Cold Emailing: The Art of Making the Right Connection

Cold emailing is tough. You’re reaching out to someone who doesn’t know you, and you lack the usual in-person cues to adjust your approach.  Most fail because they feel generic and impersonal. But done right? Cold emails can open doors, launch careers, and even create businesses.

I’m not talking mass-marketing emails here. This is about making a genuine connection with one specific person. Let’s break down how to do it well:

1. Do Your Homework – The Right Way

Don’t just regurgitate the first Google result. True personalization means understanding the person, what motivates them, and what they might actually want. That shows effort and respect. Also, be clear why you’re reaching out to them specifically – people help those they feel uniquely positioned to assist.

2. Prove You’re Legit

They don’t know you, so build credibility.  Mutual connections are golden, but lacking that, maybe you share an uncommon hobby or hometown. The goal is to go from “random stranger” to someone relatable. Even a small commonality works wonders.

3. Focus on Them, Not You

Can you solve a major problem for them? Did you find a way to fix something that’s been bugging them? That’s infinitely more compelling than just asking for favors. If you can’t offer a solution, give something valuable: connect them with someone they want to meet.

4. Short and Sweet Gets Results

Nobody wants an essay. Write like you talk – natural and to the point. Be clear on what you want them to do.  Don’t make them work to figure out the next step. Offer specific times for a meeting or let them easily pick from a few options you provide.

5. Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Be a bit vulnerable, even slightly submissive. Thank them sincerely,  and make it okay if they’re too busy. This feels good from their end and paradoxically, makes them more likely to help.  Most people I get cold emails from don’t sound thankful, they sound entitled!

Read our blog post on how to ask for update in email 

The No-Template Template

Forget one-size-fits-all templates. If it’s personalized, it can’t be pre-written. Use these principles instead:

  • Grab attention with a strong connection: “Loved your Twitter thread on X. I’m also from [shared hometown], how crazy is that?”
  • Build yourself up briefly: “Headed marketing at [company], been in the industry for X years.”
  • Offer something valuable or solve a pain point: “Saw your comment about [issue]. We just launched a tool that fixes this, happy to give you a demo.”
  • Clear Ask: “Free for coffee on Thursday or Friday? I’ll even bring the donuts.”
  • Gratitude: “Totally understand if you’re swamped, but I’d truly appreciate your insights.”

That’s it! You’ll be amazed at how much better your cold emails perform with these tweaks. Read our blog post on writing an email