Stop Using Gimmicks For Your Cold Emails

30th November 2018 Off By binary
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Email Gimmicks Are Ruining Your Cold Emails

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Why Is (Proper) Cold Emailing Important?

Cold emailing is the practice of emailing a person that doesn’t know who you are, to achieve some sort of goal. When done correctly, cold emails can be an incredibly powerful and versatile tool to build your professional network, get new clients for your business, or just make new friends.

I’ve used cold emailing to achieve all of the above. I have successfully cold emailed CEOs, investors, book authors, professors, and more. Others have also successfully used cold emails to transform their business and their social circle. But I’m seeing an increasingly worrying trend when it comes to cold emails: the use of gimmicks.

These gimmicks are often used by marketers, businesses, or career professionals who want to attract attention to their email. These email gimmicks often come from some entrepreneur “guru” who promised you that, if you just pay $10, he will give you his “top 10 email tricks” to guarantee that the other person will respond to the email.

I want to dispel this notion that there is any particular gimmick that will make you nearly 100% successful in a cold email. Even if there was such a gimmick that guaranteed cold email success, you sure wouldn’t be able to buy it for only $10.

I’m going to show you the sort of cold email gimmick that you should be avoiding.

How Cold Email Gimmicks Can Backfire

The Gimmicky Subject Line

This is what I’d like to call the “email clickbait gimmick”. Some business/entrepreneur gurus recommend that you use some gimmick subject line in your cold emails to increase the likelihood of the person on the other end opening the email.

What’s the problem with this? Just because somebody opened your email doesn’t mean that they’re automatically going to buy your product or service. They’re only going to buy it if it’s relevant to meeting their goals or dreams. Using a gimmick subject line isn’t going to change that.

For example, an example gimmick subject line is: “I’m disappointed Chris”.

If I were to receive an email with that subject line, I’d wonder who it is that I disappointed and if it’s related to personal or business. I decide to click open the email, and the body of the email says:

“I’m disappointed because you haven’t followed up on my last phone call. We still think you could really benefit from using XYZ service where you only have to pay us $19.99/month for…”

Hopefully you get the gist. I quickly delete the email, and setup a filter to block any further emails from that email address.

Again, it doesn’t matter if you can get an incredibly high open rate for your cold emails if it doesn’t convert into something useful. I can think of plenty of gimmicky subject lines that would guarantee an almost 100% open rate, but that doesn’t mean you should use them.

Furthermore, this gimmick diminishes trust in your brand because it shows that your subject lines have nothing to do with the actual body of your email. When marketers and salespeople use tricks like this to get people to open their emails, it just comes across as slimey.

What Cold Email Subject Lines Should You Use Instead?

When in doubt on what to use as the subject line for your cold email, keep it simple. Here’s a general framework you should follow when it comes to cold emails:

  • Make the subject line as specific, open, and honest as possible.
  • Try to make the subject line personal (e.g. Use the person’s last name, mention the name of their business, etc.).
  • If it seems like it might be gimmicky, it’s gimmicky. Scrap it and try again.
  • Use the person’s name in the email.

Here are some example subject lines that you can use that have been effective:

  • Hey [NAME], quick question
  • Quick request regarding [COMPANY NAME]
  • Looking to connect with [DECISION MAKER]
  • Wanted to ask you about [SPECIFIC TOPIC]

Why Are Gimmicks Usually Ineffective?

Alright, let’s get down to the brass tacks. I’m not saying that using gimmicks in your cold emails will never, ever work. They could work. In fact, you could use the most ridiculous, over-the-top cold email gimmick that has an only 0.1% success rate on average, and still get a few clients from it if you mass emailed thousands of people.

That doesn’t mean you should go out and do that. Learn to write better cold emails. Don’t rely on cold email gimmicks as a crutch when reaching out to somebody. Read books about how to write good copy. Study effective email marketing campaigns and what they did to be successful.

Just please, whatever you do, please stop using cold email gimmicks.


Stop Using Gimmicks For Your Cold Emails was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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