How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

Research shows that the average person gets 147 e-mails a day — and most of them are a pain to receive.

In fact, based on Baydin Boomerang e-mail research, we delete 71 e-mails in an average time of under 3.2 seconds each. That’s all the time you have to get a prospect to give you their attention, understand your message, and follow through on your call to action.

But the problem is, most cold e-mails are terrible. The senders don’t follow up (44% of salespeople don’t), they write bad subject lines that have readers heading for the delete button before they’ve even opened it, they start the e-mail off with a templated message that sounds inauthentic, they pepper them with links, or they don’t focus on what’s in it for the reader.

Is it any wonder that most salespeople struggle to get a response rate of 10%?

For example, according to CB Insights, most terrible cold e-mails start with a generic “congrats on your funding” or “it seems like you’re growing” message which aren’t tailored to the reader.

How to Get More Responses from Cold Emails

But those who do cold e-mails right can see incredible results in record time — like this company that got a 57% open rate, 21% response rate, and 16 new B2B customers from a few simple e-mail tweaks.

Even though many of us are drowning in e-mail and would like to see less of it, e-mail is still the number one platform for generating sales. No other platform has conditioned us to expect messages from complete strangers and actually respond as well as e-mail has.

In this post, I’ll talk about some strategies and tactics you can use to skyrocket your response rates to your cold emails.

But before you start writing cold emails, it’s important to get inside the mind of your target audience.

The Psychology of the Prospect

Many salespeople dive right into subject line and e-mail marketing tactics without taking the time to really get inside the minds of their customers first. They immediately focus on blasting out a huge volume of e-mails, hoping that a few people will somehow respond.

This is the main reason why most cold e-mails come off as spammy and are instantly deleted.

Check out this sample of a bad cold e-mail that Jill Kornath received (sometimes it’s also good to know what not to do):

[Your Name]

My name is Jennifer with XYZ Sales Training. We improve sales performance through our unique blend of sales technology and experience, resulting in 89% better quota achievement. Our industry-leading methodology has helped more than 650,000 sales professionals find and close more deals, and our proven sales process makes your forecast and pipelines accurate by putting science behind it.

It all gets delivered through our BigDeal® technology – the on-demand Sales Performance Automation application that operates standalone, or can be integrated with your existing CRM system to produced sustained, measurable results.  And to ensure that your sales teams get the full benefit, our virtual learning system delivers on-the-job training worldwide – reinforced by expert coaching.

I am not sure if you would be the appropriate contact, but I am trying to find the person at your organization who evaluates our type of program offering. Would it be possible for us to speak for 5 minutes or can you point me to the correct person to contact? Find out how organizations like Microsoft, Xerox, Honeywell, Siemens, United Healthcare and Adobe have found success with our offering and how [not provided] can find similar achievement.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide. I kindly await your response!

E-mails like the one above aren’t just low converting — they also don’t show any empathy for the reader. And if you don’t focus on what’s in it for the reader, they’ll lose interest pretty fast. 

Here are a few key things to remember about the psychology of readers before sending an e-mail:

Sell to the Individual

Many cold e-mails fall flat because they don’t take into account the fact that they’re selling to individuals first, not corporations.

Sometimes we forget that the person at the other end of the e-mail is also just like us — with the same range of emotions, hopes and fears. It might seem like we’re selling to companies that make logical, formal decisions about what products they buy, but in reality those decisions are heavily influenced by the emotions of the people making those decisions.

It’s a well known fact: people buy with emotion, then justify afterward with logic. The same thing applies to cold e-mails.

For example, you could include in the e-mail why it would benefit them personally to purchase your product. Maybe they want to feel important in meetings. Maybe they want their boss to recognize them more. Maybe they want to improve their performance so they can get a raise.

HubSpot gives a few really good examples of ways to start off this type of message: you could say something like “here’s how this is going to make you look like a hero to your team” or “here’s how it’s going to make your team more productive and generate more revenue.”

E-mails like this set themselves apart from the crowd because they show empathy, they show that you really took some time to think about what the person reading the e-mail would actually want instead of blasting a thousand different leads with the same template.

Anand Sanwal, the CEO of CB Insights, said that he would be willing to look at whitepapers, case studies, and consider a product that was relevant to his company’s situation in this writeup.  

However, most emails didn’t even specifically mention what was in it for him, so he went straight for the delete button like so many others.

Learn More: 5 Ways Cold Emailing Can Help Generate Backlinks

Understand Their Workflow

Whenever we send out an e-mail asking people to sign up for a demo or get on a sales call, it’s usually at the center of our attention. It’s one of the most important things we focus on all day. But to the average prospect, your e-mail is just a small little blip in their day. They have other, pressing problems to worry about.

As Jill Kornath says: Let’s say you’re the VP of sales for your company. You’re swamped and have to deal with a million different problems at work all at once. Maybe one of your top customers is upset with something. Maybe you’ve had some turnover. Maybe you have an overflowing inbox and you just happened to click on someone’s cold e-mail.

What sort of message would make you want to respond and get on a call with the salesperson?

It’s important to understand the workflow that your prospects go through in a typical day and try to make your e-mail fit within that workflow. For a prospect who’s having a tough day, a bad cold e-mail could make them even more agitated.

But a good e-mail will help you earn their respect, which would likely lead to a response. Like it or not, you’re also being judged by your prospects on your ability to sell, not just what you’re selling.

Next, we’ll dive into some tactics on how to get more responses from your cold e-mails.

Craft the Perfect Subject Line

Once you send the e-mail, there’s only one thing that determines whether your prospect will actually read it or not: your subject line.

If you get that wrong, then all the hard work you put into the body of the e-mail goes waste. No one will read it.

That’s what happens to nearly 50% of the e-mails we receive every single day. We delete them in under five minutes.

How to Get More Responses from Cold Emails

It’s not easy to write the perfect subject line. You have to walk a fine line between telling them about your product and keeping it general enough to evoke curiosity. The best e-mail subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away.

Here a few examples of subject lines that work well:

Quick question”

This is a great way to invoke curiosity. According to research, people find this level of uncertainty very unsettling. It just keeps nagging at them until they open the e-mail to see what your quick question is.

And because you wrote “quick question,” they know it’s not going to be ten pages long.

In fact, I’ve sent welcome e-mails with this subject line to my e-mail list, and it gets open rates around 85%.

How to Get More Responses from Cold Emails

“X tips for [company] for [pain point]”

People love numbered lists. We see how successful they are in blog post headlines: list posts are among the most commonly read and shared blog posts of all.

According to Noah Kagan at Ok Dork, the reason for this could be that lists give readers an idea of exactly what to expect. These types of posts can also be skimmed and are therefore easy to read.

The same principles apply to cold e-mails, too. If your prospect is busy with work and has a crowded inbox with a million things demanding their attention, then they’d be more likely to open a list-style e-mail because they would expect to be able to skim it easily.

“Congrats on [specific result]!”

You can congratulate your prospects on a great quarter, press coverage, a new product or feature release, raising financing and more – depending on what feels appropriate.

Most people send these types of “congratulations” in the body of the e-mail. This can work, but according to YesWare, the more value you can add through the subject line itself, the more likely it is that your e-mail will get read.

Praise-related subject lines

Everybody loves to be recognized and appreciated for what they do, even people who receive that appreciation all the time.

If you’re reaching out to a thought leader in your industry, try tailoring your subject line to offer praise to that person. For example, you could say something like “I’ve heard about your skills in XYZ field and I thought I’d get in touch” or “I’ve been following your blog for a while.”

People are unlikely to turn down the opportunity to read something flattering about themselves, so there’s a good chance that your e-mail will get read.

Using a familiar sender name

The sender name is what people typically look at first before they read the subject line when they get an e-mail in their inbox. According to Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers, if the sender’s name doesn’t sound like someone you want to hear from, it doesn’t matter what your subject line is – people won’t open the e-mail.

You don’t need some fancy name to stand out in people’s inboxes. You just need to seem like a human.

For example, you should never use generic company email addresses, like or Apart from making you sound like a robot, people are generally not going to reply to those e-mails or add them to their address book – which reduces the chances of your e-mails showing up in their “Primary” inbox.

Instead, you can include a person’s name and company as your “sender name.” For example, HubSpot found that e-mails sent from “Maggie Georgieva, HubSpot” had much higher click-through rates and open rates compared to e-mails sent from just “HubSpot.”

