What Is Cold Email?(Definitive Guide – 2020)

Business relationships in the offline world develop gradually and everything starts with a conversation. 

A possible scenario of people using cold emails is for a person who has recently moved into a new company and wants to develop new customers for trade. He looks for opportunities to start a conversation with people. The goal is not to pitch an offer straight away or detail about his company; but just an ice-breaking, just starting a dialogue with probable clients. 

Cold email is thus a means to start a conversation in the form of dialogues. It is information to a person who knows almost nothing about your company. As this is the first conversation, these leads are called “cold” leads and hence the name, cold emails. 

Interesting Read : Problems with Cold Emails & How to resolve it?

An email sent to a potential customer that has had no prior relationship with you is a cold email. These emails should not be thought of as just for the purpose of sales. These are also used in many other ways for various purposes in day to day life.

For example, students sending emails to institutes or company HR professionals for internship and training opportunities or a salesman sending emails to unknown people just to make you aware of his product. 

You can see that cold emails are a requirement for students, for marketing professionals, for salesmen and other such people in the business world. Cold email has emerged as a strong communication tool for sales. Its development is further discussed in this blog. 

One must also know that cold emailing is like a dart thrown in the dark. It might or might not hit the right target. It is important for you to throw the dart correctly so that there are high chances of hitting the bull’s eye. Read the blog to explore best cold emailing practices, techniques and tools to help you master the art of cold emailing. 


There can be various reasons as to why cold emailing is so important for any business. The major two reasons being: 

1. Networking:

Cold emailing hits the best when you serve to the audience what they need. Sellers can reach out to their probable clients who are unaware of the product by emailing about their products and creating awareness in general. If you are selling holiday packages to Singapore; and your probable client sees a package in his inbox through your cold email; your job is half done! 

2. Lead generation: 

With cold emails, you can generate new hot leads. Lead is the onset of any kind of sale. If the seller has a lead, it is the most crucial part of his job to convert it to sales. Cold emailing might help influence clients to this stage. 


Cold emailing has seen various developmental stages since its onset. The stages are detailed as follows: 

1 . Cold selling: 

Selling things to a stranger by connecting with him through mails is called cold selling. Cold emailing originated from cold selling. You will be able to relate to cold selling when you think of olden times when sellers used to knock doors and try to sell products. This was before the technological era and we did not have a term for it. Now we know it as person to person or cold selling. 

Direct mail: 

Mass cold selling was introduced when the courier service was invented and people started posting newsletters and posts to strangers. This resulted in a massive hike in their sale and the technique became prevalent as cold emailing. 

Interesting Read : 7 Tips to Grow Your Small Business Through Cold Emails

Cold calling: 

Later, as telephone evolved, as technology emerged, there was a fashion of sellers calling strangers to sell their products or services and influence them into buying. This is called cold calling. Cold calling led to increased crime rates as fraud calls started along with actual cold calling. Then sellers felt the need for a change again. 

Cold emailing: 

Digital era has laid its foot strongly in the marketing world too. Now, calling someone to persuade them into buying seems annoying and sending letters and posts is a bit too time-consuming when you have emails at your disposal.

This was the boom of cold emailing. With cold emailing, people can get to the point information related to the product or service being sold and there are action buttons to click if people are to purchase the service or the product. 

This led to the popularity of cold email amongst people and it started becoming the most suitable medium of selling products and services. 


Now that we know what is cold emailing and what is it used for; here are some suggested and proven ways that will enhance your chances of sending the best cold emails.  

1 . Importance of subject lines: 

The Subject line is the face of your email. Only a catchy subject line will decide whether your email will be read or not. The Subject line leaves the “first impression” to the stranger that you are trying to contact, and hence should be written very strategically. 

For instance; 

If you are a travel agent and are selling travel deals for a trip to Singapore to clients who are willing to plan a travel to someplace, a subject line saying, “tour packages to Singapore” will not attract as much as a line saying “aren’t you looking for some amazing vacations?”  

The second subject line makes the reader curious about the email. And generating curiosity is half job done. Therefore write a subject line that attracts, that makes people read and take actions. 

2. A slim email body 

How long do you think a stranger will spend reading your mail? A few seconds. Yes, the attention span has declined with the development of technology that consumes most of our time these days. So keep your email body as short as possible so that it is read. 

Keep it as short as introduction, purpose and the salutation. 

Something like this one would serve your purpose 

“ I hope you are doing great. I am Robert from HolidayXpress Pvt. Ltd. 

We believe that travelling is the best part of life and recharges your energy that monotony would have discharged.

Hereby attached is a PDF which shows our rates for different trips across the continent. If you have any query, you can reach out to us at any time.



+91 123-5675

3 . Personalizing emails calls for extra points

Addressing people by their name is always a good feeling. It feels like you already know the stranger when you write their name in the mail. This psychology works well with cold emailing too. 

Instead of writing “Hey Prospect”, writing “Hey John” will attract John more and not let the mail go ignored. 

Therefore it is always a good practice to personalize your cold emails before you send them to your prospects and you will see that it matters more than you could expect. 

4. Followup is inevitable

80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups after the meeting

Follow up is the most important part of a deal to get done. There is so much content to be seen that people have a short memory span for the content that they see. Same happens with emails too.

People might forget that they saw your mail and you might never receive a reply. That is why follow-ups are necessary. With modern-day cold emailing tools and software such as Outreach Plus, you can automate the follow-ups and send them emails again

Write an effective follow-up message to ensure readability. 

5. Best time to send email

Targeting the right customers at the right time is important. When deciding when to send emails in anticipation of positive response; take care of the following two aspects: 

a . Time of the day: the best time to send emails is at around 10 am when most people are checking their emails. The chances of opening your email become high automatically. If you don’t have a good reason for doing so, avoid sending your email before this hour of the morning. Never send emails at 3 or 4 AM, as those will just look weird in the receiver’s Inbox.

b . Day of the week: Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to reach business executives. This is what marketers say to be the best days for B2B emails


There have been a lot of changes in the way cold emails have progressed over the years for sales. Cold emails were used only to pitch an offer to a probable client. One mail was designed and sent to a large group of prospects without any personal touch. 

This method worked because it was new and people had not started trading via email till then. This was a mass sales-oriented approach and worked as a great technique for lead generation.

Gradually, these emails became more of a copy-paste type of messages and became less effective. People started understanding the “sale kind” of tone and the way cold emails were designed. 

Interesting Read : Best Cold Email Subject Lines of 2019 That Get Opened, Read, and Responded To

Then came a significant change when the sales pitch began to fail and one mail for all clients worked no more. It is now more about initiating and building a relationship with the client; i.e an email focused on the client and not on the product or service to be sold.

Cold emailing became more about putting yourself in the shoes of the client and understanding the product from his perspective. From the very first email, a prospect should feel that you understand their business and the challenges it entails.

Don’t jump to making the deal straight ahead. Instead, let your prospects tell you more about what they struggle within their daily work. Then show them how these processes can be improved or done in a more efficient way.

Now, the personal touch is the key to converting a prospect to a customer. Learn more about your prospects, know their pain points before writing an email. It will be easy for you to craft a mail once you know your client and his business well. 

Use cases for cold emailing/ email templates for different types of cold emails 

So why do your cold email? There are various reasons for which a company has to cold email probable clients. Knowing the right way to cold email will help boost sales and develop a good network. OutreachPlus helps you design emails for your sales and various other purposes. Read on to know the most feasible and effective cold email templates for various purposes: 

1 . Cold email for lead generation 

The most common reason for cold emailing is lead generation. Such emails should have your basic introduction and the exact reason why you have written the mail.

For example 

My name is John and I work for ABC Corporation. We work with companies like (write company names) to deal with (write the pitch statement). 

(write a sentence saying why do you stand apart from other competitors). 

It would be great if you could direct me to the right person to talk about this at (company name) in case this will be beneficial for your company. 



2 . Cold email for market research 

Cold emailing is also used for market research. With Outreach plus, you can design an email either to validate a startup idea, to learn the pain points of the audience in question or just gather survey results. Such emails can be written as: 

Subject: What’s your project management system?

Hi, [first name],

Looking forward to helping through this mail.

I am in the process of interviewing owners of various agencies to know what project management system they use to manage client campaigns. I am sure you wouldn’t mind sharing yours.

Rate your current project management system for me on a scale of 1 to 10. How satisfied are you with it? 

I will be happy to know more details if any. 


[Email Signature]

P.S. If I should rather not contact you again, just let me know. Or, if you know another agency owner using a project management solution —feel free to forward them my info. 

3. Cold email or invitation (webinar/podcast/event invitation)

Instead of sending straight sales mail, we would suggest building relationships with people by holding an event and inviting them to the event, podcast etc. Cold email to let people know what you have to offer. 

Subject Line: See What Your Competitors Are Doing

Hi [First Name],

It will be a pleasure for me if you could attend one of our upcoming webinars where we give you an insight into the tools and techniques that your competitors are using right now to grow their sales. 

I thought you’d be a great fit since you’re in the industry we’ll be reviewing. 

It’s free, but we only have so many slots. You can register for it here.


[Email Signature]

P.S. Have I mailed the wrong person? Let me know! No, follow-ups required? Please let me know that too! 

4. Cold email for influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways of getting your products recognised by a large number of targeted audiences. Influencer marketing is all about wooing the ear of your audience with a platform. This can be done through blogs, podcasts, social media and of course, cold emailing. An influencer mail can look like this: 

Subject: This mail is written after reading your blog post 

Hi, [First Name],

I am hung to your recent post [insert post here]. 

I used it as a springboard to [insert your action here]. 

And the results are impressive [insert results here].

I am sure you must be busy so I won’t take much of your time. I would just take a moment to introduce myself and let you know that your advice works and your content is amazing! 


[Email Signature]

P.S. If you’d like to use anything from this email as a testimonial or get more from me, just let me know. I can provide a detailed version or write a guest post about it. 

Thanks again! 

5. Cold email for follow up 

No sale is possible without a follow up in this competitive market. Networking and follow up is essential to convert a lead into a client. An ideal follow up mail can be: 

Subject: Quick reminder 

Hey (name), it was good to meet you today. Just wanted to recap of what is happening as next set of events. 

March 20th: I create your portfolio…

March 25th: revert with changes if any Get back to me with any changes your team has.

March 30st: let us get done with final revisions 

If you need anything before then just let me know. Otherwise, I’ll see you and the team at the all-hands-on-deck meeting in (time)!



Building an email campaign on Outreach Plus is easy and if you follow a few guidelines before sending the campaign. The checklist mentioned below, abbreviated as VESC is important to ensure your cold email campaign has a high deliverability rate. 

Understanding VESC before launching the campaign; VESC stands for 

V alidate Prospect list 

E nsure Clear CTA 

S et Automated Followup 

C heck Email Spam score 

1. Validate Prospect list

The first thing that you need to do while sending a cold email campaign is validating the email ids in your email. There should be some similarity in the people to whom you are sending the emails. Make sure that all the people are right. Otherwise, you might not see effective results and also get into trouble by sending wrong emails to the wrong people. 

Interesting Read : 7 Email Myths you should never believe

2. Ensure Clear CTA

There are some popular CTAs used by cold emailers, like 

Sign up with us 

Click here to download the app now 

Subscribe now 

Get a call back now 

While writing a mail, just add one clear CTA to avoid confusion to the reader. 

