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6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails

I get about 2 cold emails a day asking for coffee or advice.

Lately, I’ve been deleting them because no one takes even a minute to write a well crafted cold email.

I used to feel guilty but I figure since the person is being selfish, I can be as well. I’ve written before about “What have you done for me lately?” This question applies to a lot of things, especially cold emails, introductions or when asking someone else for something.

A few days ago I got a surprising email from Dave Daily.


I want to share what an amazing cold email looks like (and dissect WHY it’s so great); it’s a great template for those looking for how to write cold emails. (Click to Tweet!)

6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails

Subject: How I lost your Sperry’s.. and apt. And why you should meet with me.

(He referenced spending money to meet me already.

I kept bidding them up.. to $600. Then I stopped with 3 seconds left and the other person won. 

(Relevant to me.)

I didn’t want the apartment. I was going to use it as an expensive excuse to get an App idea in front of you…and we wear the same size shoes. I have since bought a pair of Sperry’ Sperries? Size 11 – they fit!

(Okay, $600 just to show me an idea. I’m intrigued. Bonus for wanting to wear my shoes.)

Why you should meet with me:

(Why it’s worth it to me. Not how I’m going to spend 30 minutes giving him free help. I have money so a free lunch just doesn’t appeal to me.)

1. I’m the founder and CEO of Grav. I’ve been running this business for the past nine years. I started it when I was 24. I have 70 employees in Austin and operations in China. I love my business. It’s profitable and I’m really good at it. However, I want to do more.

(Okay, he’s got his shit together and I like meeting ballers.)

2. I’m Jewish – I hate playing that card, but.. what the fuck

(Haha. Self-explanatory. Low blow, but mildly works. He did some homework on me.)

3. This App idea is disruptive. It’s not in my wheelhouse (glass), but I know a good idea when I see one – I get about 3 presentations a week from stoners about their pipe ideas.

(Shows more validation and credibility. I kinda skipped this point.)

4. I have a wireframe ready so you can breeze through it quickly.

(He values my time so I don’t have to hang with him forever – in case he’s creepy)

5. The factory is really close to downtown – on St. Elmo just south of Ben White. 

(Convenient and again more focus on my time)

6. Even if you hate me and my idea, you’ll love the **** factory – it’s insane. 

This Wednesday 4/17 at 10am (or earlier) would be a great time to come by (I know it’s short notice, but what if this is the best idea you’ve ever heard and I’m the coolest guy you’ve ever met?) 

(See how he didn’t say, “When is a good time to meet?” Then I’d have to check my schedule. Instead he suggested something specific so I can easily see if that’s available for you. 

2 improvements he could have done here. a) Make the start time an odd # – meet for 15 minutes.       b) Let me know how much time he’s specifically requesting.)

Feel free to bring anyone from Appsumo. I’m a huge fan. 

(Wow, I can bring the whole team if I want. This dude is good.)

Thanks for your time!


David Daily

* * *
I’m met with Dave yesterday. He said the email took OVER 1 hour to compose.

So how does this help you?

Let me give you a simple framework when you are cold emailing or trying to get someone to chat with you:

1- Flattery. Do you compliment them or stroke their ego a bit?

2- Benefit. How will this benefit them (not just you)? Do you spell it out and is it a real benefit?

3- Credibility. How can YOU be the person the other person would enjoy meeting?

4- Call to action (aka the ask). He didn’t ask for a 60 minute phone call but a digestible request that seemed appropriate.

5- Read it out loudRead your email out loud with a timer. If it’s longer than a minute, cut it down.

6- Make it easy to say yes. It’s much easier for the other person to help when they see you’ve made a solid investment already — handwriting the note, researching, or just doing their work for them. If you’re emailing important people do what you can in advance to so they can just forward your email or answer the questions quickly.

We put together an easy to use checklist for you. Download the Cold Email Checklist for the next time you write up an email.

Click to Tweet the 6 steps to a great email.

