Cold Email? The Art of the Non-Sales Message

What is a cold email? The first thing the term usually brings to mind is a cold call or door-to-door salesmen. But you shouldn’t view (or use) cold emails in the same way.

Think of cold emailing as an opportunity to introduce yourself to a stranger, not a hard sell or push for any particular action. Your only goal is to get your foot in the door and start a conversation.

In 6 Lessons Learned From Sending Over 50,000 Cold Emails on, James Carbary shares ideas on how to make cold emails work for you.

What’s your target?

The first step in sending a cold email is identifying who you are trying to contact. If your product or service is of no use to your recipients, you’ll be wasting your time. Just as important is whether or not the company is in a position to afford what you have to offer. A little market research can keep you from expending time and energy on a contact that will never convert.

Once you understand your audience, you are better able to give them what they need. Determine if you can help the company as a whole, then identify the decision makers. Be sure to send emails to more than one person at a time, too. Your email could get lost, catch the recipient at the wrong time, or be ignored. If you send to a small group, you have better odds of starting a conversation with the company, increasing your chance of a response.

Make a connection

Don’t forget that there’s a person at the other end of that email, not a machine. They have busy lives with competing priorities, not just working for the business that you’re trying to engage. Show them that you value their time by sending genuine, conversational messages that are short and to the point. It will help you earn both the respect and attention of your audience. Readers respond best to messages that are genuine, and they appreciate being spoken to like a human being, not just a sales prospect.

Use your results

Make the most of your campaign by learning what works and expanding on it. Sending emails in small batches so that you can assess, make changes, and quickly implement your improvements.

Carbary gives us an example of how it can be done:

Conversion Fanatics sends batches of 20–30 leads each week and then reevaluates at the end of the week once they see which tactics were most successful. Watch your metrics for open rate, response rate, and click-through rate of cold emails to discover who’s responding to what.

Always keep in mind that your goal is not to make a sale, but to get some kind of a response. Once you start a relationship, determine their needs, and build trust, you can begin trying to convert them.


Look at cold emailing like a blind date. When you take the time getting to know who you’re dealing with, you’ll have a much higher chance of turning it into a wonderful relationship.

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