How to Write Cold Email That Actually Gets Read

Whether you’re a coach, business owner or sales rep trying to get more customers or clients, you should know by now the importance of cold emailing. In this article, I’m going to walk through two email examples of actual cold emails that I’ve received. We’re going to apply some of the 15 email marketing tips that I’ve recently shared to break down what these people did well, as well as how we could rewrite their emails to be way more effective.

E-mail Example #1: Domain Salesman

Let’s go ahead and take a look at our very first email example, which is from a domain salesman. This person pretty much sells .inc extensions for domains so that different businesses that have the .coms or the .co’s can buy the .inc version of their businesses domain.

The email reads:

“Hi, Will. We at .Inc Domains, recognizes that it’s been a turbulent few months and sincerely hope that you and your family stay safe throughout these difficult times. Since the .Inc internet domain was recently released, startups and established businesses have been securing their brands. Over 55% of the fortune 500 companies already own their .com domains, including Apple, Amazon, Google, Goldman Sachs, and more. XYZ is currently available for sale to anyone. Don’t let anyone else beat you to your firms .inc domain.

Protect your brand and your online reputation by acquiring today from your preferred registrar or brand protection agency.

I’m here to help. Feel free to call me for more details.

Thank you, David.”

And then there’s a call to action that says, Get.Inc. Referencing back to my recent videos on email marketing tips, this email misses the mark for a few key reasons. The biggest reason why that misses the mark is because it really doesn’t address ANA very well. As a reminder, and a stands for audience, needs and ask.

The entire first section is focused on trying to empathize with the audience, but it doesn’t really move the email forward. We also have a really uninspiring subject line, which just says,” following up on”, which means that this person emailed me a prior time and I simply hadn’t responded the first time.

What also misses the mark here is that the main need for me as a recipient to this email is not really highlighted until the very third paragraph of this email. It’s the section when he’s telling me not to let my competition by the .inc version of my domain. That the email is actually contextualized to tell me what’s in it for me. Lastly, the call to action is unclear. It’s unclear if this person wants me to call him or to click that button that says to

Remember it’s always better to have one CTA versus two CTAs whenever possible. All these things being said, our friend David here does do a good job in terms of speaking more in “you” terms as opposed to “I” terms, which as I went over in a prior article is a big difference maker when it comes to effective email marketing.

If we were to rework this email, there are three things that I would do. The first thing I would do is I would lead with the point that anyone can buy the .inc domain. This would make it clear what the table stakes are from this email. The two other things that I do is I cut out the first paragraph and then I’d realign my CTAs to make sure that they are five-year-old proof.

E-mail Rewrite #1

Let’s go ahead and rewrite email number one to improve this domain salesman’s prospecting for the future.

The line that I came up with was, “Did you know that Google had to pay thousands of dollars to get back their domain? No, seriously. Here’s an article on that.” So even though that there is another call to action here, I think it’s a super interesting link to share to the reader and so it’s not going to actually impact my later call to action all that much here. But the reason why I’m opening with this line is because it really catches the reader’s attention a little bit more than the original email.

Then I’m going to continue the email by saying, “If Google can make this sort of mistake, then you can too.” So now that we’ve outlined the problem to the reader, we can now start talking about the approach to how we can solve this problem. So the next sentence I came up with was, “An easy way to protect your brand and online reputation is securing your different domains. At .Inc Domains, we do exactly that for you.”

So what I’m doing here is I’m making the segue from the problem section to the approach, and then I’m presenting the solution, which is us into the conversation. So from here, I’m going to say, “If you’d like to protect yourself and join the 55% of other fortune 500 companies that already own their .inc domains, reply back, and I’ll take care of this for you.”

The last thing that I’ll do is I’m going to retain the subject line to, “Protecting Your Brand’s Online Reputation.” The reason why is because it uses that your statement and it also contextualizes the email a little bit more clearly when it arrives in the inbox of the prospect.

Let’s go ahead and break down what we did in this email rewrite that makes it way more effective when comparing the original to the rewrite.

The first thing that we did was we really led with a hook. We really thought about what would intrigue our reader to continue reading the email beyond the first sentence. Instead of bringing up what was in it for them at the end of the email, we brought it to the very beginning. What we also did was that after we got the attention of the reader, we focused on the needs of the audience.

So this was something that wasn’t super clear in the first version of this email. Lastly, we ended with a super clear call to action. Because I included that link to the article on Google story of buying back their domain. I didn’t want to include another link. So what I did instead was I asked the person to reply back to the email. This way I avoided putting two links in the email and I focused still on having one clear call to action.

