How are your cold emailing efforts going?
If the answer is “not good”, there might be a reason for that.
Do your emails look like this one that I recently received?
If so, the good news is that it’s fixable.
1. I don’t care who you are (no offense)
Nothing personal here.
It’s just that I’m busy, and you’re interrupting my day with an unsolicited email.
If you’re going to do that, start with some eye-catching and valuable information. Your name and your job are neither.
Also, you don’t actually care whether your email finds me well or not.
As Copyblogger puts it:
Every sentence you write should make them want to read the next sentence you write.
Here’s how you make that happen.
DON’T introduce yourself
I know how counterintuitive that is.
But if you think about it, your name and the company you work for are already in your from field and in your signature. (Unless you don’t have a cool signature. In which case, make one.)
The attention span of your reader is going to be real short, so you want to start with something compelling.
But, there is one exception to this. That is, if who you are is relevant. It can be either because you’re famous/important or because we have some kind of relation, even if we haven’t been introduced yet.
DON’T introduce your product
The best way to showcase your product is to not talk about it at this stage.
Your product is only as relevant as the problem it solves. So before you have any knowledge of any issue your prospect might have, this is too early.
If you don’t get a response, then you can tastefully showcase your product in follow-up emails.
DO make it personal
Your best bet is to make your subject line relevant according to what you know about me.
People are obsessed with themselves. Use that to your advantage.
DO be creative
You can score some easy personalization points by congratulating:
- Prospects who just started at a new job
- Companies that recently raised money
- Companies that won an award
- Companies that released a major update
You can score some points by mentioning
- A piece of content they’ve written
- The school they attended
- A previous company they worked at
Just don’t make it creepy.
DO keep it short
If you’re going in with the intention of building a relationship, you’ve got it right. But the goal here is to get your recipient interested enough to read the next sentence.
That’s why you need to keep it short. You’ll have all the time to get better acquainted once they’ve responded to your message.
2. You don’t care who I am
I can tell by how little you personalized your message.
I don’t have anything against templates. In fact, good templates will go a long way in terms of generating responses. But you need to personalize them.
Not only because you want to play on the vanity of your prospect to keep their attention. If you don’t address a specific niche, you won’t be able to demonstrate value. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one.
The basic stuff
You need to mention, at the very least, the first name of your prospect and the name of their company.
You’re addressing an individual, and you want to help solve a challenge at their company. So the very least you can do is make it clear that you know who you’re writing to, and where they work.
There are 2 possibilities here.
1. Your product was built for a specific niche of customers
In this case, your message needs to reflect that. Mention the various elements that constitute that niche in your message.
2. Your product appeals to a larger audience
You need to segment your list and build an appropriate message for each segment.
How you adapt and personalize your templates always depends on the context. But there is a variety of criteria that make it easy to adapt your message to your prospects:
- Geographic region
- Company size
- Market orientation (B2B/B2C)
3. You don’t provide clear benefits
What’s in it for me? Why should I care? Why is it better than the way I’m currently doing things?
Sure, you mention having a “positive impact” on my business. But that doesn’t mean anything. It’s vague and it doesn’t commit you to anything.
Also, features mean nothing on their own. They only come in as a solution to my problem.
At this point, I have no idea what responding to your email is going to do for me.
There are 2 questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What am I bringing to the table? – quality
It may sound cynical, but if you’re in B2B, 95% of the time, this is going to be about money.
It can be achieved through time-saving, higher productivity, streamlined processes, happier employees (which will lead to higher productivity and talent retention), higher website conversions…
But the degree to which you spell this out depends on how high your prospect is in the chain of command. Or on how specialized they are.
For example, if you sell a solution that helps improve SEO, you don’t have to sell the benefits of good SEO to an SEO expert. They know all about it already. You need to sell them on how your solution is going to do that.
But if you’re selling to a CFO, it’s a different story. They’re concerned with budgets, revenue, and profit margins. In that regard, you’re probably going to have to show them how SEO helps generate more revenue. And only then can you show them how your solution is going to do that.
You need to establish benefits that are going to sway prospects at each level you’re targeting. From the specialist to the decision-maker.
2. How much of it am I bringing? – quantity
It’s not enough to promise time, money, or productivity. You need to quantify it. That’s how I know you’re serious.
Also, that gives you something to demonstrate. Without a clear goal, you have nothing to prove to me. But if you tell me that your CRM is going to save me 10 hours every week, it’s a different story. Because now you can start showing me all the ways it’s going to do that, based on hard facts and data.
4. You don’t provide any credentials
If I’ve never heard of you or your company before, I’m going to need some proof that you can deliver.
And even if I have heard of you, I still need to know that you can deliver for me.
If your company has a track record, this part shouldn’t be too hard. If your company doesn’t have a track record, you might need to work around it.
A – Your company has a track record
The single best way to gain credibility is to provide social proof. And the best way to do that is to list the names of happy customers. Even better if those customers operate in the industry I operate in.
The more similar to me your other customers are, the more likely I am to take a meeting with you.
B – Your company doesn’t have (much of) one
This is a tough one. But that’s how it is when you get started.
Does your company sell other products? Use that as a stepping stone to prove the company’s reliability.
Now, if you don’t have any references at all, you need to sell the skills and past experiences of your founder. Have they had a successful venture in the past? Use that to bolster their credibility.
5. You don’t have a clear call to action
Even if you didn’t put any effort into your message, you still want something from me, right?
If you do, you need to ask for it and make it easy for me to respond.
This means that you need to:
Make it clear and to the point. Your prospect should immediately know what you expect from them.
- Make it clear and to the point. Your prospect should immediately know what you expect from them.
- Make it easy to act on. If you want to set up a call, suggest some time slots. If you want them to download something, send a direct link to the file. If you need information, send a form they can easily fill out.
So you now see how saying “I hope to hear from you soon” is problematic.
Every chapter of this article could have had the same title: “Make it about your prospect, not about yourself”.
The key takeaways:
- Don’t waste their time,
- Only mention relevant information
- Show you’ve done some research
- Provide value
- Show some credentials
- Have a clear CTA
Do you know anyone who makes those mistakes?
Do them a favor and share this with them, they will thank you!
Forster Perelsztejn is in charge of marketing at Rooftop, an email management and all-in-one collaboration tool. He has spent most of his career working in SaaS and creating content for a variety of authoritative publications. When he’s not working, you can find him playing music, taking photos, and taking care of his pets. Connect with him on LinkedIn!