Cold emailing is perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the metaphorical book of digital marketing.
While many think that cold emails are only (barely) good for making sales, the reality is that they can be used to accomplish many other things.
From securing links from websites highlighted by your backlink checker during competitive analysis to getting an influencer to notice your work, from getting an investor interested in your web design company to getting clients for the same, cold emails are a versatile weapon that can be used for many different marketing quests.
With that said, when it comes to getting results, cold emailing can be humbling. Those who analyse their open rates, CTRs, and reply rates quickly realise cold emailing is more than simply pushing data into a mail merge tool and reaching out to prospects with a template.
Sure, there was a time when this strategy worked. However, nowadays, we receive hundreds if not thousands of emails every day and the chances of a template email standing out in all that noise are slim to none.
Contrary to popular belief, cold emails are not mass emails. Cold emails are one-on-one conversations.
Contrary to popular belief, cold emails are also not sales emails. The objective of a cold email is to get a prospect to engage with you in a focused business conversation that may eventually lead to a sale.
So how does one start productive, objective-focused conversations with cold emails?
Here’s the exact process behind sending cold emails that fetch positive, enthusiastic replies from your prospects:
Craft Your Own Cold Email Template
The web is filled with articles and “free” gated resources offering cold email templates that brought in millions of dollars for someone.
Most such free resources are actually aimed at collecting your email address and sending you not-so-cold promotional emails.
Don’t fall for it.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t look at templates for inspiration. This also doesn’t mean that you should let go of the idea of using a template altogether.
It just means that the template that brought in millions of dollars to someone else may or may not work for you.
That’s why it is recommended that you spend some time crafting your own template. Browse through the web for templates that worked for others, maybe even download a few of those “free” templates, but make sure you don’t copy and paste them.
Make sure you use them only to draw inspiration to craft your own template.
Moreover, when you do craft your own template, make sure you leave plenty of space for personalizations. In other words, the only objective for the template should be to give you a general direction of how your emails should be structured. Even in this guide, we will only be talking only about the elements of your cold email template.
The actual information within that structure will vary for different recipients.
Research Your Prospects
Instead of sending out 50-100 cold emails with a copy-paste template, it is better to send out 10 well thought out emails written after a thorough research about the recipients.
Experiments have shown that personalizations can improve your cold email reply rates by 100%. That’s right, you can potentially double the number of replies you get when you implement personalization in your cold emails.
The first step to crafting highly personalized emails? To create a list of highly targeted contacts that will receive your email and research everything you can about them.
When I say everything, I mean everything you can find out about them. I don’t mean conducting a Google search about them and including the first piece of relevant information you find about them in your email.
I mean finding out everything you can about your prospect and their business. You can do this by visiting their website and their personal and business social media profiles. The objective is to find an “in” that you can use to personalize your email.
This way, you will be able to show your recipients that you have spent time getting to know them before reaching out to them. In simpler words, it will help you make them feel special and humans love feeling special.
Write A Short, Precise And Eye-Catching Subject Line
The subject line of your email is the first thing that is meant to inspire action from your recipients. It is also one of the first elements of your email that a prospect sees.
That’s why, your subject lines should be absolutely perfect. While that may sound arbitrary, there have actually been a lot of studies conducted on subject lines. As a result, we now have actionable insight into how the success of subject lines can be effectively improved. Here are a few such tips:
- Personalize subject lines: Every step in this process is aimed at making your emails more personalized, and for good reason. In the case of subject lines, personalization can boost open rates by 50%.
- Keep them short: 66% of emails are now opened on mobile phones and short subject lines fit the small screens of smartphones perfectly.
- Don’t Use Sleazy Tactics: Many email marketing advice articles and videos would tell you to include “RE:” at the beginning of your subject line in order to let your prospect think you are mailing about a previously held conversation, prompting them to open your email. While this strategy may work well in improving open rates, it will also frustrate your recipients when they discover that they have been tricked. Instead of finding ways to trick your recipients, it is better to try to deliver genuine value with your subject lines.
