How To Write A Cold Call Email That ALWAYS Get Results

In the past week, I’ve exchanged emails with:

…using cold call email.

cold call email results

I cold-call emailed them, and they emailed me back…usually within 20 minutes.

I didn’t do anything particularly special, other than use my simple, proven formula for connecting with influencers.

What if you could easily connect with high-powered influencers in your industry?

I’m talking people with:

  • Massive email lists
  • Enormous social media followings
  • Incredible influencing power

Think about how that would affect your content marketing strategy.

Derek Halpern has famously said that he spends 20% of his time creating content and 80% of his time promoting it.

One of his primary promotion tools is emailing the high-profile people he quotes in his articles and politely asking them if they would consider sharing the article on social media.

It was this strategy that allowed me to connect with Joanna Wiebe and persuade her to share one of my posts on Twitter.

Joanna Wiebe (@copyhackers) - Twitter 2015-11-08 17-55-22

Connecting with high-profile influencers can also open up tons of guest posting opportunities, which is a great way to build your brand.

Check out my list of the best guest posting services that I recommend to use.

I’m going to show you a step-by-step tutorial for exactly HOW to reach out to influencers so that you are GUARANTEED a response.

What You Will Learn

  • The incredible power of email outreach, and why it BEATS social media.
  • How to find ANY email address.
  • The steps for crafting the PERFECT email subject line.
  • How to INFUSE your email with personality.
  • How to ask for something without being a sleazeball.
  • My personal cold email template

The Power Of Email Outreach

It’s hard to believe, but email is considered an outdated form of communication.

Wow, does that make me feel old. Back in the day (a phrase I’m allowed to use since I’m old), having a Hotmail account made you the coolest kid on the digital block.

Now the preferred methods of communication are:

  • Text messaging
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Live video streaming

But when it comes to connecting with high-powered influencers…

Email is still my weapon of choice.

Why? Because with email, I have their exclusive attention.

I’m not competing with a Facebook newsfeed or 50 Twitter notifications or a random cat video on YouTube. Email is a one-to-one connection between me and the influencer.

But how do you get in touch with an influencer and actually get their attention?

Most people think that an influencer would never be interested in what they have to say.

 Most people are DEAD wrong.
Here is my step-by-step formula for reaching out to and getting a response from important people.


Believe it or not, finding the email address of the person you’re looking for isn’t the hard part.

No need for slimy, blackhat tricks. I use NinjaOutreach Email Finder to find email addresses.

Simply go to the email finder section in Ninja Outreach…

Enter the name and/or domain name of the person you’re searching for.

If NinjaOutreach doesn’t work, you can try one of these ways, but usually I find what I’m looking for on the first try.

Struggling to find an email address? Follow my email address lookup guide.

How To Write A Cold Call Email

Now that you’ve got the right email address, it’s time to craft the perfect cold call email.

Before we talk about what you should do, let’s talk about what you really shouldn’t do.

After all, as Ash over at The Middle Finger Project says:

…everybody’s trying to pitch everything, yet nobody knows HOW to pitch anything.


  • Blast a generic email to 50 different people at one time.
  • Use a boring subject line like, “Thought you might like this.”
  • Pretend that you somehow know the person you’re contacting.
  • Pretend that the person will immediately understand why you’re contacting them.
  • Write an incredibly boring that is totally irrelevant to the reader.

In other words, don’t write an email like this:

Hey %Name%,

I just wrote a post called “How To Write Emails” that I thought you might like.

Here it is: www.heresthelink.com

I’d really like it if you shared it on social media.


Stephen Altrogge

Uhh, no.

I mean, what would you do if you got this email? I would delete it. Immediately. My inbox is full enough as it is, and I don’t need more boring emails cluttering it.

So what should you include in your email?

A super interesting subject line that compels the reader to open.

Most people get hundreds, if not thousands of emails every day. So how do you get your email to stand out?

By crafting a killer cold call email subject line.

My subject line to Pat Flynn was: Yes, I am THAT annoying blogger

Not especially compelling, but interesting enough to get Pat to click on the email. My emails to Joanna Wiebe and Rand Fishkin were very similar.

I also like this headline because it contains some amount of self-awareness that, by virtue of sending an unsolicited email, I am one of those annoying people who fills up inboxes.

If you’re going to get a response to your email, spend time working on your subject line. Make it as interesting and compelling as possible. If the reader isn’t interested, they won’t open the email, and you’ll never get a response.

Dave Gerhardt over at Hubspot puts it like this:

So how do you write the best cold call email subject line? Figure out what you are ultimately trying to say and then boil down that request to 5-7 words. Once you get to those 5-7 words, make sure those words speak to the interests of your recipient and clearly communicate what you’d like from that email exchange.

Tons of personality that makes for an interesting read.

Here’s what I said to Joanna in my cold email template:

how to write a cold call email with my cold email template

About 20 minutes later, Joanna replied by saying:


Why did my email generate a response? Because it was INTERESTING!

The Internet is full of endless, boring drivel. Of stupid memes and Buzzfeed quizzes.

When something has personality and zest, it majorly stands out from the crowd.

I want the readers of my emails to be entertained, even if they don’t do what I’m requesting. So when crafting a cold-call email, I try to include as much interesting, entertaining material as possible.

My high cold-call response rate is primarily due to the fact that my emails are engaging.

Boring emails lead to low response rates. Entertaining, engaging, clear emails lead to more opens and more responses.

When you craft cold-call emails, focus on including:

  • Self-deprecating humor.
  • An appreciation for something that person has done.
  • An awareness that you may be annoying them.

Up front acknowledgement that you’re asking them to do something

When you send someone a cold-call email, be up-front about the fact that you want something from them. Don’t pretend that you’re emailing them out of the goodness of your heart. They can see right through it, and they know you’re just spewing nonsense.