Shameless plug: Sumoe put together email templates with years of research behind them. If you’re looking for more templates and guidance (to write like Dave) click here.


p.s.  Leave a comment. If YOU can get me to reply I’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card.

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154 responses to “6 Steps to Writing Great Cold Emails”

May 5, 2023 at 11:27 am

You know this content was good when a tired mom of 3 devoted all of her 15 min of free time to reading and saving this info while her 9 month old slept on her lap 🙂

Rick Abell
February 7, 2023 at 4:28 pm

This is the Wild Wild West
I failed the Turing test
This is a Wild Wild year
Guess imma stay right here

Alon Lichtenstein
July 8, 2022 at 8:38 am

Thanks for sharing this blog with us.

April 11, 2022 at 11:34 pm

Wow, this is an amazing piece. I sincerely did learn a lot, I did not just read it line by line but went back to read it again cause it was interesting to, lol.

And thank you for sharing this knowledge. It is indeed key and I appreciate that.

April 7, 2022 at 11:23 pm

This is a great piece. Please how do I search for companies that I can send cold emails to?

Jeet Shah
November 17, 2021 at 3:30 am

Hi Noah,

I know Black Friday is around the corner, but there are bigger issues here – There is NO good place for tacos in India! (Taco Bell is “aight”)

Can you take up a cool and gobsmackingly tasty Taco business under AppSumo? Man, we would love a good Taco in my country (we devour spicy stuff like crazy).

Why you should reply to me?

1. I really liked your way of writing. I am starting up on cold mails myself and you have got an audience.

2. I would be very grateful, which would, in turn, serve the mission with which you started OkDork. (I know how altruism works)

3. I am getting out of my comfort zone, and aspiring to get in a role where I find meaning and happiness. I believe we will have a LOT to talk about in this regard.

That Amazon gift card is certainly enticing, but I would rather be that random person who gets some of your bitcoin (God, please make it hit 69!)

Honestly, I would rather ask to pick your brain for 25 minutes this Friday, between 7:30 AM and 10:30 AM Texas time (I know it’s in the morning, but twitter can wait, I suppose?)

However, if you insist strongly, I will ALSO have the Bitcoin. 😉

Thank you for your time, Noah!


Carolyn Boyce
November 13, 2021 at 2:01 pm

I so appreciate super digestible helpful advice like this. Thanks!
BTW, you can fix that photo with the rotate function 😉
Live fiercely!

September 26, 2021 at 11:02 pm

Did you ever take Colleen up on her offer?

Mia C
September 15, 2021 at 7:05 am

you’re interesting lmao

June 30, 2021 at 3:11 pm

Great article Noah, thankyou.
I’m a freelance copywriter and on reflection, my cold emails to date have been rather flat and generic to read so using your tips will add so much more depth and intrigue to engage future prospects.
Now, regarding this Amazon voucher, I’m just not sure I can wow you with a skilful comment that’s irresistible for you to reply to so I’m going to try to shock a response out of you instead…I desperately need a new lawnmower and quite frankly, every little helps! Honestly, the grass is obscenely long. Its becoming an emergency : [
Many thanks for the advice, I appreciate it 🙂

Andie B
June 13, 2021 at 3:47 pm

Noah, I don’t have my Shit together, this is why the content intrigued me. Jumped into a new life and need constructive help and criticism. Article gets me 1/2 way there. The Gift card would be a bonus but the content is a Superb explanation. So, I’m Good

Abdulrasak Hamza Olumide
March 7, 2021 at 2:30 am


What a great relief is this!

I’ve been looking for the best way(s) to cold email and just found this out.

This is really awesome and inspiring.

Short and straightforward with live example.

Kindly keep the ball rolling…

Thank you very much!!

Mitchell Miller
December 6, 2020 at 1:29 pm

Noah this is a terrific start for someone who has never written a called email, like me. Done lots of marketing, but email marketing, especially mass marketing, has been intimidating. This post really helps.

