cold emailing
Last Update
Dec 19
2023
Reading Time
7 min.

A-Z Guide to Cold Emailing: Definition, Use Cases, and Writing Tips in 2024

Mihaela Cicvaric

Cold emails are emails sent to potential clients or connections with whom you have no prior relationship.

When done right, cold emailing helps you generate leads, build networks, hire top talents, and open new business opportunities.

But, a lot of people crafting and sending cold emails struggle to know:

  • How to define & find your ICP?
  • How to find their verified contacts?
  • How to write cold emails that get replies?
  • How to avoid landing in the spam folder?
  • Which cold emailing software to use?

In this guide, we'll cover what cold emailing is, why it's important, and how to do it effectively. You'll learn about the challenges and tips to creating an email that stands out in a busy inbox and gets replies!

What is a cold email?

A cold email is a first-time email sent to a recipient without prior contact. Unlike spam, a well-crafted cold email is targeted, personalized, and intended for sales, recruiting, growth, or networking purposes. It’s a modern-day equivalent of a cold call but less intrusive.

The effectiveness of a cold email depends on its relevance. It's not about sending a generic message to a vast list of emails. Instead, it’s about doing research, understanding the recipient's needs or interests, and tailoring your message.

The goal of a cold email is not just to get read but to get a response as a beginning of forming a relationship. It's not about selling immediately but about initiating a conversation, building a connection, and converting your leads by providing value.

Despite many cold emailing myths, cold emailing remains a highly effective, cheap, and scalable way to increase your business's revenue. You can test it out in any department to get new customers, hire top talents, or open new business opportunities!

What's the difference between cold email and email marketing?

A cold email is sent to an individual or a small group you haven't interacted with before. Its main goal is to initiate contact for networking, sales, growth, or recruiting.

These emails are customized to the recipient's specific interests or professional needs.

The effectiveness of a cold email is measured by its ability to engage the recipient and get a response.

Email marketing targets an existing audience - people who have chosen to receive your messages.

This method includes sending newsletters, promotional content, and general updates to a broader group.

The goal is to nurture and enhance ongoing relationships, brand commitment, and customer involvement. Therefore, it involves less personalization than a cold email.

In summary, cold emails are for starting new relationships as a part of outbound sales, while email marketing is for nurturing relationships with an already existing audience as a part of an inbound sales strategy.

Do cold emails work?

Cold emails work effectively when they are targeted, personalized, clear, and part of a well-thought sales strategy.

Here are 5 best practices that will make your cold outreach effective and help you get results:

1. Find target audience

Cold emails can be effective when they are highly targeted. This means understanding the recipient's industry, role, and potential needs, and then crafting an email that speaks directly to those factors.

2. Personalize

A key element of successful cold emails is personalization. This goes beyond just using the recipient's name; it involves tailoring the message to address their specific challenges or interests.

3. Offer a clear value proposition

The effectiveness of a cold email is often tied to its clarity. As the majority of recipients first scan cold emails, they are more likely to engage with the ones that get to the point quickly and offer a clear value proposition.

4. Follow-up

Persistence in cold outreach pays off! Follow-up emails, when done respectfully and increasing the value, can boost the chances of getting a reply.

5. Track right metrics

The success of cold emails should be measured not just by open or response rates, but also by the quality of the interactions they initiate (e.g., established connections, closed deals)

What are the benefits of using cold emailing?

When executed correctly, cold emailing offers many advantages that help you reach you reach your business targets and boost your revenue!

Here’s a breakdown of 5 top cold email benefits:

1. It's cost-effective

Cold emailing is a low-cost option compared to other sales channels. It doesn't require a significant budget and can be scaled easily with automation tools, making it accessible for businesses of all sizes.

2. It shortens your sales cycle

You can directly reach decision-makers or specific individuals in an organization. This direct line of communication is often more efficient than broad advertising strategies.

3. It allows a hyper-personalized approach

Cold emails can be highly customized and personalized to address the specific needs, interests, and pain points of the recipient, increasing the likelihood of getting replies.

4. It’s easily measurable

With cold emailing, you can track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This data helps in refining your strategies, doubling down success, and boosting overall efficiency!

5. It can bring fast results

Sending a cold email is quick, allowing you to reach a large number of potential clients or contacts in a short amount of time. This speed can be crucial in growing in new markets or getting ahead of competitors.

Is it appropriate to cold email?

Cold emailing is widely accepted for networking, prospecting, and outreach in the business world.

