Elements of a Well-written Cold Email

Course Introduction

Cold emails are one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to build and maintain business relationships outside of real-world business communications with an estimated return on investment of 10,000% or more per email.

The average ROI of cold emails is 3,800%, so for every $1 dollar invested, marketers got a return of $38 - (DB, 2022)


If you have tried sending cold emails and have not achieved any success with this, there is a chance you are not doing the right thing. Therefore, in this course, we will be sharing some helpful and proven guidelines to help you ace your outbound sales game.


Lesson #1: Elements of Well Written Cold Email.

Cold emails have the power to help you connect with and build relationships with your prospects. Cold emails encourage email recipients to perform an action e.g. request for a demo or register for a course.

To achieve this, your email has to be structured in a compelling way with the right elements. Some of these includes:

1. Define your Target Audience:

In the words of Vukasin Vukosavljevic, VP of marketing for Skillful communications, Inc,

“Winning outreach starts with qualifying your leads first, segmenting them down, and coming up with a win-win solution”.

The first step to writing a winning cold email is to create your ideal customer profile (ICP) to define your target audience, their demographics, pain points, goals, and interests.

As recommended by Vukosavljevic, consider creating various customer segments based on similar needs to help you reach out to the right prospects who need your product or service.

2. Craft a catchy and connecting subject line.

A cold email subject line is the gateway to getting your prospects to open the email. It is the title of your email and one of the first things that will prompt your prospects to open the email.

Ensure that you craft a catchy and compelling subject line that does not look spammy to increase your email open and response rate. Matylda Chmielewska, a content marketer with LiveChat Partners in her recount of what she finds effective in her email campaigns said:

“Keep it casual: avoid using capital letters or jargon, and don’t include things such as “re” neither. They look spammy.

Use humor: there’s nothing that gets more people to open that email than a good punch line.

Be human: you don’t want to sound like a robot. Also, including your contact’s name will make them hooked from the second they see it.

Fewer words: using lengthy email subjects will decrease your open rate as most email clients display just the very beginning of the tile on mobile”

3. Add Some Personalization:

According to Statista, the open rate for emails with a personalized message was 18.8%, compared to 13.1% of emails without personalization.

Personalization is not just about adding the cliché “Dear Sam” Or “Hi Joe”. Include a personal touch in your cold email by including your prospect's recent activities, interests, or achievements in your email body to connect and build relationships with them. Consider checking out their LinkedIn, Twitter posts, blogs, or career activities.


(Image: HubSpot)

We will discuss more on this in subsequent lessons.

4. Develop an intriguing introduction.

You’ve got about three minutes or less to capture the interest of your prospects, and you don’t want to blow this up by wasting their time.


(Image: HubSpot)

Keep the length of your introduction short and straight to the point. Your focus should be on your email receiver, their experience, achievements, work, and company. Avoid selling to your prospects in the introduction,  especially if this is your first email to them.

Ensure that when you talk about their pain points or call their attention to something they are not doing, you also tell them how you can be of help

5. Add Value Proposition to your Pitch.

The overall goal of the cold email is to pitch a business idea or product/service offering in the best way possible. You are sending to your busy leads, and you must keep the information straight-to-point and benefit-oriented.

Avoid a salesy pitch in your cold email. You must understand that your goal in this stage is not to close any sales but to build a business relationship with the long-term aim of converting them to customers/clients. For example:


(Image: HubSpot)

6. Add a simple Call-to-Action (CTA).

Cold emails with just one call-to-action had a 42% increase in CTRs

Your cold email has to always have a simple task or request for your email recipients.

Your call to action prompts your leads to take an action – most will be to test a product/service trial, watch a video about how you solved a problem, or simply create a guide for them to check out and use.


(Image: HubSpot)

Consider CTAs like a link to a personalized video, or a request for a response to the email to take the communication further. We will discuss more on CTAs more in subsequent lessons.

7. Refine your Cold Email Signature.

An email signature is more than your name and business title, it provides key information about the email sender and where they can find out more information about the company and its products/services.

When creating your email signature, consider adding the following information;

  1. Contact information: Name, title, phone number, website URL, and company logo.
  2. Relevant Links: Consider adding links to your recent press articles, eBooks, or whitepapers.

Keep it short and very straight to the point. Alternatively, you can choose from our free email signature templates and customize them to your needs.

8. Stick to Short Paragraphs and Email Body Length.

The ultimate guideline of every marketing piece is to keep it short and straight to the point. You don’t want to waste your effort with a well-written lengthy email that will be ignored.

According to research by Interseller, email response rates rose 42% when its length was kept under 200 words. They further revealed that the cold email open rate was reduced as the body length exceeded 200 words.



Be considerate of your prospect’s time and try to keep your emails short.


Lesson #2: A Closer Look at Subject Lines, Opening Lines, and Body Paragraphs.

Subject Lines.

An email subject line is the first impression you make on your email. It gives the recipient an idea of the message you are trying to pass. From your subject lines, your prospects decide whether they want to open the email or trash it.

