While email marketing is not necessarily fraught with the same negative connotations of cold calling, it still remains a daunting process. However, when approached the right way, it can be one of the most effective ways to build a customer base and drive engagement with your website, product, or service. Here are ten tips to help you send more effective cold emails:
Know Your Prospect
While there are some people out there who can, in fact, sell ice cream to Eskimos, it is certainly a lot easier to sell them blankets. You should do your best to truly understand the people on your prospect list and their interests. If you are creating a mass cold email, try to find a unifying trait that everybody on your list – or at least the vast majority – can get on board with, and make that an important part of your outreach.
Preface Your Outreach
It is a good idea to know your prospect. It’s even better if they know you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them on social media prior to your outreach. This sort of proactive outreach prefacing a campaign is best handled in the weeks preceding a campaign. You don’t want the outreach to be too long prior to the campaign, or else you run the risk of your prospect forgetting you. Alternatively, immediate outreach after congratulating them on their LinkedIn work anniversary (for example) can seem insincere.
Work the Clock
Never send out a cold email at 6:00pm on a Saturday. You need to schedule your emails to coincide with the times that emails are likeliest to be read and responded to. Fortunately, there has been abundant research performed on this subject. 11:30 a.m. is the optimal time to send an email. Timing the email a few hours after the workday begins, but also prior to most lunch breaks, maximizes the likelihood that your outreach will be read and also that you will receive a response. You can use services like Boomerang to automate the timing of these emails for you.
Personalize the Email
Saying someone’s name is one of the most affirming things you can do to another person. As such, even with something as seemingly impersonal as a cold email, you have the opportunity to connect on a deep level by mentioning your prospect name. If you can go a step further and mention the company, that will be even more effective. Finally, if you are targeting prospects on a deeply personal basis, a little bit of scouring the web for background on their schooling, past employment, or any other readily accessible data can help you In building a stronger email as well.
Keep it Short
Brevity truly is the soul of wit. You will want to focus on a pitch no longer than three sentences. While the natural inclination may be to provide all the information you have available, the truth is that it is often better to just provide the essentials and allow your reader to “choose their own adventure” and ask for additional information. If they ask, this is a good thing – you’ll have the information ready, and their outreach will serve as positive engagement.
At ShipMonk we have a rule of thumb that we limit our emails to no more than 3 sentences in the first 3 outreach attempts.
Acknowledge the Limitations
People who receive cold emails tend to have one thing in common: they know that they are reading a cold email when they receive one. You can, to use a theatrical term, “break the fourth wall” in your emails and acknowledge the unnaturalness of the outreach. This sort of acknowledgment of the limitations of the medium will be beneficial in establishing comfort and trustworthiness with your readership. By acknowledging the limitations of the medium, you are also opening your prospects to the idea of learning more – and this can be accomplished through links to your site, blog, etc.
You’re championing your product and service to strangers. Now is not the time to hem and haw or hedge your bets or shortchange your service. If you are a strong viable option against the competition, don’t hide that. If you are offering something that will help your prospects with an innovative new approach to an old problem, embrace it. This is a time to make the best impression you can.
Your prospects have problems that they need to have solved. Do you know what these problems are? Ideally, you do, since you have already identified them as a prospect for your product or service! So, in the space of your email, instead of giving them the hard sell on why they should want you, you can allow them to realize they want you by offering them a helpful tip, advice, or anything else they might be able to use to improve their business or positioning.
Focus on “The Message”
You clearly chose to reach out to these prospects for a reason. Don’t deviate from the central message too much. Consider the likelihood that after reading your email, your prospect is unlikely to retain more than a fragment. You want that fragment to be focused on your message. While you should focus on being helpful and everything else, you chose to do cold emailing for a reason and to leave people with a desire to come to your product or service. Make sure that initial strategy is not lost in the tactical implementation of it.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…Follow Up
Industry trends cite approximately a 30% higher response rate for follow-up emails than initial outreaches. There are a few possible variables that impact this statistic. Persistence could pay off. The reader may have done more research about your product or service and now be better equipped to respond to a call to action. But also, if you have been following the previous tips, you will have established something of a rapport with your prospect. All of these factors work in concert to boost your odds of success, so never let a low initial response rate prevent you from following up!
Ultimately, your success in cold emailing will be dictated on some level by the quality of your product or service. However, if you implement some of these ten tips, your campaign itself will be as direct, helpful, honest, and useful as it can be.