How to craft your perfect cold lead email

Sophia Ellis
May 09, 2017

I think the biggest challenge of any marketing or sales team is the cold lead email pitch. Whether it be for PR purposes, reaching out to a potential new partner, or sending out a mass email, the goal is the same. Only two things matter in the end: open and click or reply. That’s it.

Recently, I tried something completely different. I came up with a formula for the shortest, most direct email I’ve ever used. The result? Nearly 70% open rate and 40% click rate.

I’m going to list out for you the four key elements that I think make this email style work.

1. A direct yet vague subject line:

I used to try to write email subject lines that we’re very detailed. They we’re always a bit too long and often shared the reasoning for sending the email entirely. To be completely honest, I think this gave my recipient’s way too much of a reason to delete my email right away. There was no suspense, no reason to go forward with opening the email, especially if it sounded like a sales pitch. I now use very personal but vague email subjects with very little detail so I don’t sound like another email from a retailer you regret signing up for. For instance: “Getting in touch”. It sounds personal, relevant, and interesting enough to open.

2. A conversational, “down to business” intro:

I used to fill an entire paragraph to the start of nearly all my emails with a long-winded, hyper-personalized introduction. It showed effort, but really it was just boring. I’m sure, even if the email was opened, it was quickly deleted when my reader got ten sentences in without anything intriguing. Today’s communication is fast. Even with email, the “snail mail” of the internet, you have to make your point quick to keep someone’s attention. Most professionals receive 88 emails per day. No one has time to waste on a well structured essay.

I’ve switched to a one sentence into that offers something beneficial right away.

Here’s an example:

It’s personal, straight forward, and offers the reader something right away. Very few people wouldn’t keep reading from here.

3. Numbers

The third thing I think makes successful cold pitch email is proof. You’re trying to move someone towards a specific action whether it be getting back to you or clicking through to a website. There’s nothing that motivates people like numbers. If you can give someone tangible reasons why they need to take action, they are much more likely to do so. Don’t waste time with vague promises. It also takes away from the sales-y element when you just present the facts without emotion and leave the decision up to them. If your business is less numbers and more relationship based, namedrop (I hate to call it that) a company or person that gives you some credibility.

4. A call-to-action that’s on them.

One time using this email model, we got three calls from just fifteen emails sent in about an hour. Something about our email had actually motivated people to pick up the phone right away. Without a strong call-to-action, it doesn’t matter how convincing you were in the beginning, you will lose their interest. Readers, once engaged, need to know what to do next. Make it clear for them but also put the ball in their court.

Here is an example of one final sentence call-to-action that has really worked for me:

I tell them exactly what our next move is and leave it up to them. It’s not too pushy, but it doesn’t leave them wondering what to do next.

Depending on your market and your business, your emails may vary of course. Not all industries and products are the same. But people are people and at the end of the day you are trying to get someone’s attention and motivate them towards working with you. I think these four elements do that well. These can be applied to a variety of email types and I’m sure you’ll see results you didn’t expect from such tiny changes.

Try it for free and change the way you work