If you’ve been struggling to do this right, here are some steps to follow when crafting your subject line.

Step 1: Keep Your Subject Line Short.

Your cold email subject line is the first point of contact with your prospective clients.

Keeping it short, sweet, and straightforward invokes the curiosity of your recipients.

According to Hunter, the average open rate of subject likes with less than three words is 30% while subject lines with more than three words have 28%. Return Path, also recommends that your subject line should have 50 characters or 6-7 words.


(Image: Klenty)

Step 2: Personalise Your Subject Line.

Personalize your subject line by including your prospect’s first name to gain their attention from the onset.

Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened

A research study by Campaign Monitor found that 74% of marketers claim to enjoy an average 20% increase in revenue when they personalize emails. When you personalize the cold email subject line, it shows the relevance of your email to your prospects.


(Image: Klenty)

Step 3: Make it Interesting and Arouse their Curiosity.

Add hints or interesting facts in your subject line to entice your prospects to open and read the email. Consider the following options to get the attention of your prospects;

  1. Share a recent news story in their industry.
  2. Share a new statistic about the industry.
  3. Ask a question about their recent projects or achievements.
  4. Ask for their help or insight on a subject.

(Image: Klenty)

Step 4: Offer Value

When you send a cold email to your prospect, they want to know “what's in it for them.” Ensure that your subject line tells your prospects the value they stand to gain from it.

If you have done your research on your prospects and found out they are missing out on a tool or service that can help them achieve their goals faster, include this in your email subject line.

Here are some examples to use;


(Image: HubSpot)

Step 5: Use Power Words

According to research by Harvard Business Review, the use of power words in cold email subject line makes it hard for prospects to resist their curiosity and emotions.

Power words are persuasive words that evoke an emotional response from prospects and engage their imagination. Hunter.io shortlisted some of the power words that you should include in your subject line. Alternatively, you can check HubSpot’s cold email subject lines.


(Image: Hunter.io)

Step 6: Avoid using Clichés and Clickbait wrongly.

Avoid using spammy and annoying subject lines that will get your emails in the trash. Avoid using “RE”, and “FW” and making promises that you can’t fulfill.


(Image: Criminally Prolific)

Creating a sense of urgency, value, or importance when your service or product offers none of this will only ruin your chances of achieving a good open rate and in a worst-case scenario, affect future transactions with the client.

Opening Lines.

Right after a well-crafted subject line comes the opening line – the first sentence of your cold email.

The opening line is the text snippet your prospect read after your subject line, and the connection they feel with this will determine their next action. A generic opening line can make a prospect lose interest, and this won’t do you any good.

For cold email best practices, consider also keeping your opening short – preferably 10 - 30% of the total email length.

Common Opening Lines Mistakes
1. Opening Lines Is Too Generic:

Some cold emails have opening lines that are very common and are used by almost every email sender out there.


(Image: Criminally Prolific)

Ensure you personalize your emails to address the prospect's pain points or compliment them on their recent achievements. A better example of a good opening line is


(Image: Criminally Prolific)

2. The Focus is on all of you:

Another mistake many salespeople make when sending cold emails is the race to close sales in the first email.


(Image: Interseller)

You need to understand and continuously remind yourself that the email is about your prospects – your ability to praise them and connect with them and not your achievement or how amazing your company’s product or service is.


(Image: Interseller)

Body Paragraphs.

This is the final part of your cold email. The body paragraphs contain the most crucial information about the email.

This is the point where you fill in all the important information that you need to tell your prospects. Note that this is not the time to slack off but intensify all your previous effort to achieve your desired result. To get a response from the prospects, you must consider the following tips.

Firstly, personalize your body. Write about the pain points, the recent career achievement, or a recent blog or article that they have written, and share your honest feedback about this. If you spotted an issue or lapses in their work, this is also the best time to identify the problem and proffer an immediate solution that you or your company’s product or service offers. For example:


(Image: HubSpot)

Secondly, be direct and focused in your message delivery. Identify the goal of your cold email, and wrap your content around this. Avoid asking obvious questions and go straight to the point. Remember, your prospects don’t have all the time to think for you. From the example above, you can see how direct and straight-to-point the message is.

Lastly, humanize your copy. You don’t want to craft emails like a sales bot. Build a connection with your prospects. Be honest, genuine, and resourceful. Give them a reason to call or take your desired action.

In essence, make the extra effort to deliver value to your prospects in your email paragraph. Strict adherence to the guide above will most likely increase your chances of getting a positive open and response rate.


Lesson #3: Personal Touch in Cold Emails.

Cold email personalization is the act of writing emails that are tailored to fit the needs or interests of the prospects.

The idea behind personalization is for your prospects to read your email and see that you have gone the extra mile to get their attention by showing that you have done extensive research about them.

You must get personalization right, as this is a big determinant of your email success.

Tips to Personalize Your Cold Email.

1. Showcase your research.

Do your research about your prospects - their goals, interests, and pain points, before writing your email body.