Acknowledge that you want them to share your article or reply to you. Don’t beat around the bush. Be clear about what it is you’re asking them to do.

The worst that can happen is they decline your request.

5 Win-Back Email Campaign Examples That Will Get Customers Back

Wrapping It Up

Being able to connect with high-powered influencers is incredibly valuable!

Contrary to most people’s perceptions, it’s not all that difficult to do with cold call email.

And now you know how to write a cold call email that gets results…

 There is nothing stopping you.
If you’re willing to spend time crafting the perfect subject line, infusing your cold call email template with personality, and being clear about what you’re requesting, you can almost always get a response.

36 Responses

  1. StsDigital Solutions

    We definitely need to work on it. This is very useful information for an email marketer or any businessman. Email marketing is the third most important source of both B2B and B2C marketing. If you are a marketer then you understand the importance of building an audience.

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 12th, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks. I hope you take what you learned and apply it!

  2. Simone

    Hello! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have
    done a wonderful job!

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 27th, 2019 at 5:56 am

      Welcome to the niche Simone!

  3. Qba33

    Great text, very helpful, thanks!

    • Matthew Woodward
      July 13th, 2017 at 10:47 am

      No worrys!

  4. Olga

    Loved your email! haha, it’s hilarious! I would totally answer it too!

    • Matthew Woodward
      April 5th, 2016 at 10:59 am


  5. Kalen Jordan

    This is funny. I actually tend to think that super short emails might work better than longer ones like this. But I guess if you can write a medium-length email that has some personality people will read it.

    Have you tried sending really short emails?

  6. Kyle Stewart

    Great post, Matthew. My only concern is the laws regarding this vary from country to country. Here in Australia, for example, I think this would violate some of our spam and unsolicited email laws, unfortunately – though don’t quote me on that.

    That said, I guess you could always make an initial contact through social media first.

  7. Keerapat

    Great to read this…..would share to let anyone know…

  8. Kim Willis

    A super practical post on a topic that is relevant to me. We send cold emails to business owners and have had some success with that strategy.

    But I can see from Stephen’s post there is room for improvement. I look forward to testing better subject lines and the other tips featured in this post.

    Thanks, Matthew, for featuring Stephen


  9. Tom


    Thanks Stephen, I never formalised the self-awareness aspect of my mails, but it works like a charm, will be sharing with my Twitter followers :)


  10. Joseph Hansen

    You have a good point here. It only shows that email outreach can still work. If it connects you to high-influencer people, definitely that’s a good thing for business. Thanks for sharing a very good tip here and for showing us how we can be able to do it in our brand too.

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      And not just for high influencers but also any business communication

  11. Tomas Lodén

    Do you still recommend Buzzbundle for traffic generation? Is this still the best tool for traffic or what do you recommend?

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Yeah its freaking awesome to help get sites off the ground

  12. Lukas

    Thank you Matthew for advices. I will try next week.
    Great tool – findanyemail :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      I can’t take credit for this one Lukas :)

  13. Gabby

    As an influencer on Pinterest with 1.5M followers (www.pinterest.com/monroefiles)…I get cold call emails all the time. They are either all boring or riddled with poor grammar from an Asian country. When something specially finally lands in my in box, I jump with joy. You know what is equally annoying? When you reply to an Asian email and a few weeks later they send you the SAME email with a note to “disregard if already working with us.” Sigh. A bit sassy and spicy will get you further in your question than poor grammar and a need to apologize. Go big or go home!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Hahaha yeah I get offers for help with my SEO all the time through the blog as well :)

      • Danny Veiga
        January 6th, 2016 at 2:46 am

        Like you need it :P

  14. Joshua Hardwick

    Stephen, what did you email Rand to warrant that response? (i.e. “Sounds a little odd for a premise, but OK”

    I’d love to know.

    • Stephen Altrogge
      December 17th, 2015 at 6:46 pm

      I simply told him that I was showing people how easy it was to get responses from high profile people!

  15. Andrew Zubriczky

    Loved this post; thank you for sharing your expertise and experience. As a former cold-caller, I know you have only a precious few seconds to make your point on the phone before they hang-up; or, stay and listen to what you have to say. My opening few words, were critical to my sales efforts.

    After about a million phone calls over my lifetime; am retired now, I know the importance of capturing your targeted audiences’ attention…ASAP, and just the way you explained it. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Enjoy your retirement Andrew :)

  16. Michael Curry

    Some good info – Thanks.
    In Canada we are allowed ONE unsolicited email to a publically available contact – make it count!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 17th, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Is that the law in Canada?

  17. Sarah Hewitson

    Thanks Matthew and Stephen for this great post; it’s something that’s extremely relevant to me at the moment, as I’m planning on doing a lot more of it next year.

    Another tool I’d like to recommend for finding email addresses is Email Hunter, it works especially well on Linkedin profiles. I used this to contact a few influencers for an expert round-up I did a couple of months ago.

    One thing I found worked well was something I read in a post by Neil Patel, which is to contact up and coming influencers. While the more established influencers do get back to you, I found some of the up and coming influencers were more enthusiastic about sharing the post themselves, probably because they were flattered to be included in an expert list.

    Again, great post!

    • Matthew Woodward
      December 15th, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Thanks for the extra tips Sarah :)

  18. Benjamin

    Awesome post Stephen. Sending emails is my weakness, definitely need to work on it.

    Anyway love to see the 20/80 rule in action.

    • Stephen Altrogge
      December 15th, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Glad it was helpful Benjamin!

  19. Charles Floate

    Nice post Stephen.
    I see you’ve used your own technique in this email, setup some alerts to see if the influencers you quoted in this post share it ;)

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