How to Write a Cold Email That Isn’t Awkward

Man Typing

Cold emails are often awkward. But that’s because many people don’t know how to write effective cold emails.

In this post, I want to share five ways to write compelling emails  that are anything but awkward.

Stay Plain

It can be easy to get fancy with your emails. That beautiful email signature is cool and including links to your social media profiles seems like a good idea — but wait a minute.

Is that the best thing for your email?

No, actually.

Instead, use plain text emails. It will look effortless, feel effortless, and you’ll increase your chances of a response. Plus, sending a plain text email will help you avoid spam filters.

The point is to get people to open and reply to your cold emails, not impress them with your layout and design skills.

Start With Solid Leads

Pre-email research is probably more important than the actual email. It ensures you’re emailing the right people, increasing your chances of them opening and responding to you.

But how do you find reliable leads without wasting a lot of time?

The best lead generation tool I know of is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It’s an account type that gives you access to sales-focused features and those that will drastically improve your cold emails.

The most compelling tool you get is Advanced Search, which lets you find leads using a plethora of filters. You can search for people by:

  • Keywords
  • Job function and title
  • Location
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Job changes in the past 90 days
  • Anyone referenced in the news in the past 30 days
  • LinkedIn posts 30 days or younger
  • And many more…

This can help you find the perfect people to contact, which will make your cold emails less awkward and more effective.

The Subject Line Is The Key

A great subject line can make or break the success of your email. It’s the recipient’s first impression of you.

Yes, subject lines are about getting people to open your email. But they’re also about genuinely piquing their interest. It warms them up to be more welcoming of the email body.

It also needs to be about the recipient, not you. Make it feel like a conversation between colleagues. Here are some examples of good subject lines:

  • Quick question for you
  • What are your Q1 goals this year?
  • About your recent post
  • Focus On Your Opener

After the person opens your email, your email still has to pull them in. People get so many emails that yours has to stand out. That’s why the opening line is so important.

This first line should be about the recipient, mentioning something specific about them. Also, keep in mind that this first line is often previewed along with the subject line before they open the email.

If your opener (and subsequently what shows in the preview) says something like, “I found you on LinkedIn…” or “My name is John from XYZ Industries…,” they probably won’t open your email. It sounds too sales-y.

Instead, use their name. Then try saying something like, “I wanted to send you a quick email to introduce you to [your company]…”

In one sentence, tell them why you’re emailing and how it can benefit them. This will make your cold emails much less awkward-feeling.

Use A Creative, Indirect CTA

At the end of your email, you need a call-to-action. But it can’t just be any CTA. It can’t be overwhelming or too demanding.

So don’t ask the recipient to “jump on a quick call.” Instead, make it more indirect.

Try one of these CTAs:

  • “To learn more, watch this one-minute intro of our product/service…”
  • “If you have any questions, feel free to reply to this email and I’ll get back to you ASAP…”
  • “Want more info on this? I’d be happy to help. Just shoot me an email and I’ll fill you in…”

This can lead to a natural conversation that can help you gauge if this is the right fit. And a natural conversation is the opposite of awkwardness.


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