For your business to thrive, it needs customers signing up for your products or services regularly. This, in turn, requires multiple strategies to capture the attention of potential customers. Now, let’s assume that you have a popular lead magnet that’s had a very good response. You may also have a list of secondary leads through the lead magnet. However, you can't call them directly—because they are not ready to hear you out yet. So what channel could you use, one that is not only non-intrusive but also helps you break the ice? Yes, cold emails.
But aren’t emails losing relevance? No! On average, professionals have more than 200 emails in their inbox and receive 120 new ones each day. This popularity makes email a preferable medium to take your business to a potential customer’s inbox.


What is a cold email?

Sending out cold emails is the first step businesses take to reach out to potential customers who are not aware of the business or haven't engaged with it yet. These emails target people who will potentially benefit from the solution the business provides and help the business turn them into their customers. Cold emails, when done right, qualify a connection and turn strangers into buyers.  

Use cases of cold emails Use cases of cold emails

But aren’t cold emails spam?

In the past, businesses could reach out to anybody by purchasing a list of prospects and sending a bulk email to the contacts on that list. Today email service providers are smarter; they are active gatekeepers. Email service providers can identify emails that will not benefit or offer value to the user and send them straight to the spam folder. 

So, how do you ensure your cold emails do not land in the spam folder?  If done right: 

  • Cold emails are sincere, informative and relatable as against reckless spam emails.
  • They appeal to a specific pain point the user is going through and offer solutions to resolve it.
  • They open up opportunities for the prospect to start interacting with the business through calls, webinars, and product demos.

How has the approach to cold emailing changed?

Cold emails should offer high-value content to the readers. They are not about targeting a huge list of contacts you acquired from a third party.

The best cold emails are highly targeted, personalized to appear like a 1:1 communication, and appeal to the prospect. They are crafted with the goal of “giving”, offering more value to the recipient rather than hard selling from day 1.

Illustration of cold emails Illustration of cold emails

Cold emails 

  • Target people who are looking for a solution that your business offers,
  • Are a perfect way to introduce your business to people who are using a competitor’s product and are unhappy with it,
  • Persuade prospects to consider a solution that they didn’t know about until they read the email.

And unlike before, cold emails today offer recipients a way to opt out. The freedom to opt out from emails sends a signal that the prospect is not interested in hearing from you. This also ensures that the business doesn't waste its time and resources on those contacts

How to write a cold email?

When you write a cold email to a prospect, remember that you are a stranger here. Naturally, it is challenging but not impossible to build a rapport with them. With the right approach and tone, your emails can be highly engaging and turn prospects into potential customers. Here are some tips that will help you nail your first cold email:

1. Understand your recipient

Spend time to understand your prospect and their needs. The best cold emails treat recipients as people and not mere contacts on a list. Through a LinkedIn research, for example, you can uncover your prospect’s activity, engagement, information about their work, interests and what they care about. 

2. Set an achievable goal

Do not be ambitious with your first email. Set a simple goal that's easy to reach. Consider easy ones like starting an interaction with a business, attending a webinar, reading a blog post, or downloading a content magnet piece.

3. Structure it simple and easy

Most prospects are likely to check their emails during work or on their phones before their bedtime. Keep your email content concise and structure the content for people to skim through it easily. Avoid long paragraphs and break down content using bullet points. Highlight key words to attract attention easily. Ensure that your email is optimized for viewing on mobile devices and tablets.

4. Highlight your benefits

Cold emails click when they offer value to the prospect. This is where the benefit comes into play. Back your tangible benefits with stats and intangible benefits with testimonials. Remember, you are the stranger who is reaching out. By promoting benefits with proof, you improve your credibility and assure the recipient that you are trustworthy.

Let’s take Coursera, an online learning management system that offers learners to sign up for specializations and upskill. The benefit highlighted in your cold email could be:

“You get access to courses created in collaboration with 200+ of the world’s leading institutions. And when we surveyed our learners, we found that over 87% of them report career benefits like getting a promotion, a raise, or starting a new career” 

How to personalize your cold email?

Personalization is one of the core elements of a cold email that lets you stand out in your prospect's inbox. But it can either drive conversion when done right or drive the email straight to spam when gone wrong. Here are some ways to master personalization while writing a cold email: 

Let's dive right into how you can craft a follow-up email that can make your leads and prospects take notice.

Leverage on commonality

It's not just social media, but the term "mutual connection" works even in the world of emails. You are more likely to respond to an email that's from a friend of a friend than a complete stranger.

 Case 1: When you have a connection

If you have any sort of connection with the recipient, capitalize and go all-in. Is the prospect someone you know through a connection? Open the email with that. 

Hi Sally,

Hope you are doing well. I just heard about you from Mark, who I met during our virtual trade show. He mentioned that you were looking to quantify the efforts of your sales outreach strategy.

But it's impossible to know everyone on your list. 

Case 2: When you do not know the recipient

If you don’t have any connection, highlight your authority, credibility, or the impact of your work. Apply the findings of your research to highlight if the prospect is a part of a LinkedIn group or other forums or is a member of any popular forums.

