Cold Email

Master Cold Messaging: Tips & Follow-Up Strategies

Learn to craft compelling cold messages with our guide on writing, following up effectively, and building rapport. Master the art of gentle persistence without being pushy.

Jan 28, 2024

Man using his laptop mastering cold email messaging and follow-up strategies

Ever tried reaching out to someone you don't know, whether it's for networking, job opportunities, or pitching a service? That's where the art of writing a cold message comes in. It's like walking up to a stranger and starting a conversation—daunting, but with the right approach, incredibly rewarding.

You're probably wondering what makes a cold message open doors instead of getting lost in the abyss of an inbox. It's all about crafting a message that's personal, value-packed, and impossible to ignore. Let's dive into the nuances of making that first impression count without sounding like just another sales pitch.

Understanding the Purpose of a Cold Message

Understanding the Purpose of a Cold Message

When you're reaching out to a potential lead via a cold message, think of it like fishing in unknown waters. You cast your line hoping to snag the attention of a fish you can't see, betting on the lure of your message to be enticing enough to get a bite. Your aim is to spark interest, establish a connection, and eventually reel in a conversation that could lead to a mutually beneficial relationship.

One common misconception is that cold messaging is just about selling. It's not. It's about starting a conversation. Imagine if you approached someone at a party and immediately asked them to buy something from you. It'd likely turn them off, right? Similarly, effective cold messages aren't sales pitches – they’re personalized notes meant to build rapport.

Here are a few mistakes to watch out for:

  • Generic greetings: Dear Sir/Madam might feel safe, but it's impersonal. Use their name!

  • No personalization: Did you mention something specific about their work or company? Show you've done your homework.

  • Overly long messages: Keep it concise. You're not writing your memoir; you're initiating a conversation.

What about techniques? Your approach should depend on your prospect. For a busy CEO, a short and sharp message might work best. Conversely, a mid-level professional may appreciate more details and creativity in your outreach.

Here are some methods to consider:

  • AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Shape your message to first grab their attention, pique interest, create a desire to engage, and end with a call to action.

  • PAS: Problem, Agitation, Solution. Start by identifying a challenge they face, agitate by highlighting the implications, and offer a solution – where you come in.

To incorporate these techniques effectively, you'll want to:

  • Tailor your message: Craft it as if it's exclusively for them. It makes a world of difference.

  • Show relevance: Explain why you're reaching out and what's in it for them.

  • Offer value: Be clear on how your expertise can help them solve a problem or seize an opportunity.

Remember, the focus is on them, not your product or services. You’re more likely to succeed if you make the recipient feel understood and valued.

Researching Your Recipient

Before diving into the cold waters of outreach, you've got to know who you're swimming with. Researching your recipient is critical; it's like digging for treasure — the more you know about the land, the closer you are to hitting the jackpot. It's not just about finding a name and a title; it's about understanding their current position, their company's goals, or even the recent accomplishments highlighted in a LinkedIn post.

Think of your research as being a detective on a case. You wouldn’t just knock on doors without knowing who lives behind them. Similarly, you shouldn’t send a message without knowing something about the person on the receiving end.

Here are a few non-creepy ways to get to know them:

  • LinkedIn profiles: The holy grail for professional insights. Check out their articles, endorsements, and any shared interests.

  • Company websites: Often they'll tell you more about your recipient’s role and may have press releases or blogs that they've contributed to.

  • Social media: Sometimes you can catch personal interests that can be great conversation starters.

  • Industry publications: They may have been mentioned or have published work here.

A common mistake is stopping at the job title. But here's a tip: look at what they've achieved or what challenges they might be facing. As for misconceptions, thinking that this is a one-time deal is where many go wrong. Relationships are built over time, not in a single message.

When it comes to techniques, think about tailoring your voice for the platform. A LinkedIn message has a different vibe than an email. And remember, the template approach rarely wins. Each message should feel like it's been crafted just for them.

You might be wondering how to tie in all this research.

Here's where your detective work pays off:

  • Show interest in their work.

  • Mention a shared connection or interest.

  • Discuss industry news that’s relevant to them.

If they’ve been part of a successful project, congratulate them. If their company has made a big move, show that you’re informed. This kind of approach not just breaks the ice, but it also makes it clear you’re not just another salesbot—you’re a human who's done their homework.

Personalizing Your Message

When you're reaching out cold, your message isn't just a shot in the dark—it's your chance to connect. Think of it like a handshake; you want it to be firm, warm, and inviting. To achieve this, you'll need to customize each message so it speaks directly to the recipient.

