I learned that people you approach through intros will probably meet with you as a favor to someone else but they won't use a new product unless they have a good reason, time and will.
You need to reach certain people, not companies.
One of the main things I learned during my startup days is that there's no such entity as a company. It's a group of different people, each one of them has their own goals, interests and thoughts. Your customer is not the company but a person within the company.
Keep it short but make it easy to find more resources
Nobody likes getting long emails. I usually try not to go over two paragraphs. However, I do want it to be extremely easy for the recipient to find out more without going to Google.
There are at least 4-5 links in my signature - Twitter, LinkedIn, personal blog, company blog. I think people are always interested in seeing who's behind the email. If you have a cool Twitter account, an active blog, interesting GitHub projects, etc., it adds some major points.
Don't cold email without a great website
This is the first lesson I learned about cold emails - if you don't have a website (a real one, not a landing page), it's extremely hard start a conversation with users. Many users do want to be beta users but no one wants to use a product of a company which doesn't seem 'real' and professional. I tried to cold email a bit when we had a very basic mini-site and got zero replies.
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Ya sabes lo que se dice sobre la longitud de la firma en un email... y ahora que todo el mundo introduce disclaimers bilingües, no sé qué pensar.
Disclaimers que nadie lee. Cosas de abogados...