8 Best Practices for Cold Email Every Marketer Should Know


Best Practices for Cold Email

Creating a persuasive and converting cold email is a tough task for a novice who’s unsure just how to go about doing it. But the devil’s in the details and every detail influences not just the open, click-through and reply rates, but also the email delivery, unsubscribe, and spam complaint rates. Which is why everyone needs to know about best practices for cold emails and what a good email copy should and shouldn’t have.

The article 8 best practices For cold emails contains data from the latest research and experiments, providing facts on the best ways to write a cold email and includes the following points:

  • How to compose the perfect subject line, sender name, and pre-header
    The ideal email length (with examples)
  • How to use colors and fonts, attachments and links in the email body to convert better
  • How to create a well-performing CTA button

8 Best Practices for Cold Emails: Quick Takeaway

best practices for cold email

This article will help young professionals learn how to write cold emails like a pro without doubting yourself or spending days editing the copy.

How to write a perfect cold email? How to attract the leads’ attention? How to make them not only read the email but finally convert?

This article will plunge you into the art of cold email composing, give you useful tips for writing a cold email, and some extra pieces of advice about conducting a successful cold email marketing campaign.

1. The subject line, sender’s name, preheader

These are three things that influence the recipients and define will they open the email or send it to the Spam or Trash folder. And that’s in the case the ESP lets the email get into the Inbox.

Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing displayed in the inbox. It has to convey the general idea of the message and attract the recipients’ attention. The main thing to be observed is the avoidance of spam trigger words that will definitely throw the email into the Spam folder.

The sender’s name

The sender’s name is no less important. So do care about the sender’s name. Write your personal name, or company name, or their combination.

E.g., Sheldon and TrainSoftware, Elliot Reid from SacredHeart Inc, etc. According to the results of the experiment, the last option shows the highest open and click-through rates.


Preheader is the text displayed in the inbox right after the subject line. It’s a brief summary of the email itself that gives a general insight on what the recipient is going to read about in the email.

Find the appropriate words for the reader to understand whether the email is of value and worth reading or not.


Write the subject line; avoid spam trigger words; write the sender’s name; choose eye-catching words for the preheader.

Here are two examples of emails in the Inbox. The first one has all the necessary attributes performed correctly: the sender’s name, short subject line, proper pre-heading.

Share in comments what are the mistakes in the example below.

2. Length and language

Well, the ESP and the recipient were so kind to deliver the email into the Inbox and open it. So, the most complicated thing comes into action: composing a perfect email body. The click-through-rate (CTR) and reply rate depend upon the email: its size and language.

According to a research, emails of 200-250 words show the highest response rate (19%). So don’t be too wordy.

Do not pay much attention to the features you can offer, concentrate on the benefits and profit the prospects will get if they choose you.

Among many of these best practices for cold emails, the tone of the email matters as well. Writing a letter to the prospects, remember that they are business people, professionals, specialists, but humans as well. Don’t be too colloquial or too serious. Stay in the middle. Be professional, but friendly.


Make the email short and to-the-point; present advantages, benefits, and profits of the services, not the features; be a friendly professional: stay reserved, but human-like.

The first example, kindly provided by Amazon, is pretty long. It will take you a few minutes to read it till the end.

And here’s an example of a well-composed email, that is pretty short, quickly-to-read, and it gives all the information about the software.

3. Colors

In psychology, every color has its meaning and is used to create some definite senses or evoke some emotions or desires.

So, to get what you want, you need to know which color is responsible for which sense:

White represents for independence and purity, simplicity and safety; mostly used as the background, because any color is clearly visible on it;

Black, being an aggressive color, is widely associated with power and authority; in email marketing, as a rule, is used for plain-text emails;

Red is a bright color that creates a sense of urgency and danger; the most popular color for the CTA, as far as it stands out in the background and pushes people to spontaneous purchases;

Blue is widely used for creating a sense of security and reliability; evokes relaxation;
green is the color for burning a feeling of peace and tranquility; green background calms people down;

Yellow, as well as orange, is a bright color that means happiness and joy; in marketing, they are used to create a sense of cheapness;

Purple is a creative color, it defines superiority, luxury, and prestige; it usually is used for brand colors to be associated with luxurious products.


Colors in email marketing matter. Use neutral colors for the text, use a bright color that stands out for the CTA.

If you’re bad at combining colors, then take advantage of your corporate colors. Be sure, they will make the email stand out in the recipients’ inbox and make them well-recognizable.

4. Attachments

Attachments are the files that are inserted in the email body and give the recipients a brighter look at what you want to present them (pictures, videos, GIFs, cinemagraphs, documents, etc).

