Writing a GREAT cold email that gets results
Updated: Mar 27
I recently tweeted (or more accurately responded to a tweet by Elizabeth Yin) about cold emails and got plenty of interest around the topic, so as promised here is a guide to good cold emailing. I tell clients that 10 bespoke emails that are tailored to the recipient are better than 1000 generic form emails.
First of all, I prefer ‘lukewarm’ emails. Those are ones where there is some affinity – a common group, interest or cause that makes it easier to relate or connect to the intended target. You want to establish a connection right off the bat – I do my research on the person and compliment them on their podcast, tweet, recent win, whatever. It shows that you care and appreciate their work.
If you don’t have that connection and don’t have much to go on, then just a sentence on why you think they are a fit. VC cold emails are pretty straightforward – they have money, you need it. What if it’s a partnership? A really hard to get product (I have done this to get a really coveted bottle of whiskey – I won’t tell you ALL of my secrets so don’t ask!)? Or maybe a introduction to someone else? Try flattery (I reached out to an artist whose work I loved but could not afford- he emailed me back and we discussed a commission).
So, how to actually structure the email?
The first paragraph is 2-3 sentences MAX – introduce yourself, get to the point about why you admire their work, mention the affinity group, etc.
2nd paragraph is 2-3 sentences that are more generic – usually about your company (don’t put the website URL in the text, use text LINK (like I did above). Just makes you look legit and doesn’t break up the flow of the email.
3rd paragraph is a CALL TO ACTION – what do you want them to do? Email? Sign up to your site? Intro you to other investors? Schedule a meeting? Whatever it is, be CLEAR on your ask and make it seamless – I use Hubspot to schedule meetings. Eliminate ALL friction.
Here’s an example that I used literally a week ago (obviously the details are changed to protect the innocent!):
I am a fellow XXX alum and I saw that we are both connected to MB. She actually helped me with plans to start my company, Realm Startup Advisory. I help clients as an outsourced CFO and one of my clients is CompanyLink, which is a _____ platform for ______. One of the co-founders, XD is a Philly guy as well. They are looking for investors as well as brand partnerships and have a ton of momentum.
Here is a quick blurb. If you (or anyone you know) would be interested in hearing more, please let me know. I appreciate you taking a look!
-Bullet 1 Really cool thing
-Bullet 2 Amazing Partnership
-Bullet 3 OMG can you believe they have this investor
Here’s our updated (investor summary link – never send a pitch deck in a cold email). Our goal is to close the round by the end of March. You can schedule some time in my calendar via link below.
That’s it. Good Luck!