Create urgency

Subject lines that have a sense of urgency get significantly higher open rates. For e-mails that you send to a mailing list, you can say things like “24 hour giveaway” or “limited time offer.” One of the biggest barriers that stop people from moving down your sales funnel is procrastination. They might see your e-mail or offer and think to themselves “I’ll get to this later.”

By adding urgency to your subject lines, you can boost your open rates and response rates. For cold e-mails, you can write something like “Offering free strategy calls this week only.”

Pay attention to your first sentence

The first sentence of your e-mail has never been more important. In addition to your subject line and sender name, prospects also see a preview of your e-mail in their inbox. (Most e-mail clients, that is, like Gmail, the iPhone e-mail app and Outlook.)

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Source: HubSpot

This can also be a great opportunity to hook your audience with urgency or praise.

Test your subject lines

Apart from A/B testing, there are other ways to test whether your subject line will lead to increased open rates or not.

Depending on your e-mail client, you might be able to leverage the help of a “subject line analyzer.” For example, MailChimp has a subject line research tool that allows you to compare your subject line phrase to all others that have been sent through MailChimp. Then it will give you a rating (from one to five stars) on how good that subject line is.

When you’re about to enter your e-mail subject for your campaign, click on “How do I write a good subject line?”

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Source: MailChimp

Then click on “Subject line researcher.”

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Enter your “subject line terms.” From there, you can click “search” to see how your phrases compare against other terms and phrases from MailChimp campaigns.

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Most cold e-mail clients also have A/B testing tools that are easy to use, such as Mixmax.

Learn More: How Neville Medhora Grew AppSumo’s Customer Base to 750k With Email

Write Good E-mail Copy

Once you get your prospect’s attention and get them to open your e-mail, the real work begins.

According to Baydin, we delete e-mails in an average of under 3.2 seconds. You have a very short window of time to get a prospect’s attention in order to get them to take the action you want them to take.

One of the most effective approaches to writing cold e-mails is to ask for referrals within the organization. It’s a well known fact that people are more likely to respond to an e-mail coming from a mutual contact than a random stranger.

Here are a couple of sample e-mail templates that convert well, according to

Hi [first name],

My name is [my name] and I head up business development efforts with [my company]. We recently launched a new platform that [one sentence pitch].

I am taking an educated stab in the dark here, however based on your online profile, you appear to be an appropriate person to connect with … or might at least point me in the right direction.

I’d like to speak with someone from [company] who is responsible for [handling something that’s relevant to my product].

If that’s you, are you open to a fifteen minute call on _________ [time and date] to discuss ways the [company name] platform can specifically help your business? If not you, can you please put me in touch with the right person?

I appreciate the help!


[your name]

Another option is to use proven psychological frameworks to get prospects to read every sentence of your e-mail and take action.

For example, Yesware used a technique in their cold e-mails called the “Before-After-Bridge.” They started the e-mail by talking about the prospect’s current problem, what their world would look like after they solved it, and how to get there.

How to Get More Responses from Cold Emails

Source: Yesware

Use Automation to Increase Your Sales Volume

You can use all the right subject line and copywriting tactics to get your response rates up, but at the end of the day, getting success with cold e-mailing is about volume. You have to send out a lot of e-mails day after day.

One way to simplify this is by using cold e-mail automation tools that allow you to send out e-mails more efficiently, automate your follow ups, and more. For example, you could use a tool like to automatically track your sales e-mails in one place, and send outreach e-mails with one click. Or you could use a tool like to automate personalized e-mails and follow ups.

Check out: Cold Emailing: Best Outbound Sales Automation Tools

Be Persistent in Your Follow Ups

Consistent follow up e-mails are crucial when you’re doing cold outreach.

According to Jack Daly, “it takes nine touches to get someone’s attention.” You might luck out and get a phone call appointment on your first try, but chances are you won’t succeed until you go through multiple follow ups. Here are a few ways to increase your response rates through your follow up e-mails:

1) Follow up right after you leave a voicemail

If you try calling your prospect and aren’t able to reach them, send them a quick follow-up e-mail right after you leave a voicemail.

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Source: YesWare

According to research, this works because you allow your prospects to observe you through both their eyes and ears. Because you’re reaching them across multiple senses, you increase the impact of your e-mail.

2) Reference behavioral insights

Personalization is a huge factor when it comes to cold e-mail success. Unfortunately, most salespeople think that personalization is limited to things like greetings or subject lines.

In reality, personalization can be reflected in a variety of different ways in your e-mail. For example, the following e-mail gets a 50% reply rate because of personalization based on the behavior of the recipient.

How to Get More Responses From Cold Emails

Source: YesWare

If you see that a prospect is opening an e-mail and clicking links but not responding, you can send a quick follow-up saying that you noticed and offer to tell your prospect more about your business over a phone call.

Because your follow-up email feels tailored to the recipient (i.e. you’re following up because you noticed specific behavior, rather than sending out blanket follow-up templates to everyone), you’d be more likely to get a response.

Putting It All Together

Cold outreach can be a massively beneficial tactic for those who know how to do it right. Those who know how to write good e-mail copy and the right subject lines to get their prospect’s attention and then automate it to scale their reach can save time, get better reply rates, and grow their business.

For more cold e-mail templates that work, check out the next post in this series: Cold Email Templates that Get Responses

This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition.

6 Cold Email Case Studies with Great Reply Rates

Be sure to check out our previous post in this series: Cold Emailing: Best Outbound Sales Automation Tools

Cold e-mailing is hard.

It’s tough to get people’s attention through all the noise that’s out there. On average, we get 147 e-mails a day, only spend significant time answering about 12 of them, and delete 71 e-mails in under 3.2 seconds.

It takes a lot of work to build a successful cold e-mail campaign. You have to:

And the truth is, your customers judge you on your ability to sell. So if you have an off day, you not only have to deal with not getting any conversions, but also with the negative judgements from your prospects.

When you’re crafting your cold e-mail campaigns, it can be helpful to know what everyone else is doing to benchmark your own numbers so you know that you’re on the right track.

What’s a good open rate? What’s a good reply rate? What does a good cold e-mail template look like? How many people should you be able to convert to a sales call?

Today, we’ll answer those questions for you. We’ll peel back the curtain on some cold e-mail case studies and discuss which strategies companies used to boost their reply rates and conversions.

Case Study #1: Ambition

Ambition is a software product that helps companies increase employee productivity. They built their platform with millennial employees in mind, and are used by such companies as Lyft, Carbonite, and Continuum.

In this case study, they wrote about how they cold-emailed 578 prospects, got a total of 6 responses, and used follow up e-mails to get 67 additional responses (for a total response rate of about 12.6%).

They ran a six-week campaign, targeted 291 VPs of sales as well as 287 VPs of sales operations, and ended up with a total of 73 new leads.

Check out this graph that is instructive about the overall nature of the campaign as well as cold e-mailing in general:

6 Cold Email Case Studies


Around half the recipients opened the initial e-mail but zero people replied.

However, with each additional touchpoint, or follow up, more prospects replied to the initial e-mail. Notice that no single e-mail generated more than 18% of the grand total number of leads. In fact, the eighth e-mail generated just as many leads as the second!

According to Ambition, the factor that mattered most here was just pure persistence. By following up constantly with prospects, they were able to skyrocket the number of leads they got versus if they just followed up once like most other sales reps.

Because they were following up so often, they split the time interval between each e-mail by at least a week:

6 Cold Email Case Studies


In fact, this was one of the problems we had at Growth Everywhere — there was a lot of manual work involved in keeping track of follow ups, and that was a major point of failure that kept cold e-mail response rates low. Once that was fixed, we saw a 333% increase in response rates!

For prospects, your product isn’t at the center of their world, so if they don’t respond, it’s likely just because they’re busy — not because they’re not interested.

The moral of the story is to always follow up more than you think is necessary.

Dive Deeper: How to Write a Follow-Up Email After No Response (With Examples) 

Case Study #2: Shane Snow

Shane Snow is the bestselling author of a book called Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success. He wrote the book to outline the process that highly accomplished people throughout history have used to achieve success in a short period of time. He’s also a journalist at Fast Company.

In this post, he wrote about how he explored a cold e-mail strategy for anyone who wanted to connect with important people for mentorship and advice.

To start off, he got the e-mail addresses of the 1,000 busiest business people in America — C and VP level executives from Fortune 500 companies and C level executives from the Inc 500.

