How to Write Cold Emails to Get More Opens and Replies?

Created On:
December 15, 2023
Updated On:
June 12, 2024
How to Write A Cold Email

Writing a cold email and sending it to a prospect - hoping you will get a reply, but you don’t. Ever happened? You are not alone! We all have gone through it at some point in our professional lives.

You may have mailed an employer - seeking a job or a prospective customer - hoping to sell your product or service. No matter the goal - a cold email is how you contact a person in the hope of initiating a conversation and gradually driving them toward a specific outcome. The challenge? Why would the person (the recipient) be interested in me? That ultimately boils down to - how to write a cold email that gets more open rates and replies. This is what I’ll be covering today.

By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of:

  • How to write a cold email (with tips to increase open rates and replies rates)
  • Mistakes to avoid when writing a cold email

So, let’s just jump into the art of writing cold emails.

How to write a cold email in 9 simple steps?

1. Start By Defining Your Goals

When you plan to launch a cold email outreach campaign, you must have a goal in mind. The goals can, of course, vary as per individual requirements, however, some primary goals include:

  • Introducing your product/service
  • Seeking collaboration
  • Establishing a connection

Defining clear goals will help you measure the success of your cold email campaign. When setting goals, focus on narrowing down the objectives. For example, your ultimate goal could be to make the prospect buy your product or service. However, you must not start your cold email with this goal in mind - instead, start by first setting a rapport with the prospect. Smaller steps will ultimately lead you to your big goal.

2. Know Your Audience

Even if you send the most compelling cold email - it will not get any response if you send it to the wrong person.

Hence, researching thoroughly about your audience, aka your prospects, is critical to the success of your cold email campaign.

The more you know about your prospect - the better you can frame your cold email.

You might be thinking - but isn't it time-consuming? It is, but eventually, the ROI of customer research is better response rates - which can do wonders for your business.

Focus on creating specific personas for your audience. Just think of what problem you can solve for one prospect - and group together people who fall into that category.

3. Personalize Your Email

When you intensely focus on the first two steps - the third step of personalizing your emails will become easier.

You know your audience - their likes and preferences and their challenges.

You can create an email addressing these challenges and position your brand or service as the solution. If you fail to personalize your email and regurgitate whatever little you know about your prospects - it will not strike a chord with them. You will be marked as another salesperson.

Hence, to avoid that, keep your emails friendly and conversational, showing that you've tailored the message for them specifically.

4. Come Up With a Compelling Subject line

Whether you get a response to your cold email - depends on whether it is opened. One thing that determines whether your cold email will be opened and read is the subject line.

A compelling subject line should immediately spark your prospects’ curiosity. It will briefly answer ‘What’s in it for me?’. A well-crafted subject line increases the chances of your email being noticed in a crowded inbox.

For instance, if you're offering a solution, mention it in a way that piques interest. Avoid generic phrases and aim for a balance between clarity and intrigue.

5. Write a Hook-Worthy Introduction

The first sentence of your email will decide whether the prospect will read it to the end. Hence, give it your best.

Think of how you can grab the attention of the prospect. A few ways to do that is by highlighting their achievements or something you adore them for. But don’t just mention something too basic like, ‘I watched your last video - it was amazing.’ Instead, make it specific so it seems you watched the video and loved something about it. For example, ‘I liked how you highlighted the importance of real-time collaboration in your recent video about project management.’

There is a difference between genuine praise and fluff. Focus on sounding genuine.

Avoid generic greetings and get straight to the point with a compelling statement that aligns with your overall message.

6. Start Writing Your Main Message

Now, you have written a compelling subject line and a solid introduction.

Let’s move on to the central message of your email - where you must focus on two things - highlighting the challenge (pain point of the prospect) and the solution (value proposition of your product/service).

Introduce your product or service as the answer to their problem, emphasizing its unique value proposition. Explain how your offering addresses their specific pain points and improves their situation.

However, keep the section concise without boring the prospect. Please include something visual - it might give you better results.

7. Include Credibility

When cold emailing, always assume that the prospect knows nothing about your brand, even if you are famous.

Instead, present the credibility of your brand using customer testimonials, ratings, case studies, etc.

Briefly highlight essential credentials, certifications, or industry recognition to showcase your legitimacy.

Again, keep this section concise, focusing on only the most impactful aspects of your credibility.

8. Include a Strong CTA

You started to write a cold email with an end in mind. Your call-to-action (CTA) is the means to that end.

