Account Executive

October 21, 2022

Creative Cold Emails that Get Responses (How To)

People seem to want to write cold emails well

Recently, Junior posted about some creative cold emails that got responses.

The reaction was…overwhelming to say the least.

Junior Lartey creative cold email LinkedIn post

Here's an email & response included in the post itself:

How about one more for fun:

Emails like these have taken some time to get decent at. Still only sending 15-20 a day.

But with the response rate, positive conversation, & eventual conversion; we’ll take it.

Let’s dive into exactly how to research, write, & fire off these 1-to-1 cold emails daily.

Where quantity meets quality

But first…a disclaimer.

At the center of all prospecting debates is one question: quantity or quality?

Put plainly: “Should I write 20 quality emails or send 100 quantity emails.”

The goal of this blog is not to debunk that argument, but rather, to provide insights to consider.

For instance, if you’re booking meetings and hitting your numbers, just keep doing what works.

If you’re not booking meetings and missing your numbers, it might be time to try something new.

That’s our argument here. Consider trying this method as a way to stand out and hit your number.

Don’t you dare go tell your sales leader that we said you can ONLY send 20 emails a day.

What we’re saying is, with this framework, 20 daily emails, maybe the best route forward for you.

How to write creative cold emails

Frameworks are one of the best ways to understand a process. Like a math equation.

If you use the equation, you will always get the right answer (although math always sucked).

You might not always an email response, but you can nail the creativity more often than not.

Here’s the framework:

  • Step 1: Research
  • Step 2: Writing
  • Step 3: Sending

Step 1: Research

Ideal prospects & where to look

Research is the basis of your creativity.

You’re going to search for this person on LinkedIn or wherever your prospect lives.

Look at their personal profile, experience, activity, etc.

Were they on:

  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Panels
  • Tagged in a post

Pull up their company page: find articles or anything this person may be involved in.

Keep in mind, you’re doing this quickly.

Don’t over think creativity. Your first idea is usually best. Trust your gut.

You’re looking for something you can reference quickly.

You’re not trying to build an entire business case for this email.

Rule of thumb: Spent 5 minutes & can’t find something useful? Insert generic messaging & move on.

Not everyone has obvious personalization listed and that’s perfectly fine.

Finding key info - What to look for

So you’ve done research and have an idea of where to look. Let’s tackle the what to look for.

About section & personal touch

On their LinkedIn profile if they have a unique “About” section, consider pulling 1 or 2 tie-in lines.

People have their favorite quotes, books, places to travel, and all sorts of random facts in there.

The college they went to is less of a play, but were they in chess club, played softball, greek life?

These are things we can work from.

That’s a gold mine of creativity. Don’t sleep on it.

Job experience section

Does their experience references specific duties, goals, or accomplishments?

“Created & managed xyz”, “sold first ever… (I think that’s in mine)”, “Manage a team of x”, etc.

Those can be easy tie-ins as well.

Activity section

If they’ve commented on posts recently (3-days max) that’s pretty simple.

But if they posted themselves, you better be all over that!

Featured section

Find them on a podcast or webinar.

Give it a skim and then use their own words ‘against’ them. “You said X, we help Y.”

Hopefully by now the blood is flowing and you’re catching the vision here.

Step 2: Writing

There’s 4 main aspects to a any cold email:

  • Subject line
  • Opener
  • Transition to offering
  • Call to action (CTA)

Each play a crucial role. If you’re not solid on each one, the email is trashed.

Subject line

When your email hits the inbox, there is one reason it gets opened or archived: your subject line.

We want to deliver a subject that is not ‘click bait’, but almost forces them to open the email.

Curiosity killed the cat…but it also got your email opened.

Pique curiosity by creating a subject line that is creative.

Subject tactics & example

Your research now leads into your messaging. Take that info and apply it in the subject line.

Use no more than 5-6 words. Less is better. And leave out the damn emojis.

They were in the chess club. What’s going on in the chess world? A HUGE cheating scandal.

  • Example subject line: “Chess Rating??” or “Fancy A Game of Chess?”

Acapella group? Great!

  • Example subject line: “A Great Choir Voice” or “Acapella Group Name?”

