Armand Farrokh
February 9, 2024

Sending cold emails is one of the best ways to connect with new prospects. But most salespeople spam their prospects’ inboxes with 500 feature-dumping emails per day and get insta-deleted.. 

Today, we’ll teach you to be the cold email outlier from the tidal waves of spam.

The only goal for a sales email is to get the prospect to open the email and reply back. That means we need to do two things well: craft a good subject line and write a message that’s relevant to them. 

Here’s how to do both.

How to write a subject line that gets opened

You can write the greatest email in the world. But if they don’t open the message, you’re not getting a response, which means you ain’t making the sale.

That’s why writing good subject lines is so important. There are four golden rules we use to get stellar open rates, every time.

  1. Keep it short (3-4 words)
  2. Don’t sell in the subject line
  3. Pique their interest
  4. Make it about them

Two examples of personalized subject lines in action:

  • I looked at a guy’s LinkedIn profile and saw that he loved pizza. So my subject line to him just said “pizza”  
  • Someone sent me a cold email with the subject line “Wrassling”. For those of you who don’t know, Nick and I used to wrestle in college. So while I had no idea what the email was about, I had to let the guy take a swing. 

Two more examples of personlized subject lines at scale: 

  • [Your Prospect] + [Your Name] – nick + armand 
  • [Their Company’s Investor] + [Their Company] + [My Company] – sequoia + startupco + 30MPC

Most salespeople overthink the subject lines. But the connection can be pretty dang loose. Find something interesting about them and it should be pretty dang easy. 

How to write a cold email that gets replies

Someone has finally opened your cold email. Hallelujah! Unfortunately, this is where most emails go to die. But you can get over the hump using the 3x3 rule

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the prospect to understand what the heck you do and  respond yes or no. 

Here’s how to craft your message using the 3x3 rule.

1st paragraph: A personalized problem

Remember the personalized subject line? Now we need to explain what we know about them and the problem this creates. 

You need to go into their problem as crispy as humanly possible. Things like “cut costs” and “save you time” aren’t crispy enough. You want them to feel like you’ve looked into their calendars and be triggered by the problem that you solve. For example:

“You stay up until 2AM editing podcasts and making all of the sneezes of your co host, Nick Cegelski, go away magically so that you can publish one episode a week.”

2nd paragraph: What you do 

Explain what you do in one sentence. You don’t need to spell out every feature of your product or service. Give them just enough to pique their interest. If you explain your problem well enough, all you have to say next is how you make that problem go away.

“I'm writing about something that automatically removes filler words from your podcast, so you don't have to stay up till 2AM anymore.”

3rd paragraph: Have an ask

Most salespeople make the mistake of asking “are you interested in looking at our software?” or “would you like to meet to discuss more?” 

They may look decent on the surface but these asks feel too heavy. Instead, end with an interest-based call to action instead. 

“Open to taking a peek?” or  “Is this even moderately interesting?” 

Let’s look at an example of Nick sending an email to me about this podcast software. 

Subject line: 

Armand, I know that wrestling is a really tough sport. Especially when your training partner was Nick Cegelski and you had to spend all of your practices fighting off your back to not get pinned. 

I've heard there's one thing that's tougher than wrestling though, and that's editing podcasts at 2AM, removing stuff like ums, ahs, and the occasional sneeze from the final product.

I'm writing about something that automatically removes filler words from your podcast, so you don't have to stay up till 2AM anymore. 

Open to learning more?

Here’s an example of an email that I used a lot when I worked at Pave. 

Subject line: 
Facebook => AcmeCo

Hey Bob, having done merit cycles at the scale of Facebook. Typically every time you run a compensation review, you're buried in spreadsheets and the current record for the number of columns in any comp spreadsheet is column QZ. Do you think you'd win?

What Pave does is we integrate with every HR system in your universe. So you never have to build a compensation spreadsheet again. 

Is that even moderately interesting or am I off base here?

Charly Johnson's Cold Outbound Campaign

Use this multi-channel cadence template that includes email, call, LinkedIn, and video messaging.