Back to basics: the cold email cheat sheet

Cold emails: we’ve all got to write them, but how do you craft one that cuts through without sounding as frosty as its name – or awkward?
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There’s no one-size-fits-all for email templates, but here are some best practices.


• Subject lines need to be concise, accurate and invite curiosity. Personalisation and emoji have been shown to increase open rates – but don’t too try hard.

• Make it personal. That means going beyond a quick glance at the recipient’s Twitter bio. Mention any connections you might have. Think about their specific needs and priorities. Remember: what’s in it for them?

• Make it actionable – the recipient shouldn’t have to do anything, particularly in regards to organising meetings. The next step should be as easy as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Style and tone

• Visually break up your copy so it’s easy to digest – use spacing, numbers and bulleted lists where you can.

• Let your email signature work harder – make sure to include your name, phone number, website and even any social profiles you’ve got. 

• Be conversational and informal. Personality matters – try reading out the email before you send it to make sure it sounds like you. 

• Don’t go too big with the ask – think of the email more as a conversation starter. Rushing the process and going straight for a meeting might not suit the situation.


• Think about what time and day the person you’re emailing is likely to be checking through their inbox (Friday at 5pm might not be the one).

• Get intentional with your follow-up strategy: develop a framework that clarifies how many days you’ll wait between email one, two, three, etc. And, of course, know when to move on, too. 

Examples to check 

• Noah Kagan forensically breaks down one exceptional cold email he received.

• Allie Janoch walks through her successful cold email technique for reaching out to investors.

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