The ABC’s of (cold) Emailing Strategy

Email can be a beautiful thing. If you know how to use it.

A friend in Public Relations turned to me for advice on how to make better use of email. In particular, she was emailing tech journalists to promote a client of hers.

What she had been doing was emailing her “prospects” with a long detailed pitch and a PDF file with further details attached.


Great PR rep. Bad emailer.

Unlike my friend, don’t ever expect that a single email will unlock any doors for you. Shooting an email into the electronic abyss and hoping for the best will make for very poor results. You have to approach any emailing you do to potential clients or partners as a strategic campaign.

Below is my (self) proven basic 3 email strategy, (and BTW in my book success with email means you should yield a 10% response rate):

  1.  The Intro Email:

The first message must be precise and to the point. The subject of the email itself should be a truncated form of your entire email message. (I’ve used this technique for years but found it very well presented recently in this Marketo white paper, Cold Calling 2.0must read). 

The body of the email should be as close to 3 sentences as possible, stating who you are and what you want.

The goal of this email is not to “sell” your product or client like the case above. The goal of this email is to “sell” a call between you and the person you are trying to reach. The subject and body of the email should reflect this as closely as possible.

Example of what I mean:

Subject: Scheduling a call with [Your company or name here]


Hi xxx,

I’m writing to because I’d like to schedule a call with you about xxx. 

[Your company or service name] is a full service xxx that does xxx.

Would it be possible to schedule a quick chat sometime this week?

All the best,


Simple and straight to the point. If your intro email is more complicated than this then I can pretty much guarantee that your results with email are very very poor.


PDF’s should be sent when requested and not otherwise.

2. The follow up email:

The follow up is a thing of absolute beauty and it’s easy as pie.

You go into your sent items 3 days after the first email and simply hit reply to all–that’s right, you’re sending them another email in direct response to your own intro email–and write the following text:

Subject will be: RE: Scheduling a call with [Your company or name here]

Hi xxx,

Did you get the chance to review this?

All the best,


If your service or offer has any value then you will see valuable results from these two steps alone. If not, then there is a problem with your service or messaging.

3. Final email:

By this point you will have yielded most of the results you’re going to get. But for all those that still haven’t replied, you can send a third message one week after the intro email.

It will have a different subject, but like the second will be sent in response to the intro as well.

Subject: [Your company or name] follow up 


Hi xxx,

Would now be a good time to start a discussion about xxx?

I’m keen to talk to you about xxx.

All the best,


That’s it.

Further on I’ll talk about how to mix this with some strategic calling for stellar results. Also, read the Cold Calling 2.0 white paper. It adds some very valuable tips on how to request a referral and other great info.

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