Write Better Cold Emails With Frameworks

Published on August 3, 2023 by Sawyer Middeleer

Write Better Cold Emails With Frameworks

Cold emailing remains one of the most common strategies in the sales playbook for reaching potential clients. When executed with finesse and precision, cold emails can open doors to valuable conversations and relationships that might not have been possible otherwise. However, with the influx of emails flooding inboxes daily, it's no surprise that crafting a standout cold email requires more creativity, relevance, and personalization than ever before.

In a world where attention is at a premium, we need frameworks that go beyond generic templates — strategies that can be adapted to various contexts, yet are systematic enough to provide guidance on creating effective cold emails.

Here’s an insider look at the anatomy of compelling cold email frameworks and how you can adopt them to increase your chances of getting a response.

The Core Components of Strong Cold Emails

Before diving into frameworks, let's lay out the essential elements of a cold email:

  • Subject Line: The first crucial filter. It must be intriguing, direct, and value-driven.
  • Opening Line: The hook that should personalize the message and resonate with the recipient.
  • Value Proposition: A clear, concise statement of the benefits your product or service offers, tailored to the recipient's specific needs or pain points.
  • *Credibility Booster:** A line or two to build trust, such as mentioning mutual connections or highlighting case studies.
  • Call To Action (CTA): What do you want them to do after reading? Be precise and make it easy for them to take the next step.
  • Closing: A quick sign-off that’s professional yet approachable.

Keeping these elements in mind, let’s explore practical cold email frameworks to give your outreach a competitive edge.

1. The AIDA Framework

Attention, Interest, Desire, Action — AIDA is one of the oldest marketing frameworks, and it translates well into cold email structure.

  • Attention: Capture their interest with a compelling subject line and first line. (“Saw your comment on the latest ABM strategies…”)
  • Interest: Pique their curiosity with intriguing facts or questions. Introduce your value proposition subtly. (“Are you looking for ways to 2x your lead generation?”)
  • Desire: Show the result or the end state that your product or service could help them achieve. Talk about benefits, not features. (“Our clients see a 50% decrease in customer acquisition costs within the first quarter.”)
  • Action: Suggest a clear CTA. (“Would it be worth a 15-minute call next week to explore this for XYZ Corp?”)

Problem, Agitate, Solution — PAS is a powerful formula that zeroes in on pain points.

  • Problem: Identify a clear, relatable problem that the prospect is likely facing. (“Managing numerous client accounts without a unified platform must be daunting…”)
  • Agitate: Amplify the problem by discussing its implications. Make the prospect feel the pain. (“Mishaps in communication could mean missed opportunities or, worse – losing a client.”)
  • Solution: Offer a solution — your product/service — as the light at the end of the tunnel. Tie it back to the pain. (“Imagine a dashboard that gives real-time updates of all engagements, ensuring you're always ahead... That's what we offer.”)

3. The 3-B Plan

Belief, Benefits, Bridge — The 3-B Plan focuses on shared beliefs to establish rapport.

  • Belief: Start with a statement or idea that the recipient likely believes in, which also aligns with the nature of your offering. (“Leveraging customer insights is pivotal in refining SaaS products…”)
  • Benefits: Use concrete data or anecdotes to demonstrate how your product aligns with this belief to deliver benefits. (“Our insights tool helped Company X increase their user retention by 25% within two months.”)
  • Bridge: Create a bridge to your CTA, making it the logical next step. (“I’d love to show you how this can work for your firm. How about a quick demo next week?”)

4. The BAB Framework

Before, After, Bridge — The BAB framework illustrates the transformation your product/service can enable.

  • Before: Paint a picture of the world before your solution, focusing on adversity and challenges. (“Organizing marketing collateral manually takes up precious time that could be spent engaging leads…”)
  • After: Draw a contrast with an aspirational after-state, following the implementation of your solution. (“Our platform automates the process, freeing your team to focus on strategy and relationships.”)
  • Bridge: Connect these two states with your CTA. (“Let's talk about transitioning to a smoother workflow. Is Tuesday or Thursday better for a brief call?”)

5. The QUEST Formula

Qualify, Understand, Educate, Stimulate, Transition — The QUEST formula is about leading prospects on a journey.

  • Qualify: Assure the prospect they’re the right fit for your message. (“As a leader in cutting-edge tech solutions…”)
  • Understand: Show empathy and understanding of their situation. (“Navigating rapid growth and scaling efficiently is no easy feat…”)
  • Educate: Provide information that educates them about a solution to their problem, ideally, your product/service. (“Innovative startups are leveraging AI for smarter scalability… much like our solution does.”)
  • Stimulate: Provoke interest or excitement about the results you can achieve for them. (“Clients have reported a 40% increase in operational efficiency within the first quarter.”)
  • Transition: Ease them into a CTA. (“I’d love to share how we could see those results within your organization. Are you open to a brief chat this week?”)


Framework-driven cold emails ensure you’re not just sending messages into the void but are creating opportunities for meaningful engagement. By leveraging tried-and-true compositions like AIDA, PAS, 3-B Plan, BAB, and QUEST, you tailor your narrative to captivate and convert. Each framework serves a strategic purpose, guiding you to construct emails that resonate deeply, making it far more likely that those crucial messages get read—and acted upon.

In our fast-paced digital world, it pays to be both systematic and inventive in your approach. Equip yourself with these frameworks, adapt them to your voice and brand, and you'll pen cold emails with the power not merely to be opened, but to elicit a response. And remember, while frameworks are great starting points, the magic lies in customization—fine-tuning the message to precisely address the pain points of your prospects and offering them a solution that feels tailored just for them. That's the sweet spot cold emailers should aim for in every campaign they launch.

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