First and foremost, what is a cold email? Cold emails refer to a sales emails that is sent to a potential buyer with whom the seller has no prior contact or relationship. Similar to a cold call, the sales representative is reaching out to a person they have never spoken to before. This type of outreach is part of the basic skill set of any business developer. The most successful sales reps are almost always the best at writing effective and compelling cold email that generated high reply rates.

The following are the most common and familiar questions I come across regarding sending the cold emails:

What do I write or pitch?
How do I reply or answer their response?

Our cold emails always have a similar layout and structure, irrespective of the product or service that we are selling. We never amend or alter anything. The reason behind this is that we always search for the same results when sending a cold email, and that is to organize an immediate phone call.

Structure of a cold email


1. Hi, my name is YOUR NAME from YOUR COMPANY.
2. We help COMPANY TYPE (eg. car dealers, insurance agents) with ISSUE YOUR SOLVE.
3. I wanted to learn how you handle ISSUE YOU SOLVE at PROSPECT COMPANY NAME and show you what we’re working on.
4. Are you available quick call tomorrow afternoon?

The structure of the cold email is easy, simple and uncomplicated because we are only looking for one thing to happen. That one and single thing is an immediate call. To make the best use of the email, you want to give some information about what you do but not too much. It must be intriguing.

All the information or data should be displayed on your website, which they will likely check before they decide to respond. Your website should be the one containing major details, not the email. When there is a bunch of facts and information in the email, it does not captivate the prospect.

To explain this more clearly, I’ve included an example below

Hi Ted,

My name is Ron and I’m a co-founder at Host Up. We help property managers optimize their pricing on marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO.

I wanted to learn how you currently handle price optimization and show you what we’re working on.

Are you available for a quick call tomorrow afternoon?



As you can see from Ron’s email, his pitch is short and concise. Only four sentences long including the call to action just above his signature. This email gives his prospect Ted an idea of the services his company offers, however it doesn’t give too much info such as prices or contracts. He ends his email by asking if he’s free for a call the next day, the main objective of a cold email.

The 4 Ws

An important purpose for writing the email in such manner is to immediately explain the 4 W’s: who, what, why and when. If Sharon or Ted is opening the email, they will go to the website, give it a quick glance and decide if they are interested and want to know more about it.

What your email says has very little influence on the recipient and their decision to respond and reply has very little to do with your email. As said earlier, your content on the website matters.

The email can also be taken as a soft selling of a prospect or to prequalify them. The main reason for this is that we have no idea and are not sure if Sharon or Ted are aware and qualified enough to understand and buy either product. We just want to understand and want to assimilate what they are currently doing in order to see if they are qualified in order to move forward and show them what we are working on.

How to handle responses?

The replies, answers and responses from such cold emails will change and vary. The responses include date and time to call them, a description of the reason why they have no interest and many other questions and queries. Whatever the response is, your aim is to get a call scheduled.

Continuing with back and forth emails with the prospect is a bad practice we observe from a lot of sales reps. Ideally you should not try to sell through email. You put yourself in the worst possible position to win by selling over email as the prospect has time to give a thought to the reasons why they should not buy the product that you are selling.

Have they replied with a question? Give them a call immediately

If the reply or response to your cold email is a question, call the prospect as soon as possible. Any query from the prospect is of great importance as it provides an opportunity to engage with them. If they don’t pick up, always leave a voicemail. Afterwords, let them know through the email that you tried to call them and ask for a better and feasible time to reach out.

The following is a simple script for how to handle such calls (ALWAYS LEAVE A VOICEMAIL IF THEY DO NOT ANSWER – “Hi it’s YOUR NAME from YOUR COMPANY call me back. My direct line is 555-555-5555”:

Me: “Hello Ted, this is Ron from Host Up.”

Ted: “Hello Ron.” (most probably confused)

Me: “have I called you at a bad time?”

Ted: either “Yes” or “No”

Me: “I just received your email regarding WHATEVER QUESTION THEY HAD and I assumed it would be better to just give you a call to make sure there’s no confusion.”



Ted: …begins answering the question

You can get what you wanted through this strategy. An immediate call to qualify the prospect and arrange + organize the next steps in the sale process.

Ideal response rate

For all the cold emails, the ideal response rate is 10% on average. Meaning, for every 100 emails you send, you should receive approximately should 10 responses.

This is a good benchmark to use when judging the quality of your lead data. Based on where your response rate lies, you can determine if you should acquire more data through the same channel or not.

Start split testing

Once you have your email drafts ready and your contact list set, it’s time to start sending. When it comes to identifying which email templates yield the best reply rates you’ll need to create a split test. A split test, or A/B test, is when you compare two separate creatives on the same email data to determine which performs the best.

After identifying your best email creative you can move on to split testing subject lines and even different data sets.

The just

Your cold emails should be crisp, concise and direct. Stick to the 4 Ws outlined above and our basic 4 step structure for your prospecting emails and you will see your reply rates skyrocket. It’s important to remember the goal of the email, generate interest and get a reply. To do that you need to hook your reader with just enough info so that they are intrigued but not too much that they can evaluate the opportunity without more information.

These techniques coupled with InboxBrain’s powerful suite of tools will increase your replies 10x.

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