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How to write a successful cold email

Vincenzo Ruggiero author on Overloop the sales engagement, cold email, and LinkedIn automation software blog
Vincenzo Ruggiero Feb 11, 20225 min read

How to write a cold email. Key to success, step by step

Writing a cold email can generate some uncertainty, especially if we are not used to this type of communication. Not in vain, we must bear in mind that this cold message will be our letter of introduction to the recipient. Making a good impression and generating an adequate response from them is key, and of course, knowing how to write a cold email requires some art and following some simple but powerful guidelines.

Overloop offers a unique and very powerful tool for sending cold emails, but it’s very important to know how to write a cold email that makes an impact and achieves a high response rate from its recipients. To help you work with this tool, we have prepared this guide with the 5 main points to follow so that your cold sales email is successful.

What is a cold email? What is it for?

As you can see on Overloop’s website: “everything starts with a conversation”. All sales process and all prospecting for future clients begins with a first contact, which may be initiated by any of the parties.

If we extrapolate this issue to the offline world, we will also see how cold contacts are common: business calls, physical visits by sales agents or, simply, delivery of advertising material at the point of sale. All these situations suppose a “cold” contact, without the future client having requested it. The objective is always the same: break the ice and start a dialogue with the potential client, to find out their needs and start a relationship with them.

Cold emailing follows exactly the same line. It is a very useful tool to break the ice and start a new conversation with that potential customer of our product or service. Surely, the recipient of the cold email does not know anything about our company, so this message will be our first contact. That is why it is a cold lead.

Taking this into account, what is a cold email for? To build a relationship, so that “stranger” who receives the text becomes a possible prospect of our company. As we said before, it will serve to break the ice.

How to make your cold email stand out? Evolution of cold email

This is the big question that arises when we plan to send with cold email. Every day, we all receive large amounts of email from different sources. Social networks, advertising, business partners, contacts, family, friends… Inboxes are usually flooded with messages and making ours stand out requires abandoning excessively commercial tones and very generic texts.

Cold emails, in their beginnings, used to consist of commercial texts presenting offers. They were usually plain texts, without any type of segmentation or personalization. But this stopped working a long time ago and emails of this type usually go unnoticed through the recipients’ inboxes.

The working methodology for sending cold emails has evolved a lot since then. Aggressive sales emails are doomed to fail, as are impersonal, “one size fits all” copy. They ceased to be effective a long time ago and, if you are using this type of technique, you will surely have already verified for yourself their total lack of effectiveness.

We must focus our efforts on building a lasting relationship with our prospect, instead of seeking an immediate response to a commercial offer. Cold email should focus on the recipient, put yourself in their place. They must feel that you understand their business and its challenges. We must let the prospect tell us about himself, explain what he needs to improve his day to day. From there, we can talk to him about how our product or service can help him meet those needs.

But keep this in mind as well: your cold email should be short and to the point. A text that is too long will cause rejection in your recipient and has a high chance of being deleted. Try not to exceed 150-180 words. In that space you should be able to meet all the objectives of your cold email. It seems complicated, right? Don’t worry, Overloop is here to help you.

How to write a successful cold email? The keys to success in your cold mailing strategy, step by step

Once we are clear about what a cold email is, what its purpose is and how we should approach it as a way to break the ice and establish a relationship with the future client, let’s see step by step the most important points of a cold email.

1. “From” line: take care of the first impression

Although this is a section that is not usually given much attention, it should be taken into account from the beginning. Usually, we just put our email address without further effort.

But this should not be overlooked. It is important that the recipient can directly identify the sender who sent the cold email. This will affect your first impression and your spontaneous decision to open our message or not.

Remember: the recipient of your cold email doesn’t know you yet, doesn’t know who you are, and may even be suspicious of your email. That first impression about the sender will directly affect the bounce rate of our cold emails, so we should not overlook it.

2. Subject: arouse the recipient’s curiosity

We at Overloop always say the same thing: the subject of your cold email is the key that will open the door to the rest of the message. As simple as that. If the subject convinces, if it makes the recipient want to know more, we will have achieved the most difficult part of a cold email: that our future prospect opens the message and continues reading.

From opposite, if the subject does not have a hook, if it is a simple generic text, the bounce rate of our cold emails will skyrocket. And, in addition, a text that is too commercial or with little personalization can take our email to the dreaded spam folder, generating one of the main problems that affect this type of platform and spoiling its delivery capacity. We insist on the same previous idea: put yourself in the place of your prospect. Do not talk about yourself, but about the benefit that he can obtain with your product. What will he receive in exchange for opening your cold message? Try to arouse his curiosity, make him want to know more.

