Writing Outreach (Cold) Emails, The Basic Lessons To Get Started

Outreach emails, or cold emails, are these emails you write to help gain attention to sell your services or your product.

You start writing a few, but you’re immediately paralyzed because you know there’s something wrong with them.

Subject: A service to help you increase your site’s accessibility

Hi Greg,

I’m Pascal and I offer a service to help you…

Subject: Do you need someone to…

Subject: Introduction

If you’re like me, you’re probably running into these two problems while writing them.

Problem 1: Aren’t Outreach Emails Like Spam?

In this popular post, Justin McGill over on LeadFuze writes that good outreach emails differ from spam in a few key ways.

In short, outreach emails are personal, helpful, don’t misrepresent who you are and show that you’re honourable to your word.

That sets them apart from spam just enough that they might be welcome by the reader and tasteful to read.

Problem 2: It Feels Gross To Talk About What I Have To Offer.

Totally legitimate feeling. So how do we change that?

To cure this one, check out this article from Kai Davis on the importance of writing “You focused emails”. In it, he stresses the importance of re-writing your emails to focus entirely on the reader’s perspective.

Instead of writing an email like the first one shown above…

Subject: A service to help you increase your site’s accessibility

Hi Greg,

I’m Michael and I offer a service to help you…

You’d be writing an email that’s more like this:

Subject: Greg, are you currently pushing accessibility aside on your site?

Happy Friday Greg,

Your online store is thoughtfully crafted and hits a lot of the right notes visually. Love the way it’s tastefully showcasing your furniture in neutral settings. They really pop-out that way. Also love the close-ups of the fabric.

Are you currently having to lower the priority of making accessibility tweaks to your site? Maybe it’s because you’re focused on sales, feeding your social media presence, or working on adding new products to your store.

Would it be helpful if I sent you a guide listing some accessibility gotchas that e-commerce sites like yours can quickly dig up and fix, plus ways to automate their prevention?

Just reply “yes” and I’ll send you the guide. Otherwise, just reply with “no” and that will be the end of it for me.

Hope that helps,

– Pascal Laliberté
[Full address], Ottawa, Ontario
[Real phone number]


For those of you who’ve been reading the other posts on this blog, you know this user-first approach goes hand-in-hand with the Jobs-To-Be-Done ideas (see all the articles written so far). Specifically, this focus on the reader’s perspective is a lot about serving a specific situation they currently going through.

So while this article covered the basics, be on the lookout for an upcoming article on writing outreach emails with confidence using Jobs-To-Be-Done theory as a lens.

Stay Sharp!



@pascallaliberte

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