How to send a great cold email

A lot of first-time founders often ask me advice on how to craft cold emails to potential customers that actually work. Over the years, I’ve tried various experiments — here’s the distillation of all my suggestions into one template below.

The ultimate cold email / DM ingredients:

You don’t have to have all these components but pick a few & craft a powerful email / DM

A: Open with 1-2 lines of something that makes sure the potential client likes you

  • by earnestly complimenting a specific part of their work — either their recent milestone or the quality of their work

B: Why him/her? Relevancy and fit to their current goals and priorities

  • Make an effort to take a guess at what their goal could be (this will get better as you talk to many clients)

C: Highlight the clear BENEFIT to the client - make it super super obvious in BOLD

  • save money, time or boost their reputation

D: Show your “social proof” or testimonials of others they respect and view as peers

E: Present your ask clearly. Then offer an easy exit door too. (No strings attached).

F: Remove friction to act, make it easy to get started — add a super simple next step. Offer to help them get started yourself.

G: Raise the stakes - if they don’t accept the offer, what will they potentially miss out on?

  • Create urgency (offer any limited edition time-sensitive deal etc)

H: Thank them

The order of the components is also up to you. Sometimes, I do A, E, B and so on. Mix it up and learn as you go! Test it with friends and peers. All the best ✨

Other Notes:

Your outbound emails should teach you about the 4 core tenets of customer acquisition:

1. Can they afford it? (your service or product)

2. Do they trust me/the company?

3. Is there a real business need?

4. Is it urgent enough for them to act?

Other resources:

This email to Snapchat CEO
This email from Tim Ferris