This post is a follow up from Alex Banayan’s book The Third Door. Though his book focuses on finding your drive and motivation to achieve your goals, he also shares tips on writing effective cold emails. Alex Banayan has made mistakes when cold emailing potential interviewees to ask for tips on how to be successful. He has gained useful tips along the way from Tim Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week when he was finally granted an interview by him.
This article is an adaptation from what Alex Banayan has shared in his book The Third Door on writing effective cold emails; extracted for the convenience for you readers. The tips can be applied from writing cold emails to prospective employers, for gaining an internships to getting sales.
READ: The Third Door by Alex Banayan
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
1. In your introduction
Instead of giving a boring introduction saying that you graduated from so and so university, majoring in so and so subject. Try to borrow some credibility by stating that you volunteered with (some well known organisation) that will bring their attention to you and your email.
Another way can be via writing for or be featured in well known publications such as Medium where you can easily sign up for an account and publish your articles. Also, you can do an interview or Q&A with someone and publishing the answers online.
2. Be specific
Give a brief and direct sentence of what you are looking for out of this exchange.
Don’t be vague. It will seem like you don’t know what you want and will come across as wasting the person’s time.
“I would like to discuss (topic). Would you be willing to discuss it? I think a phone call might be faster, but if you prefer, I could throw a couple of questions via email.”
3. Emails should be short and concise
Don’t waste the person’s time. Especially when they do not you at all. All the more they don’t have a moral obligation to help you out.
4. Don’t make presumptions when you don’t know the person
Don’t write “this is perfect for you” or “you will love this”.
This is off- putting because you don’t know the person well to understand what he or she is thinking.
5. Be modest when signing off
Instead of saying “thanks in advance”, use “I totally understand if you are too busy to respond, but even a one or two line reply would really make my day.”.
6. Don’t keep sending emails when the person does not reply
Know when to back off or you will come across as annoying.
Sample of a Cold Email to Someone
Opening: I know you are really busy and that you get a lot of emails, so this will only take 60 seconds to read.
Paragraph 2: Introduce yourself using borrowed credibility technique.
Paragraph 3: Ask specific questions.
Ending: I totally understand if you are too busy to respond, but even a one or two line reply would really make my day.
Do you find these pointers useful? Let me know by leaving a comment!
8 thoughts on “How to Write Cold Emails Effectively”
This is great. I think I’ll pick up the book. Thanks for the suggestion.
I get these kind of emails all of the time and they’re definitely more interesting to read than some of the others. But I think because people use this template I start to see the same thing over and over again which makes me not read them. Interesting concept though, thanks for sharing!
I agree with the paragraph about presumptions. If you really don’t know a person, you shouldn’t use presumptions. Does anybody have any thoughts about it?
Yeah it’s better to be respectful when unsure. This could increase our chances with the other party.
Thanks for the great information for us.
Thank you Thompson. Do continue to look out at this space for more interesting content!