A Complete Introduction to Becoming a Cold Email Expert

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When Fast Company sent out 1,000 cold emails as an experiment, they found that out of the 707 email addresses that didn’t bounce, only 12 people replied. That’s a 1.7% response rate. For the average professional trying to reach real leads and increase their email conversions, the generally low cold email response rates can be intimidating.

Cold outreach is a difficult skill to learn and master, as many variables go into creating a compelling email. You might ask yourself, is my subject line too long? Is my writing too casual, or focusing too hard on my offering? The list of difficult-to-answer questions goes on and on.

Most professionals who want to learn about cold emailing, or want to revamp their outreach skills, come back to this basic question:

How can I write a good cold email?

Good is subjective. There are various methods a sales leader, email marketer, or small business owner can use to generate more leads through cold emails.

As there are so many ways to perform cold outreach, so we’ve compiled several blog posts to help answer your cold email-related questions:

  1. How Can My Startup or Small Business Start Cold Prospecting?
  2. What are the Basics of Sending Cold Emails in 2021?
  3. How Can I Find My Target Audience for Cold Email Outreach?
  4. How Can I Write a Cold Email That Interests Prospects?
  5. What are the Pros and Cons of B2B Cold Calling?
  6. How Do Cold Email Subject Lines Generate Real Leads?
  7. How Can I Effectively Copywrite for Sales Emails?
  8. What’s an Effective Cold Email Call-to-Action?

Want an even more detailed Cold Email Guide? Download our eBook so you always have the basics of cold emailing on hand, like:

  1. How to avoid the spam folder
  2. How to personalize your email copy
  3. How to track your outreach campaign results
  4. And more!

At Skrapp.io, our world is about emails and finding them online. Whether you are sending a cold email marketing campaign or lead generation outreach, we’ve got your back.

You may have a hundred questions about the basics of cold prospecting. We’ll try to answer some of the most important ones here for you.

CHAPTER 1: How Can My Startup or Small Business Start Cold Prospecting?

This is the basic definition of cold prospecting:

Cold prospecting is the process of reaching out to prospects you don’t know to generate an initial meeting, which hopefully leads to a sale.

The two of the most common methods of cold prospecting are cold emailing and cold calling. Each of these techniques have pros and cons. Each, when used correctly, can turn into sales.

However, before you get into the work of writing emails and dialing numbers, you have to do your research. Ensure you’re targeting the right audience for your product or service, or your phone calls and emails will get little to no responses.

What are the pros and cons of cold calling?


  • You can reach new customers
  • You can actually talk to a live buyer on the phone and make a human connection


  • They can be annoying and even frustrating for everyone
  • They are time-consuming and impossible to scale

What are the pros and cons of cold emailing?


  • You can reach new customers
  • They are efficient and scalable
  • They are fairly cheap, even if you’re using software to automate them


  • They don’t get you instant responses and feedback
  • Spam filters and other mechanisms can make it hard to actually reach your prospect

Did you know that in 2020, 60% of cold calls went right to voicemail? With modern caller ID filters creating new struggles for cold calling, many salespeople have shifted to cold emailing.

What Will Cold Prospecting Look Like in 2022?

Cold calling and emailing take time; warm prospects don’t appear out of thin air. You have to do the research, find the email addresses to build an Excel or database of prospects, and then verify the contact information.

You often won’t get a reply on the first email, either - that’s why persistence is crucial. It’s also necessary to get the basics of cold emailing down before you press send.

Cold Email Prospects

CHAPTER 2: What are the Basics of Sending Cold Emails in 2021?

Sending a cold email isn’t all that hard: It’s fairly easy to create a campaign in cold email software and click send. It’s not too hard to make an educated guess at finding an email address online, either (though finding a valid one can be a bit harder). The tough part is putting together a personalized, one-to-one email that delivers a high response rate — and ideally even sales.

No one trick can fix your outreach campaign — but there are several basic techniques to increase our lead generation with cold emailsdo.

Use a Company Email

If you got an email from “SamtheHobbit41@gmail.com,” would you respond?

Probably not. And if you do not open it, then your business opportunities won’t either. Make sure your email address is appropriate and has your company name included. To get that, make sure to register for a domain name, sign up for an email hosting service, and then configure your email address.

Personalize Your Cold Emails

Think about who your prospect is, their job and interests, and brainstorm how you can make them feel unique. This technique is called developing a theory of mind for your email recipient.

It answers the question they will ask themselves, “Why is this random person emailing me?”

Keep the Word Count Short

This might be the hardest part of your cold email technique. You need to grab their attention, hold onto it by showing the personal research you’ve done, and then help them understand that you can solve their pain points. Oh, and you need to do this in under a few hundred words.

“Data suggests the ideal length of an email is between 50 and 125 words... When in doubt, keep emails short and under 200 words.”

- Mike Renahan, HubSpota

Cold Email Benchmarks

The average response rate on a cold email campaign of 11-50 prospects, and without any personalized info, is 9%, which translates into you sending 100 emails and getting maybe 10 responses.

