6 Copywriting Tips For Cold Emails

There are two types of cold emails sitting in your inbox: The kind that strikes a personal chord and the kind that makes you feel like you’re nothing more than an email address to the sender.  

Given the choice between the two, you’d probably open the former and ignore the latter. And who could blame you? 

No one wants to spend time reading an email that feels impersonal, especially since office workers have to sort through an average of 121 new emails every day. 

When an email isn’t seen as high priority or relevant, it can easily fall through the cracks and go unopened. And, because cold email recipients don’t personally know the sender, it’s more likely than not that these emails will be categorized as low-priority. 

The only way to combat this type of first impression is to improve your cold email copywriting. 

In other words, you have to hook your recipients’ interest, offer them value, and appeal to them on a personal level. Let’s take a look at six of the most important ways you can do just that. 

Best Copywriting Tips for Cold Emails

1. Segment, Segment, Segment

Cold emailing don’t have to feel cold or impersonal. You can warm them up, so to speak, by segmenting your email list. 

By segmenting your email campaigns — cold or not — you can see a 14.37% lift in open rates and a 64.78% higher click rate than you would without segmentation. And it makes sense why these percentages are what they are. 

Email Open rate

Instead of pooling all of your cold leads together and sending out one overly generalized email, your emails are more curated and targeted when you break up your email list into smaller groups. 

So, if you use a prospecting software to discover new emails, you’ll want to go a step further and do some market research to find out what each group’s pain points, hopes, and concerns are. 

Then, you can write a cold email that positions yourself as someone who can help them meet their business goals, improve their current processes, or avoid extra hassle. 

When your cold emails are segmented based on factors like demographics, industry, and interests, they are instantly more relevant to your recipients. As a result, your cold email subject lines have a better chance of being seen as high priority in the inbox.

2. Focus on one idea, one reader, and one CTA

Anytime you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, you want to make a good impression. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) compress all of your benefits, services, and perks into one email.

Think of a cold email as an elevator pitch. The idea here is to be concise and direct — not give a full breakdown of everything you will do hour-by-hour for the recipient’s benefit. In other words, you need to follow the classic Rule of One. 

For copywriters, the Rule of One is simple: Write to one reader with one idea, one promise, and one call-to-action. 

Let’s say that you’re writing cold emails to project managers at local tech companies. To write a successful cold email, you’ll need to know three things:

  1. How you can offer the project manager value (i.e., a new product, an exclusive resource, etc.)
  2. Why the project manager would care about what you’re offering (i.e., it could shave six hours off of their workday, streamline team communication, etc.)
  3. What call-to-action you will use (i.e., schedule a phone call, sign up for a free e-newsletter, etc.)

If you include too many CTAs or promises, your recipients could struggle with option overload and choose not to follow through with anything. The more specific and personalized you are in your cold email copy, the easier you make it for your recipients to act. 

3. Improve readability and add visuals

It’s not enough to write a cold email with an eye-catching subject line that gets recipients to open the email. You have to deliver the same level of quality in the email itself.  

If the first thing that someone sees when they open your email is a lengthy block of text, they might choose to bounce from the email before reading anything. You have to factor in readability and scannability when writing email copy, and then open with a good hook, like the one below:

Format for Cold Email

Notice how this email doesn’t group all of the sentences together in one large paragraph. The writer leads with a strong hook “Did you know your website isn’t visible on Google’s first page of search results?” and then formats the copy so it’s easily scannable.

Another way that you can improve your cold emails is by creating an engaging visual design. If you’re looking for design inspiration, here is a resource worth checking out. 

4. Learn from other email copywriters

Old dogs can always learn new tricks when it comes to email copywriting. So, whether you’ve been writing cold emails for months or years, one of the best resources for copywriters is other copywriters. 

For instance, if you saw a case study where a freelance copywriter was able to grow her business by 1400% in four months, you’d want to know how she did it, right?


The great thing about cold emails is that engagement is measurable and easily trackable. With a bit of research, you can find case studies where fellow copywriters break down exactly what they did to get the results they wanted. 

5. Earn trust through social proof

When someone receives a cold email in their inbox, their first instinct probably isn’t to trust the sender. The subject line could spark their curiosity and the email might offer value, but you’re still a stranger to them.

You could be saying all of the right words, but are you able to back up your promise with data, testimonials, and social proof? 

Social Media Proof for Cold Emails

A simple but effective way to earn a new cold lead’s trust is to weave social proof into your email copy. This could be a quote from a previous client, a statistic from a recent case study, or any other data that reinforces your one promise in the email.

6. When in doubt, run more A/B tests

The last copywriting tip that holds up in any scenario is this: Never stop running A/B tests. 

If you’re not sure which types of subject lines your leads will respond best to, write two versions of the subject line and then compare the open rates and other analytics. The same goes for your emails’ from line, visuals/images, copy length, etc. 

If there can be two variations of anything, odds are that you can test it. 

By doing this, and following through with the previous copywriting tips, you take the guesswork out of writing successful cold emails. You can segment, personalize, try out different techniques, and then discover through tests what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. 

That way, you can turn cold emails into a reliable source of sales for years to come by following these copywriting tips for cold emails.

Mackenzie is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a stock music company that provides filmmakers, creators and advertisers with royalty free music such as medieval background music and folk music (and many more genres). 

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