The average person gets 147 emails a day, but these execs get significantly more as a result of their status. Shane wanted to see whether he could come up with a strategy to “cut through the noise” in their inbox to grab their attention and get a response from them.

After gathering the e-mail addresses, he wrote a cold e-mail with a simple CTA where he asked them what type of cold e-mail they preferred to receive. Here’s a sample e-mail script he and his team sent out:

Hi [Exec’s First Name],

I’m doing a study on cold emails and want to ask if you could share some thoughts on what differentiates an effective cold email from a bad one?

Your insight will contribute to research I’m conducting to help a lot of people get better at email, which will make the world a little better for us all.



He then changed different elements in this “base” e-mail to test out the results when adding in differences. For example, he tested variables like:

Here’s a quick summary of the results he saw out of the 1,000 e-mails sent to high level executives from Fortune 500 and Inc 500 companies:

However, according to the case study, the previously mentioned variables (i.e. subject lines, length, purpose, etc.) played a much lower role in determining the results than expected — only 1.7% of those who received Shane’s e-mails actually responded.

Shane came to the conclusion that the one thing he could have implemented in the study which would have made all the difference in terms of bumping up his reply rates was personalization. He wrote: 

“With the right subject line, it’s not inherently harder to get a busy executive to click on your email than someone else. The important part is making the content speak to the question, ‘why me?’”

Case Study #3: Jake Jorgovan

Jake Jorgovan is a creative strategist who helps consulting companies win dream clients. He wrote in this post how he was able to generate $12,030 just through cold email — including some Fortune 500 clients.

According to Jake, there are two different ways you can approach cold e-mailing.

Once you define your approach, Jake suggests that you create at least one high-quality case study. The case study should show a portfolio piece that you’re proud of, feature a raving testimonial, and outline three major things:

  1. the situation the client was in
  2. the solution that you provided
  3. the end result for the client

Then you should choose your specific target audience. Ideally, this target audience should be similar to the customer you helped in your case study. For example, if you’re reaching out to dentists, then you should have a case study where you helped a dentist. If you’re reaching out to a Fortune 500 tech company, you should have a case study where you helped a tech company.

It’s a psychological fact that people believe that they’re special and that their situation is unique. Because of that, they want solutions that feel like a “tailored fit” for them. If you worked with a tech company, you might be able to use those same fundamentals to help dentists, but dentists won’t feel like you can help them unless you show them that you’ve already worked with dentists.

Next, Jake writes that you need to find a list of prospects. The ideal place to look for this kind of information is in sales or trade organization directories for the industry that you’re in.

Finally, it’s time to write an e-mail that actually gets responses. Here’s an e-mail script that landed Jake a $4,250 client:

[Prospect names],

Recently I came across [Company name] in the [Directory where I found their information] and I wanted to reach out. My name is Jake Jorgovan and recently I finished up a website design project for [case study client] and wanted to reach out to similar companies.

When I came across the [Client’s website], I noticed [review of 2-3 things that I found wrong with the client’s website]. With the [case study client], we were able to build a professional site and get it up and running in under three weeks. Their site is mobile friendly and extremely easy for anyone at the company to update.

If you are interested in rebuilding your website, please let me know and we would be more than happy to help you out. Also, I have attached a case study for [Case study client] with a raving testimonial from the owner of the company.

Thank you [Prospect name] and I look forward to hearing from you.


Jake Jorgovan

According to Jake, the most important part of the e-mail is in the second paragraph where you list the 2-3 things you found regarding the client’s site/product/service that you feel you can fix. If you’re writing blanket statements that don’t feel tailored to the prospect’s specific situation, your response rates go down.

Jake also sends follow up e-mails 7-10 days after the initial inquiry. Here’s a sample e-mail script he uses for this:

[Prospect name],

I wanted to send a quick follow up to see if you received my e-mail from last week in regards to your new website design. Please let me know if you are interested and I look forward to hearing from you.


Jake Jorgovan

Much like the Ambition case study, Jake was surprised to find that many prospects responded to the second e-mail after ignoring the first.

