Using ChatGPT For Cold Email: Everything You Need To Know

Marketers LOVE the idea that they can input a few prompts and ChatGPT will output a perfect cold email. One that’s guaranteed to bring in a ton of qualified leads.

So in this article we’ll look at realities of using ChatGPT to create high converting cold email. And show you a few ways to make your cold email outreach awesome, that you might not have thought of yet.

Let’s get started!

ChatGPT for cold email

This Is What We’re Excited About?

Unless you’ve been living under a bridge you’ve heard how OpenAI’s ChatGPT is revolutionizing all kinds of content. Everything from full length articles to social media posts, to cold email templates.

Recently a Linkedin connection shared some ‘perfect’ cold email copywriting they created using ChatGPT.

It made me want to cry.

I don’t want to be rude, but the entire email sequence they shared was pretty crap. Scratch that. It was really crap.

Which goes to the heart of the problem of using ChatGPT for cold email. Even though it’s unbelievably powerful, artificial intelligence has difficulty applying best practices the same way a human might. 

The worst part was all the online encouragement he received. Everyone ooohed and aaahed at the ‘perfect emails’ ChatGPT created. And assured him he would get replies. 

I’m skeptical.

Elements of the email were pretty good. But these days no one replies to ‘pretty good’.

Here are a couple of issues we’ve seen with letting ChatGPT do your cold email copywriting for you.

ChatGPT for Cold Email

There’s a Learning Curve

Some of the limitations of ChatGPT don’t relate to the tool itself. It’s actually pretty incredible.

The biggest limitation I’ve seen is the ability of a human user to get the best possible output. Great output comes from great input.

Crafting effective prompts and queries is a skill set all on its own. And most users (including myself) haven’t learned how to do it well yet. 

Cold email copywriting is also a skill. And between the two, ChatGPT has a steeper learning curve than learning how to write a perfect email. So why not focus on cold email copywriting instead of AI queries?

Frankenstein Templates

ChatGPT has access to 1000’s of cold email templates. And can synthesize them into a single, logical output. 

That’s pretty cool!

But it can’t evaluate the quality of its work. So upon closer examination, you’ll notice the end results are astoundingly… average.

ChatGPT doesn’t understand the recipient’s problem in a tangible way. So it can’t create copy that speaks to their challenges.

You’ll need to repeatedly tell ChatGPT how to improve the copy. The changes are instant, but even then it can take a ton of time to get something useful.

Informed Focus

ChatGPT knows everything. In fact, it recently passed the MBA exams for Wharton University.

But unlimited information doesn’t help you. Because it can only write using the information you tell it to focus on.

It knows nothing about your target industry, or the nuances of your solution. So unless you tell it everything YOU know, then it can’t incorporate that information into its output.

Consider the positive results your company has achieved. Unless you specifically tell ChatGPT to incorporate your case studies, that information won’t be included in the final results.

At the end of the day, it’s just easier to write the email yourself.

How To Improve Your Cold Emails With ChatGPT

So, with those caveats made, let’s look at some ways you CAN use ChatGPT to massively improve your cold email skills.

Add Spintax

The first (and most awesome IMHO) way to use ChatGPT for cold email is to create spintax.

Spintax refers to copy variations where the words change, but the underlying meaning stays the same. For example {Hi | Hello} {FirstName}.

The value of using spintax is that when you contact a large number of people you aren’t sending the exact same message over and over. 

Spintax selects a random variable from the available options. Which means you get more copy variations with each set of spintax that you add.

Consider this sentence:

Saw one of your trucks out on the highway the other day. Your fleet branding looks great.  

Ask ChatGPT to add in some spintax and it will give you:

Saw one of your {trucks|vehicles} out on the {road|highway|freeway|interstate} {the other day|last week}. Your fleet {branding|logo|decal} looks {great|amazing|impressive}.

Incredibly, the spintax from just those two sentences results in 144 possible variations. And that number keeps multiplying as you increase the number of variables.

You know how I know that? I was lazy so I asked ChatGPT to do the multiplication for me.

Ideation & Turns of Phrase

Staring at a blank screen sucks. You know brilliance is supposed to pour out of your keyboard. But… it hasn’t happened yet.

ChatGPT may not be great for writing emails. But it’s a good place to start when you’re stuck. It can suggest some ideas you haven’t considered.

Or it’ll use a turn of phrase that’s better than anything you would have thought of.

I told ChatGPT:

Write a cold email to logistics companies about our delivery management software. It saves delivery companies an average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day. 

The results were… meh.

It pumped out about 225 words (by its own count). And most of them were filler.

But there were a few bright spots. One sentence created some inspiration for some ideas.

…it has been shown to save an average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day. This means more efficient routes, reduced fuel costs, and increased productivity for your company.

Instead of using the sentence ‘as is’ we could expand each point into its own email. So write:

  1. An email about reduced fuel costs.
  2. Another email about increased productivity.
  3. A third email about shortened routes.

The point is, you don’t want to use the copy it spits out. It’s just not good enough. 

But it’s a great place to start when you’re stuck for ideas and waiting for inspiration to strike.

Use ChatGPT To Flag Spam Words

Did you know there are over 500 words which, if used in an email, decrease your likelihood of delivery?

Email service providers compare the words (and context) in your emails to judge whether they are possibly spam. 

So a question like, “are you free for coffee?” probably won’t land you in the spam box. But a phrase like, “can I send you a free sample?” could get you in trouble.

It’s not practical to check every word in your email against a 500-word list of possible spam words. But with ChatGPT, you don’t have to. Just plug your text into the chat box and ask if there are any spam flags.

To test this out I asked whether there are any spam words in the text below:

You should act now on this fantastic deal. Can I send you a free sample? No credit card required.

It immediately identified the bolded phrases as problematic.

Yes, the email you provided contains words that may be flagged as spam by some ISPs.

Words such as “act now”, “fantastic deal”, “free sample” and “no credit card required” are commonly flagged as spam. Some ISPs have spam filters that are configured to flag any message that contains phrases or words that are commonly used in spam emails. These words or phrases can cause your email to be flagged as spam and potentially blocked from reaching the intended recipient.

Kill Your Ego With ChatGPT

For me, the hardest part about creating an effective outreach sequence is writing from the client’s point of view.

Look at the dummy email below. It’s riddled with ego-centric words like “I”, “we”, “our”.

I saw one of your trucks on the road the other day. Your branding looks great. 

We created delivery management software for logistics companies like {Company Name}. We’ll save you an average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day. We do this by finding more efficient routes. Which reduces fuel costs, and increases productivity. 

So it’s ChatGPT to the rescue! Well… sort of.

I asked the tool to “suggest ways to make this email more recipient-centric:”

It came back with:

Your truck was recently observed on the road and the branding received compliments.

Our delivery management software, created specifically for logistics companies like yours, has the potential to greatly benefit your business. An average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day can be saved through our software’s ability to optimize routes and decrease fuel costs, leading to increased productivity.

OK, it’s not great, and you wouldn’t want to use it. 

But it’s a start. With a few more prompts I was able to get:

Our delivery management software is designed specifically with companies like [Company Name] in mind. By optimizing routes and reducing fuel costs, you’ll save an average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day, helping to increase your productivity and efficiency.

Which is pretty good. There’s room to improve, but it’s a decent starting spot.

So if you struggle with putting a recipient focus into your messages ask ChatGPT to do a ‘recipient-centric’ rewrite.

Use ChatGPT To Inject Positivity

One of the predictors of high email reply rates is how positive the message is in terms of tone. The more ‘pep’ your email evinces, the more likely your leads are to reply (even if it’s just to say, ‘no thanks’).

I asked ChatGPT to take the email above and make it more positive. And it made a few changes. I liked the tweak it made here:

By optimizing delivery routes and minimizing fuel expenses, our software can help you save up to 43 minutes per vehicle per day. Which leads to improved productivity and better outcomes for your business.

Tone is an ambiguous concept, but we know it when we see it. Use ChatGPT to help you find the right tone for your message.

Just be sure to use positivity in a way that makes sense. In one version of the email I got:

We were thrilled to see your truck on the road and wanted to reach out to share some exciting news. 

On the surface it looks pretty good. But on a deeper inspection, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why were we so thrilled to see their truck on the road? Seeing their truck was the impetus to contact them. But why are we so happy about it?

So use your own judgement about where to inject positive statements.

Bulk Test Subject Lines

Coming up with great subject lines is a bit of an art form. Sometimes the best way to go about it is to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. And then shortlist the best ones for further consideration.

The thing is, it takes a LONG time! If you want to brainstorm 40 subject line ideas it could easily take you half an hour or more.

Fortunately it only takes ChatGPT about 40 seconds to generate 40 subject line ideas.

I asked it to generate 40 subject lines for the email above.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t like any of them. 

BUT it was worth going through the exercise. Subject line #15 was,

Eliminate Delivery Bottlenecks with [Your Company]”

I don’t especially like the subject line as it is. But I’m intrigued by the word ‘bottlenecks’ and I’d definitely want to test the efficacy of something like,

delivery botttlenecks @ {Company Name}

The operations manager pretty much HAS to open that email. And it speaks directly to the content of the email itself.

Takeaway: Don’t rely on ChatGPT to come up with your perfect subject line. But it CAN help you with the brainstorming process. I never would have come up with ‘bottlenecks’ on my own

Use ChatGPT As An Editor

One of the problems with writing is that we’re too close to our creations.

Personally, I like to craft an email and then wait a few hours before doing the first edit. Time makes us more objective about our work since we’re no longer living it in the moment.

But if you’re in a rush, ChatGPT does an excellent job as an editor. Just pop in your copy with instructions. Here I asked it to fix an email that was just one long run-on sentence. And also included a few unnecessary plurals.

Check my grammar and make suggestions to make this email more readable.

We created a delivery management software for logistics companies like yours to make your business more efficient. Our softwares will save you an average of 43 minutes per vehicles per day through our software’s ability to optimize routes and decrease fuel costs, leading to increased productivity. 

After a couple of prompts it came back with a vastly improved version:

We’re thrilled to announce our delivery management software for logistics companies like yours. Our software optimizes routes and reduces fuel costs, saving an average of 43 minutes per vehicle per day. This leads to increased efficiency and productivity for your business.

That’s a LOT better!

Use ChatGPT to Brainstorm Your CTA

Just like with subject lines, you can use ChatGPT to brainstorm your Call To Action. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t really do a good job. Most of the CTA consisted of one short sentence. 

That said, it pretty much covers every possible type of CTA. It suggested demos, meetings, software upgrades, more information, personalized quotes, and so on.

While the wording wasn’t much use, the wide range of ideas was helpful.

For example, one idea was “get a competitive edge“.

That’s pretty weak. But alluding to competition could simultaneously generate social proof and urgency.

For example, “GreyCat Delivery used this to cut their operational costs by 3% in just 2 months. Can I share a few ways you could do the same?

Takeaway: ChatGPT isn’t great at creating strong CTA’s. But it’s really good at pumping out a lot of ideas, quickly. Use this to iterate and test multiple CTAs.

Using ChatGPT for Cold Email In The Real World

So how are you using ChatGPT to craft the perfect cold email?

Let me know how you’re using this crazy powerful artificial intelligence to enhance your cold email copywriting. I’d love to hear about the tricks, prompts and hacks you’ve found deliver the best results.

Let me know. You can message me on Linkedin or send a message on our contact page.


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Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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