First things first, avoid generic greetings like Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom It May Concern. Instead, use the recipient's name. It's a small detail, but it can change the entire tone of your message. You wouldn't start a conversation with Hey, human, would you? Personalization shows respect and grabs attention.

Then, delve into the nitty-gritty of their work. For instance, mention a recent project they've led or an article they've written. By doing this, you make it clear that you've taken the time to understand their contributions.

Here are a few techniques to personalize your cold messages effectively:

  • Reference mutual connections if you have them. It's like finding out you both know Sarah from accounting, and it can instantly warm up the interaction.

  • Relate to a recent company achievement or news feature—congratulate them or mention how it aligns with your own experiences or services.

  • Comment on shared interests—perhaps you both volunteer for animal shelters or love the same podcast.

A common mistake is overdoing personalization. Your message should feel tailored, not creepy. Balance is key—you're striking a conversation, not reciting their entire LinkedIn profile.

Lastly, consider the context of your message—LinkedIn is professional, so a more formal tone might be expected compared to, say, Twitter, where a casual comment might suffice. And always remember, you're aiming to start a dialogue, not pitch a sale immediately. Offer value, be genuine, and you're likely to see much warmer responses.

Crafting a Strong Subject Line

When you're reaching out with a cold message, think of your subject line as the handshake of your digital introduction. It's your first impression, and as you know, you've gotta make it count. A compelling subject line boosts your open rate; no one's gonna click on a dull or spammy-looking email.

Imagine your subject line like a news headline. The best headlines snag your attention, right? They make you want to read on. That's the sweet spot you're aiming for. Keep it pithy, clear, and enticing. Typically, you'll want to aim for 50 characters or less so it doesn't get cut off in the recipient's inbox.

One common mistake is giving too much away or sounding desperate. Open Me Now! screams spam, and Exciting Opportunity Inside! is cliché. You're looking to stand out, not blend in with the junk mail they're going to ignore. Let's be honest – you wouldn't open those, would you?

Here are some techniques to craft that perfect subject line:

  • Scoop Up Curiosity: Make them wonder. A subject like “Quick Question for [Recipient's Name]?” piques interest and implies a personal and swift interaction.

  • Create a Sense of Urgency: Without being pushy, gently suggest that your message is timely. “Following Up on [Event/News Mention]” implies relevance to ongoing matters.

  • Be Specific: Vagueness is a no-go. Something like, “Ideas to Boost Your XYZ Project ROI” shows you've done your homework.

But you're probably thinking, how do you know if it's working? Test different subject lines by segmenting your outreach list and tracking which ones get the most opens. Remember, though, your subject line is a promise of what's inside the message – don't mislead.

Incorporating these practices is more art than science. You’ve got to tweak and adjust based on your industry, the recipient's background, and the context of your message. As you practice, you'll develop a sense for what resonates with your audience. Keep it relevant, keep it professional, and above all, make sure it aligns with the body of your message. That way, your recipients know exactly what to expect and why it's worth their time to take a look inside.

Writing an Engaging Introduction

Imagine you're at a networking event. You wouldn't just barge into a conversation without a proper introduction, right? The same goes for crafting the start of your cold message. Your introduction is the handshake that prefaces your pitch—it sets the tone.

First Impressions Count—When writing your introduction, think of it as your one opportunity to make a positive first impression. Tailor it to the person you're reaching out to by mentioning specifics about their work or industry. This personal touch shows you're not sending a one-size-fits-all message.

Here's a tip: Start by introducing yourself, but don't make it all about you. Pivot quickly to how your message relates to them. Maybe you've read a recent article they wrote or you're impressed with a project they've completed. Mentioning these specifics will get their attention and show you've done your homework.

Common Misstep to Avoid: Don't launch straight into selling or asking for favors. This approach can seem pushy and is a major turn-off. Instead, aim to start a genuine conversation. Think of it as planting a seed that could grow into a professional relationship.

  • Be concise: Keep your introduction brief yet informative.

  • Show genuine interest: Compliments can be powerful if they're sincere.

  • Establish relevance: Link your reason for reaching out to their interests or business needs.

When you're discussing different techniques or methods for introductions, the context matters a lot. For example, if you're reaching out to someone in a creative field, a little humor or a quirky question might be well-received. On the other hand, if you're messaging a lawyer or a financier, it's probably best to stick to a more formal tone.

Remember, your goal is to facilitate a dialogue, not to close a deal right away. Incorporate practices such as following up with a piece of insightful content related to their field or offering a brief commentary on a common challenge within their industry. This keeps the conversation alive and increases the chances of a response.

In essence, an engaging introduction requires balance: it's about being personal yet professional, detailed but not overbearing, and friendly while still maintaining a compelling and relevant hook that encourages your recipient to read on.

Demonstrating Value

When you're reaching out through cold messaging, think of it like a first date. You wouldn't just talk about yourself the whole time, right? Instead, you'd want to show your best side – the things that make you, well, a great catch. Translating that to business, you've got to show the person on the other end what's in it for them. Showcasing your value isn't about grandstanding; it's about connecting the dots between their needs and what you offer.

Common mistakes often stem from focusing too much on your product or service features without painting a picture of the benefits. To sidestep this, remember that value is in the eye of the beholder. Tailor your message to address your recipient's pain points directly. If they've been struggling with time management, demonstrate how your tool can shave hours off their workweek.

Now let's talk about techniques for showing value. Imagine your service as a key, and their problem as a lock. Your job is to make it clear that your key fits their lock perfectly.

  • Case Studies: Share a brief story of how you've transformed a similar business.

  • Social Proof: Drop names of other clients, especially if they're recognized in the industry.

  • Freebies: Give them a taste by offering a free trial or sample. It's like letting them see the key turns before they buy it.

Timing and presentation matter here. You wouldn't offer someone a free trial before they understand their need for it, would you? Similarly, bring up your value points after the introduction – once you've warmed them up a bit.

Incorporating practices relevant to demonstrating value ties back to understanding your recipient's background. Research their company, recent achievements, or pain points in their industry. Then, communicate how you can add to their success story. If they've recently expanded their team, maybe your project management software can streamline their workflow. It's about being specific and relatable, not listing features.

Remember, like any good date, a cold message is a two-way street; it's about finding mutual ground. Stay focused on their needs, and subtly weave in the solutions you bring to the table. It's not just about telling them you're valuable, but showing them clearly and confidently.

Keeping it Brief and Clear

When drafting a cold message, picture yourself squashing a novel into a pamphlet. You've got value propositions, success stories, and a call to action—all vying for space in one compact message. So, how do you distill this down while keeping your reader hooked?

Here's your cheat sheet to clarity and brevity:

  • Zero in on Key Points: Identify the absolute essentials. Like a GPS guiding you through a maze, your message should lead the recipient to the critical points without detours.

  • Keep It Conversational: Imagine chatting over a coffee. How would you talk? Write like that. It's friendly, it's digestible, and it won't put your reader to sleep.

Common Slip-Ups to Dodge

  • Wordiness: Packing sentences with fluff is like stuffing a suitcase until it bursts—you can't find anything! Trim the fat. If a word doesn't serve a clear purpose, chuck it.

  • Overwhelming Jargon: Ever tried talking to a two-year-old using quantum physics terms? Didn't go well, did it? Same here. Skip the tech talk, and keep it simple.

Techniques Tailored for Success

  • AIDA Model: Grab their Attention, pique Interest, stoke Desire, and compel Action. This old marketing trick can transform your message flow like magic.

  • Empathy Maps: Put yourself in their shoes. What do they see, hear, feel? Understanding this can shape a message that resonates instead of one that irritates.

Incorporating practices relevant to your recipient's world is like being a DJ at a party. Know the crowd, spin the right tunes, and they'll love you for it. Research their industry, toss in a relatable tidbit, or even better, refer to a recent success they've shared publicly. This personalized approach isn't just smart; it's respectful and shows genuine interest.

Call to Action

Once your message has caught their eye, it's time to hook them with a strong call to action (CTA). You've been conversational, brief, and clear up until now, so keep up the momentum. Your CTA is what you want the recipient to do next – make it count.

  • Be direct: Asking plainly for what you want can be powerful.

  • Create urgency: Book your free consultation today is more compelling than Get in touch.

  • Use active voice: Download our guide now trumps the passive Our guide can be downloaded.

Imagine you're at a crossroads in a chat. Without a sign, you'd be lost, right? That's what a cold message without a CTA feels like to the recipient. Tell them which way to go.

Common Misconceptions and Mistakes

Some folks think if they're not aggressively salesy, the CTA won't work. That's a myth. Your CTA should be a natural step forward, not a leap. You might also hear people use industry jargon in their CTA. Avoid this. You're not trying to impress with your vocabulary; you're trying to engage them.

Techniques and Variations

The situation dictates the technique.

  • If you're looking to gather info, perhaps try Fill out this quick survey.

  • Want to schedule a meeting? Schedule a 15-minute call here with a calendar link is time-efficient.

You're guiding, not pushing—there's a difference.

Incorporating Relevant Practices

Align your CTA with your recipient's world. If they're a busy executive, schedule a call aligns with their calendar-centric life. If they're a tech enthusiast, an invitation to access a cutting-edge report will resonate well. Understand their daily grind and offer a relevant, practical step forward.

Remember, you're a friendly guide. You're pointing them down the path that not only feels comfortable but is also the most beneficial for both of you. Keep tweaking, keep it personal, and watch as your cold messaging game grows stronger.

Polishing Your Message

Once you've crafted a strong CTA, the next step in mastering the art of cold messaging is fine-tuning your message to perfection. Think of it like buffing a gemstone; the more you polish, the brighter it shines in the recipient's inbox.

Simplicity is Key
Remember, your prospects are busy, just like you. Instead of overwhelming them with jargon or industry lingo, keep your message straightforward. Like explaining the rules of soccer to someone who's never seen a game: focus on the goal, basic rules, and how to score, leaving out the complex penalties and strategies until later.

Avoid Common Pitfalls
Many people mistakenly over-explain or get too technical in their initial message. This is akin to handing someone a manual when they just want a quick user guide. Cut the fluff and get to the point. Moreover, don't sound too robotic or generic. Sprinkle a touch of personality – it's like adding a secret spice that makes a dish unforgettable.

Test Different Approaches
Just as chefs tweak recipes, you should experiment with various message styles. Here are some techniques to try:

  • A/B Testing: Send two variants of your message to different segments and see which performs better.

  • Personal Touch: Reference a recent accomplishment of the prospect or mention a mutual connection.

  • Storytelling: Draw the reader in with a mini-narrative that relates back to your offering.

Relevance and Timing
Incorporate elements from your prospect's work or industry into your message. It's like showing up to a costume party dressed for the theme – it shows you belong and you've made the effort. Also, timing can be everything. Aim to send your message when it's likely to be top of mind, perhaps after a big industry event or during business hours.

Remember, it's crucial to view your message through the lens of the recipient. Ask yourself if you'd be intrigued enough to hit 'reply'. Keep honing your approach like a gardener tends their flowers - nurturing leads to blossoming relationships.

Following Up

You've sent out your perfectly crafted cold message, now what? Following up is key to making sure your message doesn't get lost in the digital shuffle. Think of your follow-up as a gentle tap on the shoulder – it's there to remind your prospect that you're still interested in making a connection.

It's a common misconception that follow-up messages are too pushy. In reality, they're an essential piece of the puzzle. Without them, you're leaving your initial effort out in the cold.

  • Wait for the Right Moment: Rushing into a follow-up can come across as desperate. Give your recipient a chance to breathe. Usually, waiting for around 48-72 hours after your first message is a good practice.

  • Keep It Brief: Your follow-up should be short and sweet. Remind them of your previous message without rehashing the whole thing.

  • Add Value: Each follow-up should provide additional value. Share a relevant article or offer a novel insight related to their business challenges.

In terms of frequency, there's a fine line between being persistent and being a pest. If you've sent two to three follow-ups without a response, it's time to pause and reassess your approach. Maybe you're not targeting the right person, or perhaps your message isn't as compelling as it could be.

Try switching up your technique if you're not seeing results:

  • Change the Medium: If email isn’t working, consider a LinkedIn message or even a direct phone call.

  • Adjust the Timing: Test sending messages at different times of day or week to find when your prospect is most receptive.

Remember that people do business with those they like and trust. By respectfully following up, you're showing that you're serious and professional. This can go a long way in building the necessary rapport that might just turn a cold lead into a warm opportunity. Keep in mind that your persistence pays off most when you're truly listening to what your prospects need and responding in a way that shows you understand and can help them achieve their goals.


Crafting the perfect cold message takes skill and persistence. Remember, it's all about striking a balance between being professional and personable. Your ability to follow up without being intrusive can make all the difference. It shows dedication and respect for the recipient's time. By adding value with each interaction and being adaptable in your approach, you'll not only get noticed but also start building meaningful connections. Keep these tips in mind and your next cold message could open doors to new opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main focus of the article?

The article focuses on the proper etiquette and strategic approach for sending cold messages and the importance of effective follow-ups.

How many follow-ups should be sent if there is no initial response?

It is suggested to send two to three follow-ups if there is no response after the initial cold message.

Is following up considered pushy?

No, the article clarifies that follow-ups are essential and should not be viewed as pushy when done correctly.

What are some key tips for following up effectively?

Key tips for effective follow-ups include waiting for the right moment, keeping the message brief, and adding value with each follow-up.

When should one reassess their follow-up approach?

If there is no response after two to three follow-ups, it is advised to reassess and consider switching up the follow-up techniques.

Why is building rapport important in the process of sending cold messages?

Building rapport is important because it demonstrates understanding and support for the prospects' goals, fostering a positive connection.

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