How to Use Cold Email to Keep a Consistent Pipeline

This is a guest post written by Justin McGill, Founder of LeadFuze

Firstly, let’s start out with a very simple question that’ll be important to answer:

What is cold email?

Cold email is an email sent to a potential customer that has had no prior relationship with you.

You can think of it like a cold call, but much less obtrusive.

A successful cold email outreach plan uses personalized cold emails to make contact with those potential customers that you’ve had no prior relationship or connect with.

There are some very key differences between cold email and spam. Cold email uses your real name, uses a meaningful subject line, uses a standard email style and shows your real address. These are all things that spam emails typically don’t do.

So, how do you know if what you’re sending to your clients is spam or cold emailing?

Here’s how:

  • Is the person telling you who they actually are? Do the “From,” “To” and “Reply” fields actually tell you useful information?

  • Does the subject line actually pertain to the subject of the email content, and is completely true and not in the least bit misleading?

  • Does it seem like an actual real email from a real person, and not like an ad?

  • Is the company’s physical address listed in the sender’s signature?

  • Does the person emailing say anything about a way to stop receiving the email (as simple as just “Please let me know if you’re not the right person to contact for this”?

Now that you know the difference, you can move on to actually sending cold emails that fit your purpose, and that aren’t seen as spammy.

"The subject line has to be catchy and attractive, or else your email will end up in the trash."

How to Write a Cold Email in the First Place

It all starts with the subject line. A subject line is the same as a text title. It has to be catchy and attractive or your email will end up in the trash.

A concrete and concise subject line will single you out from the crowd and get you noticed. Make sure to keep the subject line under 50 characters. No need to tell the entire story there. You can even use a single word if possible, or three words at most.

Depending on the message you’re sending, you can add some personal touch by using the recipient’s first name in the subject line. According to experts, it’s a good way to increase open rates.

But how can you make the body of your cold email as good as possible? There are a few ways, that you can combine as you like.

First, put yourself in your consumer’s shoes. How do your customers view the problem you are trying to solve? Have your message meet them where they are at, and help them solve a legitimate problem.

Give it a Hook

Forgo the introduction. When someone views your message on their mobile device, and the first line reads, “I’m Mike with ABC Corporation,” you make it very easy for your prospect to delete the message and not read any further, especially if you hit them on a busy day.

Ditch this intro! There will be an appropriate time for an introduction later.

In fact, pay a huge amount of attention to your first paragraph. Like a good book, the intro should suck your reader in. Do your best to ensure it’s fully read – from start to finish.

Then, get to the point. You have a very short window to get your prospects attention. Lead with your most compelling piece of info.

Always state your reason for writing in a clear and direct way. Don’t embellish the text with unnecessary wording. You’re writing a business proposition, not a novel.

Also, avoid any information about yourself in the first paragraph. People need to know why you have sent them the mail, not your academic background, professional experience or your goals in life.

"Find a shared interest and mention it."

Unique and Individualized

Personalize, personalize, personalize! The main thing here is to show that you actually know your reader.

Plus, it’s crucial to be certain that you are writing to the right person. Let’s say you need the person in charge of making advertising decisions. However you send the email to the person in charge of carpool maintenance. The latter might not even bother forwarding your email to the former.

Try to send your emails to personal addresses, not generic ones such as or Look for the names of the people you want to contact. Check the website of your target recipient’s company. Check LinkedIn and other social networks.

Perform thorough research about the recipient’s company and personal interests – Twitter bios are a great spot to check for these. It will help you craft an email which will grab their interest. Try to find shared interests with each one of the people that you plan on contacting, and add value to your email by mentioning them.

Always mention something specific about the company or the recipient to show why you have chosen to contact that particular person.

Then, make it about them. This is one of the most common mistakes that people make in crafting cold emailing templates. Focus on the “customer” instead of writing about yourself. Show intent to help solve the recipient’s problems and needs, not your own.

Be confident that you have the answers to the recipient’s questions, but don’t try to oversell. You need to find a good balance to trigger people’s desire to respond to your cold calling email.

The Wrap-Up

End on a single question. Asking a quick question can be a great way to entice your prospect into a conversation with you. A great way to begin the relationship building phase towards the sale.

Throughout, make it easy for your recipient to respond. It doesn’t matter whether you want to meet in person, correspond via email, talk over the phone or have a skype chat.

The most important thing is to make it easy for your recipient to respond. Craft your call-to-action in a way that speaks directly to something that she would be (genuinely) interested in, and make it easy to say “Yes.”

And there you have it, a great cold email.

"We inherently trust friends more than random strangers, so find a referral to use."


Of course, a huge way to boost your cold emailing response is by building trust, and there’s no better way to do that than by showing your recipient that you know someone they already trust.

People inherently trust their friends more than random strangers, so adding a shared connection to your prospecting emails can bring weight and authority to your offer.

Like anything in life, there are better and worse times to ask for referrals. The ideal time to ask for a referral is within the first 30 days of your relationship with the client. This gives them enough time to experience their “joy moment” with your service but not enough time for your service to become routine.

For productized services, SaaS, or other recurring revenue businesses, ask for the referral when you know that the client has had a chance to benefit from the software or service.

Regardless of when you chose to ask for referrals, avoid asking your client to send an intro email because that’s just one more thing to add to their to-do list that probably will never get done. Tell your client that you’d be happy to reach out yourself.

Reach out to any referrals with a cold email as quickly as you can. You want the referral to be fresh in your client’s mind, in case the prospect asks them about it.

Contacting the referrals will be slightly different from sending other cold emails, but many of the best practices are the same.

  • mention your client’s name in your first email to the prospect

  • give a brief description of the work you are doing for the client that referred you the prospect

  • follow up with a short overview of all the services you offer

  • close with an open-ended question

Overall, the goal is to come off as sincere and personable. Your tone and message may get back to your original client, so they should be in line with the conversations that you have already had with your client.

When you make it easy for your current clients to refer others, you also make it easy to grow and scale your own business.

So Why Do I Need Tons of Cold Email in My Pipeline?

Again, cold emails have such variability, you can use them for just about anything and it can all lead your prospects down the pipeline to a great sale. So, without outright asking for a sale, what can you do to get a cold email out to a potential consumer?

Ask their opinion. In today’s lean startup approach, it’s more important than ever to talk to your potential customers before you start going crazy with development and business plans. Use this approach to determine the viability of a business idea.

Another way to leverage cold email outreach is to gather feedback on surveys or to ask questions. Let recipients know you’re performing research and planning to publish the results of the poll/questions/feedback in a future blog post on your blog. This is a very soft way of sending people to your website without directly asking for a sale.

You might want to invite prospective customers to a webinar or a networking event (if they’re local). Cold email outreach is a great way to increase attendees with prospective customers.

One of the best ways to scale your sales is to automate your outbound lead generation. Identifying key target accounts and then using cold email can be a great way to generate conversations.

Author Bio:

Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, a lead generation software platform for companies that sell business-to-business. Get 50 leads for free as part of an upgraded trial for reading this post!