Ultimate Guide to Cold Email

Lúgh Studio’s Ultimate Guide to Cold Email

Before getting started with cold email, it’s important to understand just how effective it can be. Many people have given up on cold email entirely. They claim low open rates, even lower response rates, and a complete waste of time for hardly any reward.

While these are all justified claims, it’s often because the cold emails they send aren’t actually effective. Cold email can be a great avenue for business growth – you just need to know how to do it. 

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In today’s ultimate guide to cold email, we will be showing you everything you need to know to run a successful cold email campaign, as well as some of the best practices you can’t forget.

Why Care About Cold Email?

How To Send Good Cold Email

Tips For Sending Good Cold Email


Why Care About Cold Email?

An effective system for sending cold emails can have a ton of positive results for you and your business – assuming it’s done right. In fact, there are quite a few different reasons that cold email can be a game changer for you. Let’s look at some of them now:

1) More backlinks to your site

As we covered in our posts about backlinks and how to get more of them, backlinks to your site are one of the most important SEO factors. That’s because they signal to search engines that you are a high authority site that provides value to the internet. This has the effect of raising your domain authority score and bringing more traffic to your site.

Unfortunately, it can take a while to gather these backlinks. Just because your content and website are high quality doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a ton of backlinks immediately.

That’s where good cold email can come in handy. Simply reaching out to a company and asking for a backlink can have great results – especially if their audience would benefit from them linking to your website.

2) Opportunities to create guest content for high quality sites

Creating content for other businesses is particularly suited to cold email. Many businesses know that they should be creating more content, but many of them simply don’t have the time for it.

That’s where good cold email can be effective. Reaching out to companies and offering to create content for them not only is a direct benefit to them, but can be a traffic driver for yourself as well.This is true whether you are an established business or a freelancer trying to find more work. The truth is, modern marketing relies on good quality content, and a well written cold email can be the door that opens a ton of opportunities for it.

3) Partnerships you might otherwise not have access to

There are a ton of different ways that cold email can lead to different forms of collaboration. Maybe an influencer has a large audience that you would love to get in front of. A good cold email could be the start of a partnership with them promoting your products.

When it comes to partnerships and working with people you admire, cold email might often be the only avenue to pursue. If you don’t know anybody that can make an introduction, for example, a cold email about the right topic (and written in the correct way) can get the conversation rolling.

4) More clients

I worked as a Facebook ads consultant for a while. While one of the ways I found new clients were referrals from businesses I had previously worked with, cold email ended up being my most successful strategy. That’s because I wasn’t only offering a service (Facebook ads) but the direct result of that (more clients). This was all communicated via cold email and landed me several profitable clients.

If you are looking for more business, knowing how to send cold emails can be one of the most profitable skills you have. Of course, you need to know how to send them for the greatest success. Let’s see how in the next section.

How To Send Good Cold Email

To have the best chances for success with cold email, it’s important that you have a decent system set up. Otherwise you will inevitably waste time and valuable resources. Let’s dive into the four main parts of any successful cold email campaign:

1) Figure out your goal

Cold emails can achieve a number of objectives, but you have to zero in on the most important one to you. That’s because a cold email simply making an introduction is very different from a specific goal and the request for action that goes along with it. Before starting anything else, you need to figure out what your goal is. 

This can be more difficult than it appears. It’s worth sitting down with your team and discussing what the 80/20 of your business is: what are the relatively few actions that result in the best results? Maybe it’s more backlinks from other websites, or a referral from a past satisfied client, or an ad partnership with a specific promoter. Clarifying what your goal is with cold email will set the stage for everything that comes after.

2) Find your audience

Who are the people most likely to help you? These are the individuals you should be targeting with your campaigns. Sometimes this is relatively easy to find: simply go to a business’s website and find the email of the person you are trying to contact. Assuming it’s a relatively small business and your cold email is actually effective, this can get surprisingly fast results.

Unfortunately, finding the correct audience rarely works this easily. Instead, expect to do a little bit of digging. Here are some ways you might consider to find the precise email you should be targeting with your cold email:

  • Follow a company’s activity across various platforms as well as their content publication. Often these different posts will be linked to an individual’s profile that you can then reach out to. 
  • Join people’s email lists. This will not only give you a relatively active email address to contact them through, but reading their emails will give you a good idea of how they run their business and how you might help.
  • Search for your targets on LinkedIn. People will often have their email address on their profile, and even if they don’t, you can reach out directly on the platform.
  • Use a tool like Hunter.io to scan the internet for email addresses. If you know the name of a business and have looked up the names of their employees, but don’t yet have their email addresses, this tool can fill the gap. Check out this tutorial on using Hunter.

