Cold Email · · 4 min read

Defrosting Inboxes With Email Icebreakers

Email icebreakers are more than just introductions. They’re the key to transforming cold leads into warm conversations. We share examples and tips, ready to use.

email icebreakers

One shot. One opportunity. That’s all you’ve got to grab your recipient’s attention. Will you capture it or let it slip? That might seem a bit lyrical and dramatic, but when it comes to cold emailing, it’s true.

If you want to stand out, you need to do something different. That’s where cold email icebreakers come into play. These small nuggets of copy do an incredible amount of heavy lifting and open the door to a deeper, more meaningful conversation.

In this article, we’ll share some of the best email icebreakers that we’ve seen used, why they work, and how you can implement them into your next campaign.

  • What Is An Email Icebreaker?
  • Use The Sense Of Urgency And Scarcity
  • Get Complimentary
  • Lean Into Their Pain Points

What Is An Email Icebreaker?

Ever had to do an icebreaker in a team meeting? Well, this is the email equivalent. Its purpose is to warm up the conversation. It aims to make people feel comfortable and sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. They’re best used in a friendly and engaging manner so that there’s a real sense that two humans are having a conversation. That is far more welcome than receiving yet another sales or marketing email.

They come in various forms. Each one serves a slightly different purpose with a different goal.

Examples include:

  • Questions
  • Comment on shared interests
  • Noteworthy observations
  • Jokes

Use The Sense Of Urgency And Scarcity

urgency and scarcity

It’s standard psychology that we can’t stand the idea of missing out on a good opportunity. FOMO, fear of missing out, whatever you want to call it, it’s there. It’s completely ingrained into our psyches. If you’re able to tap into that sense during your email icebreaker, you stand a chance of getting a response.

You might have already used this concept in your subject line to get them interested. Now it’s time to drive it home.

  • {{Competitor’s Name}} grew by 25% in one quarter.
  • {{Industry change}} is coming. How are you handling it?
  • Did you read about {{news}}?
  • {{Competitor’s name}} just signed on with us after their free trial.
  • We’ve got 3 {{service}} spots left. Interested in taking one?

(Note: Where you see {{ }}, these are merge tags. They’re used to show where you can add your own personalization automatically)

This method will work at its absolute best when you are armed with information. The more research you’ve done on your recipient, their competition, and their industry, the more likely you are to get a positive result.

Businesses are naturally competitive, they want to beat their competition. The idea that others are getting ahead of them is unbearable. Chances are they’ll respond to alleviate their fear of missing out.

Get Complimentary

Flattery will get you everywhere. That flattery, however, has to be warranted. Start handing out compliments for anything, or things that didn’t even happen, and your recipients will see you as a fraud. This tactic is best employed when you’ve already been working with the client. You should have had some interaction, and it isn’t the first cold email you’re sending them.

See this method as a way of nurturing an account rather than prospecting a new one. Opportunities to use this icebreaker include; when they reach a major milestone with you or in their business, they win an award, they reach a goal, or they have a personal celebration.

To use this type of icebreaker successfully, spend time researching the recipient in your CRM and set date-specific reminders. Plus you’ll want to maximize the amount of personalization that you include. Generic compliments will pale in comparison to specific ones.

  • I’m really impressed how you {{insert something they did}}. Congratulations to you and the team!
  • Reading about {{specific case study or post}} really showed your commitment to {{cause}}.
  • {{name}}, you smashed it! Congratulations on your new promotion!
  • I saw you’re working with {{one of their clients}}. That’s a huge account, great work!

Lean Into Their Pain Points

When you talk to your prospects about their pain points, you show them that you care and that you genuinely want to help. You build the sense that you’re empathetic. That makes you a good person, and they’re far more likely to respond.

It will, however, take a good amount of research to get to know their business in particular and what their pain points are. Remember, the more detailed you can get, the more personalized your email, the better.

If you can, focus on their unique company goals. Avoid overused generic aims and goals. Everyone wants to win more business and make more profit. So if you focus on those, you’re hardly going to stand apart from the crowd.

  • {{Name}}, it’s a pretty tough time for {{their industry}} at the moment, how are you coping?
  • I saw you’ve started offering {{service}}; how are you handling {{common problem you could solve}}?
  • Great to see you’ve launched {{new product or service}}. Is {{common problem with product or service}} affecting uptake at all?
  • Hey {{name}}, I’m guessing that {{recent government policy change}} is affecting you somewhat. How are you reacting?

Key Takeaways

Using email icebreakers is one of the best ways to open up a conversation with a prospect or to help nurture an existing relationship. They offer a way to begin communication in a personalized way, maximizing the chance that the recipient will respond.

  • Opening with a question is a smart way of eliciting a response.
  • Flattery is welcomed by most people as long as it is for a legitimate reason.
  • Use your research into the recipient to position your icebreaker the best way.

If you’re about to start sending cold emails at volume, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality email outreach tool to help you manage the task. Instantly is your best choice. With account warm-up, email verification, and a suite of automation tools, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get started sooner.

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