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The Ultimate Guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Email Marketing

As many as 34% of American consumers check their email multiple times a day, giving businesses a huge opportunity to reach their customers through email marketing. In fact, 81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters, and email marketing still offers one of the highest returns on investment — for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you typically get $36 back.

Email marketing works great when you have a warmed-up list, but what if you need to send cold emails? Cold email marketing is meant to attract new customers who have never had any interaction with the company emailing them. Cold email marketing can help you find sales leads and mentors, generate leads, or build your client database.

The Reputation of Cold Email Marketing

Unfortunately, cold email marketing has a reputation for being sales-y, intrusive, and full of junk information that clutters inboxes. As a result, most companies and individuals do cold email marketing poorly, sending generic, overused messages that fall flat and receive no response.

However, you don’t want your cold email to go directly into spam or get deleted! It’s possible to run a successful cold email marketing campaign if you take the time to put in some extra work. This extensive guide will present the dos and don’ts of cold email marketing, plus some practical application tips.

The Don’ts of Cold Email Marketing

In cold emails, you’re reaching out to someone with no prior connection or relationship. Setting up your email with a powerful first few sentences helps grab their attention, reassuring them your message isn’t spam and hooking their interest enough to keep reading.

64% of email users only read the subject line and the first sentence of the email, so you have an extremely short time to grab their attention and convince them not to send your cold email directly to the trash. Since the first sentence is so important, avoid these awful opening statements.

1. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

A popular first sentence in cold emails, this statement attempts to be catchy or reference an inbound touchpoint the reader encountered, like a free content download, website page, or blog post.

However, it’s vague, confusing, and overused. Your email user might have no idea what you’re even trying to reference, and your email will quickly get sent to the trash.

2. “I hope you’re doing well!”

The first sentence of your email is a chance to grab attention, hook the reader in, and convince them to read the rest of your message. Although well-intended, this sentence immediately bores your reader and is a kiss of death.

3. “I’ve been thinking…”

This opening statement provides an opportunity to mention a recent article the company was featured in or a piece of news they just announced. This is actually great to reference! It shows you are following the company, interested in their business, and put the extra time in to do your research.

However, we recommend you simply flip this opening sentence on its head! Instead of starting the statement revolving around you, begin with referencing your reader.

Don’t: “I’ve been thinking about your CEO’s article on 2022 B2B marketing trends in Forbes…”

Do: “Your CEO’s piece on 2022 B2B marketing trends in Forbes got me thinking!”

4. “Did you know…?”

This is tricky because it seems like a good idea to offer up an interesting fact, right? However, most people don’t open their emails for random facts. While the intent is good, simply rework this opening statement to more deeply connect with your reader.

Don’t: “Did you know most people only read the subject line of an email?”

Do: “Marketers like yourself struggle to maintain high email open rates; the average email user only reads the subject line, leaving you about five seconds to grab their attention.”

A simple rework of this fact makes it much more applicable to your readers’ lives instead of just throwing random information at them.

5. “I work for (company name).”

Unless you work for a household name brand like Amazon or Google, this opening statement will probably fall flat. Weave your company’s name naturally in your opening statement, ideally after connecting to your reader’s current pain point.

Don’t: “I work for Marketing Media. We run Facebook ads for businesses like yours.”

Do: “Are you looking for someone to run your Facebook ads? At Marketing Media, we run scalable social media ads for clients in your space.”

The Do’s of Cold Emailing

Now that we’ve covered what not to do in your cold emails, here are some tips on what to do in your cold email marketing.

1. Make it personal.

The less generic your cold email is, the better. If your email looks like it’s been sent to 10,000 people before, chances are it’s not getting read. Take a few seconds to check out your prospect’s Linkedin profile, and even if you don’t have a direct connection, find something you can point out. For example:

“You went to the University of Hawaii — that must’ve been beautiful! I can’t even imagine that amazing daily walk to class.”

“You’re from Connecticut! We used to vacation in the Northeast every summer, and it’s some of my favorite memories with my parents.”

Even if you can’t draw a direct parallel, simply referencing something about your prospect’s life, education, or interests can grab their attention for a few more seconds.

2. Use email templates to save time.

If you’re emailing hundreds of people and want to personalize the message in some way, it can be extremely time-consuming to rewrite this information over and over again. Instead of spending time writing your sales pitch for each message, use a free Gmail email template to create the framework.

For example, you can personalize the introduction with some of the advice we’ve given before. But when it comes to your name, title, company, and call-to-action, use an email template to have those parts pre-written for you.

Email templates can save you hours each day, which really adds up. With cloudHQ’s Gmail™ Email Templates, you can design your own templates or import your favorites from Mailchimp with easy team sharing. Most importantly, you can even access and send your email templates from your mobile phone, so you can continue your cold email marketing from anywhere.

Get Free Email Templates Here

3. Use an email campaign platform with mail merge and merge tags.

Make cold email marketing even easier and more effective with an integrated email campaign provider. With MailKing by cloudHQ, you can track unlimited opens and clicks, use free email templates, build email lists based on search results, and personalize your messages with name, email, or other data. It’s specifically built to integrate with Gmail, so messages come from your personal Gmail account, which always leads to higher open rates than a third-party account.

Most importantly, it saves time on your cold email marketing by giving you a free automation and productivity tool.

Get MailKing

4. Craft a compelling email subject line.

A strong email subject line sets your message up for success, boosts your email open rates, and ultimately increases your revenue when you’re able to effectively cold email to new audiences.

5. Use a professional email address.

A cold email is not the time to use your high school email address of “” A professional email address sets a mature, safe tone to your cold email and reassures the reader that this is not simply some random person messaging them. Wrap up your professional email address with a polished email signature that concludes your email with a bang. cloudHQ’s Free Email Signature Generator helps you create a “business card” at the end of your message that might include your company name, logo, headshot, name, meeting calendar link, and more.

Generate an Email Signature

6. Be direct.

With cold emails, don’t spend paragraphs setting the stage or building context for your reader. While background information is important, it’s even more critical to dive right into the meat of your message. Offer a significant value immediately. If it’s a piece of advice, an offer to help, or an immediate solution to a pain point, give the reader this information as quickly as possible so they’re encouraged to keep reading the rest of your message.

7. Watch out for spam limits.

It feels exciting to get into a groove when sending cold emails, but watch out for your email service provider’s daily limits. Especially if you’re emailing people you’re not connected to, an email provider like Gmail might flag your account for sending too many emails a day. You don’t want your account to get suspended or marked as spam.

How to Effectively Utilize Cold Emailing

In a perfect world, you’re always warmly connected with the person you’re emailing, but that’s simply not the case. When you try to expand your business or client base, you have to send cold emails. Even though they tend to have a negative reputation, cold email marketing can be a reliable, positive way to start building new connections with people outside your immediate circle.

Avoid overused, cliché opening sentences, and spend the extra time to make your email as personal as possible. Use a compelling email subject line and a professional email address, and dive right into the bulk of your message.

Save time on your cold email marketing with cloudHQ’s free email templates, giving you hours back to spend researching your prospects instead of writing the same formulaic content over and over again.

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