Sending cold emails should be a subject taught in high school.
You should have to study it every year until you get good at it. Because if you can send great cold emails, you can literally do anything in life. The opportunities you desperately want lie on the other side of cold emails.
Here’s the framework to connect with anyone via cold email.
Get their not-so-well-hidden email address
People love the idea they’re hard to reach.
Then they choose easy-to-guess email addresses. LOL. Sahil Bloom taught me that most email addresses are one of these:
[first name] @ [company] . com
[first initial] [last name] @ [company] . com
[first name] . [last name] @ [company] . com
[last name] @ [company] . com
People like me also put our email addresses on our websites. Some people put them in their Twitter bio. And a lot of people have their email address on their LinkedIn profile.
Write killer subject lines that are irresistible (like this)
Any monkey can send an email.
Getting your cold email opened is the first line of defense. The subject line has to be amazing, otherwise your email will be instantly deleted.
Think of email subject lines like newspaper headlines or naughty clickbait titles you see on Youtube videos. It has to be good.
People want to know what they’ll get by opening your email. So bloody well tell them in the subject line and remove the guessing game.
Tony, this made me $50,000. It’s the missing piece to your XYZ project — Tim Denning
Now this example is slightly too long, but it makes you want to open it.
- Add numbers
- Use the person’s first name
- Create a curiosity gap like “missing piece”
- Use words like “you” and “your” to show it’s not a selfish email
- Reference a current project they’re working on which is top of mind
- Add your name at the end so it doesn’t look like a generic email
Tony Robbins gave me your email address and said I should reach out.
There’s no freaking way you’re not opening that email.
Long emails get lit on fire and deleted
This is the main piece of advice people stuff up.
I get hundreds of cold emails every week. Most of them are long essays that require 10+ minutes to read each one. If I did indulge and try to read them all, I’d never get to spend time with my unborn daughter.
I’d have to tell my wife “sorry love, I won’t be done reading these emails until it’s 2024. See you then at her 2nd birthday party?”
No one has time to read long emails.
My formula is a maximum of nine sentences with no more than three sentences per paragraph. Writing an email this concise is like writing a kickass tweet.
Most people don’t have the discipline to do it, which is why it gives you an enormous unfair advantage if you get to the point.
A short email has a chance. A long email won’t make it, which means your ‘ask’ is dead on arrival.
Short, sharp, punchy sentences
Long sentences with heaps of commas are a sign of an amateur email writer. The best emails have short sentences.
Think like an Apple copywriter (look at their homepage).
They say a helluva lot about their devices with only a few words. All the filler is edited out. There’s no “really” “very” or “we believe.” What Apple says is gospel. They’re confident. They use stats to back up what they say.
Copywriting skills can help you write life-changing emails.
Stop saying “sorry” goddammit
Sorry to email you.
Sorry if this is rude.
Sorry to bother you.
Sorry to take up your time.
Are you sorry for breathing, too? Just stop it. Never start with sorry. You have a right to send emails to whomever you want. The recipient can choose to delete them though. Such is life.
Sorry sounds like weakness.
Weakness doesn’t generate a reply.
Throw the english literature professor writing in the bin and spit on it
Use simple words. Otherwise you look like an english literature professor trying to sound smart. Complexity increases the mental load too.
No one’s looking to open an email and get a free headache. That’s what cable news is for 🙂
Chuck in a name they’re gonna know
Most pitches are useless or not aligned with a person’s goals.
But throw a name in an email of someone they know well and their brain can’t ignore them. They feel like they’re being watched. They don’t want to be rude in case the person mentioned finds out.
Suddenly you have leverage against them. Works every damn time.
Make it personal (without taking your pants off)
Generic templates don’t work. Our brains see an email and instantly think:
- Written by a human?
- Wants my money?
- Sent to multiple people simultaneously?
If you hit any of these red flags it’s an auto-delete. There’s no need to make it personal by showing your crotch — obviously.
All you need to do is add a book you’ve both read, or mention a common experience you’ve both had. Another way is to reference a post they’ve published online.
Personalization tells the recipient “this person spent time on me.”
What have you achieved? Doesn’t need to be climbing Mt Everest or anything. But you have to show you’re not some bum looking for a free lottery handout.
The biggest mistake people make when they’re a beginner in a new field is asking a person via a cold email “where do I start?”
That never gets a reply. If you’re a beginner that’s fine. Just tell the other person what you’ve already tried.
Example: “I need help with LinkedIn. I already wrote 2000 posts and built an email list of 5000 readers. But now I’m stuck. What do you advise?”
This person has done work. The person who says “how do I set up a LinkedIn account?” sounds like a dumbass, because their beginner question can be answered by a google search.
Execution is more impressive than ideas or lofty dreams.
Massage their assistant’s naughty areas
If you’re cold-emailing an influential person they’ll probably have an assistant. Even normies have $3 an-hour virtual assistants these days.
You want to metaphorically massage their naughty area: their ego.
Make them feel important without acting fake. Ask them a few pointed questions and seek their guidance on how to get in touch with their boss. No assistant will rudely delete an email full of love and thoughtfulness.
Sometimes it’s fun for them to reply. Other times it gives them something to do to justify their job.
Steal my cold email template that gets a 98.4% response rate
This is one template I use that works. (Obviously this one is sent to a gym dude in a singlet who pumps iron like Arnold Schwarzenegger before a Terminator movie.)
Edit this template based on the recipient’s character.
Saw your announcement about going hard on LinkedIn. Dan The Man [mutual friend] says you’re one of the bois.
I have 450k followers on LinkedIn. If you want any help with LinkedIn lemme know. Gotta support one of the homies [informal]. Zero requirement to reciprocate.
I have nothing to sell you.
Ignore this message if busy.
Notice how I don’t ask for nothing. This is true badassery. There’s plenty this gym bro can do for me but I don’t mention any of it. What you can gain comes much later.
Selflessness always gets a reply.
Don’t send cold emails at all
Yep, you can just look up a person’s mutual connections on LinkedIn or Twitter. Then you can contact a few of them and see if they will email intro you to the person you want to email.
A warm intro works much better than a cold email.
Skip email altogether
Wait, what … what … WHAT?
A few smart people I know found a better way. After much testing, it turns out most influential people will have coffee or lunch with you for $5000.
If you really want to meet someone then contact them or their assistant and say “I’ll pay you $5000 and buy you lunch. It’s a lot of money for me but I value your time.”
This silly tactic works well, assuming $5000 is money you have to spend. Most great connections can easily give you $5000 of value from their advice.
The other one I use when emails start to become a hassle with a person is to simply jump on a plane to go see them.
In 2016 I wanted to meet a famous Silicon Valley venture capitalist. It was almost impossible to get a reply from him. When I did he’d ghost again.
So I took a plane to San Francisco. When I arrived I emailed him and said “Just in your area. I traveled 7800 miles to come and see you. I’ll be here for 5 days. Is there a time you may be free?”
He couldn’t say no.
That’s how I became friends with one of the most famous investors of all time that you see all over the internet. It changed my life forever.