Of course, a good campaign would aim for a higher-than-average response rate. If you start tracking a less than 30% open rate, then you need to adjust your plan of action.

One way to do that is to refine your target audience.

CHAPTER 3: How Can I Find My Target Audience for Cold Email Outreach?

A Gartner report found that only 23.9% of sales emails are ever opened.

To increase the chance of your potential customer opening your cold email and responding, you need to make sure you are sending it to the right person.

How can you identify your target audience for your next cold email outreach campaign? Your target audience can share similar demographic traits, such as:

  • Age
  • Job title
  • Location
  • And more.

But why bother creating a few short lists of similar people? Targeting a broad audience will likely result in a efficiently generating leadsfew of your emails getting open, while many end up in a spam folder.

Why is My Target Audience Important?

It’s critical to flesh out your core audience before you send off your cold email outreach campaign.

A ‘spray and pray’ approach to cold emailing won’t land you more leads. In fact, it might land you less, because spam filters will detect that people are not opening your emails, and penalize you for it.

Identifying your audience allows you to focus on writing cold emails for customers most likely to buy from you.

A smaller audience means you have more time to create personalized emails. This means you are efficiently generating leadscustomers.

How Can I Research for My Cold Email Outreach?

The focus of your cold email outreach is to deliver value to your potential customers. With this mindset, your emails will address how you can solve their problems, not how exceptional your offering is.

Start with these questions to help narrow down your research efforts:

  1. Are there enough or too many people who fit into my target audience?
  2. Will my customersnoted benefit from my offering? Will they see a need for it?
  3. Do I understand what drives my contact to make decisions?

Once you have a shortlist of candidates that fit your target audience, segment that audience into even smaller pieces. Segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue from their cold email campaigns.

Remember to revise your audiences and segmented lists every six to ten months. Re-examining your target market and cold email contacts ensures you stay in-tune with their needs.

target audience cold email

CHAPTER 4: How Can I Write a Cold Email That Interests Prospects?

Catching, and maintaining, a prospect's attention is the most important part of a cold email. While emails are a popular platform to find B2B leads, your target customer is likely getting dozens if not hundreds of emails a day.

One of the first steps to catching their attention is to write a compelling subject line.

With so many other people out there also sending cold emails, there are plenty of proven examples of cold email subject lines. Here are some other tips to get a prospect’s attention.

Send a personalized Loom video

With a one or two-minute explainer video, you can get so much more information across without making your prospect read an entire email.

2. Be as relevant as possible

Talk about the pain points of using that technology and the benefits your offering provides. Prove to them that you’ve done good research and give them confidence that you are the right fit.

You can also send them relevant case studies that highlight the attributes that will help their company. Some email lookup tools even allow you to find company emails based on their domain addresses.

3. Don’t forget your Call-to-Action (CTA)!

No one is immediately a master at writing a cold email call-to-action on the first try. Take a look at this HubSpot example of a complete cold email to give you more context on a good call-to-action.

[First Name],

It looks like we both sell to CIOs in the Boston area. I meet with a handful of successful salespeople each week to talk about accounts, and we help each other with introductions to prospects. During some months, my networking group books me more meetings than my SDR.

Would you be interested in meeting for coffee to talk about how we might be able to help each other out?

Excited to hear from you,

[Your Name]

While you are waiting for your cold email campaign to get responses, you might wonder how cold calling could work into your strategy.

CHAPTER 5: What are the Pros and Cons of B2B Cold Calling?

After the start of COVID-19, digital channels became twice as important as traditional sales interactions. That’s when B2B cold calling made a resurgence. You might be thinking, there are no pros to B2B cold calling, only cons.

However, you would be surprised.

COVID-19 has had such an impact on the state of sales that 57% of sales professionals are making more phone calls, according to the LinkedIn State of Sales Report. But how does B2B cold calling stand against cold emailing?

Pros of B2B Cold Calling

  1. You get a faster response
  2. You master your sales pitch
  3. You make a human connection

Cons of B2B Cold Calling

  1. They can be annoying for the customer
  2. Often, they are emotionally deflating
  3. They are time-consuming

Is There an Alternative to Cold Calling?

A less time-consuming but still effective method of cold outreach is cold emailing. Cold emails reach your prospects, but they are often automated.

The main difference between the two forms of cold outreach is the medium they are transacted on. An email sits in the recipient’s inbox until they are ready to open it, while a cold call must be answered at that exact moment.

Remember that cold calls shouldn’t be a replacement for B2B cold emailing. Unlike cold calling, cold emails are persistent, scalable and patient.

“The key is to recognize that cold calling is just one tactic in your sales kit. The most effective strategy is generally to use an integrated approach, which includes phone calls, emails, and social media.”- Craig McGraw, The National Sales Director at Trans American Trucking

CHAPTER 6: How Do Cold Email Subject Lines Generate Real Leads?

The subject line of a cold email can mean the difference between a prospect opening your email, or marking it as spam.

