The Post ‘Successful Cold Emails That Work (and How to Do It Yourself) was originally published in 2019. It has been reworked and modernized for 2021.
Sending cold emails is easy. Sending successful cold emails is harder.
The variety of moving parts involved – such as list quality and sender score – make it harder than it seems.
Don’t worry, though – using the right tools and techniques, you can stand out from the crowd and start getting real results from your cold emails.
Successful Cold Emails That Work (and How to Do It Yourself)
One of the best ways to improve your emails is by looking at examples of good campaigns. By identifying the best elements and applying those strategies to your own campaigns, you can step up your game and get better results.
Of course, you can gain just as much useful information by looking at what not to do as well.
Before we begin looking at some examples and analyzing them, let’s review some general tips you can put into practice right away.
General Cold Email Tips
The very best thing you can do for your cold emails is know who your contacts are. If your email content is barely relevant to someone reading it (or not relevant at all), you’re not going to get results. You’re going to get unsubscribes and spam complaints.
If you’re sending a cold email to a single contact, then do your research. Make sure they’re the right person to talk to (i.e. someone in the right department, with the authority to make a purchase).
Research them and their company. Identify exactly how your offer can benefit them, and put this information in your email. Make it clear that even though this email is out of the blue, it’s still aimed directly at them, with their needs in mind.
If you’re sending mass campaigns to huge lists, you can’t achieve the same level of detailed personalization. You want to take it as far as you can, though. Ideally, even if you’re sending the same email to 500,000 people, the vast majority will still feel like the email was written with them, specifically, in mind.
Making that work requires some creativity to be sure. You can make it easier on yourself by tightly managing your contact list.
Segmentation will help you immensely here. Split your list up into different groups that are as similar as possible. One easy way to do this is by job title and industry.
If you have a group of contacts that are all in particular job roles in a particular industry – let’s say marketing managers in the finance industry – you can write more detailed emails that still apply to everyone on your list.
The Technical Side
A major pitfall in cold email marketing success is actually getting your campaigns into inboxes. Today’s spam filters are advanced and very vigilant, and figuring out exactly how to ensure your emails don’t end up in junk folder purgatory can be confusing.
If you want to make it easier on yourself, use Clickback. It’s an email sending platform that’s designed to handle all the complicated technical factors – like list verification, sender score maintenance, and so on – so that you don’t have to.
Want to learn more about how it can get your campaigns into real inboxes instead of spam folders? Book a 1-to-1 live demo and see it in action.
Let’s take a look at some real-life cold emails we’ve received, what they did well, what they didn’t, and what you can learn from them.
Cold Email Example 1
This one is a bit lengthy for a cold email, but it gets a lot of things right.
He opens with a common question: “Here’s who I’m looking for. If it’s not you, could you point me to them?” While this is a good way to improve your chances of reaching the right person, it can also backfire – it might come across as not having done your research into who you’re emailing.
In this case, he had actually reached the right person.
Right off the bat, he’s citing results we could expect within a given timeframe, and following up with a big claim – “The reason we have the highest average ROI of all SEO vendors […]”. The value he’s offering is crystal clear from the start.
He then brings up the specific challenges that his company’s services solve – ones that most of his target audience grapple with. Directly after, he explains how his company does it.
His explanation of their UI and services gives a brief but solid impression of what the user experience is like. It also outlines why their service is different – it’s not automated, it’s actual people doing the work.
Then, he takes some points away from himself by questioning again whether he’s reached the right person.
His signature (blacked out for privacy) included a phone number, providing an additional contact method.
He also added a postscript, giving us another way to opt out of further contact – something that is often appreciated.
- He reached exactly the right audience
- The value proposition is immediately obvious
- Legitimate pain points are mentioned, and a solution is offered
- He briefly explains how his solution works
- Slightly lengthy email content
- Multiple “is there someone more appropriate” questions imply uncertainty
- Little personalization
Although it’s a little verbose for a cold email, almost every part of it reinforces the message. Giving plenty of concrete details – expected results and timeframe, comparing the user experience to familiar services, and examples of trackable KPIs – provides a well-rounded impression of the offer.
There’s not much in the way of personalization, though – just a first name in the greeting. Referring to “your company” instead of using the actual company name, as well as other somewhat generic references to “marketers”, does little to convince the reader that they’re really the sole recipient.
If you’re sending a mass cold email campaign, personalization is key – so ensure you have as much data on your contacts as possible. Then, you can avoid the only glaring issue in this email example.
Cold Email Example 2
This example follows a fairly classic cold email format. Like the previous example, it’s lacking in personalization. Additionally, it could have benefited from proofreading, with some spelling, grammar and capitalization issues.
However, it’s also short and easily scannable. The bullet points effectively summarize the issues that the sender’s services help with.
Mentioning a “quick 15-minute call to discuss your unique business needs” sets concrete expectations, and isn’t a huge ask. They also provide a calendar link.
- Brief and easily scannable
- Clear summary of the value proposition
- Clear call-to-action with a calendar link
- Lack of personalization feels generic
- Spelling, grammar and capitalization issues come across as unprofessional
The biggest thing you can learn from this email is the value of proofreading. Errors – especially glaring errors such as these – come across as unprofessional regardless, but doubly so when the sender is touting their inbound marketing services.
Getting a fresh pair of eyes to carefully check your content is a great way to catch errors before you send your campaigns.
Cold Email Example 3
This was a follow-up of the previous example. Once again it lacks personalization – but it gets a lot more right than the first touchpoint.
This time, it provides a range of actual case studies with concrete results. Like our first example, citing definite results is very appealing. Case studies are a fantastic way of proving your value propositions.
The fourth link in particular hits the nail on the head. The first three cite the names of the companies involved in the studies, but the final link simply references “a B2B company”. Since we’re a B2B company as well, that link comes across as especially relevant.
Citing a range of success stories, with their results, and following it up with “I think we can help you achieve similar success”, is a very effective strategy.
Overall, this email retains the same brevity and readability as the previous one, and improves upon it with solid data and fewer errors.
- Plenty of value in the form of case studies
- Brief and to-the-point
- Lack of personalization
If you can provide results you’ve achieved for other customers – especially with case studies – that goes a long way to convincing your recipients that your services are worthwhile.
When you back up your big, bold claims with hard data, people naturally want to see how those results were achieved. What did you do to help your other customers so much? Could you do that for the reader, too?
Overall, there are quite a few things you can do to make your cold emails successful.
- Keep it brief and to-the-point
- Make sure your value is crystal clear
- Mention exactly what challenges your offer solves
- Back that up with hard data
- Ensure you’re addressing the right person
- Use as much personalization as you can
- Get someone else to proofread before you send
- Send your emails with the right email platform so they actually reach the inbox
If you want to take your email content to new heights, check out this comprehensive deep dive into cold email copywriting.