Email is undoubtedly one of the best marketing tools sales people have nowadays. It is, however, often overused and if you are one of those people who spend a good amount of time deleting what is redundant in your inbox, you might be a little apprehensive about cold emailing your potential course buyers.

That’s why I think it’s important I start by making it perfectly clear that this practice is not the same as spam emailing.

A cold email is an email that’s sent without prior permission from or contact with the recipient. In many ways, a cold email is the same as a cold phone call – it’s just much less disruptive. This means it’s not unwanted by the recipient, simply not specifically called for. Spam emails, on the other hand, are sent to countless addresses at once, without researching the relevance of the recipient or confirming that the email address itself is even valid.

4 Tips on how to make cold emailing work for you

There are multiple ways of attracting people to buy your online course, some more effective than others, with that effectiveness being based on various factors. Cold emailing is just one. Here are a few tips on how to put it on the more effective side:

Build your list

The obvious first step when you are starting a cold emailing campaign is to figure out who the recipients will be. In order to come up with a list, you have to figure out what your targeted persona is. Think of the ideal buyer of your online course and jot down the most important characteristics.


Read more: The entrepreneur’s guide to buyer personas for online courses [Part 1]
The entrepreneur’s guide to buyer personas for online courses [Part 2]


Once you have a clear image, you may start looking for prospects. You may be tempted to simply buy an e-mail list off the internet but I strongly advise against it. If you want your cold emails to have a positive open rate, they have to be sent to the right people and need to be personalized. This means you should have an idea about who you are approaching.

There are several ways of finding prospects, from a simple Google search to more thorough queries on LinkedIn or Twitter. It may prove to be a time-consuming endeavor but in the end it will be worth your while.

Write a good email

The first and most important thing is to craft a good subject line; failing to do so will result in the email simply going unopened. While the subject line has to be consistent with the content of the email, there are also other basic things you should be sure to check:

  • It ought to make people curious
  • It should be concise
  • It shouldn’t be misleading (no “you are the lucky winner” stunts).

Here are some examples of good lines that will hopefully inspire you.

Moving to the body of your cold email, it’s advisable to make it relevant to the recipient. If you have done your homework on putting the list together, this should not be very difficult. As far as general rules go, here’s what to pay attention to:

  • Let the recipient know precisely what they have to gain by reading all the way through and eventually responding to your call to action
  • In the same spirit of making it about the reader, avoid using “I” and ‘we” and focus instead on ‘you” and “yours”
  • Be as clear as you can about why your email ended up in their inbox – this requires a certain level of personalization.

Always include a call to action

Since you are sending a cold email, you don’t want to come off as very pushy. That being said, including a clear statement of what you want your potential customer to do next is compulsory. The call to action will vary, of course, depending on why that person ended up on your list in the first place.

It should be compelling and:

  • It has to relate to your online course and to people’s motivation for buying it (yes, we are back to the ‘what’s in it for me’ subject)
  • The message about benefits needs to be clear and specific if you want it to sound truly convincing
  • It is crucial that your CTA delivers what it promises – if, for example, you state that there will be a discount, a free PDF or other perks you have to make sure you make true on it, immediately if possible.

Read more: Why it’s important to master call to actions when promoting your online course


Mind the relevance of your signature

After spending no small amount of time and effort in making the list, writing your email and infusing it with just the right dose of compelling your potential customers to act, it’s easy to overlook the great importance of how you end your email.

Email signatures are especially relevant when it comes to cold emails because it’s an elegant, non-invasive way to direct the recipient to more of your content by using dynamic email signatures. These can easily embed media (like a YouTube presentation or tutorial, for example) or link to your social media channels, blog, landing page or website. Your signature can also be used to promote your upcoming event, webinar, e-book or whitepaper.

Closing thoughts

While cold emailing may not have over the top conversion rates, it still works as a good marketing tool. Even if the recipients don’t necessarily make a purchase of your online course immediately, they might remember the offer at a later date when it becomes more relevant to them. Especially when you are only starting out in the online marketing world, you can’t ignore the potential of cold emailing has for getting yourself out there.

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