Before Cold Calling: Learn How to Achieve 25% Response Rate with Your Cold Email Campaign

In our previous articles we described step by step a process of prospect generation that we use for our cold email campaigns.

It’s all about limiting the so-called Cold Calling – in other words trying to reach out to decision-makers of the selected companies by phone.

[Tweet “phone call is definitely much more effective than an ordinary email”]

Undoubtedly, a phone call is definitely much more effective than an ordinary email and direct communication with the customer means a greater chance for sale. The problem, however, lies in the fact that it is hard to get a current phone number of a potential customer. It is much easier to obtain an email address and in this way cause interaction with him or her.

In our next article I am going to describe how to talk to potential and current customers and how to effectively prepare for such a conversation.

Before we get a phone number, however, we need to learn how to write effective e-mails to prospective customers.

That’s why, we asked the professionals in the field for support. – exactly Cathy Patalas specialise in Cold Emailing.

Enjoy reading!

What cold emailing is all about?

When you read or hear about cold emailing, it’s usually somehow connected to sales, and sometimes to marketing. But if you think cold emails are about selling, or about marketing your product, you’ll probably won’t be able to write an effective cold email.

Because cold emailing is not about selling. And it’s not about marketing, either.

It is about starting a new relation.

And yes, this relation may become a part of your marketing process. Or it may result in a sale some day. But marketing and sales is not what you should have in mind when planning your cold email outreach.

So what should you be thinking of while crafting your cold email copy? What to have in mind while planning your cold email campaign?

Here are 6 common mistakes you probably make in your cold outreach, and some tips on how to fix them.

Six common cold email mistakes – and how to fix them

Mistake #1: Your subject line screams “This is another newsletter!”

Check out your current cold email’s subject line. Just that for now. Don’t think of the email body yet. What does the very subject line tell you about the message inside?

  • Is it going to be an offer?
  • Is it going to be an email featuring a blog post?
  • Or is it going to be a personal email sent just to you?

Compare those three subject lines:

  1. “Smartphone App Development”
  2. “Revenue Generating Website Makeover”
  3. “Your post on <your_company_blog> & a question”

Which one would you be most eager to open? Why?

Fix: Make your subject sound like a 1-on-1 email

Did you decide on the third option? Do you know why you decided this way? We get dozens of cold emails entitled similarly to a) and b). Usually these are generic offers including a list of features and no reference to us or our company whatsoever.

We feel like we’re not interested in such offers and we don’t have time to read another one of those. So, based on the subject line, we feel like we can delete those emails. Without even checking what’s inside. That’s why you don’t want to send cold emails with subject lines like a) or b).

But would you delete an email with a subject line like the one in c) above? I know I wouldn’t. I would be dying to see what someone wrote to me about my post, and what the question is that she’s about to ask me.

[Tweet “that’s exactly what you want your prospects to feel at the moment they see your subject line”]

And that’s exactly what you want your prospects to feel at the moment they see your subject line: “I want to open it, because it’s going to be about me and it’s going to be something interesting!” Call me self-centered, but that’s how this works.

Which leads us straight to mistake #2.

Mistake #2: Your email is about you & your product

That’s a trap many cold email senders fall into. And that’s why most cold emails start like these below:






I marked the crucial parts of the cold email intros, so you should see the problem by now. It’s all about “me, us, our company, our services,” etc.

That’s not how you want to start a cold email. You’ve got less than 3 seconds to grab your addressee’s attention. And they don’t know you, so “your successful company with many years of experience” will not grab their attention. Trust me.

I know you feel like you should introduce yourself because, as it’s been said, they don’t know you. But in your cold email, you don’t want to introduce yourself or your company as such.

Fix: Make your email about your addressee

What you want to introduce is a possible solution to the problem they may have. Or maybe you want to check if they do have the problem you assume they have, in the first place. Or you may want them to feel like they might have a solution to a problem you have.

Having that in mind, you’ll craft an email focused on your prospect, not focused on you. Underline all the pronouns in your email and make sure there’s more “you & your” than “I, we, my, me & our.”

That’s tough, I know. But you can make it if you have found a common denominator for your group of addressees.

Instead of starting from yourself, start from:

  • where you found them and why you decided to reach out, or
  • what you found out about their company before reaching out to them, or
  • why their blog post or a passage from their about page made you reach out to them.

Below, there are two examples of my cold email introductions. Both were used in actual cold email campaigns. And those campaigns both ended up with over 50% reply rates:




The second example shows you the places where I used personalization snippets. Such an intro focused on the addressee needs some personalization, but that doesn’t mean you need to write and send all the emails by hand.

You can prepare a template and use automation tool like to fill in the personalization fields with relevant info from your contact base.

The two examples above are just introductions. The point is that especially in a cold email introduction, you need to focus on your prospect, not on yourself.

