Stand Out in a Packed Inbox: 5 Unconventional Tips for Your Cold Emails

Created On:
December 23, 2023
Updated On:
February 19, 2024
5 Unconventional Tips to Make Your Cold Emails Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox | Smartlead

According to a McKinsey study, cold emailing is 40 times more effective than social media. Despite this amazing fact, most marketers fail to reach the recipients’ inboxes. Even if they do, their messages fail to stand out in the crowd of emails in the inbox. 

In this blog post, let’s go beyond the usual cold emailing tips and explore the 5 Unconventional Tips to Make Your Cold Emails Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial for successful cold outreach. This is because tailoring your message to resonate with the recipient's role and challenges significantly increases the chances of grabbing their attention and fostering a meaningful connection. Let's break down why and how to understand your recipients:

Why is Understanding the Target Audience Essential?

  • Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox: In a sea of generic emails flooding the inboxes of SEO specialists, content creators, marketers, and others, personalized messages stand out. Recipients are more likely to open and engage with emails that directly address their needs and concerns.
  • Build Trust and Connection: By demonstrating a genuine interest in the recipient's work and providing valuable solutions to their specific problems, you build trust. This approach goes beyond the typical "Hello-Sir-I-have-high-quality sites" tactics, creating a connection that can lead to fruitful collaborations.
  • Relevance is Key: Tailoring your cold outreach to the pain points and interests of your target audience makes your message more relevant. This relevance increases the likelihood that recipients will see the value in your proposal and take the desired action.

5 Unconventional Tips to Make Your Cold Emails Stand Out in a Crowded Inbox

1. Writing Hooking Subject Lines

Writing an attention-grabbing subject line is crucial for the success of your cold emails. Here are some best practices and tips to ensure your subject line stands out in a crowded inbox:

  • Be Concise and Clear: Keep your subject line concise and to the point. Aim for clarity to convey the main message in a few words.
  • Personalize Whenever Possible: Use the recipient's name or company name to create a sense of personalization. Personalized subject lines often capture attention more effectively.
  • Create a Sense of Urgency: Incorporate words that convey urgency without being overly pushy. Phrases like "Limited Time Offer" or "Act Now" can prompt quicker responses.
  • Pose a Compelling Question: Frame your subject line as a question that piques curiosity. This can stimulate engagement by prompting recipients to seek answers in your email.
  • Highlight a Benefit or Solution: Clearly communicate the value or benefit the recipient will gain by opening the email. Make it evident why your email is worth their time.
  • Use Numbers and Statistics: Incorporate numbers or statistics to add credibility and make your subject line more compelling. For example, "Increase Your ROI by 20% with [Your Solution]."
  • Avoid All Caps and Excessive Punctuation: Refrain from using all capital letters or excessive punctuation as they can be perceived as spammy. Maintain a professional and polished appearance.
  • Tailor to the Recipient's Role: Consider the recipient's role and industry. Craft subject lines that are relevant to their specific challenges or interests.
  • Create a Curiosity Gap: Craft subject lines that create a curiosity gap, leaving the recipient intrigued and wanting to know more. However, ensure the content delivers on the curiosity generated.

Remember, the subject line is your cold email's first impression, determining whether your email gets opened or ignored. By incorporating these best practices, you increase the likelihood of grabbing attention and sparking interest in your cold emails. Keep refining your approach based on feedback and analytics to optimize your subject lines for maximum impact.

The ideal length of a cold email subject line is typically short and concise, typically ranging between 6 to 10 words. However, the length can vary based on the context, industry, and your specific audience. Short subject lines are more likely to be read and understood quickly, making them effective for grabbing attention.

Certainly! Here are ten examples of attention-grabbing subject lines for cold emails:

  • "John, Boost Your Sales with Our Proven Strategies!"
  • "Unlock the Secret to 3x ROI Inside..."
  • "Last Chance: Exclusive Offer Ends Today!"
  • "Revolutionize Your Workflow with [Your Solution]"
  • "Ever Wondered How to Skyrocket Your Online Presence?"
  • "Discover How 90% of Businesses Improved SEO with Us"
  • "Transforming [Industry] Success: Let's Collaborate!"
  • "Exciting News! [New Feature/Product] Just Launched"
  • "Solving [Specific Challenge] - Your Solution Inside"
  • "Why Did the Marketer Cross the Road? To Open This Email!"

