cold email

Cold email. So many people love to hate it. Many hate it because they think it doesn’t work anymore. It still works fine but the problem with cold email is that so many are doing it wrongly! In this article, we are going to talk about common cold email mistakes that people make.

So with this in mind, here’s a list of 6 cold email mistakes that you should avoid if at all possible:

  • Misleading subject lines
  • Long Body Copy
  • Too many CTAs
  • Not verifying Emails!
  • Using a Generic Company Email Address
  • Making the opening Line all About You

Let’s talk about each of these one at a time.

Misleading Subject Lines

Misleading Subject Lines is when you use subject lines that have nothing to do with your email at all.

Some examples:

FW: ___________

RE: __________

Your ______ Account Status

Another common one is also pretending to be a customer (for b2b sales) when you are actually trying to sell the prospect. Will these subject lines get high open rates? Probably. Will they help you gain the trust of your prospects? No way. Misleading subject lines is a big turn off for prospects. They can lead to better open rates but more often than not, they will lead to prospects getting angry.

Sure, they spark curiosity, but when they open such an email you see that it’s totally not what you expected. They feel cheated. When this happens, they lose trust in you. That is a really bad way to start out any potential business relationship!

Long Body Copy

Keep the email’s subject line short and sweet. According to one study, email reply rates went up by 42% when the email length was under 200 words. Ideally, your email should be between 50 and 125 words.

A clear and concise email that tells the main benefit and without taking too much of the person’s time, makes for a good email.

Remember that you have lots of competition. Your prospect likely gets over 50 cold emails a day. You need to grab your prospects’ time and attention quickly. Remember that the average time a  prospect only spends reading an email is only 13.4 seconds. If you don’t get your point across in that timeframe, your email is toast.

Too Many CTAs

CTA (calls to action) are important in emails otherwise your prospect would not know what to do. On the other hand, having too many CTAs is not good.

Not including a call-to-action in your cold email negates the whole point, but including multiple CTAs only makes it more confusing for your prospect..

Salespeople may believe that having different types of CTAs will compel their prospects to choose at least one. However, that is a misconception. This will more often than not confuse the prospect.

Having a CTA is essential but just have one. Remember you only have 13.4 seconds for them to take action, so make it easy for them to say yes.

Not Verifying Emails

It’s important to verify that you have the right email address before sending your cold emails. Verifying emails means that you check to see if the email is valid and that it belongs to a real person. The reason why we do email verification is to make sure that we send the email to an email address that is still being used.

Why does verifying emails matter?

It affects your email sender score. The more times you send to an email that bounces (not deliverable), the more your sender score will drop and the more likely you will end up in SPAM filters.

How do you verify emails? You simply run them through an email verification tool.

Here are some common ones:

Bonus Tip

If you are using names, make sure the names are up to date and you don’t say the wrong person’s name in the email..

It sounds like a no-brainer, but we’ve seen too many people accidentally send an email to the wrong person. This is embarrassing and makes you lose credibility.

Using A Generic Company Email Address

Why does this matter? When people get emails from a  generic company email, it comes across more of a newsletter type email that many don’t respond to because they get flooded with these all day. It gives a hint that the email isn’t customized. It’s low on their priority list to open it. Sending emails from a personal address shows that it is getting sent by a real person instead of an automated newsletter style campaign.

An example:

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

These are good for inbound inquiries but will sound very SPAMMY if you use them for cold outreach. Use [email protected] for outbound emails.

Bonus Tip

Depending on the niche, sometimes it’s better to use free aged* email addresses. Have any old personal gmail, yahoo or hotmail accounts? Using personal email addresses will seem more organic and will let you test things out without ruining the sender score of your main company email address.

Making the Opening Line all About You

One thing people do a lot is to start the email with their name, their company’s name and what they do. For  example, “Hello. My name is Jake Smith and I am an account manager for XYZ Widget company”.

This is a bad practice. While your prospect may be interested in those details, the primary reason he will read your email is if he sees that there is some value that you will provide to him.

Start with your message and mention your name later. No need to formally introduce yourself in the first cold email. Remember that they are very low on time. You can only focus on one thing for your cold email and that is the core message that you are trying to get across. Skip the introductions (for now).

Wrap up

Cold emailing is still a powerful sales technique, if used properly. And precisely because this method is so powerful, it can work both ways. It can be used to scale your business like crazy or it can just as easily damage your reputation and steer away prospects from you. All you have to do with your cold email is spark interest in your prospects, that’s it. Remember that cold email is just used to start the conversion, not convince them to marry you. Avoid these simple mistakes and you won’t end up annoying your prospects, getting sent to SPAM or getting blacklisted.

Bill Choudhry is an outbound sales professional.  His approach is non-salesy, consultative, and authentic. What he loves most about outreach is that . He loves the outdoors and can frequently be found in the park. He also likes playing guitar and is an avid sci fi junkie. You can visit learn more about his company here:

Cold email stock photo by Artur Szczybylo/Shutterstock