The Ultimate Cold Email Guide


Written by Ilan Kasan

Co-founder and CEO at

Jul 24, 2018

Writing cold outreach emails is hard and many get it wrong. Here is why and what you can do to fix it.

With executives receiving over 140 emails per day the likelihood of your email getting in front of them is slim to none, regardless of email automation.

The key to a good customer-centric email is to provide value and resist the urge to sell.

Your goal as a sales professional is to get a conversation going so you can show your prospect how your product or service can solve their problem and provide value. For this to happen, your email should not be too long, otherwise, it will not be read.

A common mistake in many prospecting emails is aiming to cover all your bases – value proposition, booking a meeting, why your company, how you are different, etc.

Writing a good prospecting email that is focused on one simple value proposition is an art and a science.

An email is like a short story

Every email should be like a short story in that it should be structured to drive a response from the reader.

A good customer-centric outbound email needs to have the following parts:

  • Make it Relevant – Start your email with context and show that you have done your research. Reference a similar customer situation and/or anything you have in common.
  • Offer value – Contribute something relevant to your recipients such as a case study, blog post or video that can teach them something new.
  • Call to action –  Depending on the situation, an invitation to act can be a webinar, an event such as a conference or a meet-up, or even just a response to keep your contact engaged.

Here is a short example:

Make it Relevant – Demonstrate that you’ve done your research

“Hi Melissa,

I looked at your LinkedIn profile and noticed that you are the head of the SDR team at

A common problem SDR leaders like yourself face is prioritizing and dealing with the volume of incoming leads.”

Offer value – Provide insight and a tangible asset

“An SDR leader at Cisco had this exact challenge. Here is a link to a case study demonstrating how, by using’s Virtual SDR Assistant, they were able to work every lead and increase the number of qualified opportunities by 81%.”

Request – Make the email actionable

“Melissa, do you find this applicable to you?”

Best practice:

  • Less is more. Keep it short and to the point. It needs to fit into a mobile phone screen.
  • Get to the point. Don’t start with “My name is…”
  • Do not apologize – “Sorry to bother you….”
  • Reduce the number of “I”’, “We” and “Us”. It should be about the prospect, not you.
  • No need to drive to a meeting in the first email. “Would you have 15 minutes to jump on a call”
  • If you have anything in common such as a mutual friend that you studied with at the same school – reference it.
  • Avoid attachments
  • Using the person’s first name before the call to action draws his/her attention. “Jon, have you experienced…”

Subject line:

The subject is the number one factor that determines the open rate of the email.
Avoid clickbait: “Must open now” and generic lines such as “CRM”

Create a subject line that will evoke the recipient’s desire to open the email.

One good practice is to reference the problem you solve. “Too many untouched leads” or “Wasting time chasing unqualified leads”.

My best advice is to simply test and see what works best.

Review and test

  • A/B test everything but do it one thing at a time. Subject line, call to action, email body copy, etc. Note that one email might work better based on the audience you are targeting.
  • Make sure to review your email with others on your team. Feedback is the best tool at your disposal.

Now that you understand how to get a customer to open your email, and respond to you, find out the best way to talk to a prospect in your first call  – without killing the sale! 

Ready to see Exceed in action?

Complete the short form to setup your demo

    By clicking the above you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use

    You May Also Like…

    TextAI: The Ultimate SMS AI Solution for Marketers

    TextAI: The Ultimate SMS AI Solution for Marketers

    Discover how Exceed’s TextAI transforms SMS marketing for unparalleled lead engagement. Learn about our AI SMS solution that ensures high open rates, prompt reads, and swift responses, giving you the edge in mobile-centric communication. Try TextAI now.