The Ultimate Guide on How to Cold Email Effectively

how to cold email

Being a first time salesman responsible for acquiring customers at Tint, I had done thousands of cold emails and had the same results: emails get ignored and not knowing what to do next. After many failures, I have learned some tips and used some tools that I want to share with you so you can soon close big brands and large clients in a matter of days, not weeks. All it takes is these 3 steps on how to cold email effectively.


Step 1. Finding the email

Read this post I wrote on how to find anyone’s email in less than 2 minutes.


Step 2. Crafting the message

After you find the person’s email you want to speak with, this is where you need to spend some time: crafting an email message that will get the other person to respond. If there are 3 things to remember whenever you are crafting a cold email message, it’s this:

  • Keep it SHORT

Keep your message short. People are busier than ever today and get tons of emails today. If they see your email and open it, only to find 5 paragraphs they need to read through, you can expect them to delete your message immediately. No one has time to read an essay today, so do NOT craft an essay.

Keep your message short and spaced so the message is perceived as easy to read. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to get through the email in 30 seconds.  Again, your goal is to get the person intrigued enough to email you back.


This is how you stand apart from all the rest of the world’s cold emails. In both your subject line and first few sentences of your cold email, do NOT make your email look like a spam or a template. Worst mistake ever if you do. If someone sees it as a template, the first thing they will think is “this person had no decency to spend some time to craft me a relevant email, so why should I spend time answering them back?”

That being said, put the person’s brand in the subject line, with something along the lines of “Love what ______ is Doing…Possible Chat?” Next, in the address, actually put the person’s first name. Whenever I see Dear Sir, or To Whom It May Concern, I instantly know it’s a template and press delete. Again, if you don’t want to spend time finding my name, I don’t want to spend time chatting with you.

Lastly, in the body of the message, mention about how you found them (referral? blog post?) while mentioning their brand as much as possible. The more relevant you can make it by including their name or brand name, the more the person will know you didn’t just spam them and took time to address them.

  • Make it ACTIONABLE

No email is worth answering if there is no call-to-action. At the end of every email, there should be a reason why the other party should reply back to you. Do you want to schedule a meeting/call, or do you want them to check something out? Specify it loud and clear at the end of your message so there is no confusion on next steps.

Now what happens when you do all this perfectly and you don’t hear anything? That’s where good follow-up skills and key tools come into play.

how to cold email

3. Following up

It is very common that you will not hear from the other person after you cold email them for the first time. That’s why you need to follow up with them. Here are some tips and tools I do and use that have increased my conversions on getting people to email me back.

Follow up message:

  1. After your first cold email, wait at least 2-3 days to give the other person some time.
  2. If they don’t get back to you, follow up with a short, respectable email along the lines of “Hey ____, I just wanted to see if you had any thoughts on my previous email. Would love to chat whenever you have time and am super excited to see what we could potentially do with you.”
  3. If that doesn’t work, wait until you have some significant news like how you landed one of their biggest competitors as a client and you want to help them too or how you launched a new feature/product line that they’d love.

Whatever you do, do not email every day asking them to respond to you. You will come off needy, desperate, and not fun to do business with. Usually if they don’t respond, it their way of saying “no” to you. Tough, but the harsh truth.

But you want to know why they didn’t respond? Was it because it got lost in their inbox? Or was it because they read your email and was not interested? If it were the latter, you know you should move on. But if it were the former, you have to keep following up! This is where these tools come in handy.


Follow up tools:

I saved the best for last. These two tools (compatible with GMAIL), recommended to me by a good friend at Groopt (check them out!), have saved me from going insane and close deals DAILY.

how to cold email

1. Yesware

Yesware is your key to knowing if your email was opened and forwarded to another person. It even tells you if someone clicked on a link you attached in the email. A huge perk is that it lets you know which device they opened it on, where they opened it, and when they opened it.

Use case: If someone opened my email and never responded, I know to stop wasting my time. If someone never opened my email, I know to follow up with them. It’s that simple.

how to cold email

2. Boomerang

Boomerang is your best friend when you need to send an email later or remind yourself of an email you need to follow up with.

Use case: I need to send an email out to someone in New York at 8am because I know he will be checking his email at that time with no distractions. However, I’m in California, and don’t want to wake up at 5am to send it to him. I can use Boomerang to schedule that.

Better yet, let’s say I sent a cold email out and want to be reminded to follow up with this person 4 days from now if they didn’t get back to me. Boomerang will do this for me by putting this email on the top of my Gmail at the exact time I need to follow up.

Now if you use these two together, it’s quite powerful. I can now send a cold email out, be reminded 2 days from now to follow up. Once I get that reminder, I can check my Yesware to see if they opened it or not. If they didn’t, I know the email got lost, and I am now sending a perfect follow up email at the perfect time. Both these tools have free trials, so give them a try and let me know your thoughts!

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 12.36.50 AMWhat it all looks like together. Boomerang on top and Yesware in middle.


Do you have any tips or strategies you use to send cold emails not mentioned above? Feel free to share them below. Also feel free to share your experiences if you tried these 3 steps and 2 tools I recommended!


CEO, Tint

  • Mike Cifani

    Nice write up, yesware looks very helpful for emails on a personal level.

    • teamtint

      Glad you found it useful Mike! Try them out and let us know how it worked for you :).

  • budaa

    Did Yesware start charging for their services?

    • teamtint

      Seems like they still have a free version on their pricing page.

      • budaa

        This was the best article i have read on cold emailing. We are a canadian startup and are looking at cold emailing our prospects. Do you have any advice or any legal ramifications we may face.

        • teamtint

          Thanks! There shouldn’t be any legal ramifications. Just don’t go spamming like crazy– personalize the emails so they know you are genuinely trying to reach out to them.

  • Melanie

    How would you reply if someone asked how you found their contact info? Thanks!

    • teamtint

      I would say through tons of research because you really wanted to get in touch with them. But be nice about it and if they don’t want to speak with you, kindly say thanks for their time and move on.

  • Gurmeet Singh

    Very nice article! Just started using Yesware and Boomerang and are useful

  • Jonathan Fukumoto

    I just found this through a link from Eric Wang. I’m going to use these techniques now. I’ve been pulling my hair out for the past few months but this will save me tons of time. Thanks Tim.

  • Thanks for the write up! What was the content of the very first mail you did send to open op the conversation? Did you sell sth, or rather ask a (non selling) question?

  • Jerry Emeka

    Yes… No more 5 am emails!!! This is great can’t wait to give it a try. Looks like it’s going to save time…!

  • Andrew Garrett

    Nice guide, the emphasis on follow up is great. I have to mention Rebump as a great follow up tool I just started using. It’s a gmail extension that automatically sends follow up emails on a schedule. It made Boomerang obsolete for me.

  • Love this, great info as I get ready for a large project with 1,000’s of cold emails. Thanks!!!