Cold emailing best practice


Grow through cold emails

Here's an excerpt from the Growth Program's Cold Email module.

Why you should consider testing cold email as a growth channel

No one likes getting cold emails.

But when it’s done correctly, it works. Some businesses single-handedly grow through cold email.

Take a look at this email (we wrote it as an example):


This is cold email perfection:

  • Clearly indicate why you’re reaching out and how you’ll add value—and be specific: “Customer IO will increase revenue by ~12%.”
  • Proactively handle key objections.
  • Add a personal touch up front, which acts as the hook for the rest of the note.
  • End with one clear CTA. And since it’s the first email, ask for interest instead of time in your CTA. “Do you think we’re a fit?” works better than “Let’s book a call” at first.
  • Include “persona-matching”—the presumed sender of the email isn’t a salesperson. It’s the employee who most closely matches the role of the intended recipient. This builds trust and can lead to better cold email ROI.

We’ll teach you how to send effective cold email campaigns like these.

What makes email so great?

  • Targeting: Emails let you target exactly the people you want, and when done right, they’re so personalized that people can’t help but respond. You can’t get that with ads. Why? Ads cast a wider net, meaning you’ll always end up hitting people who will never buy from you. A 2% CTR would be impressive with ads. For email? You can see CTRs as high as 50% on strong campaigns.
  • Access: Most decision makers still manage their own email inboxes. This is a massive opportunity. So long as you have the correct email address, your message lands in front of decision makers as they’re actively making business decisions.
  • Low capital investment: All you need is an email account, and potentially software to help you automate your process. So it makes sense to start with this channel if it has potential for you. That way you’re not burning cash before you’re generating revenue from clients.

Who should use cold outreach

Most early-stage startups should test cold outreach, but it’s most profitable for B2B companies.


Cold outreach isn’t “free”—that’s a common misconception. Due to the labor involved in outreach and sales, CACs can be relatively high. In many cases, only high margin products can support cold outreach as a growth channel.

B2B companies typically have a higher margin than consumer companies.

Think of it like this:

Say you run an online shoe company where you sell $100 pairs of shoes that cost you $25 to make. Cold outreach might not be worth your time: You’ll likely spend hours sending emails, setting up calls, and managing the funnel. Labor hours would exceed your $75 margin.

But for a B2B SaaS business selling $1,000/month contracts? 5 labor hours to close a deal might result in thousands of dollars of profit.

That doesn’t mean you should rule out cold outreach if you’re not at a B2B company with high margins.

You can still make cold outreach work. Here’s a framework for identifying companies that cold outreach could work for:

  • High margin products that can afford the labor of emailing and closing.
  • Products that are expensive and that people aren’t actively searching for (if people are searching for your product, search ads and content might be more effective).
  • Most early-stage startups that need a low capital investment way to sell and generate revenue so that they can afford to test other channels—like running ads or hiring a content writer.

Specific examples of companies that should test cold outreach:

  • Agencies who charge $2000+/month per client and collect their first payment after the first month.
  • Most B2B SaaS companies.
  • Companies selling expensive physical goods (like equipment or medical devices).
  • Edtech companies that sell high-margin digital products.

If you’re deciding whether or not you should test cold outreach, here’s an actionable framework. Test cold outreach if you meet one or both of the following criteria:

  1. Your profit margins are greater than $500 per closed deal AND your payback period is less than 2 months.
  2. You’re at an early-stage startup that sells products over $100 and you can afford to sell at low margins to get off the ground—do things that don’t scale until you can afford to test channels that scale.

Creating a cold email strategy

Here’s what a cold outreach pipeline could look like:

  • Generate a prospect list.
  • Invite the qualified prospects (via email) to an online product demo, sales call, or webinar.
  • Address their objections and entice them to purchase.
  • Negotiate and close their contract.