Remember, the effectiveness of a subject line can vary depending on your audience, industry, and the context of your email. A/B testing different subject lines can help you identify which types resonate best with your target audience.

2. Personalize Your Cold Emails

Personalization is highly relevant and crucial in cold emails. Personalizing your emails helps you establish a connection with the recipient, making your message more relevant and engaging. Here's why personalization matters in cold emails:

  • Relevance: Personalized emails are tailored to the individual recipient, addressing their specific needs, interests, or pain points. This increased relevance makes the email more compelling and resonant.
  • Higher Open and Response Rates: When recipients see their name or other personalized details in the subject line or body of the email, they are more likely to open and engage with the message. 
  • Building Trust and Connection: Personalization adds a human touch to your emails, showing that you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in the recipient. Building trust and a connection increases the likelihood that the recipient will consider your message seriously.
  • Avoiding Generic Impressions: Generic or one-size-fits-all emails can be easily ignored or marked as spam. Personalization helps you stand out from the crowd by demonstrating that your message is crafted specifically for the individual recipient.
  • Tailoring Content to Roles and Industries: Personalization goes beyond using the recipient's name. It involves understanding their role, industry, and challenges. Tailoring your content to align with these aspects makes your email more meaningful and valuable.
  • Customizing Offers and Solutions: By knowing more about the recipient, you can customize your offers and solutions to fit their needs better. This targeted approach increases the chances of a positive response.
  • Positive Brand Perception: Personalized communication contributes to a positive perception of your brand. It shows that you value your recipients as individuals rather than just targets in a mass outreach campaign.

To effectively personalize your cold emails:

- Use the recipient's name.

- Reference specific details about their role or industry.

- Mention mutual connections or shared interests.

- Tailor your message to address their pain points or challenges.

However, it's essential to strike a balance. Overpersonalization can be invasive, such as using too much personal information or being overly familiar. Finding the right level of personalization for your audience is vital to successful cold email campaigns.

3. Use Only One CTA

The number of calls-to-action (CTAs) in a cold email depends on the complexity of your message and the specific goals of your email campaign. However, as a general guideline, it's advisable to limit the number of CTAs to one or two. Here's why:

  • Clarity and Focus: A single, clear CTA helps maintain focus and avoids overwhelming the recipient. A focused message increases the likelihood that the recipient will understand and take the desired action.
  • Avoiding Decision Paralysis: Too many CTAs can lead to decision paralysis, where the recipient is unsure of which action to take or becomes overwhelmed by choices. Simplifying the options makes it easier for the recipient to respond.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Having a single CTA makes it easier to track and analyze the effectiveness of your email campaign. If there are multiple CTAs, it may be challenging to attribute conversions to specific actions and accurately measure your campaign's success.
  • Message Relevance: Each CTA in your email should align with the primary goal or message of the email. Having multiple CTAs risks diluting your message and confusing the recipient about the intended action.
  • Directing the Recipient: A well-crafted email typically has a primary objective, whether it's scheduling a call, downloading a resource, or visiting a website. A single CTA directs the recipient toward that specific goal, increasing the chances of achieving the desired outcome.

However, there may be cases where including a secondary CTA is appropriate, such as offering an alternative action for recipients not ready for the primary CTA. In such cases, make sure the secondary CTA is presented as an alternative and it doesn't distract from the main objective.

