There are many ways to reach prospects today, but getting directly into their inbox is still one of the most effective. Eight out of every ten prospects say they prefer to communicate with sales representatives over email.
Cold emailing works—if you craft an email that is concise, personalized, and adds real value to the prospect. To boost your cold email response rate, you can use these techniques:
1. Craft a great subject line that represents the content of your email
The subject line is the single most important component of a cold email. It determines whether your email gets read or goes straight to trash. Your subject line needs to be engaging and show the prospect that they will receive value from opening your email.
Avoid the urge to be conversational. You don’t know the prospect yet and should not presume familiarity. You are not going to trick the prospect into believing that you are already acquainted.
Instead, use the subject line to begin your pitch—without coming across with too much “sales speak”. Tell the prospect why they should open the email. How will your email help them to solve a problem or achieve a goal?
Make sure that your subject line is short enough so that the whole subject is readable in common email clients. Experiment with different subject lines and measure your results. Once you’ve found a subject line that works, use it consistently.
While you want your subject line to intrigue your prospect, it should not misrepresent the contents of your email or your intentions. Some examples of good subject lines:
“Do you need help with [problem]?”
“How to [achieve goal]”
“Feeling frustrated with [pain point]?”
2. Keep the email brief
With so many digital distractions you can’t expect a prospect to read through a long, rambling email. Don’t waste time with fluff.
The total email should be 100 words at most. In the email, you should explain the problem your product solves, briefly describe the solution, and establish your expertise. Break the email up into short paragraphs for easy readability.
3. Include personalized content about the prospect
Before cold emailing a prospect, include a few sentences of personalized outreach. Ideally, you should place this content early in the email to let the prospect know that this isn’t just a copy-and-paste job. Show that you understand the prospect’s business, current situation, and the specific role of the person. If you’ve picked up any relevant personal tidbits on social media, consider including them. (If you do this, be clear about where you got your info so that it doesn’t come across as creepy.)
A general rule for personalization: If you can send the same content to five different companies on your prospect list, it’s not true personalization.
4. Focus on the prospect’s needs early on
Like your subject line, the first few lines of your email should clearly communicate how the email offers value to the prospect. You do need to introduce yourself to establish credibility and context for the email. However, you and your company should not be the primary focus. The prospect didn’t reach out to you, so it’s safe to assume that the prospect doesn’t really care about you and your company—however impressive you are. It’s all about the prospect, their problems, and their needs.
Critically evaluate every line of the email. Does it make a compelling case for how you can help the prospect to address an issue that they care about? If not, eliminate it. For example, excessive chit-chat isn’t helping your case. Be ruthless about editing out fluff content like “how are you doing?”
5. Share relevant, eye-catching data
69% of prospects say that primary research data adds value to a cold email. Data is particularly effective when reaching out to C-level executives. Don’t overwhelm the email with data. Rather, you should select one piece of data that presents a compelling case for further engagement.
You don’t have the space to tell a detailed customer story within a cold email, so the data needs to tell a persuasive story on its own. If you can say, “73% of our customers improve their customer retention rate by 15% or more,” that tells a powerful story.
6. Leverage personalized videos in your email
Your prospect probably receives dozens of outreach emails every week. But most will not include personalized video content. By making a personalized video for your prospects, you can stand out. Making a video shows the prospect that you are willing to devote time and energy to making face-to-face contact. It helps prospects to see you as a real person rather than a faceless email signature. Video has been shown to increase click-through rates by 200-300%.
Your video should follow the same principles as text-based cold emails. Keep the video to ninety seconds or less, focus on the prospect’s needs, and offer personalization that goes beyond simply using the prospect’s name.
7. Ask the prospect to take further action—but make it simple and low-investment
You need to conclude your email with a call-to-action. However, at this point in the sales process, it’s not reasonable to ask the prospect to invest a lot of time in you. Your ask should be easy for the prospect to complete. Generally, asking to set up a ten-minute phone call works well. Make it easy to schedule the call by linking to Google Calendar or another scheduling tool.
In asking the prospect to commit further time to you, remind them what benefit they will receive.
8. Use a conversational tone and accessible language
Your email should be easy to read. Read it out loud to make sure that it flows well and sounds truly conversational. This can also help you to identify language that sounds overly pushy and sales-y. If you feel awkward saying it out loud, don’t put it in an email.
There are many online tools available that calculate the reading level of your text. A lower reading level is generally better for a cold email.
While your tone should be friendly, you should also maintain professionalism. This doesn’t mean jargon, but rather showing respect for the prospect.
When done well, cold emailing is one of the most effective tools for prospecting. By using these best practices, you can significantly improve your response rate.
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