Hi Sally,

I head a sales team at Acme Corp for over a decade and I am disheartened when the calls go to voicemail. Which is why I’ve been working with senior sales associates on our LinkedIn Group, “Sales Innovation”, to improve our approach to cold calling. Today I’m excited to share my findings with you.

Ensure that the automation you use doesn’t break

With cold emails, you have one shot to convince the recipient to take your word. With merge tags, you can dynamically add the first name and other fields to your emails.


But what are merge tags?

Merge tags are unique fields in your email that your email marketing software will populate based on your mailing list. Merge tags are used to personalize an email through fields like recipient’s first name, last purchase, nickname and more.

But sometimes, the source of these tags may contain empty fields, causing the tags to break. 

When you use automation, ensure that you have proper fall-back practices in place for cold emails that are sent in bulk. This ensures that even if these name tags fail, you can still have a placeholder text that doesn't disrupt the experience. 

For example,
Using only “Hi {{contact::first_name}}” in your email and the system fails to match it with the recipient’s name.


Hi first_name,

Wondering how Acme Corp improved their conversion rate by 10% by using a CRM? Well, it’s not a secret anymore. Join our webinar on 4th May and find out all about it.

Book your slot here

Jane Doe,
Event and Media Director
Freshworks CRM

Using only “Hi {{contact::first_name=there}}” in your email and the system fails to match it with the recipient’s name.


Hi there,

Wondering how Acme Corp improved their conversion rate by 10% by using a CRM? Well, it’s not a secret anymore. Join our webinar on 4th May and find out all about it.

Book your slot here

Jane Doe,
Event and Media Director
Freshworks CRM

Personalize beyond the first name  

Remember to personalize your emails with more than just the first name. Segment your prospect list and tailor messages that are relevant and connect with them. If you have prospects who belong to the marketing industry, sending cold emails with exclusive marketing insights and case studies will be more valuable than asking them to join a webinar on the principles of software coding.
Segmenting prospects lets you craft cold emails that are informative and valuable. It also helps you get the complete context of the prospects, group prospects based on age, gender, and other customer requirements for highly targeted cold emails. The email you send will appeal directly to the prospect's needs and attract responses.

Use a relevant "From Name" 

People are likely to take note, follow or interact with experts from their field. Recipients will be under the impression that the email has come from a credible source, one who knows the industry and one who is in a position to offer valuable information. 

Try adding a member from your marketing team as the sender if you’re reaching out to marketers. If you do not have anyone with industry experience, you can reach out and partner with influencers to run your cold email campaign with them.

How to get responses for your cold email outreach campaign

Cold emails work when they are creative and appeal to a prospect’s interest. But as easy as it is for cold emails to remain unopened, get ignored, or worse, labeled spam, how can you get a response for cold emails?

Cold emails bringing business and prospect together Cold emails bringing business and prospect together
Target only those who fit your Buyer Persona

Cold emails will never work if you are writing for the wrong person. Ensure you create a list of contacts who genuinely will benefit from what you have to offer. When you send emails to random contacts, you invariably damage the reputation of your business.

Amplify the pain point and offer the solution 

Emphasize why they should take the time to read your emails. Communicate what you do clearly and how your solution will help the recipient. The content of your cold email should be in a language the recipient understands, with the words and jargon they closely associate with.

Aim for the influencer

Have you always been reaching out to C-suite executives or the leadership team? Chances are that their inboxes attract a lot of cold emails. Cold emails are ideal for connecting with people who are next in line or the ones who can influence the chief's decision. If you have to appeal to the sales head, for instance, the next best person who can help persuade them is the sales manager of their team. 

Tie an incentive

Incentives can encourage readers to perform an action. But not all incentives can be as simple as a lucky draw for a $100 Amazon gift card. Send cold emails with an incentive that your readers will value, something which aligns with the solution you offer. For example, if you help businesses improve their sales strategy, you can offer free sales templates that can help sales teams improve their cold calling outreach.

Create follow-up for your cold email marketing strategy

When you send cold emails to someone who has not interacted with you, there can be quite a few reasons why your email did not get any response. In such cases, sending a follow-up email to the cold email can help.

An illustration of follow-up email sequence An illustration of follow-up email sequence
  • Follow-up emails help your prospect recall your business better. They let people think about your previous email and nudge them to act on it.
  • With follow-ups, you can gauge if you set a complex goal with the first cold email. The follow-up lets you optimize the call-to-action and lower your ask.
  • Include at least 3-5 follow-ups in your cold email strategy. Ensure that these are opportunities to warm up a prospect to your business.
  • Do not oversell in the follow-ups. Instead, focus more on offering resources that will benefit the prospect. The prospect will get more time to know more about your business when they are added to a sales funnel.
  • End your follow-up email sequence with a good-bye email if there is no response from the prospect. This email should include all the information the prospect will need if they ever change their mind in the future.

Testing your cold emails

Your prospect will open an email from you only if they trust you and hope to find some value in it. And before you hit send, you need to ensure things are in order.

  • Check if your emails clear the basic spam filters of popular email service providers.
  • Ensure that your subject lines are displayed consistently across different devices.
  • Check if the name tags and other automation fields render correctly.

