How to Write a Cold Marketing Email That Gets Opened by Your Prospects

A few years back, I decided to put into practice what I had been preaching. I got off my butt, and I wrote a cold email. Maybe you’re thinking ‘cold’ stands for ‘courteous,’ but ‘cold’ also means ‘introspecting and analytical,’ which is exactly what you need to be doing if you’re going to succeed as a marketer.

To write a cold email, you need to approach marketing with a bit of a mind trick. Instead of thinking about warm, fuzzy thoughts like ‘creativity’ and ‘hobbies,’ you need to think about your prospects and customers, and how they interact with your product or service. You want your email to reflect that.

To ensure that my email would be opened and considered, I took out all the words that could be considered warm, describing myself or the product I was promoting (e.g., ‘creative,’ ‘innovative,’ ‘hobbyist,’ and the like). Then I replaced them with words that my prospect would find more appealing (e.g., ‘introspection,’ ‘pragmatic,’ ‘analytical,’ and the like).

The result? My now famous cold email opened!

Many marketers, especially in B2C industries, are still hesitant to write a cold email. They fear that doing so will result in them being viewed as heartless and unlikable, which could cost them business. While there’s some truth to that (after all, your prospects are your business), you can still implement a cold email marketing campaign successfully.

How Do I Write a Cold Email That Gets Opened by My Prospects?

To write a cold email that gets opened by my prospects, I followed a few simple steps.

First, I had to assume that my prospect was already in my sphere of influence. This means that they had either expressed interest in my product or service, or that they were somewhere on my target list, which I had built up over time.

Second, I had to assume that I had enough influence over my prospect to be able to make a difference in their lives. If you’ve ever heard the expression ‘cold calling,’ that’s what it means — you’re calling a person you’ve never met before, and you’re hoping that they’re going to say ‘yes’ and become a customer. That’s not going to happen every time, and that’s why you need to change the odds in your favor.

Build A Database

You’ll never get very far in marketing if you don’t have a solid database of contacts. One of the keys to a successful cold emailing campaign is building up a contacts list. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Find an industry association in your space and join it
  • Get on social media and start engaging with people
  • Build a list of individuals you’ve met at tradeshows, conferences, and other events — these are your contacts
  • Find forums and communities that are connected to your space, and start participating
  • Ask other marketers to recommend people they think would be interested in your product or service
  • Use an email list broker to consolidate your contacts

Create An Outline

An outline is just like a to-do list, but for ideas. You can think of your outline as a bucket list – a list of all the things you want to do before you die. You could use your outline to create a to-do list for your email campaign. For example, you might want to write a cold email to get started, and then you can add a task like ‘call Tim to set up a meeting’ to work through later.


I think everyone has felt like a complete newbie at one point or another when it comes to marketing. You’ve got a grand idea about what it means, but until you actually do it, you don’t know if it’s going to work or seem awkward. That’s why you need to practice. I recommend jumping into cold emailing as soon as possible (even if it’s just a few sentences, like the one I shared at the beginning of this article), and then working your way up to longer, more complex emails. You can also practice writing emails with the same opening, and see how they are received by different groups of people.

Every now and then, someone will tweet about getting a cold email from a stranger. The truth is, getting a cold email is a lot of fun, because you’re getting to the point where you’re just being yourself, and that’s what makes it so unique and interesting. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t seem like it’s working — there’s a good chance that it will, with a little bit of time and practice.

Scroll to Top