“Cold emails are outdated.”
“Cold emailing is an old school tactic that no longer works.”
Those are the lines you’d hear when you ask many people what they think about cold emails in 2019.
But the truth is, cold email marketing can still work — magically! And in fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to grow your business. The following stats speak volumes:
- 93% of B2B marketers use email for content distribution. (Source.)
- 40% of B2B marketers attribute their successes in content marketing to email newsletters. (Source.)
- 99% of consumers check their email every day. (Source.)
- Email marketing generates the highest ROI for marketers. (Source.)
- On average, email marketing generates 38% return on investment. (Source.)
- Email is significantly more effective for customer acquisition than social media (Source.)
And now, here are some real world examples of businesses that boomed after focusing on cold email campaigns.
Example 1: In 2015, Pratima Aravabhoomi, the founder and CEO of Craft Design Street Co. used cold email outreach to grow her startup. She achieved an impressive 50% conversion rate, and within a few weeks she landed massive deals with corporate clients. You can learn exactly how she did it here.
Example 2: Laura Lopuch, a freelance copywriter, launched her business by sending 328 cold emails to potential clients. Her campaign had a 56% open rate and a 9% reply rate. Most importantly, the campaign grew her business by 1400% in 4 months. She explained how she did it here.
And here’s another post detailing how five companies grew using cold email.
We could go on and on, but let’s just stop there.
The key point is that you just can’t afford to dismiss the huge potential of using email marketing to promote your products. And if you’re not leveraging email for brand awareness and customer acquisition, you’d be losing out on tons of new customers.
But sending cold emails is far more complicated than it sounds.
People have gotten tired of the regular cold emails they get every day that scream, “GENERIC TEMPLATE”. And in today’s world, people respond only to personalized messages.
So, here are the new big questions:
How can you promote your products effectively through cold emails that actually convert? How can you make personalize cold emails and make them stand out? And how can you achieve that repeatedly?
Now, we’ll answer these questions by revealing six powerful steps for sending cold emails that attract customers and close sales.
1- Research your prospects
Relevance is one of the major factors that determine if your email would be read or deleted instantly. People usually describe good salespeople by their ability to “sell sand in the desert”. Sure, that requires a lot of skill. But it lacks relevance! Why would you want to sell sand to people on a desert when there’s a lot of it already? Wouldn’t you do better by selling water, instead?
The same runs true for email marketing. Don’t try to sell your product to people who don’t need it. So, your first step is to figure out who needs it and who doesn’t. You can easily determine your real prospects by creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Knowing some basic information (such as name and location) about your prospects is cool. But for better results, you need to dig deeper:
Find out more about their team size and structure. This will help your strategy and targeting. For instance, you’d be able to tell the right person to contact in the organization, and if that person is the decision maker or someone else higher up.
Find out additional demographic information such as education level and average age. This can influence the tone of your content. For example, an audience of academic professionals usually respond better to a formal style of writing; an informal style or conversation tone with the same audience can bring poor results.
When creating your ICP, don’t get tempted to add useless or imaginary details. Choose details based on hard facts — surveys, interviews with existing customers, etc.
By creating an ICP, you’d be able to determine prospects that could benefit from your product and that are most likely to buy it. This step forms the bedrock for every other aspect of your cold email campaign, so don’t be tempted to skip it or handle it shabbily.
2- Get their email address
Your next step is to go out and get the email addresses of your target prospects. A lot of companies sell lists of names and email addresses sorted by profession, geographical locations, and so on.
While you might be tempted to buy a ready-made list of prospects emails from these companies, it’s a bad idea because most such lists are often untargeted and the details they contain are unverified or outdated.
So, your best bet is to build your own list of carefully handpicked email addresses — based on the criteria from your ICP.
One smart option is to use a company database like Crunchbase, which allows you to apply various useful criteria, such as location, business category, number of employees, funding status, and so on. The sweet part is that the lists are regularly updated.
Alternatively, you can monitor industry news sources – such as magazines or websites — for the latest headlines on new and growing companies that meet your criteria. You can also set up Google Alerts based on your ICP criteria.
After figuring out companies that you’d like to reach, find out the right contact person in each company. Then use LinkedIn to find the person’s email and other personal details that you can use to personalize your message. Name2Email is another great tool for finding people’s email addresses.
