Cold Email · · 6 min read

7 Tried & Tested Cold Email Marketing Examples You Can Steal

Cold email marketing technique is honed over a long period of time by professionals who have become masters of the art. It involves incredible psychological understanding to get inside the prospect’s mind.

cold email marketing examples

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective cold email marketing examples, including approaches that are tried, tested, and proven to get results. During this article, you’ll learn:

  • How effective is cold emailing marketing?
  • Key Elements of an Effective Cold Email
  • The AIDA Approach
  • Super Short & Direct Format
  • The BAB (Before-After-Bridge) Approach
  • The PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve) Approach

How Effective Is Cold Emailing Marketing, and Is It Considered Spam?

The effectiveness of cold email marketing varies hugely from business to business, and from campaign to campaign. There are myriad factors that can influence it, such as the quality of the email, the relevance of the offering to the recipient, and the overall market conditions.

To achieve the most from your campaign, follow as many best practices as possible, adapt campaigns, and analyze results. Only 8% of all cold email campaigns achieve an open rate of 80% or more. These are the very best. The majority of mediocre campaigns will only achieve an open rate of around 44%. Response rates for the very best campaigns usually only reach just over 20%. The majority of campaigns achieve less than 10%.

The main concern with cold email marketing is the perception that you might be sending unsolicited spam to unsuspecting recipients. Cold email marketing can certainly be a successful way to reach potential customers and generate leads, as long as the brand is sure to avoid being seen as a sender of spam.

To avoid being considered spam, email marketers should adhere to both best practices and regional legalities. Many places in the world require permission before email marketing, and you should always offer a way for prospects to opt out of the emails that you send. Some systems will automatically flag accounts as spam accounts if they suddenly start sending emails in large quantities. This is why it’s incredibly important that the account you’re sending from is warmed up first.

Used correctly and with a responsible attitude, cold email marketing can be incredibly effective.

Key Elements of an Effective Cold Email

writing cold emails

Before we get into the details of the approaches and strategies you can implement in your campaigns, it’s important that you assess your use of the key elements in a cold email.

  • Start with an interesting subject line that catches the recipient’s attention.
  • Keep your introduction clear, concise, and to the point.
  • Always include some value for the recipient with as little “payment” from them as possible.
  • Finish with an easily completed call-to-action at the end of your emails.
  • Sign off in a relatable way that matches the tone of the email.
  • Personalization will always deliver the best results.

7 Proven Cold Email Marketing Examples You Can Use Today

These models and approaches have been proven to deliver quality and effective results. The beauty of them is that they don’t require you to reinvent the wheel, you can leverage and use these techniques to dramatically improve your cold email marketing today.

The AIDA Approach

The AIDA approach typically refers to more of an overall marketing campaign. The acronym stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, and each of these is part of the traditional marketing funnel.

In email marketing, we can apply the same AIDA approach to write emails for each stage of the buyer's journey. During the initial awareness stage, you would attempt to make prospects aware of your business’s existence through a series of cold outreach emails. Even if they don’t immediately reply, you are beginning to get onto their radar.

This model could also be applied to the writing of emails themselves. It’s possible to build awareness, interest, desire, and ask for action to be taken all in the same email. It requires you to write an eye-catching hook (awareness), share a piece of information (interest), share incredible results clients have achieved (desire), and finish with a clear call to action (action).

Super Short & Direct Format

Sometimes the shorter and more direct, the better. Prospects will usually be short of time and will want to get through their inbox as swiftly as possible. A rambling, waffling sales email will be the last thing on their agenda. Instead, look to write in a short, direct way.

This means being clear from the start about your requests, being upfront about your intentions, and clearly stating the benefits they might receive. This usually all starts with the subject line, clearly defining benefits that feel like they can’t be missed is a good starting place. Just be careful not to overpromise or use such outlandish statistics that they read like spam.

The BAB (Before-After-Bridge) Approach

The BAB approach works in a similar way to simple stories, in so much that there’s a beginning, middle, and end.

The beginning of the email explains where the prospect currently is. It outlines likely pain points and how the prospect might be suffering because of it. The aim here is to be as relatable as possible while building empathy.

The after section shares where the prospect could be once the problem has been vanquished. It shares what their world could be like if only they could get over this mountain. At this point, you might leverage case studies to show a real-life situation where someone has achieved this nirvana.

Finally, we end the email with the bridge. This is where you get to talk about your products and services, this is where you offer the bridge from the before to the after. Explain how your products and solutions can change their world for the better.

The PAS (Problem-Agitate-Solve) Approach

The PAS approach is similar to the BAB model but doubles down on the pain, rather than showing as many positives. Where the BAB works by showing people that there is a route away from the pain, the PAS system works by pointing it out and then agitating that pain point even further.

Pleasure (in the form of solutions) is a great motivator, but pain is an even greater one. It might feel morally ambiguous to identify and then intensify someone’s issues but psychologically it works. Also, at the end of the email, once the problem has been spotted and agitated, a solution to it is presented in the form of your product or services.

Offer Value That Inspires Action

Arguably the most important thing that you can do is to offer your prospects value. The more value you can offer the more likely they are to engage with you and your offering. At first, this value has to be completely free. It could be as simple as offering a link to an article that you think they will gain valuable information from.

Sometimes the value comes from sharing a resource that isn’t one you have created yourself. By definition, that means that you’re genuinely wanting to share it simply because you think it has value.

The value should aim to inspire them to take action. For example, if you’re looking to engage with a prospect and your service is web design, share an article that outlines best practices. The hope is they read it, realize that their website requires work, and engages with you from there.

The Hook

The hook is all about locking in your reader’s engagement from the start. Saying something so enticing or interesting that they have no choice but to open and read your email. Typically personalization works at its best as a hook. You might, for example, have been given someone’s email as a referral. To hook the recipient in a subject line such as, “Hi [name], [referrer’s name] thought I should get in touch”. The immediate personal connection draws the eye, creates interest, and will lead to an impressive open rate.

The Quick Question

"The quick question" involves asking a brief and specific question right at the start of the email to grab the reader's attention and encourage them to continue reading. The aim is to create a sense of curiosity or urgency that makes them want to find out more about you and your products and services.

For example, a cold email outreach campaign for a new project management tool could begin with a quick question like: "Are you struggling to keep your team on track and meet your project deadlines?" The question quickly and succinctly addresses a major pain point and immediately piques the recipient's interest.

The quick question only works effectively if it is brief and focused. Keeping it both relevant and specific to the recipient will deliver the best results. It can also be used as a type of hook, with a short explanation following it to offer more information or value.

Key Takeaways

These cold email marketing examples will work at their best when tested against each other. What works well for some businesses will not be as effective for others. It all comes down to the recipients that you’re sending to and the service that you’re offering.

  • Where possible, always offer the recipient value.
  • Personalization works wonders when reaching out to new prospects.
  • Analyze results and then adapt campaigns accordingly.

If you’re considering launching a cold email campaign, see how you could benefit from using Instantly and get started for free today.

Read next

10x your leads, meetings and deals.

Instantly scales your outreach campaigns with unlimited email sending accounts, email warmup, B2B lead database and generative AI