At this point, it is very important that the subject message is personalized and we must avoid “self-promotion”. Instead, try to connect with your prospect, get their attention. Leave him wanting more. And remember that the cold email’s matter is not something set in stone, that you can adapt and reconfigure it at any time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different subjects and test their effectiveness. Cold emailing tools like Overloop make this type of experiment very easy for you. Feel free to check it out for yourself.

Also try to sound human, avoid a too formal or salesman tone. And, of course, it leaves the door open for further information if the prospect continues reading. That is the key to success in a cold email: to make our future business partner want to know more, to find out what benefit we can offer them in our email.

3. The body of the cold email

Once we have gotten our prospect to open the email, that we have drawn their attention with the subject, it is time for him to discover what we really have to offer. He is halfway to becoming a valuable lead for our company, so we have to give our best from now on.

3.1. The introduction

First of all, strive to write an introduction that encourages further reading. The first two lines of the body of the message are essential to get the prospect to read our text to the end. Writing an intriguing introduction that arouses the prospect’s curiosity even more may seem complicated, but always remember the fundamental advice of this post: focus on him, on what he is going to achieve with your tool or your product.

Consider the introduction as a short text of no more than 2 or 3 sentences, in which you will talk about your prospect (his achievements, his experience, his work…). The key is to get him interested in what we are going to tell him next, don’t forget it.

You can approach this introduction in different ways:

  • Ask your prospect directly about their problems or needs.
  • Talk about a problem that you have already detected and for which you have a solution.
  • Mention some detail of his company that you consider important. This will make him see that you have really been interested in him, that you have investigated and that it is not just another generic text.

3.2. Your presentation. It’s time to talk about you

You already have your prospect’s attention. You got him here after opening your message and reading your introduction. Now yes, it’s time to talk about you. To introduce yourself to your prospect and talk about yourself, your company and your product. This is another key to how to write a successful cold email: find the right tone when talking about yourself.

It’s important that you have a previously made formula to talk about your product or service. Do not leave anything open to improvisation. Since it is a cold email that you have decided to send, everything must be taken care of down to the smallest detail. Also, try to keep it consistent with the first lines, so that he doesn’t notice that jump between one part of the text and another.

And from Overloop we again advise you to avoid a discourse that is too focused on direct sales. Even if they’ve made it this far, the prospect may still decide to close your cold email and send it to the trash can, especially if you’re too aggressive with your sales pitch. Do not rush.

Instead, it is better that you try to add value, show the benefits of your proposal for your future client. Explain why he need it, what your product or service will bring him and why he should try it. Give him value, show him how much you know his needs and how you are going to contribute to satisfying them.

Remember: talk about benefits, not technical characteristics or complicated formulas. Your prospect wants to get something, wants to get better at his job or wants to get some kind of benefit. He is not concerned about the technical part of your product, but what it can contribute.

And don’t forget this: avoid being too commercial, do not show need or hurry to sell. Focus on your client, on how you can help him and the benefits of hiring your product or service. This is the key to generating a climate of trust, so that your prospect really wants to become your client.

3.3. End your cold email with a call to action that gets a clear response

You have already managed to generate interest in your prospect about your product or service. You’ve done the hard part, getting him to open your email and read it. Good job! But you’re not done yet. We have already seen how to write a cold email that captures attention, that manages to be read until the end… and now it’s time to finish the job with a call to action that gets the prospect to do exactly what you want.

You must be clear about what you want your prospect to do from here: respond to your cold email, sign up for a free trial, schedule a business call… Now is the time to get him to take that step. Be direct and make it clear to him what he must do. As simple as that.

Avoid overly complicated or confusing calls to action. A call to action that expresses in one sentence your purpose and what your potential client should do at this very moment is enough. And of course, it should be an action that does not take much time and is easy to perform.

Finally, we can say that you already know how to write a successful cold email. Remember to always focus on your prospect, talk about him, talk to him, mention his needs and the benefits you can offer him. And, of course, make it clear to him what you need him to do next. That is the key to the call to action, which will be the perfect closing for the body of your cold email.

4. The signature of your cold email is also important

As we have already said on several occasions, you should not leave any section of your cold email to chance. And the signature is a very important part to complete the good first impression that you have generated with the rest of the message.

Here are some helpful tips on how to optimize your cold email signature:

  • Build trust. Display your contact details, make it easy to follow up, and let your prospect know where to find you. That will help boost confidence even more.
  • Be brief. You do not need to design a signature that is too complex, or with too much information. Just show the useful information. Think about what data your prospect really needs to contact you in the future.

Overwhelmed by all this information on how to write a successful cold email? Or maybe do you feel like starting to work on it? Sign up for Overloop’s free 14-day trial and see how our cold mailing tool can make your life easier.