How to write a Cold Email: step-by-step guide


Crafting a persuasive cold email is an essential skill in today’s competitive landscape.

In this article, we will delve into the anatomy of successful cold email outreach and explore the intricacies of writing effective outreach.

Let’s dive into each of these topics and look at some examples!

Building a successful Cold Email
The Power of Personalization in Email Marketing
Scaling personalization with data from data providers
Perfect Cold Email Formula
1) Problem Statement
2) Unique Solution/Approach
3) Relevant Testimonial
4) Resistance Resolution
– 5) Offer/ Call to Action

Building a successful Cold Email

The anatomy of a successful cold email includes several key elements such as a compelling subject line, a personalized message, a clear offer, and a clear call to action (CTA).

Below, we explain and illustrate each of these elements:  

1. Compelling subject lines

The subject line is the first impression and determines whether the recipient opens your email.

A compelling subject line grabs attention, creates a sense of urgency or curiosity, avoids spam trigger words, and is concise and persuasive.

We have found that personalized subject lines increase email open rates by 26%, so we recommend using a tool like Outbound Rocks for targeted subject line personalization.

2. Personalized message

Personalization adds a human touch that makes the recipient feel valued. It increases the likelihood of engagement and demonstrates a genuine interest in the individual.

We recommend addressing the recipient by name, referencing specific details about their business or activities, and tailoring the message to address their needs or challenges.

Also, avoid generic or mass-produced content.

3. Compelling offers

A compelling offer provides value and gives the recipient a reason to take action. It could be a discount, exclusive content, or a solution to a pain point.

We recommend that you clearly communicate the benefits of the offer, highlight unique selling points, and ensure relevance to the recipient’s needs.

You also need to create a sense of exclusivity or urgency.

4. Call to Action (CTA)

The CTA guides the recipient to the next steps you want them to take. It’s critical to converting interest into action and getting the results you want.

We recommend that you be clear and specific about the desired action. Use action-oriented language (e.g., “schedule a call,” “download now,” “explore”).

Try to make it easy for the recipient to respond or engage and ensure alignment with the overall goal of the email.

Here is an example of a successful cold email:

Subject Elevate Your Email Marketing with Advanced Automation Tools
Personalized message + compelling offers Hi Maria,

I recently came across your email campaigns on {your platform} regarding {specific topic}. Ensuring the quality of your email content is crucial for building credibility with your audience and optimizing your performance on various email platforms.

To streamline this process and achieve optimal results without spending excessive time on each email, I recommend incorporating {email marketing automation tool}. With this powerful tool, you can:

– Craft personalized and engaging email content effortlessly.
– Automate the proofreading and editing process to maintain a professional tone.
– Generate creative content ideas that resonate with your audience.

Ready to take your email marketing to the next level?

Let’s schedule a quick call for a brief walkthrough of the tool and discover how it can significantly enhance your email marketing efforts.
CTA Schedule a Call Now

The Power of Personalization in Email Marketing

Personalization is the key to winning the hearts of your prospects. The question is, how do you achieve effective personalization?

You have two main options: manual personalization or using an automation tool like Outbound Rocks.

1. Manual personalization

Can increase response rates more efficiently, but we understand that it may not always be practical for companies due to its time-consuming nature.

2. Automated personalization

Uses tools and algorithms to automate the personalization process, enabling efficient content customization at scale.

For best results, we recommend a balanced approach – a combination of both manual and automated personalization, especially when trying to reach a broad audience.

Scaling personalization with data from data providers

To create an engaging and personalized experience, brands frequently turn to data providers to obtain prospect data.

This approach fosters trust and enables a personalized connection with each potential client, providing a comprehensive understanding of the target audience.

So, how is it done? Here’s a six-step process to personalize at scale:

  1. Collect: Gather prospect data from sources like LinkedIn, cold emailing tools, third-party data providers, etc.
  2. Profile: Build an Ideal Customer Profile and refresh it regularly to stay up-to-date.
  3. Predict: Generate predictions based on KPIs and customer-centric metrics.
  4. Segment: Divide your audiences/email list strategically.
  5. Utilize: Orchestrate and use the gathered information for personalization.
  6. Optimize: Observe the campaign’s performance and make necessary adjustments.

Perfect Cold Email Formula

There are proven cold email formulas that are known to increase engagement and ultimately convert more prospects into customers.

The formulas use the basic scientific principles of persuasion and influence to grab the reader’s attention.

They typically include elements such as a problem statement, a unique solution, a relevant testimonial, a solution, an offer and a call to action.

Each element is explained below.

1. Problem Statement

Identify a pain point or challenge your prospect may be facing.To identify these objections, you can help yourself by answering these questions:

  • Is the problem limited to a specific demographic?
  • Is the problem significant enough to warrant discussion?
  • Are other organizations addressing the issue?
  • How familiar are your prospects with the problem?

Once you’ve gathered answers to these questions, you can begin the writing process.

Here are some guidelines to help you formulate an effective problem statement:

  • Gather pertinent data and summarize it in a concise sentence.
  • Explain why the problem requires attention and research.
  • Support your claims with relevant and current data.
  • Introduce the idea that a solution is within reach.
  • Provide a glimpse of the benefits associated with your proposed solution.