Learn More: 4 Reasons Why You Should Be Pushing Email Marketing

Case Study #4: LeadFuze

LeadFuze is a lead generation product that helps salespeople quickly gather contact information of prospects and automatically send personalized e-mails. They’ve been used by companies like Bidsketch and CrazyEgg.

Justin McGill, the founder LeadFuze, used cold e-mail to grow his company’s revenue to $30k/month in 12 months.

As a first step, he used his own software to find leads and build out his outbound campaign. Here’s how he used the search feature within LeadFuze to find the e-mail addresses for his target audience:

6 Cold Email Case Studies

Source: Pagely

Free Bonus Download: Want to receive the PDF version of this entire post? Click here to download it absolutely free.

From there he was able to look at a list of prospects that he could potentially add to a list. Once the relevant prospects were added, the software pulled information about the prospect.

Once you have your leads, the next step is to write a high-quality cold e-mail. Justin has a formula for writing cold e-mails which he calls the “QVC Formula” (Question, Value prop, and CTA). Here’s how all those components fit together:

Here’s an example of a cold e-mail that Justin sent on behalf of LeadFuze:

6 Cold Email Case Studies

Source: Pagely

Like a normal e-mail blast, it’s important to let your prospects know that there’s a “way out” from receiving your e-mails and your follow ups. If you’re sending out e-mails to a list, then you already have an “unsubscribe” link that readers can click on to opt out of your e-mails.

For cold e-mails, Justin uses the following line in his “P.S.” below the signature:

6 Cold Email Case Studies

He explicitly states that it’s okay for the prospect to tell him not to follow up anymore.

After the initial e-mail is written and sent, you should also have a follow up sequence ready. As we’ve seen before, the magic is in the follow up. Most salespeople never follow up, or if they do, they stop after the first or second time.

Steli Efti from writes that he follows up as many times as necessary until he gets a response. In fact, once he followed up with an investor 48 times before getting a meeting — which led to that person investing in

In follow up e-mails, you shouldn’t just “check in” or rehash the same exact message that you already sent the first time. Instead, you should use this opportunity to send new, valuable information that could help your prospect move closer to making the decision. For example, you might want to include a relevant case study, or results that you got for someone else.

Justin from LeadFuze writes that he has seen success with the following cold e-mail sequence:

  1. Initial “QVC” outreach e-mail
  2. Case study (follow up #1)
  3. Value add, i.e. blog post link, relevant news article, another case study, etc. (follow up #2)
  4. Let them know that you won’t be writing to them anymore (break-up e-mail)

Here’s an example of a break-up e-mail:

6 Cold Email Case Studies

Source: HubSpot

By using a sales automation service like Outreach, Sendbloom, or Reply, you can craft your own custom follow up sequence for prospects who don’t respond so that you don’t have to manually go in and send every single e-mail.

Using this simple process, LeadFuze scaled to $30k/month within just one year.

Learn More: How to Find Emails Quickly Using This Tool

Case Study #5: Crazy Eye Marketing

Crazy Eye Marketing helps small businesses and entrepreneurs plan, build, and optimize sales funnels. They use marketing automation systems to convert more leads into customers.

In this case study, they wrote about a cold e-mail campaign they ran for a small mobile app company: they sent out 4,897 cold e-mails and analyzed what worked and what didn’t.

First, Crazy Eye started off with a list of leads provided to them by the client, a mobile app company. After removing duplicates, they ran the list through a service called Kickbox, which helps verify whether the e-mail addresses are actually legit or not, and had a final number of 2,160 good addresses.

Next, they used Reply to set up a cold e-mail autoreponder campaign. This way, you won’t have to comb through your inbox to see which prospects responded and which didn’t, and then copy and paste the right follow up e-mails to the right prospect. There’s a lot of potential for human error in this process, which is why using an outbound sales automation tool can save you lots of valuable time while doing the work more effectively.

Crazy Eye then connected Reply to Gmail for the cold e-mail campaign. They created five different e-mail series and sent them to a few hundred people to test the effectiveness. From there, they sent the most effective series to the rest of the list.

The winning series was a three-email sequence along with a CTA that asked for 15 minutes of the prospect’s time:

Email 1

Subject: Quick question


Hi [first name]

My name is Nathan and I am the founder of the Car App. We work with used car dealerships to help them stay connected with their prospective customers.

