You stare at the blank email on your screen, cursor blinking. Finding and researching the perfect prospect was exhausting. But now comes the real challenge—writing an effective cold email they'll actually respond to.
Most cold outreach ends up in the trash or spam folders, never to be seen again. Generating interest from strangers is hard—no relationship exists yet to build rapport. And you lack the real-time feedback possible in live conversations to refine your approach dynamically. Frustrations and rejections await.
But cold email can unlock transformative opportunities when executed correctly. In fact, 80% of buyers prefer to be contacted by email.
So, how do you create emails that get responses?
By creating a cold email strategy. This blog explains how to create one.
6 Cold email strategies that work
Here are the top 6 cold email strategies you must follow:
- Personalize through recipient research
- Validate yourself
- Frame value exchange clearly
- Streamline call-to-actions
- Express sincere gratitude
- Avoid impersonal templates
#1. Personalize through recipient research
Generic spam emails are quickly deleted, but personalized messages demonstrate your understanding of the recipient's perspective and priorities. Segmenting leads based on context, rather than sending mass emails, leads to more qualified prospects. Just by personalizing your subject lines, you can boost your response rate by 30.5%.
That's why personalization is a cold email strategy you cannot ignore. It requires research and insights. Analyze what makes recipients tick through lenses like:
- Core business/career motivations
- Public opinions and pet peeves
- Workplace roles and responsibilities
- Stated goals for the quarter/year
This approach reveals pain points and establishes rapport through specific commonalities. Demonstrating this level of understanding also fosters goodwill in return.
Begin by confirming the recipient's preferred form of address to avoid mistakes.
Clearly explain why you chose them specifically, highlighting how your project aligns with their expertise. People appreciate feeling uniquely capable of helping, so frame your request to reflect this.
#2 Validate yourself
When reaching out to strangers online, it's important to provide social proof, as people are often wary of people they don’t know. Therefore, in cold emailing, it's crucial to mention credible facts or references that establish your legitimacy and trustworthiness. Include things like:
- Degrees, certifications, or specialized training connoting subject matter mastery
- Company leadership experience conveying business savvy
- Client lists and case studies proving competency
- Personal bios highlighting relevant recognitions
Even just demonstrating your network in recipients' circles through common connections helps diminish perceptual distance. Humans bond along shared subgroups and affiliations.
However, be cautious of overdoing it. Avoid irrelevant name-dropping, as it can come across as insincere and increase skepticism. It's more effective to subtly incorporate factual evidence of your capabilities into your initial message.
#3: Frame value exchange clearly
Emails that demand a lot of effort without offering clear benefits are often deleted.
So, what must recipients gain by engaging? Why should busy executives care about replies?
Everyone prioritizes self-interest inherently. Successful cold emailers thus always accentuate upside value exchanges. It's a proven cold email strategy highlighting how responding helps recipients resolve existing headaches, access scarce resources, achieve coveted outcomes, or seize advantageous positioning.
This framing requires understanding target industries' challenges through initial research. Discover common friction points plaguing recipients to credibly promise relief.
Alternatively, if no pain points require remedies presently, provide rare resources recipients want instead, like:
- Hard-to-find market data or intelligence
- Referrals to elite networking opportunities
- Links to exclusive tools or limited-time discounts
- Complimentary access, content, or concierge services
The offer must fit recipients' known wishes versus random guesses without contexts. So, work on understanding ideal gifts first. Thoughtfulness begets positive responses.
#4 Streamline call-to-actions
Once recipient interest locks in, guide the next steps through clear call-to-actions (CTAs), reducing obstacles toward conversions.
A common cold emailing mistake is requesting unreasonable commitments upfront before establishing trust. Asking overworked executives to suddenly depart calendars for hour-long demos on tools never seen or heard of previously means likely disappointment.
Instead, meet strangers where they stand through incremental engagement lifts. Gradually earn space to make bigger asks after value delivery garners goodwill.
Low-friction email CTAs might include:
- Replies sharing more contexts to deepen discoveries
- Brief 15–30-minute introductory calls
- Quick video demos on websites
- Reviewing personnel project proposal docs
Make acceptance easy. Direct leads to learn more through convenient next steps instead.
#5: Express sincere gratitude
Everyone enjoys hearing "thank you". Thanking prospects is a cold email strategy that can potentially double your response rate.
Acknowledging help is crucial when seeking continued favors from strangers. Expressing gratitude fulfills their desire to assist and emotionally rewards them.
Simple acts, like sending requested information, can prompt reciprocation if properly acknowledged. Always follow up with thank-you notes to recognize their efforts.
Sincerity sells here, too—not canned obligation. Express genuine gratefulness through specific appreciated actions.
#6 Avoid impersonal templates
Cold email templates promise to simplify perfection. Just plug names into fill-in fields and watch new businesses pour in automatically. Right?
Unfortunately, not. While templates help organize structures, copying factory Mad Libs negatively impacts response rates. Ultimately, every prospect's background differs along with preferred communication styles.
There are certainly cold email strategy best practices covered here, such as leading with value exchanges. But templates often neglect personalization. Thus, replies are unlikely as engagement feels transactional versus authentic dialogues respecting unique contexts.
Keeping templates for reminders going to existing warm contacts makes sense. But for early-stage cold outreaches, blend standardized approaches with personalized research insights. Establish unique foundations, then optimize communication flows over time through accumulated engagement insights.
Additional cold email strategies to consider
Beyond the critical cold email strategies emphasized above, here are some other techniques to sway response rates:
Response windows: Mind working hour patterns across time zones when expecting responses. Reaching Tokyo teams at 4 AM local midnight guarantees delays.
Professionalism: Typos, grammatical errors, or slang can undermine the authoritative tone needed to capture a lead’s attention. Always proofread your emails.
Follow-ups: If initial emails go unanswered, follow up with reminder sequences. These reminders compel responses by keeping your brand prominent through drip campaigns.
A/B testing: Never assume optimality is achieved. Regularly measure and optimize factors from email timing to subject line angles, confirming paths delivering the highest open rates.
Don't leave prospects out in the cold
In summary, cold email works when following disciplined frameworks that respect the recipient's context and communicate tailored messages with clarity.
The strategies shared above help nurture quality leads, incrementally fostering shared value while avoiding aggressive approaches that could jeopardize potential relationships.
Mastering non-verbal digital outreach just requires balancing personalized creativity with structured best practices, consistently fine-tuned through data-driven optimization. Up next, we explore some tips on sending a meeting invitation email to boost your chances of getting the responses you need.