Found a podcast? Use it!

  • Example subject line: “How I Deal Podcast” or “You & Jared Podcast”

Saw their post? Game on.

  • Example subject line: “Post X Conference” or “Flowers? Your LinkedIn Post”

You get the framework:

  • Find a piece of content you can use.
  • Throw it in the subject line.
  • Increase your open rates.

Passed the subject line test, now time to get them reading.


If the subject goal is opens, the open goal is attention & getting the reader to the next sentence.

Each line leads into the next line. All the way through your actual ‘ask’ or call to action.

Your opening line should resurface that prior research, but tied to the purpose of your email.

“But what’s purpose of the email?” - me to myself a lot.

It’s that piece of info you found, and how your to tie it into your value proposition.

Or pain proposition, or interest proposition. All fair game.

Emails don’t always have to have a value prop. They can lead to interest or pain.

So your opening line will say something like:

  • “Playing chess probably helped you be strategic.”
  • “Enjoyed what you had to say about X on the x podcast.”
  • “Sounds like you’ve got a green thumb, knowing how to grow is crucial.”

Transition to offering

You’ve crushed it so far. Got them to open in the first place & get past the first sentence or two.

Now transition to how that research connects to what your offer or a hypothesis you have.

There’s 2 types of transitions to leverage:

Soft Transition

Taking the piece of research and attaching it to the front of your value prop/one-line pitch.

Where you say something like:

  • “Looks like you’ve made a lot of strategic decision, we help teams (insert one line pitch).”
  • “Because you said top of funnel is full, have you considered disqualifying first?”
  • “Are you born w/ a green thumb or is it developed? We help teams (insert one line pitch).”

Hard Transition

Where you drop your pitch first, then attach the research to the latter half of your message.

Something like:

  • “We help teams know what to build first and help you be more strategic.”
  • “We help teams disqualify leads. On your podcast it sounds like lead flow is hard to manage.”
  • “We help teams do individual growth, help your reps get their own green thumb.”

Call to action (CTA)

Call to action is a spicy topic. Everyone has their own opinion on the ideal approach.

But we can all agree that asking for 15-minutes on a specific date/time doesn’t work anymore.

….if it ever did.

So that leaves us with a few options:

Direct CTA

Basically, you’re asking for the meeting without sending times.

Usually sounds like:

  • “Do you think this is worth a chat?”
  • “Worth a chat?”
  • “Are you opposed to seeing how we can help?” or “Opposed to a chat?”

Indirect CTA

When you’re simply starting a conversation, again not asking for time here.

Similar to:

  • “Is strategy on the radar?”
  • “Have you already made a move on personal dev?”
  • “Looking for more podcast appearances? I know some people.”

Playful CTA

Taking what you’ve been working with the whole time and putting it together.

My favorite approach goes like:

  • “(Name), should we see if we can get more green thumbs?”
  • “(Name), chess & chat?”
  • “(Name), should we do our own strategy sesh?”

Step 3: Sending

Email cadence

Pulling back to our initial argument, you likely won’t want to deploy this for 100 emails a day.

But if you’re able to send 15 to 20 daily, add this email to the strike zone.

In terms of cadencing, I would also send this as email #1.

The creative/personalized subject line to carry throughout the whole sequence.

More proverbial “bites at the apple” to grab attention.

It will build more familiarity on yourself as compared to other generic subject lines.

A/B testing

Now you’ve got some other decisions to make, like, how to I deploy this in the best way?

I’d suggest trying different formats, subject lines, and CTAs.

A solid A/B test is a great way to test what is working.

  • Do you need to go more direct or indirect with CTAs?
  • Is soft or hard transitioning working better? Your persona may prefer one over the other.

Get playful & start to plug-n-play.

The power is now in your hands

Start getting creative with email. Use it as a tool to open doors and start conversations.

It’s not the only email-prospecting method out there.

But it’s one that can get you thinking out of the box, and into the inbox.

(Don’t worry…I cringed too).

You'll like these emails 🥒

Pickle writes to their friends every few weeks with spicy tips to make their wall-to-wall meetings suck less.
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