Cold Email that Gets Answered

An excerpt from my cold calling book


All most people will see is the ‘To:’ and ‘Subject:’ lines. Make them good.

Your subject should be terse and free of useless words. Be specific and summarize the email. If the email includes a deadline or a date, then put it in the subject. You can use subjects to interest the reader but not to create the promise of things that are not there. Much of the advice about writing a good headline also applies here.

If you have something to sell, you should use the headline to make a value offer that they find interesting. If you just want to talk to them, you can do the same if you have an offer to make. If there isn’t a value offer or resource you have fewer options. I usually go with honesty in the best light I can.

If I want to talk to dentists about problems in the dental industry I’m going to research enough to write a specific headline that shows I’ve done the homework. I may try a few different specifics in the subjects I send out and figure out which ones strike a chord with people. You won’t get statistically significant data, but you can pick up on how they react. Repeat what works and continue to experiment.

Start a blog: Interview <Business Name> for <Blog Name>

The blog might be a place to feature businesses or a collection of posts about how businesses in the industry handle best practices.

Write a report: 7 Ways to Improve X in <business>

Be honest and specific: Chat about handling <problem> in <business>

Name drop: Jackie Brown said to ask you about <topic>

Don’t start the conversation with a bad subject.

Lazy: talk about problems in your business

Bad blind sales: Dentistry Practice Software

Feels false: Double your business today!

Follow up like Gravity

I had a physics professor in college that started every class by pushing everything on the table in front of the chalkboard off the far edge. He usually did it all in a rush. After the clattering science equipment settled, he would say, “Still works. Gravity is relentless.” Email requires that you are relentless. You should do so at 7-10 days without a response and then every thirty days after that. Use, boomerang, or similar tools to help keep you on schedule. The prospects might get annoyed in the first couple months, but they get over it. You will get some respect for tenacity and you might catch them when they have a free moment. The cold email game is a battle for hitting the inbox at a time when you can get a response. If an email is more than a couple days old, the chances are that it won’t get attention. You can use major mailing list service providers like Aweber or Mailchimp to see your own email statistics, I have included some common rates for a few industries in a table below.

Type of Company Open Rate Click Rate
Business and Finance 15.47% 2.77%
Software and Web App 15.57% 2.49%
Retail 17.80% 2.41%




Data from MailChimp:


If you enjoyed this excerpt, you should check out the cold calling book.