How to Write a Cold Email that Actually Works in 6 Steps

By Cathy Dawiskiba

In order to get replies, a cold email has to be short yet powerful, and intriguing. For this reason, each part of this short message has to bear meaning and play a crucial communicative role.

At Woodpecker, we’ve seen many times what determines whether a message will have a high response rate. Check if you know these 6 tremendously important steps to write a cold email for sales that works.

To begin with, let’s take a closer look at what a cold email is these days and how the approach to writing cold emails has changed over the years.

What is cold email?

Cold email is a way to start and maintain business relationships.

To get a better understanding of what it is, let’s think of how business relationships develop in the offline world. Usually, everything starts with a conversation…

Here’s one of the possible scenarios: a salesperson goes to an industry conference or trades to meet new customers. During the event, they look for opportunities to start a conversation. But their goal is not to pitch their offer or brag about their company. They want to break the ice and start a dialogue. They aim at learning more about their prospect’s business and building rapport with them.

Outbound sales follows the same principles. Cold email is a means to start a conversation in the online world. It’s a message you send to a person who most likely knows nothing or very little about your company. Since it’s the first time they hear about you, we say they are “cold” leads.

The goal of a cold email is not the instant conversion, but building the relationship from strangers to business partners. In other words, to warm those leads up. Little by little.

How the approach to cold emailing has changed?

Cold emailing has come a long way since it was first used in sales. Back in the old days, the sole purpose of sending cold emails was to pitch the offer. Usually one, generic message was sent to a large group of prospects without personalization or segmentation whatsoever.

Since the method was new and not many people did business via email yet, such a mass-sales-oriented approach actually worked great as a lead generation method. But the more copy-paste type of messages flooded the prospects’ inboxes, the less effective this approach became. People grew sensitive to the salesy tone and the generic character of cold emails.

The approach to sending cold emails has evolved significantly since then. Messages with an aggressive sales pitch are now bound to fail. Also, impersonal, one-size-fits-all type of emails are no longer effective.

Nowadays it’s all about building a relationship with a prospect. Cold email copy should be focused on the recipient, not your product or service. Put yourself in their shoes. From the very first email, a prospect should feel that you understand their business and the challenges it entails. Don’t jump to making the deal straight ahead. Instead, let your prospects tell you more about what they struggle with in their daily work. Then show them how these processes can be improved or done in a more efficient way.

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