Cold Email 101 – Part 3: Email Copy 

Welcome to the third day of our week-long series on creating and sending effective personalized cold emails. Today we’re going to cover writing effective copy.

Writing Email Copy

Today we’re sharing real-world examples with proven techniques that you can start using immediately.

The best salespeople are customer experts, not product experts. It’s easy (and tempting) to send cold emails with quick one-liners about how your product is going to change everything. But save that pitch for investors, because potential customers don’t care. They’re only concerned with what your product can do for them.

It's not what you do, it's what you do for your customers. Click to Tweet

Earlier this week we recommended checking out the emails in your spam folder for examples of what not to do. Go ahead and do that one more time. Notice anything? Many of those emails talk about what the company does but they make hardly any reference to what they do for you.

When crafting your email copy, there are a few keys to getting the response you want:

  • Keep it short: Three paragraphs should do the trick: a two-sentence intro that states who you are, and what you can do for them. Follow that with a second paragraph about how you’ll do it, along with an added benefit (2-3 sentences). Close with a call to action in one final sentence. That’s it.
  • Use names: This is where your email tool comes in. Use the merge function to drop recipient and company names into your email templates.
  • Use social proof: Drive action on your messages by mentioning similar companies that also use your product, or stats about how your company will improve their business.
  • Make it easy: Your call to action should be simple to complete. Don’t give them another item for a to-do list. For example, “Can we meet, and if not, who is the appropriate person?”
  • Avoid buzz: Don’t use buzz words, or phrases that sound good but don’t really mean much to your prospect.
  • Give context: A prospect should never wonder “Why was this sent to me?” Make sure your messages provide some context for your audience and their business.

As you construct your message, keep in mind that you’ll be sending more than one email.

Multiple emails sent over a period of time are proven to get better results.

A series of messages builds social pressure over the course of your  campaign. Polite persistence will pay off, but you’ll need to keep it up.

“Pardon my persistence….” or “I know you’re busy but I haven’t heard back yet….” are phrases that will come in handy as you nudge your prospect to act across a series of messages.

Real-World Examples

Each example below includes before and after versions of a cold email copy template. The first version emphasizes the product, while the second is tailored to the needs of the prospect. (For extra best practices and case studies drawn from the hundreds of companies we’ve helped, check out MXP Online.)

Example 1: Legal Marketplace

Company : LawTrades

Premise: On-demand marketplace platform connecting entrepreneurs with lawyers.

Need: Sign up new lawyers to pay monthly subscription rate for clients, sign up founders to get easy legal access.

Target: Lawyers, Startups

Original (for Lawyers):

Subject: virtual law practice?

Hey {First_name},

I’m Raad, the founder at LawTrades, we’re a virtual law practice platform that helps clients find and hire lawyers like you – instantly.

Do you have a few minutes to chat?  I’ll make it short and quick and I just want to explore if there are possible ways we can work together since we both care about helping people receive great legal services.



Subject: Do you work with startups?

Hey {First_name},

I’m Raad, founder of LawTrades. We connect startup founders to great lawyers.

Would you be open to me adding your practice to our recommended providers? I’d just need to speak with you for a few minutes to qualify your firm.


In the above example, the revised subject line refines the “quick question” approach. The intent is to break down recipients’ walls and communicate a desire to help. In the original, the word “virtual” is a bit cryptic and unnecessary. The first version focuses on helping clients rather than lawyers — who are the target of this email. We rewrote the message to focus on how we can assist attorneys by helping them connect to new clients. We also present the benefit (getting recommended) before the ask, re-framing the call-to-action (10 min call) as a favor requested from you, rather than a favor we’re doing for you.

Here’s another example from the same company in a campaign directed at startups:

Original (for startups):

Subject: LawTrades <> {Company_Name}

Hey {first name},

This is Raad checking in from LawTrades. We’re an on-demand legal marketplace that connects startups like yours with affordable and pre-vetted lawyers.

I’d love to see if you’d be up for a 5-10 minute call to discuss how you’re handling your day-to-day legal needs.

I think there may be a lot of room for us to work together.



Subject: {company_name} + LawTrades

Hey {first name},

I’m Raad, and I found you guys on [insert source, potentially just say ‘AngelList’], good stuff.

If you guys are raising money, putting together cap tables, or contemplating a 409a, my team can help.

Would you be open to a quick 10 min call? More than anything I’d like to learn how you handle your legal needs.


The first sentence is personalized, which scales easily by using loose phrasing. The tone communicates that the sender is a founder (like the recipient) rather than as just a sales guy from LawTrades. The message includes a few specific use cases for legal needs, which can be A/B tested for effectiveness. Since most founders don’t have “day-to-day legal needs,” the message reminds them of situations where they will need assistance. By referring to “my team,” the sender reinforces their position as a fellow founder. The message also gives the prospect  an ‘out’ (i.e., “More than anything….”) by offering an alternate path towards learning, rather than selling.

Example 2: Keyless Entry

Company: KISI

Premise: Keyless entry solution for office buildings. Open any door with your phone.

Need: Demo appointments with office managers and building managers.

Target: Office managers and IT Administrators


Subject: secure access management for [company]?

Hi [first],

I’m Karen from KISI. We built a mobile app that lets you get into your office building key- and fob-free.

It’s very secure and works with any door system or elevator.

If this sounds interesting, set up a demo or stop by our showroom here.


Karen Taborda



Rather than relying on a lengthy product explanation, this example uses only a few words in the email copy. It also uses a slick technique to create custom images using a prospect’s logo to show how a product solves a problem. This approach requires some advance effort, but it can pay off in improved response rates, particularly when your message is well-suited to a visual presentation.

Cold Email 101 Index:

Part 1: Cold email marketing: Getting Started

Part 2: Defining your cold email marketing goals for maximum effectiveness.

Part 4: Discover how to set up a cold email campaign

Part 5: Send a personal, cold email follow up to your contact list.

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