It's an effective way to showcase your business, considering that you've researched and are reaching out with relevant and valuable information.

But, the key to appropriate cold emailing is respecting the recipient's privacy and time. This means avoiding overly aggressive or frequent emails and ensuring your email content is relevant to the leads’ interests and needs.

It should clearly communicate how the recipient can benefit from your offer. This isn't just about selling a product or service; it's about starting a conversation that could be mutually beneficial.

In conclusion, cold emailing can be a highly appropriate and effective approach in business communications when done thoughtfully, legally, and with a clear value proposition for the recipient.

Is cold email illegal?

Cold email isn’t illegal, and in fact, it’s a common and legitimate way to grow a business. However, there are some regulations and best practices that you need to follow to ensure you aren't breaking any laws or damaging your reputation.

In many countries, including the United States, cold emailing is legal as long as it adheres to the rules set by laws like the CAN-SPAM Act.

Here are the top 5 tips to stay compliant with anti-spam laws & ethical practices:

1. Include an opt-out option in your emails

You must provide a clear explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting an email from you in the future.

2. React to opt-out requests promptly

If a recipient chooses to opt out, respect their decision immediately and remove them from your mailing list without delay.

3. Provide accurate and clear sender information

Your "From," "To," "Reply-To," and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the email.

4. Avoid deceptive or false information

e.g., The subject line must reflect the content of the message accurately.

5. Maintain good sending list hygiene

Regularly update your email list to remove unengaged subscribers or those who have opted out. This not only keeps your list legal but also improves email deliverability and engagement.

Non-compliance can result in fines, so it's crucial to follow these guidelines to ensure your cold emailing practices are legal!

Use cases of cold emailing

Cold emails can help you start a conversation with anyone and establish new relationships to grow your business. Therefore, it's not limited to salespeople, as it can be helpful for anyone looking to network, collaborate, hire, or open new business opportunities.

Here's how different departments and industries can benefit from sending cold emails:

Sales use cases

[  ] Identify highly-qualified leads

e.g., use cold emailing to identify individuals or businesses that fit your ideal customer profile and confirm their interest

[  ]  Schedule sales meetings or demos

e.g., propose a one-on-one meeting to showcase how your product or service can benefit the potential client

[ ] Grow a company’s revenue

e.g., open new business opportunities, exceed sales quotas and bring new revenue streams to help the company’s growth

Marketing use cases

[  ]  Announce a product launch

e.g., highlight the benefits and offer an exclusive discount or early access to create a sense of urgency and generate interest

[  ] Promote an event

e.g., give information about the event and highlight the key benefits that will encourage people to register and attend

[  ] Ask for customer feedback

e.g., offer an incentive, such as a discount on a future purchase, to encourage valuable insights that can help improve your offering

Growth use cases

[  ] Generate leads

e.g., send a relevant message that targets prospects' pain points and offers value to capture their interest and start a conversation

[  ] Build partnerships

e.g., identify complementary businesses or influencers in your industry and reach out to them to propose a partnership or collaboration

[  ] Cross-sell & upsell

e.g., analyze prospects' purchase history and promote complementary or upgraded products to increase their lifetime value

Recruiting & HR use cases

[  ] Build a talent pipeline

e.g., you can save time and money on recruiting in the long run, as you'll already build a relationship with highly qualified potential candidates

[  ] Network with industry professionals

e.g., reach out to people who work for companies you admire, attend industry events, or gain expertise in a particular area that could be valuable to your organization

[  ] Promote your employer's brand

e.g., reach out to potential candidates and highlight your organization's culture, mission, and values to build a positive reputation and attract top talent

👉 To find, contact, and hire top talents, follow the outreach steps from this recruiting guide!

What are the best tools for cold emailing?

Whether you are an SDR, growth marketer, recruiter, or founder - having cold email software is crucial to growing your business with cold outreach.

The right cold email tool will help you save tons of manual work and money on pricey tech hires or multiple tool subscriptions!

How cold email software helps you boost outreach efficiency and grow revenue

To make an informed decision that is aligned with your goals, budget, and integration requirements, check out this comparison table of 30+ best cold email software on the market!

The comparison table of 30+ best cold email software

👉 And to dive deeper into each tool’s pricing, pros, cons, and reviews, see this ultimate guide to choosing the best cold email software in 2024

How do you successfully cold email?

If you want to grow your business with cold emails, you have to:

→ Find a relevant target audience
→ Get their valid information
→ Send engaging outreach campaign
→ Land out of the spam folder
→ Track your results to double down on success

Here’s a breakdown of the exact steps to follow to nail each cold emailing phase and convert 17-30% of your cold prospects:

Step 1: Identify your ICP

1. Get lemlist’s Free ICP Template

An ideal customer profile is a detailed description of a customer who benefits most from the product or service.

ICP considers factors like industry, company size, job roles, challenges, and behaviors. It guides marketing and sales efforts, ensuring resources target the most promising prospects.

To ensure you invest your resources only into highly qualified leads, we’ve prepared an ICP template for you!

  1. Open the ICP template
  2. Make a copy
  3. Follow the steps below to fill out the info

2. Find a source of your ICP data

→ Don’t have a product-market fit (PMF)?

  • Look up traffic volumes on the pains you are trying to solve with tools like Ubersuggest or Ahrefs.
  • Hang out in communities or platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, Quora, Slack, Circle, Discord, etc., to see if people have the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • Build multiple ICPs (using the templates above) based on your assumptions. You created the business in the first place to solve a problem. Who might have this problem?
  • Reach out to 100 people from each ICP (aim at having 10 to 30 on the phone from each ICP) to network with them, ask them for feedback, and see if they are experiencing the problem you are solving.

→ You have a product market fit?

  • Map out your existing customers. Be aware that not all of your clients are ideal, but it is still super helpful to understand what type of customers you serve.

3. Collect and fill out your ICP's data

Try to cover all of the following questions (answers might be different from one ICP to another):

Company information:

  • What is the company's size?
  • What is the company's industry?
  • What is the company's revenue?
  • What is the company's growth?
  • What is the company's location?
  • What is the lifetime value (LTV) of your product or service?
  • What is their net promoter score (NPS)?
  • What tools does the company use? (you can use tools like BuiltWith or Wappalyzer)

Target employee’s information:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What value proposition do you have for them?
  • Who is the end user?
  • Who is the manager?
  • Who is the decision maker?
  • Why do they need you? (use their words)
  • What are their professional goals? (e.g., increasing the company revenue by X%)
  • What are their personal goals? (e.g., having a promotion in the next X months)
  • What will hold them back?
  • When do they need you?
  • Find triggers that can help you reach out at the right time
  • How important and urgent is the pain?

4. Prioritize your ICPs into tiers

Once you have completed your ideal customer profiles, order them into tiers.

Structuring your ICPs into tiers helps you get your priorities straight and shows you where to spend most of your time. For example, you would want to focus more on writing the email copies for the tier 1 persona since they will bring more revenue.

5. Verify your ICPs

Check if your ICP was correctly done (ICPs should have better results than non-ICPs):

👉 You can access a complete guide on how to define your target audience here and ensure you target prospects that bring you the most $$$

P.S. Your ICP profiles will need to be updated as your company grows and with the learnings and experiments you do!

Step 2: Find leads interested in buying your product/service

To get new customers with cold outreach, you must reach out to the right people.

Targeting people who are not interested in your product/service results in low reply and conversion rates and slows your sales process.

On the contrary, finding the right target audience helps you:

  • Craft better personalization,
  • Push leads' engagement,
  • Shorten your sales cycle!

Here are the simplest methods for finding the ideal buyers that are likely to convert:

1. Find ideal buyers on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for salespeople, giving you a large pool of potential buyers. Its advanced search capabilities allow you to find people based on their job role, seniority, location, industry, etc.

Besides a free LinkedIn account, you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for more advanced filtering options.

👉 To ensure you leverage the power of its advanced filtering, here’s an ultimate LinkedIn search guide to help you get the most precise search results!

Pro tip: Once you've identified your ideal buyers on LinkedIn, you can collect their contacts with the lemlist Chrome extension!

The extension allows you to scrape all the leads from a LinkedIn or Sales navigator search and send them directly to lemlist - an all-in-one sales engagement platform.

From there, you can send your new prospects multichannel automated campaigns in seconds, boosting your chances of signing deals!

2. Find potential buyers in leads databases

You can also use lead databases to find customers likely to buy your product/service.

A sales lead database is essentially a centralized collection of data about potential customers or clients. It’s based on leads’ contact details, industry, company size, etc.

For example, lemlist’s B2B leads database has 450M+ contacts that you can filter by targeted criteria, such as technology, company size, industry, or location. This helps you target people that fit your Ideal Customer Profile and boost your outreach efficiency.

No 3rd party tools needed - save time by eliminating manual tasks, complex setups, or incorrect contacts!

Step 3: Get your leads’ verified email addresses

To get in touch with your ideal buyers and showcase your value, you need to have their valid contact information, aka enrich your leads.

One of the easiest ways to get your prospects' data is to use email verification tools, such as lemlist’s Email Finder and Verifier.

Thanks to the waterfall enrichment method, Email Finder and Verifier combines the best third-party data sources to give you 40-55% more valid emails. This is the equivalent of asking 6 different providers for up-to-date leads’ information without navigating and subscribing to multiple apps!

For each lead, the app will:

  • Clean the first name and last name
  • Extract and save relevant available information from the lead's LinkedIn profile
  • Retain the best email we found from multiple providers
  • If available, save additional information such as phone number, civility, job title, and other relevant details

P.S. In each lemlist plan, including a free trial, you will get free tokens to find 30 verified emails or verify 150 existing ones!

👉 To help you choose the best email verifier for your specific needs, we’ve prepared this comparison of the 19 best email verifying tools to test out now!

Step 4: Spot the right time to reach out

The next step is to find the best time to reach out to your leads.

Here, you want to identify the triggers that will tell you: “Okay, this lead fits my  targets, but it also seems like it’s the right timing for them to use my product or service.”

Here’s a list of triggers that signal that your target audience might be interested in your product or solution:

  • A company is hiring
  • Targets that change roles in the company
  • Targets that change company
  • The company raised funds / went IPO
  • People that asked a question related to your value proposition in a community
  • Uses a complementary/competitor tool
  • Bad reviews on competitor tools/services (on sites like G2, Capterra, Trustpilot, Google reviews, etc.)
  • Team growth
  • People that follow your LinkedIn page
  • People that follow your competitor’s LinkedIn page
  • People who comment under your LinkedIn posts
  • People who comment under your competitor’s LinkedIn posts
  • People who comment under a post that talks about your value proposition
  • People who downloaded one of your lead magnets
  • People who registered for your events
  • People who registered for competitor events
  • People who registered for events that talk about your value proposition
  • People who have the same investors
  • Competitors of your clients
  • Industry trends

Depending on the triggers you want to use, different tools already exist, so you don’t have to create your own:

→ For example, you can use the Facebook ads library to see if your targets are running ads. The fact that they run ads with weak creatives can be a great trigger.

→ Or you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to target Heads of Sales to sell them a software solution for their Sales teams’ compensation.

Based on the ICP you created, you can add specific criteria and get really good results only by reaching out to people from your screen.

However, your goal is to maximize your likelihood of success. This means you want to identify triggers to let you know they could be interested in your product/service now.

For this, you can use the team growth filter on Sales Nav.

The reason is that when a team grows, the company either generates more revenue or has more capital to invest in its growth. And that’s a great trigger to reach out to them now.

Once you apply the filter, you can get results like this:

👉 To get a full list of buying signals that will help you reach out at the best time, check out this sales targeting tactics guide and increase conversion rates!

Step 5: Set up your sending account to avoid the spam folder

If you reach out to leads on LinkedIn but are never active there, they won’t reply. The same goes if your emails land in the spam folder.

That’s why it’s important to keep your email deliverability high. Email deliverability is the ability to deliver emails right into your target's primary inbox.

Investing time into your deliverability setup means maximizing your chances of landing in your prospects’ primary inbox, closing more deals, and growing your revenue!

Here are a few settings you should configure to build a successful outreach foundation:

1. Do your technical setup

  • DKIM → guarantees that your emails are not changed after they’re sent
  • SPF → guarantees that your emails are sent from your domain
  • DMARC → helps protect your domain from attacks, phishing emails, etc.
  • MX record → lets email providers know what servers accept your domain’s emails
  • Custom tracking domain → allows you to track open & click rates in your emails safely

You can use tools like Deliverability test to check if your setup was done properly!

2. Warm up your sending email address

Email warm-up is a process of gradual increase in your email sending volume. To build a good reputation, your email address needs to be warmed up. A warmed-up address is an address that has been sending and receiving messages regularly.

In the past, people used to warm their emails manually. But you can do it 100% automatically with warm-up and deliverability boosters like lemwarm.

3. Send under 200 emails daily per email address

We recommend keeping email sending volume under 200 emails a day per email address. Spread them out throughout the day so you mimic actual human behavior and protect your email deliverability as much as possible.

To beat this limit and reach 3x more leads, you can use lemlist’s Inbox rotation!

4. Verify prospects' emails before sending your campaign(s)

If you collect outdated lead information, such as unverified emails, you'll hurt your domain reputation, lowering your email deliverability.

No matter where you found the emails (bought a list, from a website, from a tool, or from LinkedIn), you can use verifying tools like lemlist’s Email Finder and Verifier to ensure your emails don't bounce and hurt your domain.

5. Avoid using spam words

Spam words in cold emails are words or phrases associated with unwanted emails often sent in bulk. They don't pass the spam filter, so your emails go straight to the spam folder instead of your prospects' inboxes, where your target can't read them and reply.

6. Send your cold emails gradually

The best way to make sure that your cold email campaign is protected is to prepare a schedule throughout the day.

If you choose to do this with a cold email tool like lemlist, you can spread out your emails throughout the day, without sending them in the form of blasts.

7. Boost your email deliverability long-term

Use deliverability and warm-up boosters like lemwarm to get your emails directly into the audience’s inbox.

lemwarm booster runs 100% on autopilot and helps you:

The key is to keep lemwarm ON before - during - after sending campaigns, so you keep your emails out of the spam folder in the long run!

Step 6: Reach out to your ICP

Now, let’s say you reach out to the right person at the right time, but without the right message.

Unfortunately, it’s not going to work either. You may have the best product or service in the world, but if you only talk about yourself or have a sales-y approach, you’ll push your prospect away.

Here's how to reach out to your target audience and convert 17-30% of cold prospects:

1. Write cold emails that get replies

Now that you have built a list of verified leads, it’s time to reach out to them via cold email.

A cold email that generates replies follows a strategic structure and provides value to prospects.

To stand out from all the cold emails people get daily, focus on personalization and building a relationship with your target audience instead of being sales-y or self-centered.

Follow these 6 steps to increase your reply rates and boost business growth:

1. Write the subject line that gets your email opened

The subject line is the first thing your prospects will see when they get your email. Based on it, they will decide whether to open your email.

So, how to stand out with your subject line?

Keep it personalized

Grab the attention with familiar names and prove that the email is written specifically for them.

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→ Trigger curiosity

Mention their desired outcome to tease them about the value you might provide.

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→ Make the value obvious

Let them know what’s in it for them, as it gives them a reason to check out the rest of your email.

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👉 To make your life easier and help you generate more replies from your prospects, here's a list of the best cold email subject lines you can use for your campaigns.

2. Choose an appropriate email greeting

Starting your cold emails with a specific greeting will set the tone for the rest of your message. That’s why you should pick the appropriate one, as you don’t want to sound too official or informal when reaching out to your prospects.

Here’s what greetings to use according to your tone of voice:

→ Informal greetings

“Hi” is always a safe option as it’s friendly but not too casual, whereas “Hey” is much more informal.

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→ Formal greetings

You can use "Hello" instead of "Hi" to make your email greeting more formal, but not as serious as "Dear".

Always use a customized tag such as {{firstName}} or {{companyName}} to make the email relevant to them. But avoid using only the tag without a greeting, as you don’t want to sound commanding.

👉 Not sure which greeting to choose? Get 20+ email greeting examples to use in your next cold email!

3. Get prospects hooked with the intro line

The intro line or the icebreaker is the first 2-3 sentences that should catch your prospect’s attention and make them read the rest of your email.

How to write intro lines that make your target audience read your emails?

→ Make it about your recipients

This shows you did your research and you’re not using a generic template only to sell.

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→ Mention a common ground

Finding something you have in common makes it easy to build trust and relevancy from the start.

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→ Understand leads’ goals

Showing that you know and understand their goals and struggles makes your solution seem more relevant.

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👉 Check out these 25+ intro line templates to learn how to write your intro lines so you connect better with your prospects.

4. Write a pitch that converts

Your pitch is the part of your email where you can explain the value you can provide for your prospects to solve their pain points and struggles.

Here’s what makes a good pitch:

→ Show you understand their specific pain point

Adding an example will make you stand out from “fake” personalization emails and show your expertise.

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→ Build a relationship instead of trying to sell

They will feel more comfortable booking a meeting once you make them feel like you're there to help.

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→ Use personalization

Emails with personalized text, images, and landing pages with videos get more attention and stand out from all the noise. They show your prospect that they aren’t just a row on a CSV and that you can relate to their pain points.

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Here are different ways you can personalize your emails at scale thanks to lemlist custom variables:

  • text variables

No matter how many emails you send, you can automatically personalize any part of your message to grab leads' attention and build trust (e.g., intro line, pitch, CTA).

  • image variables

Stand out with personalized images by automatically adding your leads' names, logos, website screenshots, etc.

  • video variables

Give value to your prospects on a more personal level and grab their attention with custom video thumbnails

  • website variables

Build personalized landing pages just for your leads where you can embed your calendar and include assets or CTA

There are 3 types of information you can look into to create personalized elements:

  • Prospect-focused: their social media activity, events they attended, etc.
  • Company-focused: a new feature, job descriptions, etc.
  • Industry-focused: trends, best practices, regulations, etc.

Make sure to personalize each lead and limit yourself to 5 to 15 minutes per lead (or have the same personalization for multiple leads to save time). Remember that focusing on quality versus quantity will bring you more results.

👉 For more pitch examples that get replies, check out this guide to writing cold email pitches that push engagement and help you grow your business!

5. Add a closing line that pushes an action

The closing line tells your prospects what the next step is to get the value you’re talking about in the pitch. Without a closing line, your prospects won’t know what action to take after reading your emails, so you might lose your chances of getting replies.

So, how to write a convertible closing line?

→ Have a clear ask

Your closing line should be specific, clear, and straightforward.

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→ Aim for the reply first

Start a conversation instead of asking a vague question or being pushy with booking a meeting.

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→ Use only one CTA

If you use more than one CTA, you might get your prospects confused and not take any action at all.

👉 Find out what closing lines get the most replies in our Closing lines guide, and apply the tips to your emails.

6. Sign off your cold email in a friendly way

Your sign-off is the last thing your prospect will remember after reading your cold email. It’s important as it ends your message right before the prospects decide to take action from your CTA.

So, how to sign off your cold email?

→ Avoid assumptive closes

They mean you’re expecting specific actions from them, which leads to psychological rebellion and not wanting to do “what you’re telling me to do”.

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→ Stand out from the crowd

Even though “Best”, and “Cheers“ are good, they might be overused.

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👉 Not sure which sign-off to use? Get 25+ of the best email sign-offs that get replies in this article.

What About The Signature?

Email signatures with many links and graphics can easily distract the prospect from the message.

That’s why our SDRs:

→ Keep the signature simple (or don’t use it at all)

Add only the most necessary information, such as your and company names.

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If you still want to include more info, ensure each part of the signature brings value. For example, if your phone number doesn’t matter to your prospects, don’t include it.

👉 Get more tips on writing a successful cold email signature based on data from millions of cold email campaigns.

P.S. To help you outperform your outreach target while saving time, we launched the Cold Outreach Templates Hub!

You can access the best-performing outreach templates from 400+ million emails sent by 37,000+ outbound experts!

✅ avoid writing copies from scratch and duplicate successful templates in 1 click, straight in your lemlist account
✅ save hours on researching the best outreach practices and get expert results without being an outreach expert
✅ find data about outreach campaigns from 10+ industries, reaching 1,200+ managers, resulting in $110M+ revenue

Pro tip: Leverage the power of AI to write cold emails that push replies

You can create multichannel campaigns without lifting a finger, thanks to the power of AI!

Outreach AI is a technology that uses artificial intelligence to improve outreach tasks and make outreach campaigns more effective.

It automates and optimizes processes like campaign creation, email personalization, and helps businesses generate more responses and grow faster.

lemlist’s AI is trained by the best-converting campaigns from 400M+ emails to create personalized outreach sequences that drive conversions! You can use it to generate hyper-personalized multichannel sequences based on your value proposition, and your recipient’s info.

This saves you hours, avoids the blank-page anxiety, and increases your reply rates.

Here are 5 simple steps to create an outreach sequence that generates replies up to 2 times faster than your current approach:

1. Log into the lemlist app (if you don’t already have an account, you can sign up to lemlist for free)

2. Choose to create your sequence with the help of AI

3. Fill in your target audience info and your value proposition

4. Click “Generate your campaign”

5. Watch your sequence auto-generate with every step of your cold outreach campaign, including content and personalized variables!

👉 Here, you can find the complete list of AI email assistants to help you automate your cold email management and boost sales efficiency!

2. Follow-up on multiple channels

If your prospects didn’t immediately answer your first cold email, that doesn’t mean they are not interested in your product or service. Maybe they’ve been busy, missed the email, or need more information before getting back to you.

That’s why it’s important to follow up, which means sending additional emails after not receiving a response to your initial cold email.

While traditional salespeople rely on sending one cold email, the most successful ones use a multi-channel approach - following up on multiple channels such as email, LinkedIn, phone calls, etc.

Because you’re connecting on the channels your leads prefer and based on their availability, going multi-channel increases the chances of them engaging with you!

Here are some of the sequence steps you can add to your outreach campaign to increase your reply chances:

→ LinkedIn steps

  • LinkedIn profile visits: to increase the chances of prospects accepting your connection request
  • LinkedIn invites: to expose your personal brand and get in touch more easily
  • LinkedIn messages: to remind them of your message and stay on the top of their mind

👉 If you’re unsure how to break the ice, check out this article and get free messaging tips in LinkedIn Prospecting to boost your reply rates

→ Cold call: to build rapport directly with your prospects

👉 Get tips from this cold calling guide to create personal connections with your prospects and overcome objections via cold calls

Other specific actions to get your leads’ attention (e.g., comment on their post, etc.)

👉 In this multichannel masterclass, you can find exclusive strategies and templates to replicate in your next campaign and book meetings with 17-30% of your prospects!

Finally, always remember the golden rule of cold email outreach: more follow ups = more replies.

We recommend you follow up with 5 - 12 steps that add value to your prospects following these 5 rules:

  1. Don't spam: Sending 4-8 follow-up emails can increase your reply rates without being spammy, helping you connect with busy prospects who might have missed your initial message.
  2. Test different follow up strategies: Try reminder follow ups to stay on prospects’ minds, or value-based follow ups to gradually share information with each new email.
  3. Time delays matter: Schedule follow ups strategically with a 2-day to 4-day gap between emails to avoid overwhelming prospects while staying on their minds.
  4. Write high-conversion subject lines: Maintain a concise subject line consistent with the initial email for follow ups within the same sequence. For new subject lines, keep it to 1-8 words, personalize them, make them urgent, and A/B test for maximum impact.
  5. Build relationships: To make personal connections with prospects, reference past interactions, use personalized content like images or videos, and write messages that actually sound like a human.

👉 Get an example of the ultimate multichannel outreach sequence that converts 17-30% cold prospects!

P.S. Thanks to lemlist’s automation, you can run all these multi-channel steps 100% on autopilot!

3. A/B test

A/B testing in cold outreach involves sending two variants of an email to see which performs better. Each variant has a different element, like subject line or content.

This method helps identify more effective email strategies and helps you double down successful approaches.

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If you want your A/B test to be relevant, you should:

  • Test it on at least 100 leads, so 50 leads for each approach
  • Ensure to reach out to the same type of targets at the same time of the year, day, and hour, and with the same sample size
  • Test 1 element at a time to know exactly which made your approach successful

You can test out the subject line, short/long messages, the value proposition, the type of call to action, the order of steps, the multichannel approach, the level of personalization (between custom text and custom images, for example), the goal of the campaign, etc.

👉 To help you choose the best A/B testing approach and double down your success, explore tips and examples from this A/B testing guide.

Step 7: Monitor your results

Tracking your cold email metrics is important, as it helps you see if your campaigns are successful and know what to double down to boost your results.

By analyzing these results, you can refine your approach, improve engagement, and increase the chances of achieving your desired outcomes.

Here are the most important metrics you want to aim for:

  • Open rates → > 50%+ (less than 50% means there’s a high chance that you have deliverability issues)
  • Reply rates → 5% to 15% (top performers reach between 15 to 30%, or even more)
  • Bounce rate → <5%
  • Unsubscribe rate → <5%

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a cold email be?

The optimal cold email length is about 120 words.

This word count got the highest average booking rates of millions of campaigns, at around 50%.

But you can go a little over or a little under: the sweet spot is 75-125 words. Based on our analysis, this range gets 5-15% higher reply rates than longer or shorter emails.

How long should the cold email subject be?

We analyzed the subject lines from millions of cold outreach campaigns to find out that an email subject line should be between 1 and 8 words.

And yes, even 1-word subject lines are successful, as long as they grab attention and communicate value!

How long should my email opening line be?

According to our 2023 analysis of millions of cold outreach campaigns, the best way to start an email is with a 4-12 word opening line that gives value to the prospect.

That means: start your emails with a concise opener that focuses on the person you’re emailing (not on you!).

Here’s the full breakdown:

Should I use images in cold email?

