proceed or what you want them to do, and this is what a call-to-action (CTA) does.

A simple CTA will highlight the next step that your prospect should follow if they find your value proposition interesting. It may motivate them to do the following:

  • Schedule a meeting with you
  • Sign up for a free trial
  • Visit your website or read a blog post, and so on

The main objective of the call-to-action is to make it easier for qualified prospects to maintain the conversation without them wondering what you expect from them. 

Address Objections

You're close to that "let's do this!" you can almost smell it. And then boom! Your prospect drops the most dreaded bomb. "Well..." "Unfortunately..." "But..."

Typically, objections are the most common hindrance to sealing a deal. But most of the time, the primary reason why most fall through isn't a result of the objection itself but mainly as a result of how you address it.

Objections can help you narrow down your focus on your prospect's fears then customize your brand message accordingly. They will give you in-depth insight into your potential customer's perspective, but responding to rejection isn't as easy.

Here are the most common objections and how to address them:

  • Blow-offs (I'm not interested) – Don't take it personally. First, mention that you understand them, relate to them by talking about another party who felt the same way, then offer them a valuable solution.
  • The cold shoulder (please share more information) – Cut the conversation short by asking flexible follow-up questions so that they lower their guard and start a conversation.
  • Compliancy (I don't need what you're offering) – Create a sense of urgency, demonstrating some research on their competitor on how complacence caused terrible results.
  • Price squeeze (this is too costly) – This is an excellent objection as it indicates their intention to partner with you. So be sure to link the price to the value they'll get.
  • The stall wall (I'll first confirm with my partner) – Never challenge a stall as it could create conflict. Instead, minimize the risk and return to demonstrate how your value proposition has solved similar problems.
  • Competitor tussle (we already have company XX) – Look for cracks in their partnership. Understand your competitor's products and their weak points, then use this to your advantage.

Provide Relevant Benefits

Why should your prospect be concerned about your cold email? What prompts them to take time off their busy schedule to respond? How will they benefit?

Naturally, human beings can do much more to avoid pain than seek pleasure. If you've researched adequately and noted some major pain points for your audience and you can relieve them, mention that in your cold email.

If you can't solve their problem, at least offer them something they want. For instance, you may promise to link them with someone they'd love to meet. The approach stands out since nobody can give before they ask. However, your offering must feel appropriate, from a stranger to another.

Leverage A Reliable Audience Engagement Platform

Today's clients have high expectations for organizations that seek their trust. Sending perfect cold emails at the right time and using the proper channels is the most effective approach to achieve this. However, most businesses experience complexities.

As the friendliest audience engagement platform on the planet, Sendlio allows you to engage your prospects effectively and meet their expectations without leveraging complex tools. The platform lets you automate cold emails and follow-ups and ask better questions to earn you new clients or partners.

Check out the trial version today.


Want more content like this?

Drop your email in the form to subscribe and receive more content like this directly in your inbox!

Signup for Our Newsletter

Don't worry. We won't share your email address or send spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram