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Winning Cold Email: 6 Proven Steps That Will Get You a Response Every Time


Cold emails can suck for everyone – the sender who rarely gets a response, and the recipient who isn’t interested, and lets it slowly fade into the second page of their inbox!

As ugly as the term ‘cold emailing’ may be, starting a conversation this way doesn’t need to be so awkward and uncomfortable. 

In fact, when done right, cold emailing is a powerful relationship-building tool. 

So how exactly do you start winning cold email? Here are some sure-fire ways to warm up that very first message and win over any prospect in any industry…

#1- Know Who You’re Speaking To

It sounds pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how many people fail to know anything about the person they’re trying to reach. 

It’s important to understand a bit about the industry they operate within, so don’t be afraid to take some time to do your research in their field.

Do they work in a creative niche? Are they an on-the-go social influencer? How would you describe their vibe when looking through their socials or LinkedIn profile

These are all questions you’ll want to know the answers to before composing this first-contact email.

If they are a known creative, ditch the formalities and keep it friendly. 

Start the email with a cool “hello/hey (first name)“.

This is the first thing they’ll see (probably from their phone lock screen) so you’ll want to emulate their tone of voice and hook them from the very start. 

#2- Prove Your Knowledge

Proving your knowledge is about knowing what that person is up to at this present time. Are they traveling around the world, reopening a business, or releasing a book any time soon?

Start off the very first paragraph by mentioning a specific thing that they’re up to these days. Here’s an example from a successful cold email that got an instant response: 

“Keeping up with your blog and Instagram stories these days, I know you may not get the chance to respond to every email with the reopening of your salon very soon!”

This opening paragraph tells us two things straight away. The cold-emailer knows about the current project this person is working on, and it mentions where they consume their content from. 

By showing interest in their life, your recipient will no doubt continue reading your email. It’s a surefire way to prove your respect and consideration for their time. 

#3- Acknowledge How Busy They Are

Everyone has priorities. Is your ‘luke-warm’ email at the top of theirs? – Probably not. So it’s worth making it clear that you won’t take up much of their time at all. 

Sometimes just the thought of getting back to an email can feel pressuring and a bit like a chore (we’ve all been there!). But the way you convey your message can completely turn this on its head and make it an enjoyable experience for the reader. 

Here’s an example of how you can show your appreciation for their time:

“Knowing just how busy you are right now, I’ll compose this in a way in which you’ll only need 60 seconds to reply, hopefully!”

What this is really saying is “I know you’re super tied up or maybe you just don’t want to read this right now but either way, I’m only after a one-word response.”

Offering an exact time frame of ’60 seconds’ also creates an immediate sense of efficiency which any reader feels good about, no doubt. 

Learn to be convenient for them. 

#4- Put Your Best Foot Forward 

Here’s where we start talking about you. In this next paragraph, you want to expose yourself in a way that is completely relevant to the email. 

If you’re looking for a big writing opportunity with an editor-in-chief, talk about your experience in the field but also state what makes you different from the rest. 

“Just to introduce myself, I’m Steph! A twenty-something freelance writer. I’ve worked as Head of Content for a real-estate company, but I’m also the outspoken spirit driving my own personal blog, too. I can truly say ‘writing is my life’!”

Every part of this paragraph relates to the key topic of writing all while staying friendly, direct, and a little humorous. 

Don’t be afraid to use vanity metrics to show how you can be of value to them – especially if you’re trying to land a new client or job!

#5- Close With Consideration 

Once you’ve made it clear what opportunity you’re seeking, a great way to close off any winning cold email is by reinstating just how much you value their time. 

Here’s a proven example of how to keep a prospect hooked until the very end: 

“I understand that other things may take priority during this time, though any response from you would work perfectly for me. I’ve attached my portfolio below for you to check out”

By acknowledging just how busy they may be, any person would feel more inclined to not only reply back to you but respond with an even friendlier email. 

It also relieves any pressure for them to get back to you straight away which, in turn, is a quicker way to get your email seen to!

#6- Signing Off?

Forget the formalities and throw in a sign-off that gives the reader an insight into your personality. 

If ‘best regards’ or ‘all the best’ sounds a little humdrum to you, why not go for ‘dreaming big’? It tells the reader that you’re eager for their response and it would be a huge honour to connect. 

Cold email sign-offs can be powerful and it’s the element that leaves a lasting impression with your prospect. And, whilst keeping it within context, there’s nothing to say you can’t make it quirky!

The Winning Cold Email | Summary

We’ve wrapped up our six proven steps that will get any prospect to read, love and respond to your cold email. 

If you’ve been putting off cold email pitching due to the fear of rejection, give this winning template a go and watch those potential prospects hit you back in a heartbeat! 

Want some proof? 

Give it a shot and see what kind of response you get!

This template works wonders on LinkedIn, too. Whichever platform you choose to reach out on, using these small but mighty tips can help you secure professional relationships in any given industry. 

Making major connections doesn’t need to be so daunting. Feel confident in the skills you have to offer, remember you’re an unstoppable force of nature and keep breaking those barriers. 

This guest post was written by Zara Choudhry, Founder of AnonymouslyZara.

Edited by Omer Redden, Editor-in-Chief.

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