Much has been written about how to write the perfect cold email. I’ve done a LOT of it in the last year and learned quite a bit along the way. Nothing beats practice, but the tips below are a great start.
1. Flattery goes a long way.
If you are writing me an email and we’ve never met, don’t pull a, “Hi, how are you?” This adds nothing and comes off somewhere between meaningless and creepy. Instead, hit it out of the park by with just a touch of sincere flattery like this:
Hey Julius, your last blog post is spot on. That’s great, but what are you talking about?
Offering coworking for our remote team has done wonders for employee happiness and retention. Oh, that blog post. Yay, I’m glad your team is loving life.
2. Keep it short, sweet and actionable.
I like to think of this part as writing like a boss. Using the minimum number of words necessary to politely describe the situation, explain who you are, why you are writing, what’s in it for them, and what you would like the reader to do next.
The who you are and where you work part is covered in a good email signature. It’s not necessary need to repeat this in the body of your email.
Whatever “The Ask” is – no matter how big or small, it should be very clear by the end of the email. There is no sense in being elusive about what you want. If you phase “The Ask” specifically and in a way that the reader can simply say yes, your chances of getting a ‘yes’ get a whole lot better. If you do this right, your recipient can simply reply with a message like, “Yes, Thursday at 9am.”
3. Write in a tone that is authentic to you and your brand.
A great cold email doesn’t need to be terribly formal to be effective, but it does need to be confident and consistent with your request. With a cold email, you get to define the first impression you make with the reader. Read your message out loud. If it doesn’t roll off the tongue easily, try again. If you are struggling, put yourself in your recipient’s shoes – what does your email tell them about you or your company?
4. Give it a great subject line.
I love a clever subject line – something accurate, but memorable and not too spammy – just few words to pique my curiosity. But, if all else fails, just dive it with the message.
‘Lindsey, let’s talk printing on Friday’ is a way better subject line than ‘Call Friday?’
And, most importantly …
5. Proofread, proofread, proofread
Please take an extra second or two before hitting send to make sure that your email says exactly what you think it does. If it’s really important, consider having someone else read it. A fresh set of eyes is likely to catch wrong and missing word errors that spellcheck just can’t touch. There is nothing worse than rereading a message after it’s sent and realizing that you just made a completely boneheaded mistake.