How To Address A CEO In A Cold Email

How you address a CEO sets the tone for the entire email. Do it wrong, and it could get you flagged as spam. Here are some considerations.

how to address a CEO

Getting a CEO's reply ensures you’re talking to the ultimate decision-maker. The question now is, how do you get a CEO to reply?

Put yourself in their position. They probably get hundreds of cold emails daily. Most of these emails get ignored, sent to spam, or deleted instantly. How can you stand out?

There are several ways to get their attention. One of the best places to start is learning how to address a CEO in your emails. We’re here to help! In this guide, we’re covering:

  • The importance of addressing a CEO properly.
  • Tips on how to address a CEO.
  • Strategies to help your chances of getting replies from CEOs.
  • Should you email a CEO?

The Importance of Addressing a CEO Properly

You can’t just go the casual route when emailing high-value leads like CEOs. There needs to be a standardized communication strategy to help you improve your open and reply rates.

This starts with how you address a CEO. It helps us avoid making the wrong first impression. Addressing them incorrectly will almost always send your email directly to the trash.

So, how should we address them in our emails?

How You Should Address a CEO in Your Emails

Your greeting won’t be the biggest reason a CEO replies to your emails. But the wrong greeting can immediately turn them off from the rest of the email.

The standard “Mr./Ms.” followed by their last name should be your standard greeting. It’s formal, shows respect, and is the safest approach to a greeting.

Does that mean you should be using “Dear Mr. {{last name}}” for every email? The answer is a definite no. You need to consider things such as a CEO’s location and culture.

Using “Dear Mr./Ms/Miss/Maam/Sir.” While might be considered the respectful way to address someone in some regions, it can be a red flag in others. Instead, try out some of the following greetings for CEOs:

  • Good Day
  • Greetings
  • Hello/Hello there (slightly more formal than Hi/Hey)

Don’t forget to include professional designations as well. A quick LinkedIn search could help determine if the CEO you’re emailing is a CPA, Dr., or Ph.D.

Omit Mr./Ms. when using professional designations. You wouldn’t want to start your email with “Good day, Mr. Dr. Smith.”

Strategies to Get Email Replies from CEOs

how to get email replies

Now that we know how to greet CEOs in our emails, here are some tested and proven strategies to ensure the highest chance of replies:

Have a Standardized Email Format

How you address a CEO should be part of your standardized email format. It serves as an email outline covering the subject lines, greetings, and email signatures.

Using an email signature presents yourself as an authoritative figure. Remember, we’re emailing leads with the ultimate decision-making power. An email signature helps with just that.

Create High-Converting Business Email Templates

Having personalizable business email templates streamlines email campaigns for CEOs. Cold emailers must put extra care, research, and thought into these templates.

Success in cold campaigns directed toward CEOs requires a mix of both personalization and scalability. At the end of the day, email campaigns are a numbers game. But, effort is still needed to ensure each email gets the highest chance of conversions.

Implement Sales Psychology

Including sales psychology principles like reciprocity, social proof, and commitment in your email copy does wonders for cold campaigns. These can come as testimonials, case studies, or offering free and high-value content.

The best part about sales psychology is you can use it at every step of a CEO’s purchasing journey, from your cold emails to sales negotiations.

Use an Email Icebreaker

CEOs can spot a sales pitch from a mile away. You can’t just go with something generic. Try throwing them a curve ball with an email icebreaker.

Naturally, the overall tone of the email should still be formal. But a little fun here and there might get you a reply.

Always Follow-up

CEOs have a lot on their plate. They’re bound to miss a few emails here and there. If they haven’t replied, they could’ve been busy or decided to ignore your email completely.

Whatever the case, we should always send a follow-up sales email. As a rule of thumb, you should send a maximum of three or four follow-ups. Removing them from your email list is best if they still haven't replied.

Best Practices for Writing Emails to CEOs

Addressing CEOs properly starts emails off on the right foot. However, we still need to optimize the rest of the email. We can do so by using the following best practices:

Use Subject Line Strategies

Subject lines will almost always be the first thing a CEO reads. Use email subject lines that get the most responses. Auditing which subject lines get the most replies takes time.

So, we curated a list of sales email subject line templates you can try out today. If you want to create your own, remember to keep subject lines concise, descriptive, and straight to the point.

Be an Advisor Before a Salesperson

CEOs will always have salespeople pitching them the next big thing. Amidst all that noise, you can position yourself as an advisor instead. Somebody who offers value. It's one of the best ways to build a relationship with a CEO rather than have emails only be transactional.

Create an Irresistible Offer

While it's true that we should always provide value first, our end goal is always to make a sale. To do this, we need to learn how to create an irresistible offer. Examples of irresistible offers are those that maximize revenue and productivity and, at the same time—minimize risk.

Should You Target CEOs in Cold Emails?

Sure, CEOs or business owners are key decision-makers, and emailing them would expedite the entire sales process. However, they could be too busy to reply or even open emails.

So, are CEOs even worth emailing? The answer is a definite yes! We just have to learn how to qualify these types of leads.

Company size could be one of the factors to look at first. For example, a business owner with 10 employees is still a CEO. These people are more likely to open an email than a company with 100+ employees.

A strategy you could try is looking at company size and then working your way down from the C-suite positions to find the right person to email. Here’s an example:

  • 1 to 25 employees - Email the CEO/Founder
  • 25 to 50 employees - Email executives
  • 50 to 100 employees - Email managers

The example is just a rough estimation of what you can go for. Factors like industry, company culture, and sales strategy should also be considered.

Key Takeaways

Addressing a CEO properly sets the tone for the entire email. You want to make a good first impression. So, if you’re emailing a CEO, remember the following:

  • Always have a standardized email format.
  • Consider cultural differences when addressing a CEO.
  • Use formal greetings like Good day, Hello, or Greetings to address a CEO.
  • Keep professional designations like Dr. or Atty. in mind when addressing CEOs.
  • Follow email writing best practices for subject lines and the overall content.

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