3- Write an irresistible subject line
Your subject line largely determines whether your email would be opened or ignored. So, you can’t afford to mess it up.
Avoid misleading subject lines that begin with “Re:” or “Fwd:”, as they imply that your email came from a known contact — which you’re not. Some desperate marketers even add “URGENT” to the beginning of the subject line just to forcefully attract attention.
Misleading subject lines annoy your recipients. Yes, using them might get the message opened — but it gets trashed almost immediately. And worse, such headlines ruin your company’s reputation.
Now, here’s how to craft a great subject line:
Be clear and straightforward. Your recipients would spend only a few seconds to decide whether to open your email or not. Subject lines that take longer to decode would reduce your chances of having your email opened.
Keep it short. Although research by Mailchimp has proven that there’s no statistical link between email subject lines and open rates, 3-5 words is the most widely recommended sweet spot. Not only do long subjects take longer to read, but they are likely to be cut off from the reader’s view.
Trigger curiosity. Sometimes, people tend to ignore things that are obvious. If your headline already gives away the content, your recipients won’t bother opening your email. So, use a simple straightforward question or a statement that raises curiosity about the content of your email. Just be sure you don’t compromise on clarity and brevity.
Personalize it. Emails that include the recipient’s first name in their headlines have higher click-through rates than emails that don’t.
4- Craft quality content
Persuading recipients to open your email is the first milestone. Your next step is to deliver top-notch and compelling email content that appeals to the reader and stands out from other emails in their inbox.
Here are some tips for crafting cold email content that gets results:
Personalize it. From its very first line, your email must read like one that has been sent to the right person. Start it with basics such as the person’s name and company name, then get more advanced. This sends signals that you did some research and that your email was sent specifically to that recipient – not a mass email with a generic template. If, for example, you figured that the person just won an award, start by congratulating them.
Go straight to the point. Your recipient doesn’t have all day to read your email. So, just cut right to the chase. Write it in such a way that the reader gets a general understanding of its purpose after reader the first few sentences. Cut out useless lines like, “I hope this email finds you well.” Prospects don’t give a hoot about such lines. They simply want to know why you’re emailing them and how they can benefit.
Offer value: Explain how your offer would help your prospect achieve their business goals or solve their problems. Tailor your message to the specific goals of the person you’re writing to. Those goals would depend on their job or seniority level. Whereas CEOs and founders care about getting more clients, other employees usually care about solutions that would help them do their jobs more effectively. Whatever benefits you’re promising the recipient must be clearly outlined.
5- Add a call-to-action — just one!
Every cold email you send must have a clear goal. Many marketers make the mistake of making that goal the hard sell. But the truth is, no customer wants a hard sell. So, don’t make the mistake of asking for a sale in your first email. This might work for phone calls or physical contacts, but a cold email is a lot easier to delete.
Instead, use your first email as an introduction to build a relationship with the recipient. This is what should inform your choice of CTA. Here are examples of effective CTAs:
- A helpful guide (Examples: Check out the guide; Read the blog post.)
- A generous gift (Examples: Download the ebook for free; Try the product for free.)
- A request to send more information (Example: Can I send you a free audit report?)
- A prompt to take the next step (Example: Learn more, Sign up for our newsletter.)
Now, stick to just one CTA. Trying to make two many requests at a time would only get your email closed at the most crucial point.
6- Follow up
Ever wondered why you get a follow up email for almost every cold email you ignore? The reason is that follow-ups do work. In fact, more responses come from follow-ups than the original messages.
It happens sometimes that people read an email and forget to respond or they miss it because it was labelled as spam. Follow ups come in handy in such instances.
While it’s almost impossible to get a recipient to open an email you send as a follow-up to a previous one that annoyed them, you should always send follow ups when you don’t get replies to your first email — since you don’t know the exact reason why you didn’t get a reply.
The term “cold email” has a bad reputation. And to many people, cold emails are synonymous with spam and they no longer have any place in marketing. But the truth is, cold emailing isn’t dead. It has only changed.
Before now, the general idea was to find the best generic email template and blast it out to thousands to millions of untargeted emails — and hoping that a few of them fall on “fertile ground”. But this article has covered everything you need to do to make cold emailing work for your business in this age.
What are your thoughts on using cold email to promote your products? Are you willing to give it a try? If you’ve tried it already, what results did you get? Leave a comment to let us know.
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