How to Write a Cold Call Email

Email Marketing  Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 3 minutes

Email campaigns offer a very inexpensive tool for reaching an audience. Many careers and start-ups flourished because of cold emails, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. You have no audience relationship and you lack feedback that allows you to adjust as you go. With all this going against them, it’s no wonder that cold emails tend to fail.

Crafting the perfect cold email is a craft. It requires fine-tuning and hard work with few responses. Every situation requires a different approach. Engaging readers requires good writing, compelling content, and something actionable each recipient feels uniquely qualified to fulfill.

Read on for some best practices to turn that cold email campaign from failure to success.

Write Snappy Subject Lines

Keep your subject line short and clear. Write your subject line so your email text can deliver on the promise. The goal is to get attention by landing in the priority inbox.

Make sure to include some form of context and a topic that the recipient will engage with. Try to find a way to tailor the subject line to the recipient. Connect something familiar, like a post the recipient created, with a question or a thought. If you don’t, they won’t open your email.
Don’t be too vague. Each word counts, so write a subject line that screams “open me”, in no uncertain terms.


Think about who you imagine the person to be. Consider their interests and desires. Take the time to do the research. Develop what is known as a ‘theory of mind’ for them. Your aim is to show them that you want to offer them something in exchange for what you need.

Make it obvious to the recipient why you chose them over other possible recipients. People love feeling like they are the only option you have. Use this to your advantage by telling a story with them in it.

Consider those Facebook or Twitter call to action posts. While genuine, they come across as impersonal. Imagine someone messaged you directly, highlighting how you have a key role to play, and how it benefits you to jump on board. Questions may remain, but you are more likely to ask them. That’s engagement to capitalize on.

Fill a Need

Ask yourself why your target should care about your email. Why is it important? What are you offering that will benefit them?

Do your research and find the pain they will do anything to avoid. Highlight how what you’re offering will alleviate that pain. If your target has a problem with parking tickets, offering a service that can fix that problem is going to hit the mark.

If no problem exists you can solve, offer them something they want. Make it personal, like an invitation to an event where a beloved star will be in attendance. Sending gifts can be a nice touch, but avoid making your audience feel uncomfortable, as that will drive them away.

Keep it Short

  • Remember your targets are busy people. Don’t waste their time with filler content, extra details, or unnecessary anecdotes. Stay on point.
  • Don’t hit the ground running. Ease them into your pitch. Introduce yourself and why you are contacting them. Offer a chance to connect to you, not your pitch.
  • Highlight how you’re offering to help them. Show them what they stand to gain. Flattery helps, but don’t overdo it.
  • Ask for help. Don’t just say you need it, be specific about what you need. If you can, give them something that will make them think “Oh, I know exactly what to do.”
  • Offer options for meeting. Be mindful of their schedule. Make this step as simple as possible to remove roadblocks. Don’t assume they’re good with lunch.
  • Always thank them for their time. Make it clear you know how busy they are and how appreciative you are for their attention.

Be Authentic and Humble

Remember, you need something from them. You’re asking a stranger to do you a favor.

Be appreciative and honest, and show how you need their help. This encourages them to think of themselves as good Samaritans. It also boosts their spirits as you highlight the power they have to help you.

Be polite. People underestimate how important a “thank you” really is. Tell them up front you understand they are busy. Research shows providing an escape route may actually increase success rates.

Don’t use a template. Cold email templates should be avoided. If you want your target to feel engaged and connected to you, draft the email yourself.


Be succinct and personal. Fill a need or offer a service. Be authentic, remain professional, and always say “thank you.” Use these principles to draft the right cold email for each recipient and reap the dividends of your hard work.