Write Cold Emails Drunk (edit sober)

The most efficient way to maintain a consistently full sales pipeline is to run an outbound campaign that includes an automated sequence of activities like cold email sequence, followups, phone calls, voice mails and social selling.

If you write emails for work, you are a copywriter.  Copywriting is the secret ingredient of writing and words are your most powerful tool to communicate effectively at scale.

Structuring a cold email campaign is no different than how a copywriter (aka – author) would structure a book.  The author’s goal is to deliver the reader value as they consume the content starting with the prologue continuing through the plot which is which is broken up into chapters.

  • Prologue = A targeted ad, a profile visit, a follow (warming up your prospect)
  • Plot = The story you tell (ie – your pitch), the knowledge you share (ie – links to content) and your CTAs
  • Chapters = Sequence of cold emails, follow-ups, social selling, phone calls & voicemails
‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’ – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway (never) said, ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober’.

Maybe it was Hunter S. Thompson (it wasn’t), but it’s easy to imagine if you’ve ever read (or watched) Fear and Loathing or The Rum Diaries!

Nonetheless, this concept was interesting and I was up for the challenge.

Benefits of Booze + Writing:

  • Creativity – unusual cognitive connections/associations formed
  • Imagination – boosts inner consciousness
  • Thinking outside the box (citations linked below the article)
Working the Second Shift

After getting the kids to bed, it’s not uncommon for my wife and I to retreat to our home offices to get caught up on work.  I call this ‘second shift’ and it’s one of my favorite times to work.  It’s a 50/50 split between the non-urgent tasks/activities and new projects/experiments that allow for creativity.  (like writing this post)

And…IMHO there’s nothing wrong with having, in moderation and ‘of age’, an adult beverage during ‘second shift’.

Sometimes I break out the ‘Adult Oreos’ which consists of sourdough pretzels dipped in Woodford bourbon.

I digress.

In my constant pursuit for improvement, I’ve been experimenting with attacking my outbound sales copywriting from the perspective of a Journalism major, not an MBA.  Keep reading for the exact 12 step cold email and cold call outreach campaign I created late at night and edited in the morning.

My High Performing 12 Step Cold Email Campaign

Step 1 – LinkedIn Profile Visit

I view a profile automatically during the initial prospect list building exercise which starts the campaign.  Viewing a profile signals to the prospect that you decided to initiate a conversation with them because you’ve conducted your research and have determined they may be a good fit.

Step 2 – Intro Email 1

The goal of this email is to introduce myself without starting with the old ‘hi, my name is ryan and I am the [insert title] at [insert company].  I preempted their likely next mental question of ‘how did you find me’ and I just told them how I did it.

If the prospect replies back to this email or any email in the future, they will be automatically paused and will not receive any future emails unless I choose to ‘Resume’ the campaign.

Subject: Found You on Linkedin
Hi {{ first | default:"there" }},

Your profile popped up in the 'People also viewed' section on Linkedin and you're probably wondering why I checked you out.

We work with companies similar to {{ company | default:"yours" }} to free up an extra 5-10 hours a month, so you can spend more time meeting with prospects and less time trying to find their contact info.

I see a lot of potential for streamlining your outbound sales using tech to automate prospecting and cold emails.

Are you free for a 10 minute call this week?

Cheers, Ryan

Step 3 – Wait 3 days then Email 2 

I ask a rhetorical question in the first sentence to get them thinking about their process.  The 1-2 punch is to follow the question up by mentioning other clients we work with that they likely know or compete with (based on my research).  The goal of this sentence is to instill a sense fear (FOMA) and to demonstrate credibility that there are companies out there who pay for the service we provide.

My last sentence tells them exactly how I can resolve their fear and I convey that this will be ‘quick’.  I go back and forth on if or when to use a calendar scheduling link, but I do include a link in cold email 3 and 4.

Quick Question

Hi {{ first | default:"there" }},

What are you doing to make sure the top of the funnel is full of fresh leads every month?

We've helped companies like {{ competitor | default:"comp1, comp2 and comp 3" }} 2-3x their demos per week by automating their prospecting and sales intelligence. I believe this same concept could apply to {{ company | default:"your company" }} .

When is a good time next week for me to share a few quick ideas I have?
Thanks, Ryan

Step 4 – Wait 7 Days then Email 3 

Email 3 is my offer.  I concluded that the prospects who heaven’t replied by this point weren’t convinced by the social proof in email #2 or the value proposition in cold email #1.  Rather than keep saying the same thing over and over, I decided to give them an offer.  A little quid pro quo.  I’ll give the prospect something valuable in exchange for something value…their time.

