Experts Top Tips to Create Effective Cold Email Messages

cold email messageWhat are the top tips to success when it comes to crafting cold email messaging? Do you even believe there are strategies for success sending cold emails?

There are! 

“Cold” email is reaching people YOU don’t yet KNOW
– nothing more.

Instead of thinking about how email messaging to cold prospects is DEAD and DOESN’T WORK, first open your mind and hear what the experts say.

I had the pleasure to be moderator at a “Rate My Pitch” session organized by Ryan O’Hara, VP of Marketing and Growth at LeadIQ. Over 120 people signed up and a bunch of them submitted their email “pitch” – an introductory email they send out to future buyers they have not met or spoken with before. A panel of 3 expert judges rated them with grades from A-F. There were no A grades, but a lot of effort among the participants who submitted their best email templates.

[Note: See the whole live event here if you have the time - there are some moments of humor and many, many great tips to note and try. ]

Ryan was the first of our three expert judges. In addition to Ryan, who has critiqued HUNDREDS of intro emails just for the “Rate My Pitch” events, the other two judges were also powerhouses:

John Barrows, Owner, JBarrows Sales Training and trainer to the world’s fastest growing companies.

Joe Caprio, VP, Inside Sales, InsightSquared – a high growth company with a large number of SDRs.

I have to say there was a lot of sales brainpower here – between the four of us, we’ve worked with thousands of reps and used, learned, taught and offered many dozens of tips and tricks to get buyers’ attention over the years.

Our experts tossed out knowledge bombs over the course of the evening – I’m going to summarize some of what was said, and share a few links for more insight to help you get better at this.



It is tricky.

Themes that were discussed over and over were all about:

• Brevity – being brief and to the point

• Word Choice – watch the words you choose

• Try New Things – what worked before won’t work now


The “Look” of the Email Matters – white space, paragraphs, no bullet points, links, or attachments

What Everyone Says Isn’t True

What everyone tells you works, often doesn’t, because it’s probably been overused.

Don’t do something just because someone told you it will work. Do A-B testing.

Here’s what happens when someone says, “I have the magic bullet! I know what works!”:

Someone in sales finds out, through A-B testing (or just trial and error) that something works well – like a certain way to open the email or a formula for crafting the email. Pretty soon the word spreads, and marketers everywhere RUIN it. See what Gary Vaynerchuk says about that.

I do love the great things that good marketing teams do – but one thing that is for sure – marketers are looking to mass connect and what we need to do today is narrow our focus. We need to personalize.


What works on the “front lines” – what SDRs need to say and write – has to change and be updated so it stays fresh and so it works.

So you must be open to morph and shift and change too, if you want to be successful.

We all AGREE you should NOT send the old, tired “Are you being chased by a hippo” email when you have not heard back from a prospect.

Watch the Words That You Use

You have the power to say anything yet we get in the habit of saying things that are not effective and using lots of filler.

John writes about Weak Introductions vs. Strong Introductions and Asking How I Am

I wrote a post a while back on Choosing Your Words Wisely in Sales

Subject Lines for Cold Emails

Ryan wrote a great post about What Subject Lines Should You Use for Sending Cold Emails?

Get Personal

Yesware has some great posts on personalizing email messages – you need to show that you do know something about the prospect, and not a generalized “fill in the blank” comment.

It is a fail for me when someone sends me a note saying, “I read your blog all the time – thanks for the insight – would love a few minutes of your time…. Blah blah blah…" Instead they could have mentioned a specific post that they really read – not cut and pasted. Make the effort!

Try New Strategies

The Hubspot Sales blog has a number of great posts on email messaging like this one on How to Write a Sales Email

Our friend Heather Morgan, a true email success expert wrote this post on the Salesfolk blog Are You Making These Mistakes with Your Follow Up Emails? that has tons of actionable insight.

Heather Morgan also wrote THIS great Salesforce post with MORE tips for crafting successful emails.

Final Thoughts

Email crafting is an art and a science. That’s why I use the word “crafting”. Watch what you say, who you say it to, how you say it, and how often you say it. More to come on this critically important topic to get your company’s foot in the door with future buyers.

NEED SOME HELP? Talk with Lori


Lori Richardson  helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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