November 23, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Great article and advice Noah, thanks for writing. I am not a fan of free stuff, so yeah I don’t need the gift card, but the offer is engaging and reminded me to comment and thank you.

Keith Kirk
August 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Noah, extremely invaluable information here and I have subscribed to your podcast. I am preparing to cold email a list of VCs and I will be using your tips to frame my email.

Gonzalo Pena
January 22, 2020 at 10:01 pm

I just wanted to thank you for writing a piece that is going to be crucial for my career and my business. All the best to you.

October 22, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Noah, I am sure you never considered your copywriting tips being used in my industry but I would like to tank you for all the tips. I own an individual eyelash extensions company and I am trying to reach out to neighbouring businesses to invite them to come and try our services for a discount. Most lash extensions do very dramatic extensions that are not suitable for professionals. My company focuses on natural looking extensions for professionals. I am trying to write a copy to reach out to the business close to the salon for them to come and try our service

January 15, 2019 at 9:28 pm

For me, the hardest thing is how to find the right person to email to, any suggestions? Thanks~

March 5, 2019 at 10:51 am

Use linkedin salenav to find leads, Search for articles in google of your leads, by going though those articles understand your leads business ,find your leads contact details using softwares like LUsa, norbert etc. and follow above article to compose an email to your lead.

Mitchell Miller
December 6, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Deepak, you really sound like you know what you’re doing. I am a founder of a start up, but we’re flailing when it comes to LinkedIn. Why does the sales NAV app work? How can we just send mass emails or DM‘s to people without them opting in?

My question here is: do you do consulting? If so, can you help with these issues?

Honeyy Allure
September 8, 2019 at 9:51 pm

You’re giving away exactly what to do for you to respond. Do you need more valuable friends? Im it.

Beverly Peng
December 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Can I have Muhammad’s contact info from Pakistan who helped you with AppSumo for $50?

Jess Rowe
September 7, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Hi Noah,
I’m fairly green in the video/photography sales industry and loved this article–lots of valuable insights for effectively reaching people by simply being another person, not a computer. Awesome reminder to show your prospect that humanity does still exist online in emails–it doesn’t have to be a “template” approach. I’ll be following your posts for more helpful tips. Thanks!

August 18, 2018 at 4:57 am

Thanks for a great response.

I specially got an insight/a-ha (and will apply instantly!) on stroking people’s ego a bit at the start of the e-mail. Even if you’re Dalai Lama, you like a compliment every now and then. It also gives a positive starting tone to the mail (starting with “No” it’s a no-no).

Second, it impressed me that writing a non-chalant looking e-mail took an hour. Of course, this is a type of what I’d call “pitch e-mail” (sort of an elevator pitch applied to e-mail), but the advices apply to every mail. In the end, it’s about thinking a bit on the persona you’re writing to (you don’t have much time but you certainly give a minute or two if they cut the crap and are compelling and give a good story.)

Profesionally, my biggest problems are follow-up (create a sustainable conversation) and appeal factor (getting the people to interest me on the first e-mail).
Now you make me think, is it probably because I’m f****g boring? You certainly brought a different point of view and some advices that will become instant changes in the way I write.


June 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

Hi Mr. Kagan! I really enjoyed this article! Just to give you some background, I’m currently 16 and I have found myself to become interested in this subject quite recently. Since I’m 16, I’m not sure what I can do at my age. I can’t drive, I’m still living with my parents, in high school, and I’ve got nothing to offer. Is there any tips you could give me to make me known to a millionaire or mentor? I want to prepare for the future ahead of me. Anyways sorry if I took up any of your time!

April 26, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Hi Noah; You make an offer in this post:

“Shameless plug: Appsumo put together 33 email templates with more than 10 years of research behind them. If you’re looking for more templates and guidance (to write like Dave) click here.”

When I click, it’s a 404 page.

Really liked the article, & have signed up for your emails (which are also Very good),;

Though I would very much appreciate it if you would please fwd me a link to the promised Templates – Those are of Far greater value to me than a $25 gift card (though I would’t turn it down, either 😉 )

david kelly
May 6, 2018 at 3:44 pm

What’s up, Rick! D’oh, great catch.