I also suggest one of three quick replies –  ‘Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan’ to help me figure out their personality and follow-up to the reply (positive or negative) accordingly.

Including a scheduling link is debatable, but I offer it in such a way that demonstrates a respect for their time and mine.

{{ company | default:"You" }} + {{My Company}}

Hey {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

{{My Company}} is the most accurate prospecting solution on the market but I don't expect you to just take my word for it.

I'd like to offer you a very simple trade:
OFFER: 100 prospects
ASKING: 15 minute call to show you how I found them.

Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan?

Send a few times for this week or skip a step and schedule here. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Best, Ryan


Step 5 Wait 1 Day then Email 4

Email 4 is my Offer Follow-up combined with a Profile View and sent 1 day after my last ‘offer’ email.  It’s a ‘bump’ email that references the offer email I sent them and simply asks them if they have any thoughts on my offer.

This is a low commitment question and because it’s a bump (a reply to a previous email), I’m demonstrating to them that this is likely a person sending these emails not a machine.  This can help to tip the scale in your favor if your prospect is considering whether to reply.

Subject: re: {{ company | default:"You" }} + SellHack
{{ first | default:"Hey there" }}, any thoughts on my offer?


Original Message:

SellHack is the most accurate prospecting solution on the market but I don't expect you to just take my word for it.

I'd like to offer you a very simple trade:
OFFER: 100 prospects
ASKING: 15 minute call to show you how I found them.

Accept? Decline? Go Away, Ryan?

Send a few times for this week or skip a step and schedule here. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Best, Ryan


Step 6 – Wait 3 Days then a LinkedIn Profile View

Step 7 – Same Day Call + VM

Phone: 440.552.8283

Call Script:
If you reach voicemail:
"Hi Prospect Name, _______ here with Replyify."
The reason for my call is to show you and your team how to take prospects on professional social networks, grab phone number and email address, and sync it directly into your CRM. It's solving many companies lead gen issues and we believe we can help you set up more qualified appointments. Please respond to my email or give me a call at ***-***-****.
Thanks Prospect Name, ____ here from Replyify.

Step 8 – Wait 7 Days then Email 5

I offered to show them my outbound sales process in Email #3 and since they didn’t reply, I told them exactly how I’ve been communicating with them for the past few weeks using Replyify.

I want them to imagine being able to have the same balance of control scale when reaching out to their prospects.  Notice my subject line states the purpose for my email…a ‘Demo’.

Subject: Demo
I know these emails can be a little awkward, but you're probably reaching out to your prospects too, right?

After researching your profile, SellHack verified your email address, and I used Replyify to create a personalized sequence of emails and follow-ups.

Imagine how much more time you could spend selling, not digging around your inbox, if you had a cold email automation tool like this.

I can show you how to set this up 10 minutes. Interested?

Step 9 – Wait 5 Days then Email 6

Part of this copywriting experiment was to leverage things that have worked for me in the past and trying new ways of increasing my response and demo rate.  I noticed that I was getting trapped repeating things I said in earlier emails when trying to extend the number of contact attempts I was making.

This is my sign-off email, and it’s generated an incremental increase in the response rate.  While these numbers aren’t that impressive on paper, these are folks that I would have otherwise missed speaking with if I ended without signing off.

Subject: Thanks

Hi {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

Since I didn't hear back after offering to show you how to automate your outbound sales process, I'm going to assume that at this point that you're not interested.

If this is not the case or even if timing isn't right, please let me know.

Otherwise, all the best and thanks for your time!


Step 11 – Wait 2 Days then Email 7

Wait…One more thing!  This is the ‘Bob Vila’ of emails and is effective way to have another touchpoint to ask or a referral or suggest that you connect on LinkedIn.  Timing may not always be right for your offer to line up with a buyer’s decision cycle.

Leaving the door open by connecting online or giving them an option to get you ‘off their plate’ via referral is a great way to demonstrate that you aren’t desperate or short-sighted with regards to the opportunity of working together.

one more thing

Hey {{ first | default:"there" }} ,

Is there someone else at {{ company | default:"your company" }} that I should speak with about automating your sales process?



Step 12 – Optional LinkedIn Connection

You may not want to connect with all of your prospects and that’s ok.  Also, be mindful of how many connection requests you send compared to the number of folks who actually connect with you.  If your offer is sound, you communicate respectfully and your profile is professional, asking for a LinkedIn connection may be a good step to include in your campaign.

If you drink, Please drink Responsibly

If you write your cold emails with a glass of bourbon, please remember to edit with a cup of coffee before setting your campaign live on Replyify.


sales cold email copywriting