Yes, you should be using images in your cold emails. It’s a great way to stand out, add a personalized touch, and increase conversions.

In fact, we found out that campaigns with images can have as much as a 42% higher click-through rate than those without them.

Do images in cold emails reduce email deliverability?

According to our analysis of millions of cold emails sent over a period of one month: no, there is no significant difference in deliverability between emails with and without images.

This means you can include images in your cold email campaigns without worrying that it will get your message sent to spam.

Should I use emojis in my cold emails?

Out of the millions of lemlist cold email campaigns we analyzed, emails with emojis get 13% fewer replies than emails without them.

But that doesn’t mean that you should give up on emojis altogether!

It is fine to use emojis in business and cold emails - as long as they’re tailored to your subject and target audience.

When used right, emojis boost engagement with your message. When used wrong, you come off as overly familiar or unprofessional.

What is the best day to send a cold email?

We analyzed the reply rates of millions of cold email campaigns to conclude that the best day of the week to send cold emails is Monday.

Keep in mind that this data reflects the day that the emails were sent, not the day that prospects replied. In some cases, prospects replied within hours, and in other cases it might have taken them a couple of days.

In either case, more leads replied to the emails sent on Mondays.

What is the best time of the day to send cold emails?

According to our analysis of millions of cold outreach campaigns, the best time of day to send cold emails is in the morning, between 8 and 10 AM.

This means that your message is the first that your prospects see when they log in, and it’s less likely to get lost in the inbox.

How many cold emails to send per day?

Your daily email sending limit depends on your service provider, but the recommended number to avoid spam is 200 per sender per day. Here you can check the sending limits for each provider!

Keep in mind that crossing the limit can get you blocked or flagged as spam which means you can't reach your leads. To get around it, you can use an outreach automation tool that sends same campaign from multiple senders via Inbox rotation.

How many follow-ups to send?

In cold sales outreach, you should be sending something between 4-9 follow-up emails.

According to our analysis of how many follow-ups to send in a day, overall reply rates increase with every follow-up. But after 9 or more follow-ups, the benefits are negligible, and you could be marked as spam.

What is a good cold email open rate?

Open rate is calculated by dividing the number of emails opened by the total number of emails sent, as a percentage. For instance, if you send out 200 emails and 100 recipients open them, your open rate would be 50%.

An open rate of over 50% has been recommended as anything lower signals you have a problem with email deliverability.

Even when high, open rates for cold email tracking are not as reliable as they used to be. Instead, it's becoming increasingly important to focus on metrics such as reply rate and interested rate. These KPIs provide a more accurate reflection of lead engagement over time.

What is a good reply rate for cold emailing?

The average response rate for cold emails in 2023 was between 5-8%.

Everything above, closer to 10-15%, is considered a good reply rate, while the ones from 15-30% are considered excellent!

What are the most common cold email mistakes to avoid?

With the right cold email approach, you can easily get in touch with your prospects, book more meetings, and sign more deals.

But the problem is that many salespeople still use the same self-centered and sales-y outreach methods that make prospects run.

Here are the most common outreach mistakes

#1 Self-centered pitch
#2 Long paragraphs
#3 Selling from the start
#4 Not focusing on a specific pain point
#5 Wrong email design
#6 Using industry jargon
#7 Not A/B testing
#8 Having multiple CTAs
#9 Not proofreading
#10 No personalization

In this article, get a full breakdown of cold email mistakes with examples and solutions to each!

Is cold email GDPR compliant?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation, a European Union directive designed to protect the personal data of EU citizens.

And yes, it does cover email outreach.

But nowhere does it categorically state that cold emailing is illegal. It’s all about how you do it.

In this article, we clarified in more detail if the cold email is GDPR compliant and gave actionable tips on sending cold emails that are 100% legal!

Conclusion

Cold emails, when done right, can open numerous doors to opportunities and growth!

Cold emailing is about strategic planning, understanding your audience, crafting personalized multi-channel approach, and efficiently converting qualified leads into paying customers.

And to speed up the cold emailing process, you can use lemlist advanced features! lemlist users can find, contact, and convert highly-qualified prospects in one place, in just a couple of minutes.

Get lemlist's 14-day free trial and get 150  tokens that translate to 3 AI-generated multi-channel campaigns, 15 free AI-generated icebreakers, and 30 valid leads’ emails!

Mihaela Cicvaric
Content Marketing Manager @ lempire | Sharing everything you need to get replies to your cold emails

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