Mistake #3: Your email is a short story

Check how many sentences your email includes. If it’s more than 5, you should definitely make it shorter. If you use long, compound sentences, you need to cut them into simple sentences that are easy to read and process.

Your addressee shouldn’t take more than 30-45 seconds to read the whole email. If you send them a short story, they won’t get further than to the third sentence before they lose their interest.

If you use four-line sentences, they won’t go further than to the second line. And if they don’t read your email, there’s hardly a chance they will respond.

Fix: Make your email an intriguing teaser

Your email should work like a movie teaser, or a little passage from the back cover of a book. You don’t want your prospects to read the whole short story straight ahead. Instead, you want them to read the teaser and feel like they can’t wait to see the whole story.

Cut out the longish list of your services or product’s features (if you have one there). Give them just the gist of how you can help – don’t try to teach them all the technical details about your solution.

You can find some great examples in this free PDF: 15 Cold Email Templates.

Mistake #4: Your email looks like a leaflet

Does your email look like a leaflet that could be dropped into mailboxes of thousands of people in an unchanged form? If it does, and this email doesn’t work – there you have a reason. If your cold email is totally impersonal and basically describes what your company does in general, it will be most probably considered as spam.

Fix: Make your email look like a personal message

Ideally, your cold email should be a 1-on-1 message. Your addressee should have no doubts that you wrote the email yourself and that you sent it to them yourself.

Make your email a customized and personalized message. Focus on your prospect in the introduction. Mention something relevant to them – don’t make them feel they got this message just because they have an email address, or a website.

For more practical tips and examples, see the 3 Steps to Highly Personalized Cold Emails.

Mistake #5: Your email ends with “Thanks for your time!”

What is the purpose of your email? As your prospect, would you know what to do right after you read it? What is the very last sentence of the email? Many cold emails do not include any Call to Action (CTA). And this is one of the six crucial parts of a cold email.

The result: even if your prospect reads your email, they won’t be sure what you expect them to do, so they will do nothing.

Fix: Make your email end up with a CTA

First, you need to answer a very important question: what I want my prospects to do after they read my cold email? Do I want them to reply? Do I want them to answer my question? Do I want them to follow a link? Do I want to set them up for a call or a meeting?

As soon as you’ve got the answer, put the right question at the end of your email. The more specific the question, the better. The easier the decision for them to make, the higher the chances they will reply.

So let’s say you want to set them up for a call. At the end of your email, you can write something like:

Would you be interested in a phone chat so I could tell you more?

The answer is just yes or no. But the phone call is not spaced in time. So you could be more specific:

Would you be available for a phone chat next week?

The answer is still yes or no. But now they can think of a more specific time for a phone call, so it’s easier for them to decide if they have time or not. But how about:

Would you be available for a 20-minute phone chat next week?

This one is even better, as it specifies the amount of their precious time you expect them to give you. The decision gets even easier now. But you can go further, and ask:

Would you be able to chat on the phone for 20 minutes next week on Mon or Thu morning?

This gives them: the duration of the talk, plus the exact dates to choose from. The decision here changes from “if” into “either/or”.

This is just an example of a CTA. Remember you don’t have to set your prospects for a phone call straight ahead. You can start slower, for example from a question they can answer via email, because for many of them as little as 20 minutes on the phone with someone they don’t know at all may be a lot.

Mistake #6: Your email campaign does not include follow-ups

Do you send one email, and then just give up if you don’t get a response? Did you know that most prospects reply to 2nd or 3rd follow-up? Some of them will just skip your first email. But some will ignore it on purpose to see if your care enough to follow-up. Well, do you care enough?

Or maybe you’re afraid of sending too many emails so the person doesn’t get angry. Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of following-up. If you set the follow-ups right in time and make them valuable, your addressees will thank you for reminding them about your first email.

Fix: Plan an automated cold email campaign including 2-7 follow-ups

Write at least two additional emails to the first one you’ve got. Make them all make sense together. And don’t sound like a robot. Be nice, not intrusive. Remember that it’s your prospect, not you, who is supposed to be the center of your message.

Find some follow-up examples here.

It’s important that your follow-ups are sent in the same thread as the opening message. You don’t have to send them manually, though.

You can use an automation tool like to set up a whole cold email campaign including an opening email & up to 7 follow-ups. Your follow-ups can be sent automatically only to those prospects who haven’t responded to any of your previous emails.

Be politely persistent, and don’t send the follow-ups too soon or too often, and you may double or even triple your response rates.

Final words

Hope the 6 common mistakes and fixes will help you get more replies from your prospects. Remember that cold email is about testing – you need to discover what works best in your own niche and for your specifically targeted group of prospects.

Don’t give up after a few first attempts. Experiment with email copy and delivery settings until you find your own way for cold email outreach.

1 Comment

  1. Are not cold letters spam?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *