6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails

6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails

I get about 2 emails a day asking for coffee or advice.

Lately, I've been deleting them because no one takes even a minute to write a well crafted email.

I used to feel guilty but I figure since the person is being selfish, I can be as well. I've written before about "What have you done for me lately?" This question applies to a lot of things, especially cold emails, introductions or when asking someone else for something.

A few days ago I got a surprising email from Dave Daily.

BLEW MY MIND.

I want to share what an amazing cold email looks like (and dissect WHY it's so great); it's a great template for those looking for how to write cold emails. (Click to Tweet!)

Noah_Dave


Subject: How I lost your Sperry's.. and apt. And why you should meet with me.

(He referenced spending money to meet me already.

I kept bidding them up.. to $600. Then I stopped with 3 seconds left and the other person won. 

(Relevant to me.)

I didn't want the apartment. I was going to use it as an expensive excuse to get an App idea in front of you...and we wear the same size shoes. I have since bought a pair of Sperry's..er Sperries? Size 11 - they fit!

(Okay, $600 just to show me an idea. I'm intrigued. Bonus for wanting to wear my shoes.)

Why you should meet with me:

(Why it's worth it to me. Not how I'm going to spend 30 minutes giving him free help. I have money so a free lunch just doesn't appeal to me.)

1. I'm the founder and CEO of Grav . I've been running this business for the past nine years. I started it when I was 24. I have 70 employees in Austin and operations in China. I love my business. It's profitable and I'm really good at it. However, I want to do more.

(Okay, he's got his shit together and I like meeting ballers.)

2. I'm Jewish - I hate playing that card, but.. what the fuck

(Haha. Self-explanatory. Low blow, but mildly works. He did some homework on me.)

3. This App idea is disruptive. It's not in my wheelhouse (glass), but I know a good idea when I see one - I get about 3 presentations a week from stoners about their pipe ideas.

(Shows more validation and credibility. I kinda skipped this point.)

4. I have a wireframe ready so you can breeze through it quickly.

(He values my time so I don't have to hang with him forever - in case he's creepy)

5. The factory is really close to downtown - on St. Elmo just south of Ben White. 

(Convenient and again more focus on my time)

6. Even if you hate me and my idea, you'll love the **** factory - it's insane. 

This Wednesday 4/17 at 10am (or earlier) would be a great time to come by (I know it's short notice, but what if this is the bestidea you've ever heard and I'm the coolest guy you've ever met?) 

(See how he didn't say, "When is a good time to meet?" Then I'd have to check my schedule. Instead he suggested something specific so I can easily see if that's available for you. 

2 improvements he could have done here. a) Make the start time an odd # - meet for 15 minutes.       b) Let me know how much time he's specifically requesting.)

Feel free to bring anyone from Appsumo. I'm a huge fan. 

(Wow, I can bring the whole team if I want. This dude is good.)

Thanks for your time!

Best,

David Daily

* * *
I'm met with Dave yesterday. He said the email took OVER 1 hour to compose.

So how does this help you?

Let me give you a simple frame-work when you are cold emailing or trying to get someone to chat with you:

1- Flattery. Do you compliment them or stroke their ego a bit?

2- Benefit. How will this benefit them (not just you)? Do you spell it out and is it a real benefit?

3- Credibility. How can YOU be the person the other person would enjoy meeting?

4- Call to action (aka the ask). He didn't ask for a 60 minute phone call but a digestible request that seemed appropriate.

5- Read it out loudRead your email out loud with a timer. If it's a longer than a minute, cut it down.

6- Make it easy to say yes. It's much easier for the other person to help when they see you’ve made a solid investment already — handwriting the note, researching, or just doing their work for them. If you're emailing important people do what you can in advance to so they can just forward your email or answer the questions quickly.

We put together an easy to use checklist for you. Download the Cold Email Checklist for the next time you write up an email.

Click to Tweet the 6 steps to a great email.

Shameless plug: Sumoe put together email templates with years of research behind them. If you're looking for more templates and guidance (to write like Dave) click here.

Selfishly,
Noah

p.s.  Leave a comment. If YOU can get me to reply I'll send you a $25 Amazon gift card.

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137 responses to “6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails”

Gonzalo Pena
January 22, 2020 at 10:01 pm

I just wanted to thank you for writing a piece that is going to be crucial for my career and my business. All the best to you.

Reply
Priscilla
October 22, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Noah, I am sure you never considered your copywriting tips being used in my industry but I would like to tank you for all the tips. I own an individual eyelash extensions company and I am trying to reach out to neighbouring businesses to invite them to come and try our services for a discount. Most lash extensions do very dramatic extensions that are not suitable for professionals. My company focuses on natural looking extensions for professionals. I am trying to write a copy to reach out to the business close to the salon for them to come and try our service

Reply
Rui
January 15, 2019 at 9:28 pm

For me, the hardest thing is how to find the right person to email to, any suggestions? Thanks~

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deepak
March 5, 2019 at 10:51 am

Use linkedin salenav to find leads, Search for articles in google of your leads, by going though those articles understand your leads business ,find your leads contact details using softwares like LUsa, norbert etc. and follow above article to compose an email to your lead.

Reply
Honeyy Allure
September 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

You're giving away exactly what to do for you to respond. Do you need more valuable friends? Im it.

Reply
Beverly Peng
December 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Noah,
Can I have Muhammad's contact info from Pakistan who helped you with AppSumo for $50?

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Jess Rowe
September 7, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Hi Noah,
I'm fairly green in the video/photography sales industry and loved this article--lots of valuable insights for effectively reaching people by simply being another person, not a computer. Awesome reminder to show your prospect that humanity does still exist online in emails--it doesn't have to be a "template" approach. I'll be following your posts for more helpful tips. Thanks!

Reply
Antonio
August 18, 2018 at 4:57 am

Thanks for a great response.

I specially got an insight/a-ha (and will apply instantly!) on stroking people's ego a bit at the start of the e-mail. Even if you're Dalai Lama, you like a compliment every now and then. It also gives a positive starting tone to the mail (starting with "No" it's a no-no).

Second, it impressed me that writing a non-chalant looking e-mail took an hour. Of course, this is a type of what I'd call "pitch e-mail" (sort of an elevator pitch applied to e-mail), but the advices apply to every mail. In the end, it's about thinking a bit on the persona you're writing to (you don't have much time but you certainly give a minute or two if they cut the crap and are compelling and give a good story.)

Profesionally, my biggest problems are follow-up (create a sustainable conversation) and appeal factor (getting the people to interest me on the first e-mail).
Now you make me think, is it probably because I'm f****g boring? You certainly brought a different point of view and some advices that will become instant changes in the way I write.

Thanks!

Reply
Isaac
June 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

Hi Mr. Kagan! I really enjoyed this article! Just to give you some background, I'm currently 16 and I have found myself to become interested in this subject quite recently. Since I'm 16, I'm not sure what I can do at my age. I can't drive, I'm still living with my parents, in high school, and I've got nothing to offer. Is there any tips you could give me to make me known to a millionaire or mentor? I want to prepare for the future ahead of me. Anyways sorry if I took up any of your time!

Reply
Rick
April 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Hi Noah; You make an offer in this post:

"Shameless plug: Appsumo put together 33 email templates with more than 10 years of research behind them. If you're looking for more templates and guidance (to write like Dave) click here."

When I click, it's a 404 page.

Really liked the article, & have signed up for your emails (which are also Very good),;

Though I would very much appreciate it if you would please fwd me a link to the promised Templates - Those are of Far greater value to me than a $25 gift card (though I would't turn it down, either 😉 )

Reply
david kelly
May 6, 2018 at 3:44 pm

What's up, Rick! D'oh, great catch.

Unfortunately, those are gone — but check out this article: https://sumo.com/stories/cold-email-templates

That has some even better templates you can use.

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sharon mizrahi
February 20, 2018 at 5:40 am

great artical very useful and usable. now i feel ready and understand how to do the next step in starting my busines

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Johnny Ringo
January 19, 2018 at 11:46 pm

Hey Noah! I run a woman's wrestling company. I like your tips, and I love the guy's gusto who emailed you.

However, on point 1, do I really want to use flattery if I'm trying to cold open women through email/messenger about joining my company?

Reply
Eric liu
January 9, 2018 at 1:12 am

Everything you point out is great but one, that is an email took him over 1hour to compose. It is unreasonable for a sale to develop new client.

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Ryan Fly the Hireology Guy
May 4, 2017 at 4:33 pm

What is ironic about your game is most people in sales don't have the balls or brains to leave a message. (I am 1.5 % Jewish, so do I get a free gift card too? I will spend it on something Star Wars related for my sales team. May da 4th be with you)

Reply
Sajid Iqbal
February 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

I am not looking for $ 25. It's more to do about you making $2500

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Chaz at LeadFuze
December 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Hey Noah, great post. I like your suggestion to craft a cold email nicely. Can't wait to check out the sumo email templates you referred.

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Tanya
January 12, 2017 at 1:31 am

Did you end up using any of the sumo email templates? Looking for email drip templates.

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Taylor Presley
November 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm

Noah,
I really want to comment on the article, but first, I have something to get off my chest.
Although you could argue that dropping the challenge of getting your reply will get you a literal ton of comments (118, going on 119), it makes you less accessible to readers. It disincentivizes you from continuing discussion by punishing you for replying.

Thanks for the actionable cold-emailing advice and thanks for the templates. I've been doing a lot of cold-emailing trying to get a base for my company but haven't had any luck. I'm going to try yours out and see if I can get some bigger bites.

Reply to my comment and I'll use that gift card to send you my favorite book. (Spoiler alert: I didn't write it)

Reply
Colleen
November 20, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Noah as I watched your presentation on teachable I had two thoughts:
1) this guy is mad genius
2) this guy probably has a hard time getting a girlfriend (the kind that like him and not his money)

Proposal short and sweet: you help me - I help you

Reply
Wyatt Jozwowski
July 26, 2016 at 11:17 am

Haha, point #2 is awesome.

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Atul Singh
July 6, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Hey, Taco Lover. Really good breakdown of a good cold email. One thing that is common in all good emails is that they are about the recipient.

Here is about the reply:
If you reply, I will order Tacos from Amazon.in and order "Understanding Digital Marketing" to become a better marketer so that I can help others. 🙂

Reply
Cherry
March 24, 2016 at 4:25 am

ran bing nuan..... because I wouldn't wanna to reply if I could ignore the email if I were the recipient

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Barbara
March 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Quick point - know your audience and don't assume profanity is acceptable. It may sound hip or be acceptable to you, but why include it and risk offense to someone.

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John De Guzman
January 6, 2016 at 2:39 am

Thank you for the sample email template. As a new entrepreneur, this templates help me craft engaging emails that help me close more deals.

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dave
November 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

I would like you to try and get a physician to reply to your email after them posting their Cv on a popular job board.

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Vishal
October 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm

how many people got you to reply Noah?

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Bob Janitz
July 9, 2015 at 7:28 am

TYPO-"bestidea?" How about "best idea?"
Great article, btw. Good stuff.

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Tinabeans
March 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm

What's the best way to establish credibility/offer mutual benefit if you feel that there is nothing they could possibly want from you because they are too awesome and you are just starting out/having nothing to offer?

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Michael Demapan
August 7, 2014 at 7:15 am

Leave the gift card take the Canole. What say you?

Reply