Cold Email · · 9 min read

How To Send Cold Emails + 5 Templates That Get Replies

Learning how to send cold emails helps businesses scale faster than traditional inbound marketing strategies. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

how to send cold emails

Learning how to send cold emails is an invaluable skill every business owner, freelancer, and agency should learn. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or enterprise.

At a glance, cold emails can be daunting. You may have reservations about it. Understanding how all the gears and knobs work takes time. But at the end of the day, cold emails work.

You need to learn the basics. We’ve curated tips, best practices, and insider knowledge from cold email masters in our community to help you get started.

By the end of this article, you’ll learn the following:

  • What is a cold email?
  • A step-by-step guide to sending your first cold email
  • Prerequisites for cold email outreach campaigns
  • How to find leads to send cold emails to
  • Setting up a cold email sequence
  • Cold email templates you can personalize
  • Cold email best practices

What is a Cold Email?

Email delivery

Cold emails serve as an introduction. They’re sent to verified and qualified leads with little to no knowledge of who you are or what you do. Stranger danger, right?

Because of that, tens of thousands of cold emails get sent to spam daily. We avoid this by creating value, personalization, and standardizing business communication across all emails.

Done right, cold emails can grow your business faster than most popular outbound sales strategies. That’s because cold emails are measurable, repeatable, and scalable.

Once you’ve set it up, cold email campaigns run like clockwork. So, let’s look at how you can start sending your first cold emails.

Sending Your First Cold Email

If you want to dip your toes into the ocean that is cold email, you’ll need three essential things—a sending account, your leads’ email addresses, and killer email copy.

Let’s say you run a social media marketing agency targeting local businesses with little online presence. You can find the emails of potential clients and start drafting your email. Here’s a look at how you should format your first cold email:

  • Personalized and unique subject lines
  • Use professional introductions
  • Personalize the main email copy
  • Focus on benefits, not features
  • Offer immediate value or low-effort CTAs

Doing this manually for 10-20 leads daily sounds realistic. However, if you want to get serious and start scaling, we need to start automating our email campaigns.

Prerequisites For Automating Your Cold Email Campaigns

email automation software

Automated email campaigns are one of the fastest growth strategies for startups and established businesses. More importantly, it brings elevated levels of quality at scale.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for everything you need to know about automating cold email outreach. For this guide, we’ll be using Instantly. So, sign up for free to tag along.

Step 1: Buy Alternative Domains

People don’t often trust cold emails. That’s why we need to establish ourselves as an authority immediately. Setting up domains with two to three sending accounts helps with this.

We want to use alternative domains for our cold campaigns to protect our main ones. For example, if you own “,” try buying domains like “”

Step 2: Connect Domains to Google Workspace

Create two to three emails per domain on Google Workspace. Setting this up is straightforward. You just need to follow Google’s instructions, and you’re good to go. Afterward, it's time to authenticate your domain.

Step 3: Authenticating Your Domains

The domains you just bought are still sketchy in the eyes of email service providers. They need to be authenticated first, so your emails sent on behalf of your domains don’t end up in spam.

You must use three authentication methods to authenticate your new domains: DMARC, DKIM, and SPF. Google laid out a step-by-step process for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

To check if everything is set up correctly, use this tool. Put your domain on the field box and use the drop-down menu to determine your domain’s authentication status.

Lastly, you want to forward your alternate domains to your main domain. The process varies depending on where you bought domains from. Here’s a guide for domains bought from NameCheap and GoDaddy.

Step 4: Warmup Your Emails With Instantly

Before warming up your new email accounts, connect them with Instantly. Once everything is integrated, you can start the automated warmup sequence.

Instantly’s email warmup sequence sends emails to and from your sending accounts to significantly improve your deliverability rates. Plus, Instantly offers unlimited warmups.

All you need to do is click the flame icon for all your email accounts added on Instantly. For new emails, it’s recommended to warm up for at least three weeks before running cold emails.

Warmups shouldn’t stop after the three-week mark. Keep it running. It ensures that your sending accounts are protected against the negative effects of cold emails.

After the warmup, set up your cold email sequences. But before that, we need to find the right leads to send cold emails to.

How to Find Qualified Leads for Your Cold Email Campaigns

Lead generation is the lifeblood of any business. There are several ways to go about this process. Here’s a quick look at the most popular methods for lead generation.

Inbound Lead Generation

An inbound lead generation strategy is great for finding leads interested in your products or services. This is mostly done through content campaigns on your site and social media.

One of the most effective inbound lead generation methods is creating gated, in-depth, high-value content in exchange for email information.

Buying Leads

If you want a more aggressive approach to lead generation, you could use several tools and services to get leads. Popular ones include tools like Hunter or Apollo. But if those tools aren’t quite what you’re looking for, there are always alternatives.

Finding Leads Manually

Personalizing emails is the best way to ensure the highest chance of prospects opening them. And there’s nothing more personalized than finding a prospect’s email address manually.

Just by virtue of manually looking for a prospect’s email address, you get to know more about their business, potential pain points, and how you could solve them.

Don’t forget to validate your leads to maintain a positive bounce rate. When everything looks good, upload your lead list via CSV to Instantly and set up your email sequences.

Setting Up Your Cold Email Sequences

Instantly is perfect for running sales cadence campaigns as you can easily set up email sequences and run them on auto-pilot based on your lead’s behavior.

For each lead, try and send two to three emails. First would be the initial cold email, next the follow-up, and finally (if there still isn’t a reply) a breakup email.

Remove leads from your email list if they don’t reply after three or four emails. But always leave a good impression and provide value. There’s still a chance of them replying in the future.

