How to Create a High-Converting Cold Email Sequence

How to Create a High-Converting Cold Email Sequence

You’ve been there. Or at least you’re there.

You have a fantastic offering and a list of prospects you know will love it.

Now, you need a great cold email sequence that’ll help you impress prospects, handle their objections and start making them happy. And, of course, make a lot of money.

I, too, have been there. So, I’ve got you covered.

By the end of this blog post, you'll have all the information you need to create amazing cold email sequences that book deals.

Let's get started.

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Your Cold Email at One Email
What Makes a Great Cold Email Sequence
How to Create a Killer Cold Email Sequence
Cold Email Sequence Template I used to Get Replies From CEOs
Bonus: How To Book Meeting Hands-Free

Why you shouldn’t stop your cold email at one email

Stopping your cold outreach at one email is like getting only one foot inside the room and closing the door. It's crucial that you stay in constant contact with the prospect after the initial outreach email.

Data from The Brevet Group shows that 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting. Cold email outreach is no different. You need to send follow-up emails after the first touch. Here's a quick story.

Feed, a branding agency that is specialized in the healthcare niche, used to get 90% of its new customers through referrals. But the agency recently earned $100,000 with a 30-day cold email sequence.

Here's how they did it.

First, they used Google Alerts to find successful doctors and surgeons mentioned in the news and then sent them a congratulatory email. This was a good icebreaker and an impressive first touch.

Cold email sequence exemple
Source: HubSpot

Now that they have created a connection, they sent follow-up emails with helpful content personalized to the prospects’ industry to build interest and stay top of mind.

They followed up with an offer, which was for a tool they knew the prospects would love.

Cold email sequence example
Source: HubSpot

What makes a great cold email sequence

The first goal of any marketing campaign is to build a relationship with your audience. And as such, the very first email in your cold email sequence should break the ice between you and your prospects.

Then, you should work on nurturing prospects with various emails that help convert them into customers.

Here's how to know when you have a solid cold email sequence.

It’s nurturing

When prospecting, the goal is not to land in your prospects' inbox with your service offerings from the first email. Regardless of how appealing your offer is, it won't get them to make any kind of decision right off the bat, let alone pay for it.

The idea of a cold email sequence is to provide your prospects with information about a product or service they had no idea about.

In most cases, prospects don't even know who you are. Or, they may be interested in what you're selling but aren't ready to make a buying decision at this point.

Importance of cold email sequence
Source: Daniel Murray's Twitter account

Here is where a cold email sequence takes on a life of its own. Unlike a simple cold email followed by (maybe) a follow-up email, a cold email sequence allows you to feed the prospect with all the information needed to lead them from not knowing about your product or service at all to purchasing it.  

In other words, a cold email sequence helps sales reps build a stairway up to the purchase that allows them to provide prospects with the information they need throughout the process.

This strategy allows you to build trust with your prospects while moving them along the sales process.

When done right, your cold email sequence should be a multi-step campaign with various calls to action that lead prospects through the different stages of the buyer’s journey, like in the example below.

Cold outreach campaigns's stats

It’s engaging

The primary purpose of cold outreach is not to sell but to establish a relationship. The most successful cold email sequences do so because of the rapport they build with prospects.

An excellent cold email sequence provides prospects with valuable content that creates a connection and educates them before offering a call-to-action asking them to buy. It creates interest and keeps your business top of mind.

It’s structured

There are many steps to converting a prospect into a customer. Especially with a cold email sequence, you will need a certain number of emails spaced out over a given period. In the specific order, the different stages of your buyer journey follow each other.

So, a cold email sequence requires you to build a structured follow-up sequence in a well-thought-out and streamlined structure to provide information to your prospects and classify your email content according to your end goal. That way, you build and organize your cold emails into a plan.

Cold outreach stats

How to create a great cold email sequence

Now that you know the importance of a cold email sequence and its main characteristics, here's how to create one.

Define your target audience

If you were to start a vegetarian burger business, would you sell the burger to vegetarians or to people who eat meat?

Silly question, I know.

But in this question lies the essence of your campaign because, as you can tell, bad targeting can seriously impact your campaign results.

It's very easy to think, "our target is FinTech," or even "we target SaaS companies," and assume that the people you target are the right ones. But this will not work.

That's why you've got to do it the right way.

Ask yourself what needs or problems your product/service solves. This allows you to remember why and for whom you built the product in the first place.

Then ask yourself if these people meet the requirements necessary to take advantage of your service or product. Are they geographically, financially, and logistically eligible?

For example, if you sell a product that costs $15,000 per month and is to be used by companies with 500 to 2,000 employees, you already know that you need to target enterprise customers and not SMBs that make $3M in sales per year.

Last but not least, determine if the people you want to target are actually looking for ways to solve the problem your company is solving. Are they using other alternatives to your product or service? Will they be reluctant to buy a solution like yours?

This last wave of questions will help you situate them in the buyer's journey and craft the messaging accordingly. This brings us to the next step in creating a great cold email sequence.

