How to Slay at Sending Cold E-Mails with the Perfect Pitch

4  min read

When it comes to cold e-mailing folks the rules are simple. You just need to make sure you crush them. With a little bit of imagination and a strong desire to succeed, you can…no, will send cold e-mails that will make you stand out and get replies. I have sent countless cold e-mails since I stepped out of college almost a decade ago. From e-mailing White House staffers to CEOs, some have landed me jobs and some 1 on 1 meetings. Here are my simple guidelines for slaying the cold e-mail game.

1) E-mail subject needs to be intriguing

Spend time on thinking about a click-worthy subject title—just like when reading news stories or articles. Be interesting; get crafty. Here are examples: “Reaching out—advice for a young, struggling millennial” or “A pleasure to meet you.” Even if you haven’t met the person yet, a pleasure to meet you could mean “it would be… or it was…” So, there is nothing wrong with simply saying “A pleasure to meet you.”

2) Brevity is key

Keep your e-mail between 4-5 lines (not sentences). Most likely people will skim the e-mail. If it is long, it will be deleted with a quickness. Keep it short and you have higher chances of it being read.

3) Open with an attention getter

This will draw in the reader to the rest of the e-mail. Also, the first and the last line will be the only two sentences read for certain. So make it good. Put the most important piece first. (See sample e-mail below)

4) You get 1 sentence…maybe 2

Use one sentence to introduce yourself and talk about your purpose of sending the e-mail. Then make the rest about the reader and how his/her expertise, time, or advice can assist you. Get use to getting straight to the point.

5) Finish with a specific date (or call to action)

To close out your pitch, briefly reiterate your main purpose then suggest a specific date to meet or next steps. What I have noticed is that the reader will get back to you and say, X date doesn’t work for me but how about Y or Z. (I like to separate my last line from the e-mail body.)

Honorable mentions: A few things to keep in mind before hitting send

-Proofread your e-mail for the correct spelling of his/her name, the company, etc.
-Remove all extraneous stuff. Keeping your message short will help you to take out the fluff.
-Mondays and Fridays are the worst days to send cold e-mails.
-Try to avoid sending e-mails during rush hour—am and pm.
-Include links in your signature—your website, LinkedIn profile, etc.—if you have any
-Be persistent and follow up. Reach out again anywhere between 3 to 7 days, and if you have a phone number, call.

Sample E-mail

I read on your LinkedIn profile that you are a connector; I would like to connect.

I’m interested in having a conversation with you about how to transition into Chicago’s media market. From your experience, you’d be a great adviser. My background is in finance, but recently I left the industry to fulfill my dream of starting my own media endeavor.

I’m just looking for a few minutes of your time and some advice. What do you say to meeting next Wednesday?