Here is an example of how to address a paint point: “I understand that [prospect’s company name] is currently dealing with [specific challenge] that is hindering your ability to [desired outcome].”

2. Unique Solution/Approach

One of the keys to capturing the attention of your prospects is to present a distinctive solution to their challenges.

A deep understanding of your customers’ challenges enables you to develop the most effective solution. So research your audience carefully and use tools like the Ideal Customer Profile to formulate a unique response to their pain points.

Here’s an excellent example of a cold email offering a unique solution:

Hi [Prospect's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I recently came across your insightful contributions on [Platform] and was particularly impressed with your innovative approach to [specific topic]. Your expertise in [industry] caught my attention, and I believe our paths align when it comes to pushing boundaries for exceptional results.

I wanted to reach out and introduce you to [Your Solution], a cutting-edge tool designed to revolutionize how companies in [Prospect's Industry] approach [specific challenge]. We understand that the traditional methods often fall short, and that's why we've crafted a solution that goes beyond the ordinary.

Here's how [Your Solution] sets itself apart:

[Feature 1]: [Brief description of the first unique feature]
[Feature 2]: [Brief description of the second unique feature]
[Feature 3]: [Brief description of the third unique feature]
We've had remarkable success stories with companies like [Similar Company], witnessing a [percentage increase/result] in [specific metric] within just [timeframe].

I'd love the opportunity to share more about how [Your Solution] can specifically address [Prospect's Company] challenges. Could we schedule a brief call this week? I'm confident that our unique approach could be a game-changer for [Prospect's Company] as it has been for our satisfied clients.

Looking forward to your response.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Company]
[Your Contact Information]

3. Relevant Testimonial

More than just social proof, testimonials are a powerful tool for building credibility and trust. You can seamlessly incorporate relevant testimonials in two ways:

  • Customer testimonials: Gather feedback from satisfied customers to create powerful testimonials.
  • Competitor case studies: Back up your claims with data by presenting case studies that demonstrate your product’s superiority over competitors in solving specific problems.

When sharing competitive case studies or customer testimonials, maintain objectivity and back up your statements with relevant information. This can be done through PDFs, blog posts, videos, or by hosting them on your website.

Here is an example of a case study email:

Hi [Prospect's Name],

I trust this email finds you well. I recently came across your interest in solutions for [Prospect's Pain Point], and I wanted to share an exclusive opportunity with you.

We've collaborated with [Business Name], a leader in your industry, to bring you an in-depth case study on how our product, [Your Product Name], outperformed competitors in tackling [Prospect's Pain Point].

In their latest quarter, [Business Name] experienced a remarkable transformation in addressing [Prospect's Pain Point]. By adopting [Your Product Name], they achieved a substantial 40% increase in efficiency and a significant boost in customer satisfaction.

We've gained exclusive access to their workflow, documented in a detailed PDF report [link]. This report dives into the nitty-gritty of their challenges, the implementation of [Your Product Name], and the outstanding results they achieved.

For a more dynamic overview, we've also created a brief video summarizing the key findings. Take a look [here].

I believe this case study will offer valuable insights into how [Your Product Name] can revolutionize your approach to [Prospect's Pain Point]. If you're open to it, I'd love to schedule a brief call to discuss the specifics and answer any questions you may have.

Feel free to reply directly to this email, and we can find a time that works for you.

Looking forward to connecting!

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

4. Resistance Resolution

Identify prospects’ pain points, personalize solutions based on your Ideal Customer Profile, and showcase how your product/service resolves challenges. Provide evidence through testimonials or case studies to strengthen your claims.

Here is an example:

Hi [Prospect's Name],

I hope this message finds you well. In reviewing your website, I noticed a potential opportunity to significantly enhance your online presence.

Did you know that according to Google, a non-optimized website for mobile devices can result in a loss of up to 74% of your traffic?

Our {Product} is designed to reclaim that lost traffic and more. With a single click, it automatically optimizes your website for mobile, potentially doubling your current traffic.

We understand the importance of a seamless online experience, and we believe our solution can make a substantial impact on your website's performance.

Would you be interested in a quick demo to see how {Product} can benefit your site?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
[Your Professional Signature]

5. Offer/ Call to Action

In a cold email, the Call-to-Action (CTA) is pivotal, compelling recipients to take action, typically by clicking a link to generate leads and convert prospects into customers.

  • Craft a persuasive CTA using imperative words like ‘Join,’ ‘Click,’ or ‘Buy.’
  • Employ a zero pressure approach, emphasizing a high-value, low-risk engagement, assuring prospects they can explore your product/service without commitment.
  • Stick to one CTA per email, as testing reveals a focused and affirmative CTA yields higher positive response rates than multiple CTAs.
  • Keep it simple; whether subscribing to a newsletter, following social media, or reading blog posts, minimize the effort required from prospects. Be concise and direct, avoiding unnecessary details.

Here are some examples of CTAs for cold emails:

  • Can we schedule a brief call on Jan 20 at 12 pm IST?
  • Book a 15-minute meeting at your convenience through the link below.


In this article, we explain the anatomy of successful cold email outreach and explore the intricacies of writing effective outreach.

If you want to send mass cold emails or cold outreach campaigns, Outbound Rocks is a great product to get you started.