How to Write a Cold Email When You Have No Clue

How to Write a Cold Email When You Have No Clue

Cold-Email Writing Tips for First-Timers

Cold emails are unsolicited queries or offers to potential employers, partners, customers, or investors, seeking work, collaboration, sales, or capital. How to write a cold email for the first time is a matter of believing in yourself and your service or product above all, and then following just a few rules of thumb so that recipients will read the mail and are eager to answer it.

What are cold emails?

These unsolicited messages differ from spam because they include the name and contact information of the person who sends them. They’re also customized and personalized to individual recipients, and are requests for information or meetings, not commercial sales pitches. The Federal Trade Commission offers a straightforward explanation of the regulations governing the CAN-SPAM Act. Following the guidelines in this blog will show you how to send a cold email that won’t be mistaken for spam.

The ABCs of cold emails

Cold emails can be effective. Harvard Business Review author Tucker Max says they have built careers and launched start-ups. However, unsolicited messages are effective only if they adhere to three key principles.

They are succinct

Potential recipients are busy. Although the subject line prompts them to open the email, the body of the message must pack a punch within just four to five sentences.

They are conversational

Cold emails must speak to the recipient. Phrase the text if you’re sending a greeting card to a friend.

They are impeccably researched

Cold-email writers must personalize their message so recipients believe they’re the ones who are uniquely qualified to respond to a writer’s request. Recipients may say yes to a request if they believe the writer follows their posts, knows their reputation and interests, or is familiar with their organization or company. Internet research on computers, laptops, or tablets facilitate this process. Cutting-and-pasting formulaic cold-email messages is not an option.

Cold email template

These are the components of the message, and some brief comments about each.

Cold email subject line

The subject line in a cold email must tell the recipient what to expect in the message. Personalize it to the recipient, even using the recipient’s first name. Different approaches may pique interest. Create a sense of urgency, ask a pointed, personal question, or be humorous, clever, or controversial.

Internal “from” header

The best header for a cold email will have the sender’s full name and personal email address.

Addressing the recipient

Again, use the person’s first name, and say “Hi, or “Hello. This is a way of personalizing the message, and it shows the writer has done their research.

The body of the cold email template

Skip the personal introduction and get to the point.

Sentence 1: Start by showing an intimate knowledge of the recipient’s product, company, or area of expertise. Be complimentary yet as specific as possible. Alternatively, name-drop a mutual friend or acquaintance.

Sentence 2: Pinpoint the recipient’s need, or point out a problem their company might be having. Again, thorough research makes it possible to target a need or problem. If the cold email is job-seeking, identify the nature of the position in the company and its importance to the company’s success.

Sentence 3: Offer the recipient the value of your product or service. Don’t talk about yourself unless in context of how your product solves their problem, addresses an issue, or complements their work or research. Don’t pitch the product or its features. Just state why the product or service will bring value to the person or organization.

Sentence 4: Tell the recipient you have a specific time frame available for a meeting, and then ask whether that time frame meets their schedule.

Sentence 5: Thank the recipient for their time. After all, the cold email is a request, even while offering help. So be appreciative of the favor.


Experts agree that a full signature at the end of the email enhances the chances for a reply, since it shows the real person who’s making the request. Effective signatures contain at least the following:

  • Personal photograph, professional but friendly
  • Name, position, and company.
  • Active social account icons
  • Contact number, address, and website

Here’s a quick example of a cold email for a job:

Subject Line: Fred, help me so I can help you

Hi Fred
Your company is on my employment wish list. I’m especially impressed by [A SPECIFIC PART OF THE BUSINESS].
I’m emailing you to see whether the stars align between our mutual wants and needs.
I’m available for a meeting just about any afternoon. How about next Tuesday at 4pm?
Thanks for your time.


If your prospect doesn’t reply to your initial message, be persistent and send another email. The second email might be just a couple of lines, nudging the recipient toward a reply. Perhaps the recipient just hasn’t had the time to reply.

Follow these simple rules to learn how to write a cold email effectively, even for the first time. Also check out customized print services to have the appropriate brochures, business cards, or promotional items on hand when your cold email leads to your first in-person appointment.