Many sales people use a cold email as a key tool to try engage with a sales prospect. We say “cold” in the same way that we refer to a cold call in that your are sending an email to someone that you do not have an existing relationship or dialogue with.

Using email instead of a phone call, or just before reaching out with a call, can have a lot of benefits but there are definitely some things to keep in mind in order to improve your results and effectiveness.

1. Avoid the insta-delete
Your initial goal is to not get your email insta-deleted. This is where a prospect either deletes your email without looking at it or deletes with just a very quick glance (a couple of seconds). If you can design your email so that you minimize this insta-delete, you will greatly improve your results.

2. Don’t design your email to have a one-to-many appearance
One key principle to adopt to help with minimizing the insta-delete is to avoid having a one-to-many appearance in your cold email. This refers to whether the prospect thinks you wrote the email just for them or that you wrote the email once and are sending that same email to a number of different people.

The logic here is that if the email is one-to-many, the recipient can develop a few very quick and very negative assumptions:

  • You are a sales person trying to sell something
  • You did not write and send this specifically to me
  • You do not know much about me
  • You are not taking the time to learn about me and communicate with me directly
  • Since this is not written specifically for me, I can delete quickly without reading and I will most likely will not miss anything

When you add all of those up, it is easy to see how having a one-to-many cold email will drive up your insta-delete rate.

3. Minimize design effects
To support your effort to avoid the one-to-many appearance, try to minimize the use of images, borders, and HTML effects. Yes, all of those things make an email look real nice, but if I am sending you a personal one-to-one email, I will not typically take the time to insert all of those.

4. Don’t use hyperlinks (anchor text)
A very common thing that many people do in a cold email that is a quick hint that it is not one-to-one is that they insert hyperlinks. When someone sees that, they can be immediately clued into the fact that the email was probably set up as some sort of email template in an email marketing software system and sent out to a mass list.

The reason why is that people do not usually insert hyperlinked text in personal one-to-one emails. It is not real complicated to do so, but it is just not real common in the way that people typically compose personal one-to-one emails.

One workaround here is it is important to try to send the prospect to a website is to insert the hyperlink as an actual web address. For example, instead of inserting Cold Email, use


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