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In today’s world, sending someone a targeted cold email is the equivalent of what knocking on doors was in the past.

You have to be able to send someone a message out of the blue and get them to reply positively, so that you know that your messaging is clear and on point.

All your marketing and sales language should stem from your ability to get someone to reply positively to an email you send who doesn’t know you.

If you can’t get someone to reply, then you won’t have much luck with other marketing channels either.

Getting in touch with busy decisionmakers isn’t easy. However, it must be done and being able to compose a great cold email is something every marketer and salesperson needs to master.

Here’s what you need to know to write an effective B2B cold email:

#1 Write at least 2 compelling subject lines

A compelling subject line is one that’s interesting enough to get someone to open an email from a stranger. Compelling doesn’t mean long or overly complex.

There’s no hard rule on how many words a subject line should be, but a guide rule would be to keep them at no more than 4-6 words.

It’s important to capitalize the first word in the subject line, but not to capitalize the remaining words except for names and proper pronouns.

Also, don’t use any type of punctuation except a question mark if you’re asking a question.

General subject lines we see that generally outperform include the words “Introduction,” “Connecting,” and “Opportunity.”

If you’d like to be very specific about what you can help a prospect with in the subject line, you can try “Helping {{Company}}” or “Creating more. . . for {{Company}}.”

Always A/B test more than one subject line and go from there!

#2 Introduce yourself like you mean it

You only have one chance to make a first impression, so let’s make it a good one. While B2B cold emailing should be formal, it shouldn’t be impersonal. Your goal, above engaging in a business transaction with this contact, is to build a personal connection with him.

You want to be a person this contact would want to sit next to on an airplane for 10 hours.

It’s perfectly acceptable in today’s business culture to address someone by their first name. Calling someone instead Mr. or Mrs. comes off as off-putting and overly deferential.

Only greet them using the words “Hey” or “Hi.” Never use “Hello” because it triggers spam. Additionally using “Dear” and “Greetings” will make people assume you’re not a native English speaker.

After saying “Hi {{FirstName}}” or “Hey {{FirstName}},” it’s always great to properly introduce yourself by saying what your name is and what company you’re reaching out from.

Here’s an example:

Hi {{FirstName}},

My name is {{Name}} and I’m reaching out from {{Company}}. It’s great to connect!

Yes, it’s true that the contact you’re writing to can see your name and company name in their inbox before even reading your message.

You don’t have to formally introduce yourself for them to know who you are and what company you’re writing from.

But it’s good to do it anyways because it makes you come off as a human being.

#3 State what you want and your value in 2-3 sentences or less

Help your prospect understand what you want from them by explaining at the get-go why you’re writing them.

What is the purpose of your email? Is it to arrange a meeting? Is it to have them read an article you wrote? Tell them!

Here’s an example:

I’m interested in speaking with you about helping {{Company}} INSERT VALUE PROPOSITION.

The important thing is to not let the prospect guess your intentions.

Adding in a sentence or two about the value you can bring your prospect, meaning why this person should care, is very important.

Explaining your value does not mean explaining your product. Businesspeople are much more likely to respond to your cold email if you’re proposing an idea or a value add instead of a specific product.

Keep this concise with short, easy-to-understand sentences.

#4 Have a fool-proof Call-To-Action (CTA)

So you’ve introduced yourself, you’ve explained what you want, and you’ve demonstrated the core value you can bring to your prospect.

Now you have to help your prospect understand exactly what you need them to do for you with a clear call-to-action.

A call-to-action is usually a question that spurs your prospect into some type of action.

  • “Can we arrange some time to speak for later this week?”
  • “ Do you have availability for a quick chat this week?”
  • “Can you take a look at the article I sent you and provide me with feedback?”

If you don’t tell your prospect what exactly you want them to do, then they are more likely not to do anything.

#5 Provide more details like you were explaining it to your grandma

At this point in the email, you’ve written the bare minimum you need to elicit some type of response from a sales prospect.

However, if you’re selling a complex solution to a sophisticated buyer, diving into more detail to further convey your value and clarify your differentiating factors is strongly recommended.

Too often B2B marketers and salespeople obsess about the length of an email and keeping it “short enough.” While you don’t want to send a novel over, it is perfectly acceptable and recommended to write what you need to in order to show why you’re special and different and why your prospect should care.

This is your opportunity to show your prospect that they are understood and assured. It’s where you show your expertise in their vertical and industry and how you can really help.

Make sure your sentences are short, to the point, and use language your grandma would understand.

Avoid emotion and exaggerated adjectives to describe what you do. Your prospect is smart and will see the value if you help him understand what you do and how it can help him.

#6 Have a killer closing statement and another CTA

Once you’re done providing more details, all that’s left is for you to conclude the email like a pro.

Thank your prospect for their time.

Insert another clear call-to-action, preferably a question, that sums up exactly what you want to talk to them about.

The purpose of this is to make it easy for them to say yes to whatever it is you’re proposing.

Here’s an example:

Thank you very much for your time, {{FirstName}}. Are you available next week to speak about helping {{Company}} with X, Y, Z?

The above formula describes how to write a detailed first cold email to a B2B prospect that gets them to convert.

The term “cold email” sounds scarier than it is. It’s really just you putting your best foot forward to offer someone help with something you have a solution for.