When you are writing your email body, add some of this vital information (the above) in the body to garner the attention of your recipient. Consider any of the following:

  • Congratulate them on a recent award
  • Congratulate them on their product launch
  • Compliment them on their new blog, whitepaper, or project.
  • Call their attention to missing elements in their website or landing page, etc.
2. Add their names to the email

Are you aware that reading one’s name sets off a chemical reaction in the brain? There is just a feeling that follows seeing your name in an email -  It sets the mood for a positive reaction to your email.


(Image: Interseller)

Consider using your prospect's name sparingly in the different parts of your email body. While this might not always work, I believe it's still worth the try when you don’t go overboard with the use.

3. Emphasize Mutual Connection:

Since many people are reluctant to talk to strangers, mentioning your mutual connection will most likely prompt them to listen to what you have to say.


(Image: HubSpot)

If you have a mutual connection with the prospect, take no chances in mentioning this in your email to get their attention and increase your chances of them reading the email.

4. Mention Their Pain Points:

If you have found your customer’s pain points, this is a good way for you to mention their pain point and immediately proffer solutions that you can provide. This is a confirmation of your research and resourcefulness.


(Image: HubSpot)

Ensure you explain how your company’s product or service will help them solve the problem and consider highlighting an estimate of the results you can help them achieve.

5. Compliment them:

Everyone loves to be complimented, especially after achieving a big milestone. Praising your prospects for their excellence, new job, or expertise on a subject will prompt them to read your email.

If the prospects recently published a book, won an award, or got a new job/promotion, this is the perfect time to congratulate them on this and introduce them to your products.

However, please note that you have to keep this to the minimum, don’t go overboard with this. For example, don’t do this


(Image: Salesfolk)

Instead keep your compliments to a minimum level like the example below;


(Image: Gmass)


Lesson #4: The Importance of Call-To-Action.

A call to action (CTA) is the next step or action you are asking your prospects to take after reading your emails.

Since you are sending cold emails to build a rapport and introduce yourself to the prospective clients, it is important that you are clear on the goal of the emails e.g. to get their contact information, request a call, request them to check a demo, or start a free trial.

Your call to action should guide your prospects on the next steps after reading your brand story, exciting testimonials, and the solution your product or service offers. Customize your call to action to support your marketing efforts.

Proven Techniques for Writing Your CTA.
  1. Include A Specific Date and Time: If the purpose of your email is to schedule a call or have an interview with the prospects, your CTA should suggest a time and date for the call.
  2. Add a link to a calendar: Consider using tools like Doodle, Calendly, and Assitant. co to set a convenient date and time. A good thing about this is that you can also set an automatic meeting reminder for the meeting.
  3. Reinforce your Value-proposition in your CTA: Include some of the key information about your business solution in your call to action to remind your prospects of the reasons they should respond to you.
  4. Request a Connection: Another proven CTA technique is the deliberate act to request a connection or simply ask them to refer you to someone that can help if they are not in a position to do so.
  5. Ask for their Permission to Share a link: Another proven tactic that will get you a high response rate is to request your prospect’s permission to share a link or information with them.
  6. Use Humor: Adding humor to your call to action could encourage your prospects to give you a response.

Lesson #5: Writing Tips for Higher Open Rates.

Due to the high volume of emails sent daily to professionals and their work schedules, it can be tough for your email to get a good open rate. The following tips will help you achieve a high email open rate.

Tip 1: Personalize your Email:

We can’t stress enough the importance of personalization to the success of your cold emails. Include personalization in your subject line, opening line, email body, call to action, and email signature.

Don’t just include their name in the subject line, write about their company, recent achievements or awards, or pain points to capture their attention. Remember not to stress it. Keep your message short and straight to the point. Check out Sloovi Outreach to help you achieve this.

Tip 2: Create a structure for your Emails:

Remember that you are writing to prospects who probably have no information about you and may not be receptive to strangers.

You have to pass a short and direct important message in the best way possible. To achieve this, you need to create a content structure for your email.

Your content structure should itemize all the salient points that you wish to communicate including all the information you have about the client such as their company, recent achievement, or team’s pain points.

Tip 3: Select a good time to send the email:

I believe you have probably heard many social media strategists talk about the importance of posting time to generate a result. Interestingly, the same applies when sending your cold emails to your prospects.

To increase your emails open rate, endeavor to send the email on Monday, Thursday evening, and Friday morning.

Tip 4: Follow up

Considering the possibility of your email being ignored, you must prepare to follow up on the clients if you don’t get a response to your email after some days.

Send a follow-up email two or three days after the emails have been sent to increase your chances of getting a response. When writing your follow-up email, consider following the same steps:

  • Add value, explain why you are emailing, decide on your goals,
  • Write like a human, be short and direct, and
  • Include a personalized call to action and a customized email signature.

Our sales outreach tool, Sloovi Outreach can help you power up your daily reach rate with a built-in VoIP and scale your outreach with mass personalization and automated follow-ups.