The Cold Email Formula I Use To Double Reply Rates

Everyone sells: Even successful millennial CEOs use cold emails to sell their products.

Cold emailing sucks, unless you have a system that’s scalable.

Can you imagine having the ability to follow a simple process once a week to reach out to your prospects and have them all magically want to buy from you?

OK, I cannot make them all buy from you, but I can help you make your cold email outreach process both more pleasurable and scalable. When you’re at the climax of this process, you will feel fulfilled and as if your work is effortless.

You still have to close the deal; however, and this cold email outreach system will ensure that you fill your pipeline with candidates who are salivating to talk to you.

The template for our cold email cheat code is: “Engage,” “Hunt,” “Create.”

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1 ‒ Engage

Who are you targeting?

The more narrow the niche, the better. The further down you can whittle the number of emails you’re sending out, the better “open and reply” rates you will receive.

Bad ‒ “Personal injury attorneys”

Good ‒ “Personal injury attorneys who speak Spanish and work with illegal immigrants”

Pro Tip: Pretend you’re a B2C or B2B buyer, and think about what you would type into Google. If you see an ad, then you’re really onto something ‒ that means a company is paying money to target that specific buyer.

Step 2 ‒ Hunt

Three questions to answer here:

  • Where is the data?

  • How will you get the lead and personalization data?

  • How will you clean the data to obtain updated contact information?

Where is the data?

It’s highly likely that the data in your CRM is outdated, so you should not gather the data from your CRM. The data was likely outdated the day it was entered into the CRM.

To start, look for data in Facebook Groups (not Pages) or LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Other places to look include:

  • Trade show speaker lists  

  • Industry-specific directories

  • Industry trade groups

How will you get the lead data?

Finding the lead data is usually the trickiest part of the process because it’s the grayest area. Your marketing department is probably not going to be able to help with this, so it’s time to get your hands dirty. Hand-to-hand combat is one of the reasons you’re in sales, not marketing.

You need to do one or all of the following to obtain the lead data:

  • Build a Google Chrome Extension to extract the data from a website such as a Facebook group.

  • Build a bot to scrape the site.

  • Hire someone to scrape or extract the data from the site.

How will you cleanse the data?

You’re unlikely to obtain the contact data directly from any of the sources you scrape. You need to find a way to connect it to updated contact information.

For instance, you can scrape a list of LinkedIn profiles, but you must be able to connect those profiles to email addresses to reach out to them. This is true for Facebook and likely for any other data sources that you’ve identified.

Step 3 ‒ Create

It’s time to create the sales email sequence. While, technically, the “Hunt” stage is the hardest part to do, the “Create” stage is the most difficult and most important part to do in an imaginative, fresh manner.

For instance, one of my friends works for a global beer manufacturer. One week after he landed in Phoenix from St. Louis, he texted me: “Dude, I just got 150 cold emails after one 2-hour flight!”

He didn’t mean email offers from Banana Republic or newsletters; instead, he meant literal cold outreach emails.

Put yourself into the shoes of a potential buyer. How will you get their attention for each second they give to your email? Each line should be a cliffhanger and no longer than the words on a billboard.

Here are the 7 rules to follow when creating an email sequence:

#3.1 ‒ Remember, Who Are You Talking To?

I don’t mean individuals, but, rather, personas or target profiles. Ask yourself: What is their position, and what problem can I solve for them? You only get one sentence to grab their attention. That’s it.

#3.2 ‒ Personalization… Go Big or Go Home!

It’s important to know Bill and Sally’s names, but what else are you bringing to the table?

  • What is your value prop?

  • What problem can you solve for him or her?

  • What results have you gotten for people like him?

Pro Tip: Sports or alma maters are easy to find out.

Pro Tip: Don’t use the individual’s company name in an email. People know where they work. Using the company name is committing mass email suicide.

#3.3 ‒ Use Text, Video or Both?

“... including video in email can increase your open rate by 19% and increase your click-through rate by 50%.” ‒ Campaign Monitor

A video takes time, but it’s always an eye-opener for your prospects. I’ve had prospects take calls with me simply because they applauded my effort.

If you’re selling in a highly commoditized market and/or trying to get in front of a popular decision-maker, then it makes sense to make 10 30-second videos introducing yourself.

On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.
— David Ogilvy

#3.4 ‒ Shock, Awe, Humor... Nail the Subject Line!

Think about when you receive a cold email. How often do you swipe left to delete it because you know it’s a mass email before you even read the first word?

Get someone’s effing attention! In fact, I often actually write “F/U” in the subject line!


Because it works. F/U means “follow-up.” Yes, it also means something else, but once the recipient opens your effing fantastic email, they’ll realize what it means.

Pro Tip: Go sign up for the CBInsights newsletters and steal all of their ideas. I’m not a VC; their target audience, but I still find their email headlines gleefully fulfilling. And the CEO even says, “If you send emails (newsletter or otherwise), you live and die by your subject lines. Make them good.

Pro Tip: Visit OptinMonster to find 164 email subject lines organized by mood that you can modify.

Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.
— Albert Einstein

#3.5 ‒ Use Your ‘Country’ Grammar

Forget everything you learned in English class, and write as if you’re still in 5th grade. Academia exists to teach you how to do things that aren’t really that important in life. You live in the real world, and it’s brutal.

Get to the point, and get there quickly and effectively. If you can tweet effectively in 140 characters, then you can write the best cold email ever. Use incomplete sentences if you have to and feel free to end them with prepositions.

B2B or B2C it’s all the same stuff now. Nobody cares. Just connect with someone!

BTW, if you get in trouble for sending out colorful prospecting emails, then you need to start looking for a new job because your company is about to go extinct. Ya feelin’ me?

#3.6 ‒ Close Like a Man (Call-to-Action)

I got this advice from a female mentor of mine, so I’m covering all my gender bases here.

“Christien, do you remember getting rejected by a girl at a bar?”

“Yes. A lot!”

“It’s because you were trying to close her that night. That’s what 20-year-olds do. Women have all the options in the world. Close like a man. Nurture the lead.”

Do not try to close a sale on one cold email. Do not try to throw up everything about your company or offering in a single email. Come up with a simple CTA (call-to-action) such as:

  • Are you interested?

  • Can you talk for 10 minutes and then {insert a Calendly or Mixmax calendar link}?

  • Do you like the {INSERT FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM HERE} as much as I do?

#3.7 ‒ Automatic Follow-Up

80% of sales require at least five follow-up attempts after the initial meeting… and 48% of the sales reps that you’re competing against don’t even follow up once!” ‒ Hubspot

You should be using Mixmax to create all your sales email sequences so your follow-up is created for you. Even if the recipients are interested, know that people get busy. I find that if I did a good job prepping my email, I’ll receive a response by the second or third follow-up.

In summary, if you’ll follow all the steps listed here – from “Engage” to “Hunt” to “Create,” we guarantee your cold email process will create leads and help you enjoy greater success. Thanks for reading – and Happy Hunting!