Setting up email sequences in Instantly is pretty simple. You just need to go to “My Campaigns” and click the “Sequences” tab.

From there, you can add as many steps as you want and schedule them accordingly. Now for the fun part—creating a high-converting email copy to send your prospects.

(More) Cold Email Templates To Steal

The star of your campaign will inevitably be your email copy. As a rule of thumb, follow the following best practices for your emails:

  • Make your email copy short and concise.
  • Personalize everything from the subject lines to your CTAs.
  • Create an email signoff for an added layer of authenticity.
  • Content should be valuable and able to solve a prospect’s unique pain points.
  • Automate personalization to help you scale cold email campaigns.

Personalization is the key to succeeding in cold emails. However, personalizing at scale takes a lot of time and resources. Instantly can automate this process using {{merge tags}}.

Here are some example templates you can personalize in your cold email campaigns inspired by tested and proven copies from master cold emailers in our community.

**Be sure to take a look through our blog and collect a full library of free email templates ready to get you going on your next campaign.

Hyper Personalized Cold Email

Using this type of cold email takes time and A LOT of research into your leads. But trust us, it’s going to be worth every second. Check their website, social media pages, or LinkedIn.

Look into news, updates, and every bit of information you can that’s publicly available. Find something that resonates with them. Here’s a template you can try out that does this well:

Hey, {{Name}},
Congratulations on hitting your {{recently achieved goals}}. Hitting that milestone is no easy feat. I’m sure you had to handle {{unique painpoint}}. We’ve been there too, and it wasn’t fun.
That’s why we built a system to streamline the process. The step-by-step looks like this:
{{step 1}}
{{step 2}}
{{step 3}}
{{step 4}}
{{step 5}}
We’ve used this system to help {{Company Name}} and thousands more like yours. If you want to go in-depth on how our system works, check out our {{case study}} on {{Company A}}.
But I’m even more interested in how you handle {{unique pain point}}. What do you currently do to solve it?
Best regards,
{{Your Name}}

“We See Tons Of Potential For Your Business” Template

This email template works because you’re echoing your prospects’ aspirations. Sometimes, you even uncover something a prospect never even thought of. So, if you want to change potential opportunity into kinetic, try out this template:

Hey, {{Name}},
Have you ever thought about {{opportunity}} for {{prospect’s business}}? I think you could easily hit that goal within this quarter. I’ve worked with similar businesses before, and here’s how they got there:
{{strategy 1}}
{{strategy 2}}
{{strategy 3}}
{{strategy 4}}
{{strategy 5}}
Would you be interested in a free audit to see exactly how you can reach {{opportunity}} and save on costs simultaneously? Let me know what you think.
Best regards,
{Your Name}}

FOMO and Scarcity

FOMO and Scarcity are great examples of email icebreakers. Remember, the fear of missing out plays into our psychology. That’s why it can get tons of responses and opens. Here’s an example of FOMO and Scarcity at play in a cold email:

Hey, {{First Name}},
{{Industry}} is going through a big change because of {{event}}. Experts say it's become one of the most disruptive updates that has seriously shaken {{industry}}.
Here’s how we at {{Company Name}} is handling it:
{{strategy 1}}
{{strategy 2}}
{{strategy 3}}
{{strategy 4}}
{{strategy 5}}
As an added layer, we’ve developed a system for dealing with most of the changes associated with {{event}}, and we’re seeing positive results. {{Client 1}} has been reaping the benefits {{link to case study}}, and so has hundreds more. Would you be interested in a free audit to see how you could best deal with the new update?
Best Regards,
{{Your Name}}

Building on Synergy Email Template

Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that a business and your service are a perfect match. This email template shows just that—a great synergy between a prospect’s business and yours.

Hey there {{First Name}},
I’m {{Your Name}}, and I've been a big fan of the insights you share on LinkedIn. Your tips on {{topic}} gave us so much value, and we’d like to return the favor.
Here’s a case study we did on {{topic}}. It details the exact strategy and tools we used to solve {{common painpoint}}. I think you can get a lot of value from this too.
With your {{industry}} insights and our system, I see a real synergy between {{Your company}} and {{Prospect’s company}}.
What do you think about this potential?
All the best,
{{Your Name}}

Social Proofing Cold Email Template

Social proof, like testimonials and reviews, provides a ton of much-needed authority in your cold emails. Here’s a template you can personalize:

Good day, {{First name}},
Facing {{common pain point}} is a huge hurdle, especially for start-ups like {{Prospect’s company}}. {{Your client’s company}} also struggled with this issue for months.
We found that the solutions were relatively simple:
{{Solution 1}}
{{Solution 2}}
{{Solution 3}}
Since your businesses are similar, we figured we could do the same for you. Here’s an in-depth case study with did on {{Your client’s company}} and three others.
We understand that the case study does get a bit technical. So, if you want to get a detailed rundown of how we can do the same for your business, we’re happy to schedule a meeting.
Does this sound good to you?
All the best,
{{Your Name}}

When you’re running your cold campaigns, make sure to monitor key email metrics on Instantly’s analytics dashboard. See what works and iterate on it.

Key Takeaways

Sending cold emails can grow your business fast. If you want to make the most of your cold email campaigns, follow these best practices:

  • Buy alternate domains to protect your main one
  • Always warmup new sending accounts
  • Try to limit each sending account to 50 emails daily (including warmup)
  • Use personalizable templates to send cold emails at scale
  • Utilize automation to streamline the entire process

There's no better tool for email automation, warmups, and sending cold emails than Instantly! Sign up for a free trial today and experience the difference!

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