Nail your Cold Email Call To Action: 10 Techniques to Boost your Response Rates

Ashok K Kammara
Sep 21, 2017 · 14 min read

This post was originally published at the Klenty Blog

How do you measure the success of any cold email campaign?

It is not the number of prospects who opened your email. Sure that is an important step. But it is still a vanity metric.

It is not the number of people who read your email all the way to the end and loved your thoughtful comments.

The real metric of success of a cold email campaign is the number of people who actually take the desired action based on your email.

Do you want your prospects to click a link on your email and visit your website/ landing page? Or do you want your prospects to signup for a free trial of your product?

In many cases, you may want them to hit the reply button and schedule a meeting with you. Or, you may simply want to start a friendly conversation.

All of these are valid motivations to send a cold email. And getting your prospects to complete that desired action, that is the specialty of your cold email Call to Action.

As your prospect scrolls down your email and reaches your call to action, she reaches that make or break moment. Whether to take the next action or relegate your email to the archives.

Add too much friction and you lose prospects who may have been interested. Don’t make it persuasive enough and you lose the opportunity to nudge those who are close to the finish line. Make it too salesly and you risk offending those who are not yet ready to buy.

Below we provide a number of techniques to add some persuasion to your call to action, that will motivate your prospects to jump in and take the next step once they read your cold email.

Techniques to Write Cold Email Call to Action

  1. Provide a Specific Date and Time
  2. Provide a Calendar Link
  3. Provide a Multiple Choice Option
  4. Reiterate your Value Proposition in the CTA
  5. Request a Connection
  6. Ask a Simple Yes/No Confirmation Question
  7. Ask an Open-Ended Question
  8. Use Humor
  9. Ask Permission to Share Something of Value
  10. Add Some Urgency

1. Provide a Specific Date and Time

Let’s say the objective of your sales outreach is a meeting or a call to discuss more your offering. What is the best Call to Action to get your prospect take the next step forward?

Obviously, you need to send an eloquent email talking about how you can help your prospect and also nail your value proposition. But assuming you have done that well and have a prospect who is inclined to speak to you, providing a specific date, time and duration of the call is an effective tactic to remove friction and set the stage for a next meeting.

Prospects are more likely to respond to the second option because it does a fantastic job of removing cognitive overload on the prospect.

By providing a specific date and time you are reducing the amount of mental processing power needed to reply to the email. The prospect need not think about the amount of time needed to budget for the meeting, which date will work for both and which timezone you are in, etc.

By setting a duration for your meeting, you are letting them know how much of their time are you going to eat into. And by giving a date and a time, you are making it easier for the prospect to respond with a simple yes/no/alternate date. Mention the timezone involved and you have pre-empted any confusion.

Samples of cold email call to action with date and time:

  • Are you available for a 20 mins chat on Sep 10 at 3pm EDT?
  • How about a quick 30 min call next Tuesday at 4 pm PST to discuss more?
  • Can I steal you away for a 15-minute phone call tomorrow at 5 pm PST

This style of CTA is extremely effective when you have nailed your email in general and your prospect is ready to get on a call with you.

2. Provide a Calendar Link

This CTA works beautifully as an alternative to the previous tactic of providing a specific date and time.


With new tools like Calendly, Doodle,, etc, freezing a mutually convenient date for a call has now become a breeze. No more back and forth conversations about choosing various dates, time zones, and options.

By providing your calendar link you are making it easier for the prospect to respond. All she has to do is just open the calendar and choose a date and time that suits her. It also works because the demand for the prospect’s time to respond is much lesser. Your prospect does not even need to hit reply and type out a response.

And what’s more, usually you can set up your calendaring service to set an automatic meeting reminder about the meeting in both of your calendars.

Samples of cold email call to action with a calendar link:

  • Book a 15 mins slot at your convenience. Here is a link to my calendar.
  • Please choose a date and time of your choice using this link
  • Let’s catch up for 15 mins. Just select any date and time on my calendar link

3. Provide a Multiple Choice Option

Let’s say you have sent 3–4 emails to your prospects and haven’t seen a response yet. Now is a good time to send an email along the lines of:

The beauty of such an email call to action is that it significantly reduces friction/ effort for your prospect. Any response is better than no response especially when you have spent time following up many times.

By providing three simple options that apply to the prospects you make it easier for them to respond. They can simply select a number and hit a reply. It is frictionless and effortless for the prospect.

This is how you can apply this technique in your cold emails. Here is an example:

Or you can also this technique with a touch of humor.

4. Reiterate your Value Proposition in the CTA

Which of these is more likely to swing a prospect on the fence about whether she should speak to you.

Your Call to Action is another opportunity to reiterate your value proposition and gently persuade why your prospect should speak to you.

By reiterating your value proposition, you are helping them connect the dots between various parts of your email. And summarizing it in one simple and distilled benefit statement.

Sample cold email call to action reiterating value proposition:

  • Are you available for a call to discuss more on how we can help you rank on Google for almost any keyword? Book any convenient date and time here.
  • If you have 30 mins this week for a call, I can explain how we help startups like you set up your ESOP plan effectively.
  • Can we get on call this Friday 10 AM to discuss how we can help you generate more qualified pipeline?

5. Request a Connection

This style of call to action works great when you write to someone senior and ask for a referral to their subordinate.

Let’s say you are selling a recruitment automation software. Rather than writing directly to the recruitment manager, you can write to the CEO/ Head of HR. While it is unlikely that the CEO is going to take a decision on this matter, it is likely that the CEO is aware of the problems/ challenges being faced by her colleagues in the HR function.

She loses almost nothing by forwarding your request to the right person — especially if this is a challenge being faced by the organization. She does not need to get on a demo/ call with you. She has passed on the baton to the more appropriate person and you have gotten your foot in the door.

