The cold email outreach model I’ve used to launch and grow multiple business

At this point in my career I’ve created several businesses.

  • A freelance career
  • Information products
  • A subscription offer

And I’ve also helped plenty of SaaS brands grow their revenue.

Most of the successes I’ve had with the above models can be traced back to one action. Cold email outreach.

Sounds crazy, but the initial traction and some of the biggest partnership campaigns I’ve had were all thanks to a few well placed emails.

Here’s why I still recommend cold email for business owners and marketers, and the process I use to get results.

Why cold email marketing?

Cold email is an action you, as a business owner, can fully control.

You can’t control the response or how it’s received.

But you can control what is sent, when it hits their inbox, and the volume of messages you send.

All of which can be tracked and improved based on success rates.

If you compare it to something like Social Media, where you have limiting elements that are out of your control like…

  • Algorithms destroying your reach
  • Group moderators banning your posts
  • Difficulty in targeting specific people who have the ability to hire/buy

And so much more, direct outreach is an easier to refine approach.

Yes, social is great for promotion and getting the word out.

However, cold email outreach is a much better way at building true 1-2-1 connections in a short period of time.

Why cold email marketing doesn’t work for so many

Whether you’re sending outreach messages to open dialogues with…

  • Potential customers
  • Future clients
  • Partners

There are a few golden rules you need to follow to see real success.

Rule #1 – Don’t rely wholly on a template

Templates are easy to spot and easier to ignore. Take a look at the below for an example of an easy to ignore template.

There’s nothing in the message that makes me think this was specifically for me.

It is a 100% template that can be used across multiple businesses in various industries. It’s only purpose, to benefit the brand sending it.

As a recipient, there’s no benefit for me.

And if someone can’t take 5 minutes to write something for me, then I’m not going to waste 5 minutes considering their offer.

Sounds harsh, but when you get dozens of these emails per day you have to make snap decisions to save your own time and sanit.

Rule #2 – Offer some real personalisation

This is the difference between effective and ineffective message outreach.

A lot of marketers rely on really generic personalisation. Things that could apply to a hundred or more people.

We’re talking things like…

  • “You’re killing it at [BRAND]”
  • “How is sales treating you?”
  • “I love what [BRAND] is doing”

These are too generic.

You’ve got to dig into the recipient and find something that helps your message stand out to them. It has to be something unique and genuinely personal to them.

There’s a great book on this by Ed Gandia of B2BLauncher on this.

The book, and the process, he’s called “Warm Email Prospecting” because you’re coming in with something relevant to the recipient.

Each message is handcrafted for the recipient, and so you’re more likely to get a response.

I’d recommend you pick up a copy of the book here.

But if you want a short primer, keep reading.

The golden rules for effective cold outreach

When you’re reaching out to potential customers or clients you have to remember that they’re busy.

They don’t want to spend time trying to understand the purpose of your message, what’s in it for them, or what they need to do to progress things.

Below I’ve listed my golden rules for effective cold outreach emails and messages. These should be followed regardless of the platform you use.

  1. Offer value
  2. Know when to quit
  3. The colder the email, the shorter the length
  4. 20/80 split of personalisation to templated message (more on this below)
  5. Quality > quantity is good, focus on highly qualified leads over sheer volume. But if you can hit quality + quantity you’re golden.

With those golden rules out of the way, let’s move onto the process and template I’ve used for multiple successes.

The basic process for cold outreach success

The format here is surprisingly simple and, when maintained, can be incredibly effective.

This is a snapshot of a recent cold outreach campaign’s results from my Lemlist account.

A 90% open rate and a 9% response rate.  Much higher than most averages.

According to Woodpecker.co, the best response rate they’ve seen from “advanced personalisation” emails was 7%.

I’ve also written about the process in detail in the below piece.

But let’s break it down to an easy to understand model.

A visualisation of the model would look something like the below.

Let’s get into the details.

Step 1 – Identify qualified leads

If you’re targeting someone like the CMO of a business, there’s no point emailing the brand new marketing intern.

They don’t have the authority to make any decisions.

You have to know who your ideal customer/client is and take the time up front to qualify them.