Here are examples of effective calls-to-action (CTAs) for cold emails tailored to different scenarios:

  • "Schedule a 15-Minute Consultation"
  • "Book a Call to Discuss Your [Specific Need]"
  • "Start Your Free Trial Today"
  • "Get Your Free E-book Now"
  • "Share Your Thoughts in Our Quick Survey"
  • "Explore [Product/Feature] on Our Website"
  • "Let's Connect on LinkedIn for More Insights"
  • "Claim Your Exclusive 10% Discount"
  • "Know Someone Who Could Benefit? Refer Them!"
  • "Introduce Us to Your Colleagues for Rewards"
  • "RSVP for Our Exclusive Networking Event"

4. Add Social Proof with Credible Numbers

Adding social proof with numbers can be a powerful trust-building element in cold emails. Numbers, statistics, and specific data prove your credibility, success, and the value you've delivered to others. Here's why social proof with numbers is effective in building trust:

  • Credibility and Authority: Concrete numbers lend credibility to your claims and establish you as an authority in your field. Quantifiable data reinforces your expertise, whether it's the number of satisfied customers, successful projects, or measurable results.
  • Demonstrating Success Stories: Including numerical results from previous clients or customers showcases real-world success stories. For example, "Increased ROI by 30%" or "Helped 100+ businesses achieve [specific outcome]" highlights your ability to deliver tangible benefits.
  • Boosting Confidence: Numbers create a sense of confidence and transparency. When prospects see measurable achievements, they are more likely to trust that you can deliver on your promises.
  • Specificity Creates Impact: Specific numbers have a more significant impact than general statements. Instead of saying, "Many clients have seen improvement," you could say, "89% of our clients experienced a noticeable increase in [desired outcome]."
  • Differentiating from Competitors: Including data sets you apart from competitors who may make claims without providing evidence. It reinforces that your offerings have been quantifiably beneficial to others.
  • Addressing Skepticism: In cold emails, where gaining trust is often challenging, social proof with numbers can help alleviate skepticism. It provides a more concrete basis for prospects to believe in your value.

When incorporating social proof with numbers in cold emails:

  • Be specific and use relevant metrics directly related to the recipient's potential concerns or interests.
  • Highlight key achievements, milestones, or positive outcomes.
  • Showcase testimonials, reviews, or endorsements that include quantitative results.
  • Consider visual elements, such as infographics or charts, to present data in an easily digestible format.
  • Overall, social proof with numbers adds a layer of authenticity and substantiates your claims, contributing to the overall trustworthiness of your cold email outreach.

5. Keep It Short and Simple 

The ideal length of a cold email is generally concise and focused. A good rule of thumb is to keep your cold email between 50 and 125 words, though the exact length may vary based on factors like your industry, the complexity of your message, and your relationship with the recipient. Here's why a shorter length is often recommended:

People have limited attention spans, especially when it comes to emails. Keeping your message brief increases the likelihood that the recipient will read it. A concise email is more likely to maintain clarity and focus on the main message or call-to-action. Avoiding unnecessary details ensures that your key points are not lost in a sea of information.

A short and to-the-point email respects the recipient's time and increases the chances of them engaging with your message. Many people check their emails on mobile devices. Shorter emails are more mobile-friendly and can be quickly read and responded to on the go. If your message requires more detail, consider breaking it into short paragraphs, using bullet points, or attaching relevant documents.

Remember to focus on the recipient's needs and benefits, be clear about your purpose, and include a strong call to action. Testing different email lengths with your specific audience can also help you determine what works best for your cold email campaigns.


Writing the perfect cold email is the fine balance between creativity, personalization, value-addition, and the offer. If you pay close attention to your subject line and incorporate a personal approach, you may significantly increase the success of your cold email outreach.

  • Tailor your emails to your audience's specific needs and interests, whether they are other SEOs, link builders, content creators, or PR/marketing specialists.
  • Choose optimal times and days to send your cold emails, and focus on mid-week mornings for higher open rates.
  • Clearly state the desired action, making the CTA specific, actionable, and easy to follow.
  • Implement a well-timed follow-up strategy, considering busy schedules and reiterating the value proposition in subsequent communications.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


Edited by:

Sattwik Das


Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

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What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

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Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

How can I reach the Smartlead team?

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We're here to assist you! You can easily get in touch with our dedicated support team on chat. We strive to provide a response within 24 hours to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

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