3 things every cold email should have (backed by research)

Have you ever sent an email and been met with nothing but silence on the other end? Have you ever put in the effort to rewrite an email four or five times and still heard crickets?

Here’s the thing: You’re not alone.

Plenty of sales professionals around the world struggle with cold emails. But that doesn’t mean you can't do better, that you can’t improve your emails and increase your chances of getting opens and responses.

It’s time to start sending better cold emails.

For tips, templates, and more, download our free cold email guide!

Today we’re sharing three simple strategies backed by scientific research that will help you achieve greater success with your cold emails. These techniques can help you net more responses, more conversions and, ultimately, more revenue.

Let’s get to it. Here are three things every cold email should have:

One clear and concise call to action

Before writing an email, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you want from the person who will open it. Do you want them to schedule a call? Do you want them to read a sales sheet? Do you want them to make an introduction?

Identify exactly what you want the recipient to do upon reading the email and craft your message to drive home that point. But don’t get too in-depth. A 2002 study at Keele University found that 70% of emails receive a reaction within six seconds of their arrival, and 85% within two minutes. This indicates that when people receive emails, they want to take action relatively quickly. This is probably even more true 15 years later, when the number of emails reaching your prospects’ inboxes is at an all-time high. If you’re writing a cold email, it’s important that you make it easy for the recipient to respond to your request in less than two minutes.

That means: Stick to your goal, and keep it simple. Your initial email shouldn’t ask multiple questions or request information that will force the recipient to do a lot of heavy lifting. A simple way to do this is what we like to call the 1, 2, 3 email hack, where you craft your email in a way that allows the recipient to respond with 1 keystroke to your email.

Elevate your B2B cold email game by checking out our article on 12 B2B Cold Email Templates. Learn to create a personalized and persuasive b2b cold email template.

Multiple elements of personalization

When you order an iced latte at your local cafe, you’re often given a cup with your name written on it. Sometimes the barista will even yell out your name to catch your attention in the crowd of caffeine-deprived souls itching to grab their coffee. In that moment, as your name is projected across the cafe, a positive feeling washes over you. Turns out, it’s human nature.

In 2006, Dennis Carmody and Michael Lewis conducted a study that explored brain activation patterns when participants heard their own name and when they heard other people's names. The study found that people love hearing their own name—in fact, several regions in the left hemisphere of the brain actually lit up when a subject heard his or her name.

In a world filled with automation, personalizing an email can differentiate you from the rest of the pack. Here’s a great example of a personalized email that earns a response:


Not only does this email start by greeting the recipient by the first name, it also goes a step further by establishing rapport with a common interest. These two layers of personalization are a great first step but the emailer goes a bit further by showing they’ve done research on the recipient's website and ad spend. This is the level of personalization you should be striving for—it can make a cold email stand out. Using Close, you can insert a variety of variables into your emails to create templates that can be personalized like this one.

A follow-up phone call

The relationship between you and a potential lead doesn’t end when you press send—in truth it’s just beginning, as your email is (hopefully) the first touchpoint of many.

In a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that people overestimate both their ability to convey their intended tone and their ability to correctly interpret the tone of messages sent to them. As much as we like to rely on the written word for business communication, it’s still important to pick up the phone. You don’t have to engage in a lengthy call or leave a long-winded voicemail, but following up with a quick call may be what it takes to generate the rapport that will get you an email back. We’ve shared some advice on how to best call a prospect that has opened your email in a previous blog post.

Emails are a highly effective way of generating awareness and interest for your solution, but pushing a sales conversation over the finish line often requires at least one phone call—especially if it’s a larger deal.

Wrapping things up

Cold emails are hard. We know that. We also know the impact that personalized, effective cold emails can have on your bottom line.

That’s why we’ve shared tons of cold email templates that can help you craft better emails, in addition to these three research-backed tips. We hope you’ll use these tools and insights to send cold emails that get opens and timely responses.

Remember, these are just a few strategies you should consider. For more tips on successfully selling via email, check out this post. If you’ve found other techniques that have brought you success with your cold emails, we’d love to hear about them. Tag us on Twitter or leave a comment below with some of the ways you’ve ensured that your cold emails get noticed.

If you're looking for an easier way to write effective cold emails, check out our Cold Email Generator.

Want more proven email templates? Click below for tips, templates, subject lines, and more!

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