Tie up your sequence to the buyer's journey

If I were to write a book called "How to Screw Up Your Cold Email Campaign 101", the main subject would be that most people send emails without factoring in the stage of the buyer's journey their prospects are in.

In fact, crafting your sequence around the buyer's journey ensures that your messaging is on point and has conversion power.

Here are some questions that will help you:

  • First of all, are the people on your list aware of their problem?
  • Do they know about any existing solutions to their problem?
  • Are they aware of your product or service?
  • If so, are they ready to buy?
  • Do they have any doubts that prevent them from making a purchase?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will know if your target is unaware, pain-aware, solution-aware, or simply aware.

When you find out which stage of the buyer's journey your target is in, try to determine the gradient.  

For example, if they are solution-aware, are they at the lowest, mid, or high levels? If they are at the lowest level, it means that one touch is not enough to go from the solution stage to the product stage.

In the image below, you will see that the sequence has six touches even though the prospects were already in the solution stage of the buyer's journey.

Stages of the buyer's journey
Source: Nerdy Joe

Because the gradient is “mid,” I judged that one touch was enough to go from solution-aware to product-aware. On the other hand, it took two touches to go from product-aware to most-aware.

Structure the way you introduce your offer

Now that you have a sequence that factors in the stages of the buyer's journey, it's time to think about what offer to present (and when) for the best chance of success.

If your list is segmented and some people are at a different stage of the buyer's journey than others, then you need to think twice before introducing an offer into your cold email sequence.

Think about it. John, who is more solution-aware, should not receive the same offer as Joanna, who is totally unaware.

So, for instance, if the bottom line is that you get John and Joanna to subscribe to your software, you should adapt your offer to the stage of the journey they belong to.  

John, who is already solution-aware, is more likely to be okay with an offer like 30% off or a free trial.

On the other hand, Joanna, who is not even aware of the problem yet, needs more information about the extent of the problem, the internal and external solutions available to her, etc. And so, an offer like 30% off would be inappropriate.

To succeed in your campaign, you need to treat the members of each of your segments differently, as they are not at the same stage of the buyer's journey.

Cold Email Sequence Template I used to Get Replies From CEOs

Here is the strategy and sequence that allows me to get answers from CEOs.

Cold email sequence structure
Source: Nerdy Joe

The yellow label indicates where the people on my list are in the buyer's journey. At this level, there are three gradients: low, mid, and high.

The red label, on the other hand, is indicative of the type of offer I should make in each email.

And the blue label presents the subject or theme of each email to be deployed.

And here are the results I got.

Cold campaign results

Below, you'll find the cold email templates that allow you to replicate this sequence.

1st touch–Intro email

2nd touch–More advantages

3rd touch–Handling objection

4th touch–Adding more value

5th touch–Selling softly

6th touch–Selling aggressively

7th touch–Breaking up

Bonus: How to book meetings on autopilot

Your prospect list is verified and ready.

Your cold emails are all written and ready.

You've defined the cadence, and everything is literally spot on. Now you want to kick-start your cold email campaign.

You may be thinking that getting a back-friendly chair and sending emails one by one is the way to go. But get this.

Instead of doing the numerous sends and the daunting task of following up on each and every email manually, what if you could simply automate all that while focusing on other aspects of your business?

Cold email outreach tools make sending cold email campaigns a breeze. With Hunter Campaigns, you can easily send cold emails and set up an automated follow-up email sequence.

Here's how to set up a cold email sequence in Hunter Campaigns:

Log in to your Hunter account. Then, go to the Campaigns tab.

Start a new campaign by clicking the +New campaign button.

Starting a new campaign in Hunter Campaigns

On the next screen, add the subject line and the copy for your cold email.

Adding an email to a campaign in Hunter Campaigns

Need help crafting great cold email subject lines? Check out this guide.

If you'd like to add personalization to your cold email, click the {}Insert attribute button.

Personalizing an email in Hunter Campaigns

Continue building your cold email sequence by clicking the Add a follow-up button to add a follow-up email. Set a delay for follow-ups.

You can add up to three follow-up emails to a sequence in Hunter Campaigns.

Once you're done building out your sequence, click the +Add recipients button and add your list of prospects.

Adding recipients to a campaign in Hunter Campaigns

Click Next and review your campaign settings. If everything looks good, click on Launch.


The success of a cold email depends on its content, but a good sequence will guarantee way better results.

So keep these three things in mind when creating a cold email sequence:

1. Always do your research and define who you want to target. Then, determine what stage of the buyer's journey they're in.

2. Build a sequence that fits into the buyer's journey cycle, and don't hesitate to add as many steps as you feel your audience needs in order to reach the buying decision stage.

3. Always think about the type of offer you can introduce to get the maximum results. Remember, the primary purpose of a cold email is not to sell but to establish contact.

Ernest Bio Bogore
Ernest Bio Bogore

Ernest is the founder of Nerdy Joe, an email marketing agency for SaaS brands. He's run hundreds of campaigns that have generated 1000s of signups, and MILLIONS in the sales pipeline for his clients.