Unfortunately, those are gone — but check out this article:

That has some even better templates you can use.

April 14, 2021 at 6:39 pm

Not sure if posting something serious about how awesome this is will get me that gift card, or if I should offer to show you my boobs. Either way, thanks for sharing this. I totes needed the info!

sharon mizrahi
February 20, 2018 at 5:40 am

great artical very useful and usable. now i feel ready and understand how to do the next step in starting my busines

Johnny Ringo
January 19, 2018 at 11:46 pm

Hey Noah! I run a woman’s wrestling company. I like your tips, and I love the guy’s gusto who emailed you.

However, on point 1, do I really want to use flattery if I’m trying to cold open women through email/messenger about joining my company?

Eric liu
January 9, 2018 at 1:12 am

Everything you point out is great but one, that is an email took him over 1hour to compose. It is unreasonable for a sale to develop new client.

Ryan Fly the Hireology Guy
May 4, 2017 at 4:33 pm

What is ironic about your game is most people in sales don’t have the balls or brains to leave a message. (I am 1.5 % Jewish, so do I get a free gift card too? I will spend it on something Star Wars related for my sales team. May da 4th be with you)

Sajid Iqbal
February 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

I am not looking for $ 25. It’s more to do about you making $2500

Chaz at LeadFuze
December 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm

Hey Noah, great post. I like your suggestion to craft a cold email nicely. Can’t wait to check out the sumo email templates you referred.

January 12, 2017 at 1:31 am

Did you end up using any of the sumo email templates? Looking for email drip templates.

Taylor Presley
November 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I really want to comment on the article, but first, I have something to get off my chest.
Although you could argue that dropping the challenge of getting your reply will get you a literal ton of comments (118, going on 119), it makes you less accessible to readers. It disincentivizes you from continuing discussion by punishing you for replying.

Thanks for the actionable cold-emailing advice and thanks for the templates. I’ve been doing a lot of cold-emailing trying to get a base for my company but haven’t had any luck. I’m going to try yours out and see if I can get some bigger bites.

Reply to my comment and I’ll use that gift card to send you my favorite book. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t write it)

November 20, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Noah as I watched your presentation on teachable I had two thoughts:
1) this guy is mad genius
2) this guy probably has a hard time getting a girlfriend (the kind that like him and not his money)

Proposal short and sweet: you help me – I help you

Wyatt Jozwowski
July 26, 2016 at 11:17 am

Haha, point #2 is awesome.

Atul Singh
July 6, 2016 at 11:30 pm

Hey, Taco Lover. Really good breakdown of a good cold email. One thing that is common in all good emails is that they are about the recipient.

Here is about the reply:
If you reply, I will order Tacos from and order “Understanding Digital Marketing” to become a better marketer so that I can help others. 🙂

March 24, 2016 at 4:25 am

ran bing nuan….. because I wouldn’t wanna to reply if I could ignore the email if I were the recipient

March 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Quick point – know your audience and don’t assume profanity is acceptable. It may sound hip or be acceptable to you, but why include it and risk offense to someone.

John De Guzman
January 6, 2016 at 2:39 am

Thank you for the sample email template. As a new entrepreneur, this templates help me craft engaging emails that help me close more deals.

November 11, 2015 at 8:51 am

I would like you to try and get a physician to reply to your email after them posting their Cv on a popular job board.

October 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm

how many people got you to reply Noah?

Bob Janitz
July 9, 2015 at 7:28 am

TYPO-“bestidea?” How about “best idea?”
Great article, btw. Good stuff.

March 11, 2015 at 4:30 pm

What’s the best way to establish credibility/offer mutual benefit if you feel that there is nothing they could possibly want from you because they are too awesome and you are just starting out/having nothing to offer?

Michael Demapan
August 7, 2014 at 7:15 am

Leave the gift card take the Canole. What say you?

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