- Don’t Make Unrealistic Claims: “Add $100,000 MRR To Your Current Revenue” doesn’t work. No matter how good you are at your job, guaranteeing absurd results in your subject line will lead many recipients to think that your email is spam.
Just like we will discover in the following sections, subject lines, like any other element of your cold email, should be genuine, engaging, and personalized.
Tailor Each Message You Send Out
Now that you have compiled information about your prospects, it is time to put your newfound knowledge to use.
Following the structure you created in the first step, start crafting an email. Make sure you begin the email with a note of personalization.
This can be anything ranging from mentioning a recent achievement of your recipient to a couple of lines about something they tweeted a couple of days ago.
If you can find something you can help them with, it will be even more effective. For instance, if you noticed on Twitter that one of your prospects has been complaining about not finding the time to read every day, you can suggest a book summary app that may have worked well for you.
What this means is that the help you offer with the first few lines of your initial email does not have to be related to what you actually have to offer to the recipient. It doesn’t necessarily be related to your product or service.
It needs to be free. No strings attached. One human to the other.
With that said, when implementing this advice, it pays to remember that you are reaching out to a stranger. You may have researched them and feel like you know them but for the recipient, you don’t exist until the time they first lay eyes on your subject line.
Keeping that in mind, make sure whatever you are offering is apt. Offer something a stranger would offer. Don’t be too personal. Don’t offer something that would be deemed creepy.
For instance, connecting someone with an individual they have been meaning to talk to is a good practice. On the other hand, offering someone a $100 gift card in your first email is just plain creepy.
Tell Them Who You Are
As mentioned earlier, for most of your recipients, you are an absolute stranger. In the previous section, we established that we have researched the person we are reaching out.
Now, it is time to establish who you are, to build credibility, to build trust.
There are many ways to do this but the one that works better than the others is mentioning a common contact. Maybe you have helped one of their LinkedIn connections with something in the past. Maybe you had a relevant conversation with someone in their company. Using such social proof is the easiest way to transition from being a stranger to having a mutual friend/connection.
However, chances are that you will not always find a common connection with all the prospects you email.
If that is the case, you can make use of your own relevant authority or achievements. However, it is important to make sure that the achievements you mention are relevant to either the person you are reaching out to, or to the service/product that you will be discussing with them.
If, however, you are new to your industry and don’t yet have any achievements worth mentioning, try to find a commonality with your prospect. Maybe you are part of a common social media group. Maybe you attended the same school. Maybe you read the same book. Find a commonality and use it to introduce yourself.
Make Your “Ask”. Thoughtfully.
Now that you have “helped” your prospect and established who you are, it is time to make your “ask” and get to the point of your email.
Follow these steps to do it effectively:
- Focus on their pain: Whatever you are offering to your prospect, don’t try to talk about it right off the bat. Start by talking about the pain that your service can alleviate. Follow it with the repercussions for your prospect if they don’t act on alleviating their pain. Then, present your offering as a possible pain relief.
- Do the work for them: Chances are that after mentioning your offer, you will want to get them on a call to close the deal. If that is the case, make sure you are not making them work by asking them when they are available for a call. You are adding more work to their already busy days, you are asking them to make a decision for you. Instead, wrap up your offer by mentioning a specific date and time when you can talk to them in more detail. “I am available to talk about this on Monday 8 PM” works much better than “when are you available to talk more about this?”.
- Show Gratitude/Be Appreciative: Unlike in-person conversations, emails don’t allow you to give instant feedback to your prospects. That means, if the other person agrees to your “ask” you will not get a chance to thank them after. However, you can make your prospect feel special and appreciated by following your “ask” with words of gratitude in your cold email. Words of gratitude have been known to improve response rates by up to 100%.
Conclusion- Cold Emails Are Conversations
Before wrapping up, I would only like to remind you that cold emails are not meant to be sent in bulk. Cold emails serve a specific purpose, have a specific offer, and are targeted at a specific person that will benefit from your offer.
To this end, the more you invest in personalizing your cold email, the better they will perform. That’s why, most of the points in this short guide were also aimed at guiding you to better personalize your emails.