Lastly, we repositioned the subject line to the oriented more around the prospect and the topic of the email, as opposed to the generic, following up on subject line that we had in the original. What I want you to notice is that in just a few minutes, we have completely revamped this email to be potentially way more effective than the original.

All it took was a few minutes and so you can do this too if you’re thinking about how you can reword or reposition your emails.

E-mail Example #2: LeadGen Salesman

One of the great luxuries of being a business owner is the number of beautiful emails that are sent to your inbox. That’s complete sarcasm. But let’s go ahead and take a look at this second email and what this person does well and what they could do much better.

Here we have an email from our buddy Felipe and the subject line reads, “Virtual LeadGen for XYZ.” The body reads:

“Hi, Will. I’ve been generating inbound leads and sales for companies like XYZ, over the last year with great success and zero advertising costs. I would love to talk to you about a few channels and strategies that are working best for my clients and can work for you as well. Would you be open to 10 free leads in for five minutes of your time? If so, sign up here.

Feel free to visit our website

Sincerely, Felipe.”

The first thing that it misses is that the subject line frankly sucks. It does make it really clear what you’re offering to me, but it’s not super engaging as to the offer that you were about to pitch me. The other problem is that Felipe spends a lot of his email talking about what he’s done for other clients, as opposed to what he can do for me. Notice the difference between this email and David’s email and email number one, in which David focused a little bit more on me as the prospect whereas Felipe is talking about statements that use the “I” phrase a lot more.

He says statements like, “I have been generating”, or “I would love to talk to you” much more than David did. Lastly, the call to actions are super unclear. I don’t know if Felipe wants me to click the here, go and visit his website, or even just manage my email preferences or unsubscribed from this list. It is not explain like I’m five proof. So as a result, I am less inclined to take any action at all.

All this being said, one thing that Felipe does do decently well is that he does focus on what’s in it for me, he tells me that he’s willing to offer me 10 free leads in exchange for five minutes of my time. So making that offer really clear is a nice job for Felipe.

That being said, though, as a business owner, I know that that’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo and that it is simply a way for somebody to get a discovery call with me. And so, it’s typically going to be more of a waste of time for me than it is an actual benefit. So be careful when you make those sorts of pitches, because business owners see that all the time. It is better for you to lead with value in your first email with really specific points than it is for you to make a generic statement of some offer that you’re going to be giving them.

E-mail Rewrite #2

let’s jump into how we would rewrite this. I’m going to pull up Hemingway Editor like I did last time. So let’s jump in. The first thing that I do is I reposition the subject line. The subject line that I’ve come up with is, “Quick Question on XYZ’s LeadGen”. This is a little bit more personalized than the prior subject line, but more importantly, it is focused on this email being a really low lift email that can potentially get a more immediate response from the business owner.

From here, I would immediately jump into the problem. So the sentence I came up with was, “With everything going on right now in the world, is your sales team getting enough leads? If not, I did some research and found 10 leads that might be valuable to you because they are in your ideal customer profile.” So what I’m doing here is I’m making it really clear that if they have this problem, I have already identified a solution for them so they should keep reading my email.

Lastly, I’m going to have my call to action. And so I’m going to end with a simple line of, “Mind if I send it over?” From there, I would just sign Felipe and then I’d see how my prospects responded to this.

Let’s talk about what was different about this. The first thing is that we really focused on the fundamentals as to what the prospect might care about and how we can align to their needs. In other words, we focused a lot on ANA, which was aligning to the audience, the needs and making a very clear ask. We also cut out the part on talking to us because that was just fluff. At this point in time, in the relationship of a cold email, we’ve added no additional value to the business owner. So there’s no reason why they should be keeping us any time on their calendar.

Instead, what we’ve done is we focused on giving value upfront to the business owner and completing that value as opposed to asking them to visit our website or to book a time with us. The final nuance that I want you to take note of here is that I’ve left the door open to myself. Notice how I end the email with a simple line of, “Mind if I send this over?”, this makes it super easy for me to follow up on this email in the case where the business owner doesn’t respond to me by simply replying back on the email and actually sending over those leads in my next email follow-up.

By having this sort of one, two punch, I’m making it really clear to my prospect that I’m here to provide value to them and not simply to sell them another service that they might not actually need.

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. The first one is to always remember ANA or Ana. Who is your audience? What are their needs? And what is your ask of them?
  2. The second thing to remember is to always make sure that your call to actions are ELI5 proof. In other words, a five-year-old should be able to understand what you want the reader of your email to do as their next action. As much as possible, try to limit your emails to one call to action.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you know that might benefit from learning about writing cold emails that gets read.