The Car App is a mobile app for used car dealers. Our solution is 7 times more likely to result in vehicle sales than Craigslist, Autotrader, and eBay combined.

Is it possible to get 15 minutes on your calendar to further discuss the benefits the Car App would bring to [company]?



Email 2

Subject: (replied in the same thread)



I’m sorry to trouble you again. At my company, the Car App, we make keeping in touch with prospective customers a breeze through our one-of-a-kind “push” messaging system that instantly, and automatically, notifies them when the car they want is in stock.

Our mobile app not only makes your life easier, but generates more sales and revenue without any added effort. Who would be the person to speak to about this at [company]?



Email 3

Subject: Just checking


Hi [first name],

I wanted to make sure that you saw my earlier message. I’d like to learn about the struggles you have with staying in touch with prospective customers at [company].

If you’re the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like for early next week? If not, who do you recommend that I talk to?


These were the results of their three-email sequence.

6 Cold Email Case Studies

Source: Crazy Eye Marketing

They received open rates around 50% for every one of their e-mails, and got reply rates just under 10%.

Notice how the reply rate for the second and third e-mails is similar to the reply rate for the first e-mail. This shows that your follow up e-mails are equally as valuable as your initial outreach e-mails.

Salespeople who don’t follow up are leaving a lot of money on the table.

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Case Study #6: Marco Massaro

Marco Massaro runs a web consultancy that works with tech companies and high-growth startups. The consultancy works on UX design and web development.

Marco closed a $15,000 consulting project with a cold e-mail campaign.

Before diving in and blasting out e-mails to hundreds of people, he started off by outlining who exactly he was targeting. He needed to identify his ideal clients.

The more specific you can get at this step, the more targeted your cold e-mails will be when you send them out. Marco got extremely specific about who he wanted to work with. Here are the main categories he filtered companies by:

Next, he had to find companies that matched this profile.

He used Crunchbase because his target was mostly early stage tech companies, but other lead gen sources might include AngelList, or even software products like LeadFuze. Outreach also has a Chrome plugin that allows you to quickly extract contact information from professional profiles on LinkedIn which makes lead gen more efficient.

The next step was actually writing up the cold e-mail pitches and sending them out.

Marco crafted a quick e-mail with the goal of grabbing the recipient’s attention right off the bat, and getting them interested in his services:

Subject: Work together

Hi [first name],

I wanted to find out if you have any design needs at [company] (redesign, landing pages, UX, etc)?

We can increase sales, engagement, conversions, and more through our design and UX strategies.

Interested? Email me back, I’d love to chat.

Notice how this e-mail doesn’t jump right into an introduction in the first sentence? People don’t care about you until they are interested in what you have to offer first. You shouldn’t waste your valuable first few sentences talking about something that your prospect isn’t going to read anyway.

The e-mail also addresses the recipient by name. However, it could be a bit more personalized as it doesn’t include how web development or design consulting could help the prospect with their specific situation.

Marco sent this e-mail to 500 prospects, received 67 replies, and got a response rate of around 13.4%.

Apart from personalizing it more, other ways that the process could be improved include 1) A/B testing subject lines or CTAs, and 2) integrating with an outbound sales automation tool to keep the campaign more efficient. According to Marco, the lack of structure here made it confusing at times to remember where they were in the sales process for each prospect.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: cold e-mails are tough. There are many steps involved, and for most people it can be pretty time consuming.

You have to identify who exactly you’re targeting, scrape the Internet to figure out where those people are hanging out, and then figure out what their e-mail addresses are.

Finally, it comes down to how well you conduct your research of the people and the companies you’re targeting, how personalized your message is, how much of an attention grabber your subject line is, and how specific your call to action is.

To make things more efficient, remember that you can always use software tools to automate your processes. Tools like Outreach, Sendbloom and Reply can help you craft the perfect follow up sequence for your prospects (so you never have to remember who’s in what part of the sales sequence) and also track all your data.

Now that you’ve had an “insider’s look” into some highly successful cold e-mail campaigns, you know exactly what sort of templates to use, what numbers to expect, and how to improve the templates going forward.

If you get all these points right and send out a massive volume of e-mails, you could see a number of responses that are large enough to change the course of your business.

How will you craft your next cold e-mail campaign? Leave your answer in the comments below.

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