There isn’t an exact formula that will ensure your email gets opened, but there are certain factors that make a compelling subject line. In fact, after reading the subject line, 69% of recipients report cold emails as spam, according to a 2021 Invesp study.

Are There Any Cold Email Subject Line Guidelines?

  1. Understand your target audience
  2. Personalize your subject line
  3. Keep it short & sweet
  4. Avoid spammy lingo
  5. Leave them wanting more

These are only a handful of tricks. To give you a better idea of an effective cold email subject line, we have a list of examples below.

  1. “Still looking to solve [challenge]?”
  2. “Great meeting you at [location]”
  3. “I was referred to by [referral]!”
  4. “Congratulations on [success]!”
  5. “I need your advice on this, [name]”
  6. “What’s the biggest challenge of [what they do]?”
  7. “Quick question about [project/interest]”
  8. “Want to know something embarrassing?”

As you probably noticed, effective subject lines don’t have to be witty, funny, or clever. In fact, those types of subject lines often go over people’s heads. It’s better to be straight to the point, be personal, and connect.

“What makes a good email subject line? It’s a message that conveys urgency, curiosity, personalization, and so much more.”- Braden Becker, a senior strategist at HubSpot

cold email 101

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CHAPTER 7: How Can I Effectively Copywrite for Sales Emails?

Copywriting for sales is not a born skill; it takes time and effort to write persuasively and clearly.

When you are trying to learn more about your prospect’s pain points, it’s difficult to get a response. The recipient doesn’t know you, and you have a short window of time to intrigue them, earn their trust, and convince them it’s worth their time to respond or book a meeting.

Understand Your Audience

As 64% of small businesses use email outreach to find leads online, it’s safe to say professionals know the importance of good research.

When you know your target audience, you can use the correct industry terms in your copywriting. This proves that you are knowledgeable about a topic, which will add authority. This will help the reader trust you, and want to engage.

2. Stick to One Topic

When copywriting for sales in the body of your email, always try to make the email as digestible as possible. The mistake many experienced professionals make is they include too much information.

If your email is confusing and spread in different directions, your potential leads won’t bother to reply. Make sure your cold email subject line aligns with the topic of your email as well.

3. Tell a Story

Tell a story and connect with the real person reading your email.

Paul J. Zak, the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, wrote in Harvard Business Review, “When you want to motivate, persuade, or be remembered, start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts – by first attracting their brains.”

This is what experts mean when they talk about addressing pain points in a cold email. What obstacles does your ideal prospect face in their work-life?

Use a Strong CTA

Use one strong CTA that makes sense for your outreach campaign. You don’t want to give people too many decisions because when overwhelmed, they may choose zero.

You want to avoid asking your prospects to click a link that takes them to a demo video. If they don’t know you, they might not click on a potentially harmful link.

Instead, include the video in the email and your CTA can be a calendar link.

Need help writing a CTA? Learn what makes a good cold email call-to-action in this blog.

When you’re done writing your sales copy, try using our email lookup tool to prepare a high-quality, verified email list.

CHAPTER 8: What’s an Effective Cold Email Call-to-Action?

There is one major problem that you face when sending these emails to prospects, and it’s that the reply rate can often be quite low, with 1-3% often being cited as an average.

That’s a tiny percentage of your leads that respond. On the other hand, the open rate can be much higher than the response rate.

So why are a small fraction of potential customers responding? If they’re opening the email, then they obviously intend to read it. And if they read it and didn’t respond, that could only mean one thing: you didn’t give them a strong enough reason to take action.

How Can I Create a Good Cold Email Call-to-Action?

Placing a button at the bottom of your cold email that says Book Now, or some other variation, is technically considered a cold email call-to-action. But is it enough to separate your cold email campaign from the hundreds of otherfavourite prospects receive in a day?

The key to writing a good email call-to-action is to catch someone’s attention. In Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, he famously wrote, “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Take this as an example:

“Show me how,” versus a more personalized version, “Show me how [product name] can save me 30 minutes every day.”

Provide your potential customers with a calendar link. Give them the choice of what time works for them. You can write something like: “Here’s my calendar link. Book a 5-minute call at your convenience.”

You can also state your value proposition to drive home why they should get in touch with you. This works great because there might be prospects that read quickly through the body of the email and miss key points. Don’t give them the pricing of your offering right away, tell them about the benefits it brings instead.

Here’s our favourite cold email CTA example: “Book a 15-minute call to see how our product/service can increase your revenue.”

Remember that it’s crucial for you to establish trust with your email reader before you send anything. As companies have prioritized cybersecurity and trained employees on what to look out for, people are even more hesitant to click on links or attachments. That’s why it’s important to establish trust before sending anything.

Try this example to help build trust and credibility with your audience: “Would you be interested in a 2-minute video about how we can [what you can do for their needs]?”
A cold email call to action is perhaps the most important part of your email, except the subject line. Test out what works and what doesn’t by segmenting your audience and swapping out copy, and you’ll start receiving more and more responses.

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