How to Start a Cold Email the Right Way

The way you introduce yourself in cold email outreach has more impact on a positive outcome than anything else. You have to know how to properly start a cold email.

Strike the sweet spot, and you’re on your way to a new and lucrative business connection. Mess it up, and you get a trip to the spam box and a mark on your reputation with your email service provider.

When we write an email to a new contact, we need to communicate respect above all else. When we make it obvious to the reader that we took the time to craft the email right, they instantly know we respect them and their time — putting our foot in the door.

Let’s learn how to do just that.

1. Greeting

Your email is always going to begin with directly addressing the recipient in a greeting. This can make or break your entire email since they’ll see it before anything else.

It may seem like a small detail, but how you go about doing this will define the tone for the rest of the article.

My advice is to start with a “Hello, [recipient]” rather than just a name (e.g. Jimmy, how are you?). Just using their name can sound disrespectful in the context of a cold email — it’s something you’d do if you knew the person.

A formal salutation such as “greetings” or “dear” communicates much more respect. All it takes is one word and you’re off to a great start!

2. Opening Line

Your opening line is going to act as the “hook” for your reader. Your main focus here will be giving them a reason to care about your email. 

The key to doing this right is to just get to the point — brevity is a foundational element of a good outreach email. When possible, I like to soften the blow with a nice message. Here are a couple of examples:

  • I hope everything’s going well with you. I wanted to speak to you about…
  • Hope you had a great weekend! I was hoping to speak with you concerning…

You want to communicate a certain warmth while balancing the required professionalism of an outreach email.

3. Personalization

You should personalize every email so that every reader can recognize that they’re reading a hand-crafted message rather than an AI-generated template you’ve sent to thousands of other people.

Opening Lines

It’s even better if you can personalize your opening line just for them:

  • “First of all, congratulations on your recent promotion! I was thinking about…”
  • “I learned about your work when I read your article on Forbes! I was hoping to speak to you concerning…”

Just be careful about being too personal — you’ll have to rely on your natural social skills to know when certain openings are appropriate. Don’t tell them about how beautiful their partner is, or how you admired their submission to the 10th-grade science fair.

Communicating Your Message

The way you communicate your message should revolve around what the actual topic is. That personalization — combined with the respect of brevity — is a recipe for success. 

Let me show you what I mean.

Hunter.io’s article on email openings uses two really excellent examples that I’d like to cite:

This first example concerns attempting to assist someone by recommending the sender’s software to the recipient.

The sender specifically communicates how they can help in a very compassionate manner.

The only change I’d make is offering additional personalization, such as citing a specific issue with their current bookkeeping software.

In this case, they’ve chosen to skip a warmer greeting and skip straight down to business — which is perfectly fine.

This email is barely four sentences long, yet communicates a lot of competence. First of all, by mentioning their knowledge of the recipient’s situation, they’ve illustrated that this is a handcrafted, caring email.

Second of all, the brevity itself makes them more likely to respond. You know how when you get a long text message, you’re tempted to just come back to it later? Yeah, it’s like that. 

4. Subject Line

This article would be incomplete if we didn’t discuss the subject line! Some people like to gloss over this — focusing on content — but they’re making a big mistake if they’re trying to start a cold email properly.

Your subject line really can make or break you.

In Hunter’s blog post, they recommended the same two basic principles I have: personalization, and brevity. 

The key is to think about how they’ll mesh with the introduction of your message — as well as the subject as a whole. Here are a few examples:

  • “Content Opportunities With You”
  • “Hey Stan, Let’s Discuss a Partnership”
  • “Ashley, I Loved Your Post”
  • “Daniel, Thoughts on Advertising?”

It all comes down to context, but brevity and personalization will tie it all together. 

Conclusion

Your powerful opening to your cold email will get your foot in the door to a new relationship. It’s defined the success of the rest of the message and gets you on the right track.

I hope this post has been very useful to you. Let me know how I’ve helped you in the comments below or on Facebook.

Happy emailing!

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