An added benefit is that you have been introduced by someone senior and are likely to make more progress in your pursuit of turning the prospect into a customer.

Here is a sample email with this type of call to action:

Samples of cold email call to action requesting a connection:

  • Are you the right person to speak about this? If not, who do you recommend I should contact?
  • Who would you recommend I speak with to take this forward?
  • Will you kindly refer me to the best person in your team who is responsible to achieve {goal}?

6. Ask a Simple Yes/ No Confirmation Question

Present your prospect with a way to overcome a pain point and then ask a question to confirm if it is a problem they currently experience. Or provide a solution to a problem and then ask a question to confirm if fixing that problem is a priority.

Also, if you are able to reach prospects at the right time with the right confirmation question, then that feeling of will translate into a meaningful response.

Here is an example:

The call to action in the above cold email is a simple confirmation question. It is not trying to sell anything yet. There is no request for a call or a demo. Just a yes/no question that helps you start a conversation with your prospect.

Samples of cold email call to action with confirmation questions:

  • Is fixing this issue the topmost priority for you right now?
  • Is this a problem that you are facing currently?
  • Can you confirm with a yes/no if this a pain point you currently experience?

7. Ask an Open-Ended Question

Smart marketers ask smart questions. Apart from the confirmation questions which we covered in the previous section, open-ended questions are another conversation starter with your prospects.

An open-ended question goes beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer question as it requires a less specific response. By asking an open-ended question, you encourage your prospects to open up and share more about what is going on in their business.

But why should they open up to you? A stranger.

One approach here would be to establish yourself as an expert on a topic. Then ask what challenges are they facing on that topic.

Or another example below:

Samples of cold email call to action using open-ended questions:

  • Which business challenge is the top priority now?
  • What are the top two or three outcomes you’d like to see?
  • Which is the biggest challenge holding you back from reaching your revenue goals?

8. Use Humor

Humor can open doors that are hard to find a way through otherwise. What’s more inviting than a quirky or cheeky action point in a cold email in a slew of boring and run of the mill templated emails that your prospects get all the time.

Humour encourages your prospect to reply even if they are swamped with work or plain not interested because, what the heck!

Samples of cold email call to action laced with humor:

  • Just remember, we are always an email away if you need help. (Well, help with recruiting. I have no clue about good vacation spots in Alaska.)
  • What will it take to gain 10 minutes of your time? (PS — Will do anything)
  • You gotta be bonkers to turn this down. Reach out now!

9. Ask for Permission to Share Something of Value

This is a fantastic tactic that can work very well as a conversation starter.

When you are doing cold email prospecting, most of the communication tends to be one-way traffic. But the minute you get your prospects to respond in a positive manner, you are now engaged in a 2-way conversation.

A great way to achieve this is by creating an interesting resource which will be of value to your prospect (or even better, a large number of prospects). Don’t jump the gun and share it with them right away. First email them, asking if you can share this resource with them. Your prospects will be tempted to respond as they are getting something valuable without any obligations.

For example,

This is as low friction as it gets. You are not asking them to get on a call. You don’t want to give them a live demo. You are not trying to sell them something. Just asking for permission to share something which may be helpful for them. And that’s how you start a conversation. By giving value first.

Examples of cold email call to action asking for permission:

  • Can I share a presentation to show how we can improve your conversion rates?
  • Do we have your permission to share a personalized video on how we can help you with {business goal }?
  • Would you be interested in seeing a free study of how your website stacks up — compared to your top 3 different competitors?

10. Add some Urgency

The human brain tends to take a decision quickly in urgent situations. If you make your prospects feel a sense of urgency then it is more likely that they will take decisions quickly; which in regards to an email is a faster response.

So how can we go about creating a sense of urgency in an email?

Various techniques are creating a deadline or providing some exclusivity or using the principle of scarcity. Most of the prospects respond better to the threat of losing than to the promise of gaining. This is how you can use it effectively in your cod emails:

The more scarce the product or service, the more it’s perceived value is. Most prospects have an inherent fear of being left behind or missing out — capitalize on this FOMO effectively in your emails.

Samples of cold email call to action creating urgency:

  • Register in the next 6 hours to avail this exclusive offer.
  • Special discount only this weekend. Do not miss out on this opportunity!
  • 12 seats left for our 2-day program on improving conversion rates. Book your slot now.

Which Technique to use for your Cold Email Call to Action? Use a Mirror.

The cold email call to action is often an overlooked piece of copy when drafting your emails. There tends to be a lot of emphasis on subject lines to improve open rates. Various copywriting techniques tend to focus on delivering the most persuasive messaging on your email body.

All of these efforts will bear fruition only when you pair it up with a persuasive call to action.

While the rest of your email is focused on what you can do for your prospect and how your product helps them. The Call to action is focused on the next step.

The ideal call to action should mirror your prospect’s state of mind when they reach the end of your email.

  • Do you think your prospect is ready to buy?
  • Almost ready to move forward, but needs some motivation,
  • Do you think you have a prospect who is ready to get on a call with you,
  • Have a prospect who is positively inclined but not yet there,
  • Do you have a prospect who is engaging with your emails, visiting your website etc but still chooses not to respond,
  • Keen to start a relationship on a positive note?

Check more email call to actions based on these techniques in this ultimate collection of cold email templates.

Ask your self what is your prospect’s stage in the buying process as they go through your cold email. Next, write a call to action that mirrors their state of mind and your prospects will be unable to resist acting on your cold email.

Salespresso (by Klenty)

B2B Sales and Lead Generation

Ashok K Kammara

Written by

Head of Growth & Marketing @ Klenty | B2B Lead Generation Software

Salespresso (by Klenty)

B2B Sales and Lead Generation