Or example: 

Hey Pat, 

We see that your office has a decent number of employees and you might need an app to control the attendance. To you manage your people better, we have an app to give the most to you. Download the app now as it is free on the app store. 



3. Set Automated FollowUp

There are a few conditions that you need to include in your email to follow up with the prospect.

The conditions: 

Not Opened – If you activate this condition, your follow-up email will be sent to all the people who have not opened your email.

Not replied – If you activate this condition, your follow-up email will be sent to all the people who have seen but not replied to your email.

Been Sent – If you activate this condition, your follow-up email will be sent to all the people in your email list, regardless of their email opened, replied or seen.

4. Check the Email Spam score

You always write mail thinking that your mail will be awesome. But your email can be either of one; Awesome, Okayish, Spammy. 

Check which category your mail lies in before you send the cold email. 


With a number of tools available in the market or cold emailing, knowing a few key features can help you choose the best tool for your cold email campaign. 

Look for the following key features: 

1 . Email list and contact management

Email list and contact management – a good tool should have an email list and management system that manages and categorises people that your outreach to. The system should be able to manage the people, the time, the salutation and maintain an email list too. 

2. Outreach management 

Outreaching has a role once people are managed. Outreach management features like drip emailing make sure your cold mail lands inside the primary inbox. 

3. Automated follow-ups

We have known the importance of follow-ups of cold emails in the blog earlier. Follow-ups are important as they help remind a person about your mail and increase your chances of getting a reply.

A good tool should have an auto follow up mail feature that sends a different mail to a person who has seen your mail but not responded and a different mail to a person who has not opened your mail yet and a different mail format regardless of any other two conditions. This feature should be handy in any of the tools that you use or cold emailing. 

Interesting Read : Here’s How You Use Video to Power-up Your Email Campaigns

4. Recipient engagement data

Understanding how effective the cold emailing journey is equally important and a good cold emailing tool should have this feature that gives you the relevant information. Features such as open rates, response rates, help you determine the same after you have launched your cold emailing campaigns. 


Having mentioned the features of, here is a list of some of the best cold email tools that will serve your purpose well. 

1 . SalesHandy

SalesHandy has great features like email tracking, document tracking, link tracking etc. and helps to take data-driven decisions. 

The most attractive feature is Mail Merge with Auto Follow Up that lets you send cold emails to build relationships with your prospects. 

SalesHandy is common and popular amongst salesmen, marketers, bloggers, freelancers etc. 

The Basic plan starts at 7$ per month if paid annually and 9$ if paid monthly.

2. Woodpecker

Another great cold email tool that provides personalization campaign and campaign analysis feature. This tool can be integrated with tools like Zapier, PieSync 

It works well for your cold emailing campaigns with all the features that a cold emailing tool should have. 

The Basic pricing starts at 33$ if paid annually and 40$ if paid monthly.

3. Yesware

Yesware also is a good cold emailing software that has an email tracking and mail merge feature that makes it popular amongst a lot of professionals like salesmen, marketers etc. 

The Basic pricing starts at 12$ if paid annually and 15$ if paid monthly.


People might find cold emailing harmful as they say it is “annoying”; which might be true only in a few cases. If you follow good cold emailing practices, you can overcome this complaint. A handy tip here is to add the unsubscribe button to your mails. 

With the checklist below, make sure your emails are not considered spam. 

1 . Personalize the name 

2. Use a proper subject line 

3. Format your email properly 

4. Write the “opt-out” option clearly 

5. Send the mail at proper timing 

Use tested email templates instead of random formats 

Use proper cold email tools that can automate your mails

Personalization in emails has grown stronger and people expect a perfectly tailored mail with a maximum human touch to it instead of machine-generated messages. This increases the chances of sales through cold emailing and will continue to be the strategy to generate leads and validate future business ventures. Cold emailing, when used with intent and under all guidelines, does not remain spam and is a great way to reach clients for some interesting deals. 

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