May 19, 2022

Warm Up Prospects with These Cold Email Introduction Do’s and Don’ts

Written by Karli Stone

Second only to the cold email subject line, the most important part of cold emails is the introduction.

When SDRs and AEs send out a cold email, the first sentence or two can determine whether or not that sales email will be opened, read, or replied to. These small intros also set the stage for future relationships between buyers and sellers (for better – or for worse).

In this article, we’ll go through cold email introduction best practices and give you examples of email introductions you can start using in your B2B outbound sales today.

In just 5 minutes, you could be a better cold email writer…

So stick with us!

What is a cold email? Why is the cold email introduction so important?

Cold emails are the first impression.

They are the initial emails that are sent to introduce your brand to prospects who have little to no prior relationship with you or your company.

In simple words, cold emailing is when you email someone you don’t know to get them interested and excited and increase your rate of closing the deal! They aim to build a relationship with the prospect (your future customer) and move them forward in the sales funnel.

Despite their potential, most cold emails never get opened. Average cold email open rates are as low as 14%.

This is because many emails don’t make it past their first impression – which is the moment readers scan through their inboxes to decide what messages are worth clicking on and reading.

Cold email impressions are based on three important elements:

  • Sender name
  • Subject line
  • And the preview text

The preview text is the short snippet that recipients see in their inbox next to your message’s subject line.

It’s often the first snippet of your email body, which is exactly why cold email intros matter! If what they see in their inbox doesn’t pique their interest, the entirety of your email will go unread.

Your introduction needs to be strong enough to hook in your readers, grab their attention, and keep them interested.

It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of pressure to pick just the right words for your introduction and we want to help you out…

Cold email introduction “do’s” and “don’ts”

DO: Open with a question

Questions generate curiosity and they can be a great way to get prospects thinking about their current needs and situation. In fact, emails that include between one and three questions get 50% higher reply rates.

If your email does get a reply, you’ll likely get solid answers that will help you better understand your prospects’ needs and pain points.

Examples: “Is X a priority for you right now?”, “Did you know {{statistic}}?”, “How can I make your life easier?”

DON’T: Start with a generic introduction

“Hi! I’m Jane Smith, and I am a sales rep at X company and we do blah blah blah.”

Ugh, we’ve heard it all before.

The average working professional receives 121 emails per day, and there’s nothing like a generic introduction that will cause your emails to go unread, or worse, straight to the spam folder.

While it’s tempting to tell them your name, job, and company right out of the gate, it doesn’t differentiate you or provide value to prospective customers.

DO: Focus on the prospect

A great way to begin is to congratulate the prospect on a recent achievement, ask them about their newest product launch, or bring up one of their interests. Start with anything that focuses on them and makes them feel valued.

This is an especially effective strategy because adding personalization fields to your cold email can boost your response rate by up to 142%.

Examples: “I loved your post/tweet/blog on X”, “Congratulations on your recent career move!”, “I know you’re an expert in {{topic}}. I thought of you when I saw X and wanted to share it with you.”

DON’T: Ask before you give

The opening line of a cold email is no place for a big ask.

Asking the recipient for a meeting, a phone call, a referral, or more of their time right out of the gate will lose any interest they may have in you or your business (after all – they are just now meeting you).

Instead, focus on giving the potential customer something of value. Maybe it’s a resource, an e-book, a link to a related article or podcast, or even just the promise of a solution to their problems.

DO: Find a connection

Finding a mutual topic or connection that you and your potential customer share can really kick things off. Mentioning a connection also provides social proof that you are a reliable contact and a friendly personality.

Examples: “{{Mutual connection}} recommended we talk!”, “How do you know {{mutual connection}}? We worked together on XYZ”

DON’T: Make it all about you

One common mistake is making your cold emails all about the sender (i.e. you!).

Your cold email intro shouldn’t be about a blog you just published or your company’s new funding round.

It’s important to remember that with cold emails, the prospect never asked you to get in touch with them. This means that it is up to you to build trust and provide a specific value to them.

DO: Test, test, test

Lastly, it’s never been more important to run frequent tests on your email introductions.

Conducting A/B tests can help you determine which message engages more prospects and help you better reach your intended audience. You can leverage this data to create the perfect cold email and improve the effectiveness of future outreach sequences.

(More on how Apollo can help you with this later…)

Cold email introduction examples

Here are a few examples of good cold email intros and why they work:

Example #1: “Since you are the company’s Head of Sales, you already know how annoying it is to waste your time on unresponsive leads.”

Why it works: This opener agitates a specific pain point and shows that you understand the hurdles your customers are experiencing. Opening lines focused on a relevant pain point (content promotion, cold emailing, advertising, etc.) are good ways to show you’ve researched their current activities and set you up well to mention your product.

Example #2: “I noticed that you were an active user of X at your previous company and recently joined Google. Would love to help you jump-start your roadmap to success in this new role.”

Why it works: This is an example of an introduction that our own SDRs here at Apollo have had a lot of success with. This opener can be used to target contacts who have had previous experience with your product but have recently changed jobs.

Not only is this B2B cold email intro personalized, but it re-engages a user who is likely to become a customer due to their previous experience.

(Pst! Apollo’s Job Change alerts can help you identify which contacts have recently changed roles so you can send a cold sales email at just the right time.)

Example #3: “{{Mutual connection}} said I should reach out to you!”

Why it works: It isn’t groundbreaking, but it is a simple and effective way to open an email. There’s no need to get overly specific with the personal details, but this is a strategy that proves to them you are not a complete stranger and instantly makes communication feel more warm and friendly.

Example #4: “Saw your talk at {{event}} – loved the unique insights and I am hoping to test some of those ideas over the next few weeks!”

Why it works: Everybody loves a compliment! Plus, it’s a great way to show them you’ve done your research and genuinely care about their professional life. Even if your prospect isn’t a big public persona, there’s always something to bring up. It could be a post that they shared on LinkedIn, a blog post they wrote, or even a review they have on their site.

Example #5: “How would your revenue improve if you had a 60% increase in leads, 50% increase in sales, and 50% increase in meeting sales targets?”

Why it works: This opening line lightly teases the recipient. It captures their attention by dangling the promise of a better life (or at the very least, a better business) in front of them.

Use real statistics in this introduction to give them the social proof that your company works and they have a chance to be a part of it.

How Apollo helps you send better cold emails

If you’re ready to hit the ground running and revamp your cold email strategy, we can help.

Equipped with the best database, powerful automation tools, and robust workflows, Apollo has all the tools you need to perfect your cold email outreach and make it a powerful source of revenue.

  • Create Sequences for automated emails with different introductions that uniquely target each buyer persona in your pipeline and schedule them to be sent out at just the right time.
  • Leverage Snippets to hyper-personalize email outreach using the data from Apollo’s best-in-market database. Simply insert an email snippet (ex. prospects company, last name, location, title) and Apollo will handle the email personalization for you.
  • Find the perfect email introduction using A/B testing. Effortlessly add an A/B test to your sales sequences to see what variation of your email introduction garners the best results.
  • Track email and Sequence performance, gain valuable insights about your target audience, and make data-based adjustments with Analytics and Custom Reports.

There’s no better way to put your new email writing skills to use than alongside a powerful end-to-end sales engine. Give Apollo a try today for free!

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone

Karli Stone is a copy writer and content creator living in Los Angeles, CA and a proud University of Washington grad. When she’s not wordsmith-ing, you can find her biking along Santa Monica Beach, following the Seattle Seahawks, or catching a flick at her local cinema.