Directly communicate the next steps you want the recipient to take. Whether scheduling a call, visiting your website, or trying a demo, make the action straightforward and compelling.

Keep your CTA concise and aligned with the overall goal of your email.

9. Include a Solid Closing Statement

Your email’s closing statement is as important as the opening one.

Express gratitude for the recipient's time and consideration. Reinforce your enthusiasm for the potential collaboration or connection. Keep it simple and positive, creating a lasting impression.

For instance, you might say, "Thank you for your time, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this further," or "I appreciate your consideration and am eager to hear your thoughts."

Also Read: Cold Emailing Vs Email Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

How to get high email open and reply rates

Sending a cold email is the first step toward a successful email outreach campaign.

A good measurement of the success of your cold email is the open rate - how many people opened your email. As per Campaign Monitor, a generally accepted open rate for the success of an email campaign is 15-25%. In contrast, the average response rate is between 1% and 5%.

But how do you ensure your cold emails get high open and reply rates? Apart from the steps we shared above, there are a few more things you should consider to achieve success.

1. A/B Test Your Emails

One of the best things about cold emails is that you can A/B test them to understand what works or does not work for your prospects.

Experiment with different elements in your email to get a higher open rate. You can A/B test the following things:

  • Subject lines
  • Intro lines
  • Call-to-actions
  • More vs. less follow-up emails
  • Personalized images vs. personalized text
  • Dynamic landing pages vs. generic product pages
  • One-channel vs. multi-channel approach

You can modify your cold emails and the overall approach based on the test result.

2. Check Your Domain’s Health

Your domain’s health is critical in ensuring the success of your cold email. If you are sending out cold emails from a blacklisted domain or a domain with poor sender reputation, your emails will not even land in your prospects’ inboxes.

How can you keep your domain healthy?

If you have a new domain, you must first focus on sending warm-up emails. This helps establish a positive and authentic image of your domain.

You can also keep your domain healthy by maintaining a clean email list, promptly addressing bounce-backs, and following email marketing best practices. Remember, a healthy domain increases the chances of your emails reaching the intended inbox.

3. Avoid Paid Lists

When you start cold emailing prospects, you must have a lead list. Many people make the mistake of purchasing lead lists - which is not a good practice.

While it might seem like a shortcut, sending emails to purchased lists can harm your reputation and result in low engagement rates.

Instead, focus on building your organic list of contacts who have opted in to receive your communications. This ensures that your emails are reaching people genuinely interested in your content.

4. Be Aware Of Spam Filters

Spam filters are your arch-enemies. Stay vigilant about the words and phrases that can trigger spam filters.

Naturally, craft your emails and avoid common spammy language. Personalize your content and ensure it provides real value to the recipient.

Being mindful of spam filters increases the likelihood that your emails will make it to the inbox and not get lost in the spam folder.

Also Read101+ Cold Email Templates to Nail Outreach

Mistakes to avoid when creating a cold email

1. Not Researching Your Audience

Failing to understand your audience leads to generic and ineffective emails. Take the time to research and comprehend your recipient's background, interests, and needs.

Tailor your message accordingly to show that you value their time and are genuinely interested in connecting with them.

Researching your audience sets the foundation for a more meaningful and targeted cold email.

2. Not Re-Validating Email Addresses

Neglecting to validate email addresses regularly can result in bounced emails and damage your sender reputation. Keep your contact list up-to-date by periodically re-validating email addresses.

This ensures your emails reach the intended recipients and helps maintain a clean and effective email marketing strategy.

3. Not Using Automation

While personalization is crucial, avoiding automation can be a mistake. Use automation wisely to streamline your outreach process.

Set up personalized email sequences, schedule follow-ups, and track engagement.

Automation helps you stay organized and ensures no potential leads slip through the cracks. However, strike a balance to avoid sounding overly robotic.

4. Not Personalizing

Lack of personalization makes your cold email appear generic and less likely to grab attention.

Address recipients by name, refer to specific details about them or their business and tailor your content to their needs.

Personalization demonstrates a genuine interest in the individual, making your cold email more compelling and increasing the chances of a positive response.

5. Not Following-up

Skipping the follow-up is a missed opportunity to nurture leads. Many recipients may not have responded to the initial email, but a well-timed and polite follow-up can reignite their interest.

Craft concise and friendly follow-up messages, reminding them of your previous communication and reiterating the value you offer.

Following up demonstrates persistence and can lead to increased response rates.

