Unique approaches to cold email copy that help you stand out: a fintech guide

Unique approaches to cold email copy that help you stand out: a fintech guide

Screenshot of cold email response

I received this response a while back from a campaign where I’d thrown caution to the wind and crafted a very unconventional cold email script.

My list data was muddied, and I ended up emailing the wrong prospect. This mistake should have resulted in a negative response. Instead, the prospect shared insights that have made me curious about using unconventional email copy approaches more often.

To start, I Googled 'cold email example' and got this template from the first result on Google.

The page gets 1,700 monthly visitors from the US, according to Keywords Everywhere, which means any template there has likely been used more times than my grandfather's used shoes.

Here’s a framework that will help us turn a typical cold email script  into something that's unique and stands out in the inbox.


Look for elements you can remove from your existing cold email without losing your intended message. This may include greetings and pleasantries such as 'how is your day?' or qualification statements like 'I have a request' or 'I'm not going to waste your time...'

If it is common practice to go around in circles before getting to the point, eliminating phrases and being succinct will break the pattern and make your email stand out.

Switch up the order of things/rearrange 

If you are not comfortable eliminating, then switching up the order of phrases is the next best thing. It will allow you to get to the point of your email fast while still keeping with tradition.

For example, if you’re emailing the head of SDRs at Salesforce, you could switch up the greeting like this:

"Jerry Seinfield has joined your SDR team from Company X, wondering if he's told you how they used {{our company}} to lower their demo to close time? Hi {{first name}}."

This technique is helpful when reaching out to individuals in saturated niches who receive multiple cold emails each day that all look the same. And don't limit yourself to just the greeting; every section of a cold email is fodder for variation and switching things up. Just imagine receiving an email that starts with a PS instead of ending with one.

subject: branded expense cards

PS: our accountant blames some of his hair loss on manual account reconciliation. Hi {{first name}}.."


What is it they say... "a good artist creates, a great artist steals?" Take inspiration from techniques used in other types of content and adapt them to your cold emails.

Look at the first lines and headlines of your favourite publications. Can you borrow some of those techniques? Use article curation apps like Pocket to study the headlines and first-line combos being used to get you to click. Then carry them over to cold emails.

For example, the “open loop” created by the headline and the first line combination in the screenshot above can work well when leveraged in a follow-up email.

Subject line: fx rates & {{company name}}’s payroll

“{{First name}}, watch what happens when you forecast exchange rates before making payroll…” 

Additionally, consider adapting communication styles from outside the corporate world. 

Take, for instance, how friends text each other when making recommendations: "hey Caty, there's a new comedian performing at Earl's this weekend. Wanna go?" A technique I adapted (word for word) in the email opener shown in the screenshot below.

For the sake of practicality, here’s an example of a fleshed-out template based on adapting the “friend recommendation” technique discussed above. 

Persona: a freelancer marketplace that does weekly payouts and struggles with tracking down failed payments manually.

Thing being sold: an embedded finance payments solution

Subject: lost payment

"{{First name}}, have you seen {{seller’s company's name}} payouts thing and their method for tracking down failed payments?

You assign each freelancer a unique virtual IBAN so all payouts (and failed payments ) can be tracked to them rather than you having to search for it manually in a master account. 

Makes reconciling payments automatic. Have you implemented something like that yet?"

The first line is meant to sound informal and read like a recommendation from a friend: the main aim being to get an open. And the rest of the email builds on that; talking about the product and what it solves as if the salesperson doing the outreach is recommending a product to a friend.

Put to other use

Think of each section of your cold email, and what it's there to achieve. 

If the first line breaks the ice, the second line introduces the product, service, or pain point you solve. The call to action makes it easy for the prospect to take your desired next step, and the signature: a boring, obligatory part you include in your emails just to stay legally compliant.

Then find other uses, here’s how. Instead of using your signature as a legal check box, you can “put it to other use” by making it a direct response ad of sorts.

Add a tagline line at the bottom of your email signature designed to get your prospect to click. It can be a summary of the pain point you solve, e.g. "We stop credit card fraud before it happens" or a customer success story e.g. "Helped {{case study customer}} save $50k in FX fees last year." 

If it's intriguing enough, the prospect might either Google your company or, if you have a link in the signature, click through to your site. 

(I read of a rep who was not getting responses to her emails, only to realise her prospects were clicking over to the company website and booking demos without engaging her. Her SEO team was probably busy high-fiving each other for a “great” job.)


With all this in mind, stop reading, take out your pen and see if you can throw caution to the wind, break a few cold email conventions, steal a technique or two and make the email template below unique.

Here’s my attempt: I’m acting as a failed payment recovery service seller (a company like Gravy) and targeting paid newsletters dealing with subscriber churn. 

This is one way I could make the script above unique to me.

subject line: quick request

{{insert your biggest pain point here that resonates with your ideal customer, OR insert a job function like "sales" or "recruiting"}}. {{First name}}, who‌ might be feeling this at {{company}}?

Thank you,

{{your name}}

This is what it would look like when fleshed out:

subject line: quick request

There might be a FintechTimes reader who hasn't renewed their subscription because their card payment failed (probably?) Hi Mary, who might be the one wrestling with this problem for the FintechTimes? 

Thank you, regards.


Gabriel Onyango

Fake Payments Recovery Agent

NoMoreFailedPayments Inc

Volcanic Street 76884


Data shows 30% of subscriber churn can be prevented, let me tell you how

Explanation: I chose not to pitch my “failed payments recovery service” in this email because the recipient is likely not the ideal customer persona (judging by how the template is structured). But my email signature acts like an ad, which—if it resonates—makes it easier for the recipient to recommend me to their colleague without annoying them to high heaven.  

This article is a live framework and I'll be adding to it as inspiration comes. If you've got ideas too, share them through [email protected] and I'll add them here with attribution.

Sharing is caring... well... sort of ;)

Gabriel Onyango
Gabriel Onyango
[email protected]

About Me

A writer, in a marketer's skin, wearing a cold emailer's floppy socks. The unorthodox combination of these is what you've probably experienced in this blog. Freelance cold email manager; open to working with teams on cold email campaigns, copy, ICP research (snooping()and custom list building. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Copyright © 2023 Outbound Fintech.