5 cold email suggestions from an expert

Cold emails. Sigh.

It’s a love-hate relationship. We spend hours crafting cold emails and hope that the ones we send out are opened immediately... but we delete the cold emails that hit our own inbox. They're almost impossible to crack... but when we do, cold emails can be a phenomenal growth strategy.

In a recent episode of Uncapped Notes, we chatted with Hustle Fund portfolio founder Adam Spector, founder of Levy. Levy does back office operations for startups so they can focus on what matters most: growing the business.

Adam does a LOT of cold email to grow Levy. And it works. Here's what we learned.

Note: if you prefer to watch, you can do that here.

Have a catchy subject line

The goal of a subject line is to get people to open your email. That’s it.

And while click-bait subject lines get a bad rap, there’s an argument to be made for subject lines that actually grab your reader’s attention.

Think about it: if someone receives a couple hundred emails a day, they will naturally open what is interesting to them first, or something that’s out of the ordinary. No one's gonna open an email with a subject line that's boring, or spammy, or salesy.

The subject line should be funny, unique, and different. FOMO also works well.

You can even name drop, like: “we helped Hustle Fund grow 10x” or “Eric Bahn recommended I reach out”. Just make sure you get permission from the person you’re mentioning before you use this strategy.

Get to the point quickly

If you’re writing a cold email, then by definition your reader doesn’t know who you are or what your business is.

And no offense, but since they don’t know you they don’t care about you. They won’t spend the time reading paragraph after paragraph about what you do and how impressive you are and what your background is.

If you want them to actually read your email, get to the point right away. The first two sentences should capture who you are and why you’re writing this email – then move on. Quickly explain how you can help them, then make a clear ask.

For example:

Hey Eric - are you planning to fundraise anytime soon?

My name is Kera and I’m head of marketing for Hustle Fund. We’re an early-stage VC fund that believes founders can look like anyone and come from anywhere.

I’m reaching out because we’ve developed an API that makes it easy for founders to find angel investors more easily. So far we’ve helped 25 founders connect with investors around the world.

Is this a tool you’d be interested in trying out?

When mobile or desktop email notifications pop up, there’s space for a line or two… don’t waste that real estate, use that for a powerful hook!

A/B test your call to action (CTA)

Send out a bunch of cold emails and test which CTAs convert at the highest rate.

Try tweaking the language of the CTA, or placing the CTAs at different parts of the email. After a few tests, you can roughly figure out which version is more effective and use that for your next batch of emails.

Share a product example

You’ll want to capture as much of your reader’s attention while they have their eyes on your email.

One way to do this is to include an example of your product. You can use GIFs to make it easy to consume this visual information (here’s a tool that makes it easy), or include a video link to it (in case people block GIFs in their emails).

Sell emotions, not features

There may be many exciting features that you’d love to share, but remember: most people won’t read a long email. You need to get them excited about your product as quickly as possible in this email.

And the best way to do that is by appealing to emotions.

If you’ve identified the problem statement earlier in the email, saying something like “Using this has made my life so much easier…” is a lot more interesting than “The product features 3…”

We did a short exercise with Adam. Eric gave him an on-the-fly product and asked Adam to create a cold email in real-time. This is what we got:

Cold email example

This is a terrible screenshot from the Uncapped Notes episode. Watch it here.

In this example, the seller (Adam) is trying to get a VC (Eric) to schedule a call with him about a possible investment opportunity. Adam capitalizes on Eric's emotions to get him excited right away.

The goal of the email is to schedule a call, not get Eric to commit to an investment. So Adam doesn’t need to give ALL the information about his company in this one cold email. He just needs to get Eric excited enough to take the next step.

Plus, by not going too deep into details in this cold email, Adam is leaving room for follow-up emails in the future, in case Eric doesn’t respond right away. In future emails, Adam can share different details that might better capture Eric’s attention.

You got this

There are a lot of cold email tips out there. We hope these ones help you rock your next cold outreach. If you want more, we dive into additional examples on this episode of Uncapped Notes.