How can Smartlead help you send cold emails more effectively?

Sending cold emails is a great way to pump up your outreach efforts. However, you might face challenges if you do cold emailing manually.

At Smartlead, we help elevate the effectiveness of your cold email outreach with automated email warmups and unlimited mailboxes. Furthermore, support for a multi-channel infrastructure enables you to reach prospects through various communication channels, expanding your touchpoints and increasing the likelihood of engagement. For more information, you can visit this comprehensive demo.

You can start by creating an account on Smartlead and trying the platform for free.

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

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Author’s Details

Priya Abraham

Priya is an experienced content writer and editor, known for crafting SEO-optimized blogs with a unique perspective. Specializing in creating valuable content that delivers tangible outcomes, Priya is passionate about leveraging the power of words to enhance online presence and credibility.


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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.

What is Smartlead, and how can it enhance my cold email campaigns?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead is a robust cold emailing software designed to transform cold emails into reliable revenue streams. Trusted by over 31,000 businesses, Smartlead excels in email deliverability, lead generation, cold email automation, and sales outreach. A unified master inbox streamlines communication management, while built-in email verification reduces bounce rates.
Additionally, Smartlead offers essential tools such as CNAME, SPF Checker, DMARC Checker, Email Verifier, Blacklist Check Tool, and Email Bounce Rate Calculator for optimizing email performance. 

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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.

How does Smartlead as a cold emailing tool can automate the cold email process?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead’s robust cold email API and automation infrastructure streamline outbound communication by transforming the campaign creation and management processes. It seamlessly integrates data across software systems using APIs and webhooks, adjusts settings, and leverages AI for personalised content.

The cold emailing tool categorises lead intent, offers comprehensive email management with automated notifications, and integrates smoothly with CRMs like Zapier, Make, N8N, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive. Smartlead supports scalable outreach by rapidly adding mailboxes and drip-feeding leads into active campaigns Sign Up Now!

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

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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 Smartlead help improve my email deliverability rates?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Yes, our cold emailing software is designed to significantly improve your email deliverability rates. It enhances email deliverability through AI-powered email warmups across providers, unique IP rotating for each campaign, and dynamic ESP matching.
Real-time AI learning refines strategies based on performance, optimizing deliverability without manual adjustments. Smartlead's advanced features and strategies are designed to improve email deliverability rates, making it a robust choice for enhancing cold email campaign success.

What features does Smartlead offer for cold email personalisation?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead enhances cold email personalisation through advanced AI-driven capabilities and strategic integrations. Partnered with Clay, The cold remaining software facilitates efficient lead list building, enrichment from over 50 data providers, and real-time scraping for precise targeting. Hyper-personalised cold emails crafted in Clay seamlessly integrate with Smartlead campaigns.

Moreover, Smartlead employs humanised, natural email interactions and smart replies to boost engagement and response rates. Additionally, the SmartAI Bot creates persona-specific, high-converting sales copy. Also you can create persona-specific, high-converting sales copy using SmartAI Bot. You can train the AI bot to achieve 100% categorisation accuracy, optimising engagement and conversion rates.

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

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Certainly, Smartlead cold email tool 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!

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Is Smartlead suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises?

Smartlead accommodates both small businesses and large enterprises with flexible pricing and comprehensive features. The Basic Plan at $39/month suits small businesses and solopreneurs, offering 2000 active leads and 6000 monthly emails, alongside essential tools like unlimited email warm-up and detailed analytics.

Marketers and growing businesses benefit from the Pro Plan ($94/month), with 30000 active leads and 150000 monthly emails, plus a custom CRM and active support. Lead generation agencies and large enterprises can opt for the Custom Plan ($174/month), providing up to 12 million active lead credits and 60 million emails, with advanced CRM integration and customisation options.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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 cold email tool offers a multi-channel infrastructure 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.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

How can Smartlead integrate with my existing CRM and other tools?

Smartlead is the cold emailing tool that facilitates seamless integration with existing CRM systems and other tools through robust webhook and API infrastructure. This setup ensures real-time data synchronisation and automated processes without manual intervention. Integration platforms like Zapier, Make, and N8N enable effortless data exchange between Smartlead and various applications, supporting tasks such as lead information syncing and campaign status updates. Additionally, it offers native integrations with major CRM platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive, enhancing overall lead management capabilities and workflow efficiency. Try Now!

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Do you provide me with lead sources?

No. 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 humanised email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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. You can also reach out to us at

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