 Once the basic tests are over, you need to optimize your emails to generate a good response. 

A representation of testing cold emails A representation of testing cold emails

A/B tests are an ideal way to derive the best-performing version of your email. However, it is difficult for you to run a full-scale A/B test when you have small segments. But that doesn't mean you cannot improve your cold emails. Here's how you test cold emails tailored for different segments:

  • Understand each industry’s open rate and base your goals according to the industry norms.
  • Create variants of email that you can measure easily. Try different opening lines, set different email goals, or test specific email subject lines versus general subject lines.
  • Analyze the results over a period and then compare how your emails performed.

How to send cold emails

Your prospects are likely to be from different industries and geographical locations. Sending cold emails, one after the other, from an inbox, can be a challenge. 

Your sales team members need a smarter way to execute your cold email campaign. One that can automate emails, measure the performance, and most importantly, scale as your segments grow.
That's where a CRM software with email marketing capabilities can help you.

A representation of a woman sending cold emails A representation of a woman sending cold emails

 With Freshworks CRM as your cold email marketing software, you can:

  • Group your prospects into different segments
  • Schedule emails based on their time zones
  • Scale the campaign when you add more contacts to your segment
  • Analyze your campaign's performance

How Freshworks CRM can modernize cold email strategy

Group your prospects into relevant segments

Your target list contains prospects from different backgrounds and locations. Your CRM should be able to segment prospects and help you deliver personalized content to them.

  • Create multiple lists based on a prospect’s persona, geolocation, industry.
  • Enable your team to target prospects with highly relevant and personalized cold emails.
  • Send emails per your recipients’ time zones and increase the chances of engagement.
Segments in Freshworks CRM Segments in Freshworks CRM
Choose from numerous email templates

Unable to conceptualize a design that works for your cold emails? Use Freshworks CRM’s email templates to build captivating emails in a matter of minutes.

  • Explore Freshdesk CRM's library of ready-to-use email templates for your cold emails.
  • Customize email templates to personalize your cold emails and include your branding.
  • Reduce the need of complex designing and empower your team to create and send personalized emails quickly.
Using Freshworks CRM email templates to create cold email campaigns Using Freshworks CRM email templates to create cold email campaigns
Create engaging emails 

Creating emails should be the core of your email marketing CRM. With Freshworks CRM, get an easy-to-use email editor that empowers your team to develop high-quality emails.

  • Use Freshwork's intuitive drag and drop editor to create stunning emails.
  • Optimize your email to display accurately over various screens and devices.
  • Tailor visually appealing emails without any external high-end email designing software.
Create stunning cold emails with Freshworks CRM drag-and-drop editor Create stunning cold emails with Freshworks CRM drag-and-drop editor
Personalize at scale

Personalization is vital in making your cold email highly targeted rather than appear like yet another bulk email. A cold email marketing software like Freshworks CRM lets you personalize your emails whether your list contains ten prospects or 10,000.

  • Use tags to populate the first name and other elements in the email automatically.
  • Personalize how your email should appear for different segments through the drag and drop editor.
  • Boost engagement by adding an extra layer of personalization for specific recipients on your list.
Personalize cold emails with Freshworks CRM Personalize cold emails with Freshworks CRM
Create effective email nurture journeys

Timing is critical in determining if your cold email campaign is a hit or a miss. With customer journeys in Freshworks CRM, set up email journeys effortlessly through an easy drag and drop journey builder. With these journeys, trigger cold emails automatically when your prospect meets a few preconditions.

  • Set up journeys that determine the optimal time when an email should be sent to a segment.
  • Personalize the journey for each recipient based on how they interact with your cold emails.
  • Gauge the response of your journey and nurture prospects who haven't interacted with your emails.
Setting up a marketing journey for your cold email Setting up a marketing journey for your cold email
Get real-time performance analytics

To ensure that your cold emails are performing well, you need to monitor their performance constantly. With performance insights, review your cold emails by retaining emails that get high engagement and optimizing emails that are underperforming.

  • Track click-throughs, open rates, responses for your emails in real-time across different segments.
  • Create reports and use filters to acquire granular insights for your cold emails.
  • Assess your journeys and improve weak segments with real-time performance metrics.
Generate analytics reports for your cold emails Generate analytics reports for your cold emails

Free Cold Email Resources 


Part 1: The 3-step formula to writing killer cold emails

Wondering what is the secret behind cold emails that get responses? Deep dive into the elements you need to perfect your cold emails, make them engaging and drive prospects to respond to them. 


Find out the magic to making your cold emails work >

Part 2: 7 Free cold email templates that guarantee a response

Want to help your sales development representatives in writing highly personalized cold emails? We've got seven email templates that your team can use to target potential customers and add them to your sales pipeline.


Get free cold email templates for your sales team >

Part 3: No responses yet? Time to follow up!

Now that you have a cold email ready for potential customers, what is the next step? Having a sequence ready helps your team reply consistently. And for the ones who ignore your cold email, you can retarget them with a follow-up sequence that warms them up and improves engagement.


Discover how to set up a follow-up sequence for your cold emails >

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