If you don’t, the email is going to be ignored because the recipient won’t know what to do with it.

Step 2 – Research for personalisation

You could start emailing the person right now.

However, all that’s going to do is result in one of those awful cold emails I used as an example earlier in this piece.

You need to research each lead to find something that will grab their attention.

Don’t think putting something like “we have a few common friends” or “I see you’re killing it with [BRAND]’s marketing” is enough.

That type of personalisation is BS and easily identified.  Instead look for something like…

  • An article they recently published
  • Something they mentioned on social
  • Something you know about their personality and likes

Basically something that tells them you’re not just spamming, but have taken the time to look into who they are.

That’s going to stand out because everyone loves their ego being stroked, but it also shows that any kind of recommendation you then make isn’t going to be a generic cookie cutter.

Step 3 – Send a 20/80 email

If you’re pushing a service or product, the majority of your email will be the same.

Your ideal customers will all have similar wants, needs, and desired benefits.

But you can’t lead with that in your email because it’s gonna feel like a template.

So the first line is that personalised element you researched. After you’ve grabbed attention with it, you move on to the templated ask, promo, offer.

It might feel like a lot of effort to do that research, but you’ll get far better responses and a much higher hit rate.

That time is worth it.

Step 4+ – Follow up accordingly

Once that initial email is sent, you have to follow up accordingly.

If there’s no reply, wait 2-3 business days and shoot them another email to remind them.

Follow up TWICE for a TOTAL OF THREE EMAILS. No more. Beyond that you’re spamming.

If they respond and say “no thanks” you remove them from your future mails.

If they respond positively, simply move the conversation forward naturally with an email conversation.

It might seem simple, but the most effective approaches often are.

Before I sign off on this one, let’s look at a basic template outline.

Effective cold outreach email template

This is the basic outline of a template I send to open a dialogue with any new potential client or customer.

First, know that these emails are short.

4 sentences max.

You want people to be able to skim them quickly and easily so they can immediately understand if this is an offer they’d benefit from.

And I’ve found the below template to work the best.

Let’s break it down.

Subject line – Specifically vague

I like to use something I call specifically vague for my subject lines.

The only job of the subject is to get people to open your emails. Nothing gets that done more than piquing curiosity.

After hundreds of email subject lines, I’ve found the “specifically vague” approach works best.

Basically, you give the recipient enough information to let them know that this email is for them, but not enough to know what’s inside.

One of my best performing subject lines is…

“Quick question for you [NAME]…”

I’ve used that for multiple campaigns and it always performs well.

It’s specific in that it’s for the recipient (they know cause their name is in it).

It’s vague cause they don’t know what the Q could be.

Greeting – Use their name

Nothing incredible here.

Just open the email with a friendly greeting that you’d use for a friend, and also add in the recipient’s name.

Personalisation sentence

This is where you’d write something that references the personal element you researched on the person.

Again, nothing flashy needed.

Just write as if you’re speaking to a friend.

After this, the rest of the email is templated.

Segue sentence

A sentence that makes the switch to your offer or value sentence seem more natural and less like a hard flip.

Offer sentence

All you do here is tell the person about what you’re offering or the value of the offer.

Next step sentence

And finally, tell them what you want them to do next if they’re interested.


Your signature should include basic information like…

  • A link to your site
  • Your phone number
  • Links to social if relevant

It really is that simple.

To show what the above model would look like in a real email, here’s a copy pasted version from my own emails that helped me launch the Growth Models Membership, adding a couple of hundred bucks to our MRR when we were just starting out.

This email was sent to CMOs and executive level marketers. Basically, people who could benefit from it.

Rather than promote the service, I used this email to get feedback, the people who liked the offer signed up without being prompted to.

Would love your expert opinion on this [NAME]

Hey [NAME],

Noticed you recently launched [NEW OFFER] –  let me know if you want me to roll out social shares to help with discoverability. I’ve just launched a little something this end and I’d love your opinion. 

Every month I break one of today’s most successful growth strategies down to templates so others can copy it in their business. 

If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send a free edition for your feedback and opinions.  

Best regards

Pete Boyle



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