While these four strategies for finding your audience can all work, it’s important to think about the most likely person to help you. For example, while it can be tempting to shoot straight for the top and reach out to the CEO of a company, that will likely leave you disappointed. Start a bit smaller with somebody that would be directly responsible for helping you (the Head of Content giving you a backlink, for example). 

3) Craft your email

Now comes the fun part. Once you have a specific goal in mind with your cold email and you know who you are sending it to, it’s time to actually create your email. Here are some of the main things to keep in mind when writing it.

Make sure there is something in it for them

No such thing as a free lunch – you need to make sure that your recipient is actually going to benefit by communicating with you. Don’t include a benefit and you just come across as demanding (not a great thing when sending cold emails!). Of course, what this benefit is will vary depending on the person you are contacting and the action you are asking them to take. 

This is where the importance of competitive research comes in. You want to be sure that what you are offering is something they need or desire; this will make them more likely to follow your request.

Remember this distinction: people don’t hate getting cold email, they hate getting bad cold email. Think about it: if somebody sent you something that was insanely valuable, or a tip that you could immediately implement in your own business, would you really care where they came from?

Spend time on the subject line and preview line

These are the only things that are guaranteed to be seen. Even if the content of your email is incredible and promises a major benefit to the reader, none of that matters if they don’t open it. That’s where a good subject line and preview line come in. Of course, you don’t want to lie (“Your colleague suggested we speak”) or exaggerate (“I have the offer of a lifetime for you”). These will make your email look like spam. Instead, try to follow these best practices for subject lines and preview lines.

Make it concise

Regardless of what your email actually looks like, you are essentially sending an unannounced message to somebody’s inbox. They didn’t ask for it and likely have no idea who you are. It pays to get to the point. 

It’s typically a good idea to keep your email to only a few lines. Somewhere sound 4-6 probably works best. Anything longer and the person opening your email will skip over it as soon as they see the length. That’s because they don’t want to have to work for it to understand what you are requesting. Say what you want, and say it fast. 

Send a customized email only for them

People notice when a cold email has been sent word-for-word to a hundred other people. And let’s be honest – nobody likes it. That’s why it’s important to send emails that are clearly only for the person you are sending it to. While this can include a number of things, here are some elements you might consider including in your email:

  • Details about a piece of content they have published
  • Personal information you read about them they have freely available online
  • Knowledge about their business that you can’t gain from a quick glance at the home page
  • Referencing a specific problem they have mentioned in an email, podcast, or blog post and connecting it to your solution

These things all show effort and make you stand out from the crowd of fellow cold emailers. In addition, they are an attempt to connect with the receiver of the cold email as a person, not simply an opportunity (just like we point out in our ultimate guide to content marketing). This is much more likely to get you the result you want. 

Fair warning: while the most customized email will almost always have the highest chance for success, it will also take the longest. You are the only one who knows how much time you can afford to set aside for incredible cold emails.

4) Follow Up Like A Pro 

The majority of cold emails won’t get a response the first time you email someone. Even the best ones. That’s why it’s so important to perfect the art of the follow up. In fact, most successful cold email campaigns don’t achieve their desired outcome on the first email

So make a certain amount of follow up a priority for each cold email you send. Remind the person you are sending it to what your request is and why this request is also in their own interest. 

Of course, there comes a certain point when it’s probably best to stop. After all, too many emails and you risk coming across as demanding, ungrateful, and desperate. This is almost a guaranteed failure when sending cold emails. 

Tips For Sending Good Cold Email

1) Humor

Nobody likes getting a boring email. Experiment with a bit of humor and you might be surprised with how much better people respond

2) Timing

There are a few email best practices you should be aware of, and timing is definitely one of them. Check out this guide for the best times to send emails.

3) Ease

Make the next action as easy as possible for your recipient. For every single step that your target needs to take, the odds that they act plummet dramatically. Make things quick and simple.

4) Creativity

Just like humor, a little bit of creativity can really make you stand out from the crowd. For example, a “choose your own adventure” style of follow up can skyrocket your open rates.


Sending high quality cold emails can have great results for your business, regardless of the goals you are trying to achieve. 

Click Here for Your PDF Version of this Guide

Follow our guide and suggestions above and let us know how it goes!

Are you an enterprise, nonprofit or small business looking for help on your website? Give us a shout! We provide a free consultation. Email us at info@lughstudio.com or call us at (718) 855-1919!

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