5 tips to make cold emails work for you

Entrepreneur Adam Lyons changed his life when he contacted billionaire investor and "Shark Tank" star Mark Cuban. Lyons received a response from Cuban, who believes in the power of email, and the correspondence led to a lucrative deal for both.

Here are 5 things I learned about how to send the kind of cold email that gets a warm response.

  1. Don’t be afraid of never hearing back

It happens to all of us and, yes, rejection hurts. But if you’re optimistic about a potential opportunity, all you can do is try. Over the years, I’ve had cold emails go unanswered. That’s life. I just moved on.

  1. Don’t be pushy

Going overboard with follow-ups can be off-putting and ensure that your communication will go unanswered. In each case above, I sent just one email and waited for a response. Notably, both of the emails I’ve mentioned were replied to nearly immediately: A lot of people will write you back either right away or not at all.

CEO of a $16 billion business says the way you write emails can break your career

One follow-up a week after could be appropriate, but if your contact seems to be freezing you out, you won’t thaw them by bombarding them with more emails.

  1. Keep it brief

No one has time to read a novel from a stranger that’s just landed in their inbox. For my emails, I wrote about three paragraphs max and asked my questions clearly and succinctly.

  1. Do your research

Spend time looking up the person you’re about to contact. Do a Google search. Find their LinkedIn. Convey that you bothered to figure out who they are, but don’t cross the line into stalker territory. If you strike the right balance, they will be flattered rather than creeped out.

Research is especially important when figuring out who is best to reach out to in a specific organization.

  1. Use a straightforward subject line

For me, I found success by keeping the headline informative. It can be fun to get creative with a subject, but I’d recommend not trying to be cute, since that could come across as over-the-top and may mean the email gets deleted without ever being read.

If you’re looking for even more information before you send that cold email, check out advice from Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp.

“I cold-emailed every CEO of the beauty industry you can imagine,” Beauchamp said at an event in February. “And it worked.”

By Benjamin Snyder — first published April 17, 2017 on