How Do I Write Cold Emails That Won’t Get Deleted?

Inbound Marketing
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Dhruv Gulati, founder of Factmata, got Mark Cuban to invest $500,000 through a cold email. He didn’t even have a product yet.

This Cinderella story doesn’t change the sobering fact that the average response rate of cold emails is a measly 1%. Cold emailing can be spammy, annoying, and a total shot in the dark. Key words there? Can be. Because with the right strategies and insights, you can absolutely produce a successful cold email campaign.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Dhruv Gulati didn’t just “get lucky.” Done well, cold emails can lead to excellent outcomes for business owners. Below, we’ll break down what makes for a great cold email, and how you can utilize the same techniques to transform your results.

Do your research.

You can approach your cold emailing campaigns with the “spray and pray” technique. “Technique” may be a generous term. This questionable method involves sending a generic email to as many people as you can find. You may even have bought a list that claims to be full of relevant leads...but we still don’t recommend it.

And don’t just take our word for it — studies don’t support this strategy either. In fact, a 2020 report found that emails sent at a high volume consistently yielded lower results

Consider which companies and clients you’ll actually be able to collaborate with. If you have absolutely nothing to offer or gain from someone, why on Earth would you be emailing them? If you’re choosing to “spray and pray,” you’re choosing to send lots of spam. And that type of thoughtless communication can actually damage your company reputation.

So do your research! Once you’ve narrowed your targets, search to find any nugget of information that might provide insight into a prospect’s unique wants and goals...and how you can help them get there. Your recipient should know that you’ve clearly done your research, and see exactly how your product fits with their interests.

Personalize your communication.

You’ve now done the research; you know that this prospect and your services are a perfect match. Now it’s time to use that information to find points of connection to include in your email. 

Your message should effortlessly link what your recipient needs and what you have to offer. Position yourself as an expert in your field, but don’t be self-indulgent. People tend to be narcissistic, so fit as much as you can in about them: prove you’ve done your research.

When you keep the focus on your recipient’s pain points and goals, you’ll start to see the tides turn in your cold email campaigns. 

Slip-ups to avoid:

  • Don’t use a generic template. Take the time to create unique templates for different potential buyers.
  • Don’t forget the basics…if you happen to be using any sort of automation, make sure your marketing program is up to scratch (i.e., don’t start any email with “Dear **INSERT NAME**”). 
  • Don’t send your cold email from a generic “admin” address. People like to talk to real people, and you can serve that up by simply including your name in the email address and signature. 

Give, don’t ask.

In the commercial cacophony of today’s digital communication, there’s nothing more attention-grabbing than providing lots of value without any expectation of recompense.

The easiest way to do that? Include content relevant to a recipient’s pain points. This could be as simple as a link to a blog post or case study that offers specific and tangible value to your prospective buyer. 


If you have more time, consider providing a sample of your work that’s tailored to the recipient’s company. Whichever path you take, give first.

When sending this message, you don’t want to assume too much. You wouldn’t bring an engagement ring to a first date, so don’t add a presumptuous CTA to an ice-cold email. Keep it low-stakes, and definitely don’t try to pressure-sell anything here.

After connecting with and providing value to your recipient, include a gentle invitation to continue the conversation. 

KISS (Keep it simple, sweetie).

Keep in mind that you’re simply looking to establish a connection. The goal of your cold email is not to close the deal, so there’s absolutely no need to be pushy.

A successful cold email is always light-hearted and low pressure.

Your job is simple. Maintain a breezy and conversational tone, and include all of these indispensable elements in your cold email:

  • Establish a connection
  • Provide value
  • Position yourself as the expert
  • Provide a gentle CTA to continue the conversation
If your message is complicated or overwhelming to read, your reader might not stick around! Keep it easy, short, and simple

Entertain your audience.

Don’t underestimate the power of a no-frills cold email. Your message is worth sending, even if you aren’t able to add any fancy visual elements. Dhruv’s famous email to Mark Cuban didn’t include any graphics or video content, and still pulled in $500,000. 

If you can swing it, though, embedding a personalized video can be one of the most effective methods for grabbing attention. If your recipient sees your video and doesn’t click on it, they have likely cultivated an insane amount of self-discipline and are never ever distracted by social media or Netflix.

The rest of your prospective buyers aren’t going to be immune to a little clickbait. This can be a great opportunity to track video opens and send a follow-up message to those recipients who ended up clicking on your video: “I couldn’t help but notice that you checked out…”

Appealing to the lizard brain of your recipients with entertaining and interactive images is a smart move, and will yield a higher rate of responses from your cold emails. 

Watch your timing.

If you’re looking to improve your cold email strategy (I’m assuming you are, if you’ve made it this far), timing really does matter

Studies show that 10-11 AM is the best window in which to send your messages, but this is a general rule of thumb that could lead you astray when it comes to the email preferences of your unique recipients. 

green alarm clock

While you’d likely rely on AI to determine the best time to email your existing customers, you won’t be able to utilize that technology for cold emails. Since you’ll be reaching out to a brand new audience, consider utilizing your buyer persona research to estimate the optimal window in which to click send.

You don’t have to do it alone.

At Vye, we’ll work with you to create content that’s perfectly tailored to your potential buyers, grabs their attention, and gets results. Our clients have built strong relationships through the power of cold emails, and you can too!

Take the first step in achieving your goals by contacting us today.

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