They make the email more informative, brighter, and more exciting. But there are some disadvantages of using any of them:

  • Every ESP has its own attachments size limits and you should know perfectly well what they are;
  • emails with attachments are more suspicious to the ESP spam triggers and filters; this means that the email is more likely to get into the Spam folder,
  • Not all of the email providers display pics and videos by default; this means that the recipients will have to download them manually, and hardly anyone will spend time on doing that.


The more emails get into the Spam folder, the lower the delivery rate is, the quicker you are blocked by the ESP.

  • Always know the ESP limits.
  • Don’t add too many pictures to the email: one is pretty enough.
  • Always be sure that you have a fallback image for videos and fallback text for the picture.

5. Fonts

There are so many fonts on the Internet: standardized (like Arial or Times New Roman), and web fonts that are created specifically for a company or a definite purpose.

Default fonts are cheesy already, but web fonts may not perform perfectly well: not all email providers display designed fonts. Only AOL mail, iOS Mail, Apple Mail, Android (default mail client, not Gmail app), Outlook 2000, and Outlook.com app will display everything correctly.


Use one font which is the most readable, default ones are preferable.

Have a look at the example below. Do you think it is really a nice solution to write every paragraph in a different typeface? Firstly, it looks awkward, secondly, it’s difficult to read.

6. Links

The links attached in an email are used as CTAs (call-to-action). Do not insert many links, and there are a few reasons why:

  • many links look suspicious to the ESP;
  • numerous links create a sense of being spammed;
    more than one link confuse the prospects and lead them away from the main goal.


Insert one, the most necessary link into the email body.

The email below proves that lots of links is a bad idea because none of them is a clear call-to-action:

7. CTA

Call-to-action is the inevitable part of any cold email as it persuades a person to go to the website, to download a freebie, to sign up, etc. Otherwise, there’s no sense in the email. That leads to the necessity of inserting a call-to-action button or link into the email body.

This is where one should make it bright and outstanding, but passionate and reserved. Too many words in the CTA is not the best idea, because they demand smaller typeface, thus it won’t be readable.

The CTA should be active and burn a desire to click on it, so the active verbs are the safe choice.


Make the only one CTA; make it bright and stand-out in the general background. If the email is in greenish colors, then the red CTA button will definitely attract the prospects’ attention.

The experiment conducted by research proves that red CTA will provide you with a better click rate of up to 21%. But as we can see the main difference is that the red color is outlined against the background.

8. Create your own templates

On the web, there are many resources where you can purchase or even download for free email templates. The problem with them is the same, whether they are free, or purchased ones.

They are in public access, and every person who is in need of email templates, can easily download them or buy.

What it means? Hundreds of email marketers all over the world are using the same email templates. They are no longer resistible to spam filters, and more likely to get into the Spam folder.


Everything you’ve got to do is to create your own email templates and use them freely. You can do it either by yourself, using some tools, like Canva, Stripo, or Mosaico, or you can ask a designer and a copywriter in the company to do a few copies for you. So, you’ll have a couple of extra templates for a rainy day.

Extra pieces of advice:

And as I’ve promised, here are some notes for cold email campaign creation:

Use email finder tools.

A manual search for emails can take you forever. Which is why use special tools that find emails on any website within a few minutes. The best solution is to take advantage of browser extensions that work on-the-go providing you with the emails that can be added to the email list immediately.

Verification is the key.

Lots of invalid email addresses are not good for the IP and domain reputation. Verify and delete the non-existent ones, and send the campaign only to real people who are in need of your product and services.

Know the audience.

Be aware of who the target audience is, know their pain points, needs, and desires. That will help you define in what way you can help them.

Use drip campaigns tools.

Triggered email campaigns are the best solution for 21st-century email marketers. You won’t have to send emails manually, spending lots of time on it: every email is sent to the recipients automatically, depending on the actions they perform.

Track sent emails.

If you have a gold client with whom you communicate via Gmail, then Email Tracker will be of great use to you. The extension shows if the recipients opened the email (and how many times) and the statistics won’t be lost.

For all the purposes described above, you may need numerous tools and pricey donations. But if you are tight on budget, or are just tired of spending money on endless platforms and switching between them, you can try all-in-one tool Snov.io.

The platform provides its users with all the necessary tools for a successful email campaign and offers handy browser extensions.

You will not only find leads and verify their email addresses but send drip emails and follow the results. With it, you will save time, money, efforts, improve marketing, and increase sales.

Final words

Even though email creation is a sophisticated process that demands time and effort, you will always benefit from it doing everything correctly.

Following all the steps and advice above, you will find not only prospects, but new clients and subscribers as well, get the maximum of the cold email campaign, and boost sales.

The main thing is to be creative but passionate, active but reserved, calling to action but not too selling.

Hope you liked these best practices for cold email. Good luck to you and your email marketing campaigns!

Latest posts by Helen Holovach (see all)
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments