In today’s post I’m going to be talking about four keys to writing cold email that converts.
And when I refer to cold email, this might be people who are cold prospects completely.
It might be people you haven't engaged within a long while or people your touch with on LinkedIn.
Or maybe you met at a conference, event, or social function.
Just any group of prospects that you don't have much of a relationship with at this point.
People dislike cold email because most people are terrible at it.
Because they take one of two misinformed paths.
The Lazy Path
They get blinded by the idea of email automation and they forget completely about the recipient on the other end of the email.
The “Silver Bullet” Path
They are looking for one magic email that jam packs tons of info into it that's going to sell a cold prospect immediately.
All that does is leave a bad taste in their prospect's mouth. It rarely gets responded to if it even gets opened at all.
And that is what we are going to talk about today…
- How to stand out from the crowd
- how to capture attention without annoying off the recipient
- How to immediately transition from solicitor to valuable resource
- And, most importantly, how to actually get results from your cold email (hooray!)
How Do We Turn Cold Prospects Into Leads and Clients?
I had my Director of Products, Pat Henseler, make a short video to go through everything in this post in more detail. I highly recommend giving it a watch.
Automate your cold email outreach and get dozens of templates inside of Connect 365. Request an invite to try it free here.
Today I’m going to go through the most important factors that you need to consider when creating a cold email campaign.
- How to make the right introduction
- How to structure your email to gain your prospect’s attention
- What to say to build trust almost immediately
- And how you can amplify your results at scale.
And to be clear when I say “results,” I’m not talking about just opens and responses, but ultimately sales opportunities, getting the right people booked into sales appointments, strategy sessions, etc.
So let's take a look at the four keys to getting your prospects to pay attention to.
First Key: Make Your Email Valuable, Not Commissioned.
The first key is to make your email message valuable, not commissioned.
One of the big mistakes I see whenever we have a new client come on board, and they have an idea for an email campaign, they quickly want to push their prospects into a sales call or a sales opportunity.
Try and engage your prospects, try and ask them questions, try and focus on pain or benefit, try and give them something of value.
This is something we've learned from working with thousands of clients, analyzing millions of emails.
If you're too forward, or you have too thinly veiled a message that makes it clear that you are trying to sell them something your prospects are going to tune you out.
If you treat people transactionally they are going to view you as a pest instead of a peer. Especially when we're talking about cold prospects.
Now, if you’re emailing people who have been engaged with your material and your content for a while now you can treat them a bit differently and be more aggressive in your approach, but for cold prospects, if you're too transactional, it's an issue.
So the question remains, what do we do?
The Quality Content Approach
To stand out from the crowd you have to start with quality content that your prospect is actually interested in.
And this content should not be gated. Meaning they should not have to opt-in or buy anything to get the content.
It should be something that they can access easily, a link to some valuable content that's going to help them solve a pain point of theirs or, at the very least, gets them thinking about an issue or need that they are dealing with that you can solve.
And if it's something on your blog or your own website, please, please, please do not send them to something like this.
Don't send them to some sort of like feature comparison or stuffy white paper.
For most products and services you don’t need to make them work so hard to see how you can help. They may not even know that your competitors exist. Up until recently, they didn't even know you existed.
Start with actionable content that gets them thinking about you as an asset. You can get into the deeper content down the road when they tip their hand and show interest.
Keep reading to see what I mean.
The Interview Request Approach
Another common approach we use is getting our clients' foot in the door with their prospects and is by offering that prospect a chance to get interviewed.
This could be for your blog, your podcast, to share into a LinkedIn group, etc. Whatever platform you can offer.
The focus here is to disarm your prospects by offering them something of value. Publicity, notoriety, backlinks to their website, or whatever benefit you can think of. And you don’t have to have a following or huge amounts of site traffic for your prospects to value this. Most will just be excited that someone wants to interview them.
And in that interview, you're going to ask questions designed to get them talking about the types of pain points that you can solve. Which makes sense right? You are essentially asking if you can interview them on their experiences in an area that you are an expert in.
Let’s say you are a local SEO agency and you want to build relationships with small to medium sized businesses in your market. You could offer to interview them about their business and their web presence. There you can ask them questions like, “So how many monthly visitors do you get to your website every month?” or “What are you doing online to attract potential customers to your website?”
Chances are they are not going to be doing everything right. As soon as they mention that you can jump in and offer to take a deeper look to help them out. You are an expert in this area and can help them solve a problem that, before your call, they didn't even know they had.
Again, the goal here is to get your foot in the door with your prospects. To get them to know and trust you.
The Group Invite Approach
Another approach we use often is sending them a friendly invitation to a relevant group on LinkedIn or Facebook. This could be a group that you run or manage… or just a 3rd party group that has a community created specifically for people just like your prospect.
Any group that your prospects may find interesting. And again, it comes back to the principle that cold email should be about starting a relationship, not closing it.
The Small Group Mastermind Approach
Finally, another ice breaker approach to consider is inviting your prospects to a mastermind. This is just a small group roundtable of you and your prospects where you'd be able to start relationships with a handful of ideal clients at once by facilitating conversation.
This approach is one that I used for my agency, LinkedSelling, to close our highest value retainer client we’ve ever had. All I had to do was email some businesses who fit the mold of our clients. 5-6 agreed to meet for the mastermind. We each chatted about our businesses and what we need help with.
I followed up with someone who needed marketing help and BOOM… new client.
Second Key: Your Cold Email Message Should Ooze Relevance
By this, I mean that you should be as specific as possible to your recipients as you can. The copy you use in your email should feel like you wrote it specifically for your prospect.
But that does not mean you are going to write a custom email to every single one of them. That would take forever. Instead, think about what common denominators your prospects have.
Are they all marketing executives? Are they recruiters on the west coast? Are they facility managers who are in an area that was recently damaged by a hurricane or forest fire?
Be sure to call that out.
For instance, here’s an example of a good cold email that was part of an “Interview Request” campaign...
This email from a client of mine’s campaign was sent through Connect 365 and, as you can see, it looks exactly like it was typed out manually. But it wasn’t. It was actually sent to hundreds of people at once.
But they would never know because they…
- Called out the industry directly in the email to let them know that this is relevant to them immediately.
- Included their company name to stand out from the hundreds of other emails they’ve gotten that day
- Stroked their ego by comparing them to other “Top Marketing Leaders” in the area and therefore making this email feel like an honor
They made it clear why this is relevant for THEM in THEIR world.
Find that connective tissue between your prospects and make mention of it.
Here’s another example that uses the group invite approach…
First off, if you go this route, you want to make sure that you make it very clear why your prospects should be interested.
It needs to be easy for them to understand that the group is a community of people that are just like them.
As you can see in the example above, if you’re trying to get clients in the Commercial Construction space, inviting them to a group called “Commercial Construction Professionals” makes a ton of sense.
And you get to break the ice without coming off as salesly or sleazy.
Third Key: Be Personal, Not Robotic
This is IMPORTANT. You are a person. The person receiving your email is a person. So it makes sense to be as personal and relatable as possible, right?
And it’s not just the words you use in your email but also in your email design and how you're delivering them.
I’ve talked a lot about making your message or your offer feel unique to your prospect to avoid being overlooked. You need to stand out.
So we don't want an email to cold prospects looking like a newsletter like this…
This screams, “HEY, YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW ARE GETTING THIS EXACT SAME MESSAGE”.
Now there can be a place for that kind of email marketing. But again, we're talking about emailing people who you don’t have a relationship with. They don’t want a sea of information and stock photos about what you do.
This type of email approach is going to go straight to the promotions folder. It's going to be ignored. You might even make some people upset.
This kind of stuff is why people see email engagement rates plummet. In 2019 alone, email rates fell by 8%.
The inbox is a competitive place. You need to be able to stand out and by zigging where others are zagging.
You need to have a more personal look to your cold outreach emails. By sending out something that looks personal. That's delivered just like if you sat down and sent that message to someone individually, you are going to get a better response as a result.
Here’s an exercise: the next time you are going to write an email, even if you are sending it to hundreds of people, write with one person in mind. Write like you are sending it to a specific person. Notice the differences in how you would speak to one individual as opposed to a group of people.
It's going to be a little more informal, a little more off the cuff. Shorter sentences. Smaller paragraphs. That type of approach with your copy helps you sound more personal and less robotic.
It feels organic.
Again, see how I did that here in this example using the Mastermind Approach
And lastly, for your initial few emails be sure to end it by asking them to respond to a specific question. This is really important when you’re asking them to agree to a meeting.
Don’t make the mistake of just dropping a calendar link in the email and expecting them to click it and book a call. Instead, ask them if a specific time works for them. Make it super easy on them to turn this into a 2-way conversation. Make it uncomfortable for them to ignore the question. Like you are waiting on their response before you can move on.
Once you get that first response your chances of success skyrockets.
Fourth Key: Cold Email is Sequential, Not One-And-Done
As with any kind of marketing, it takes multiple touchpoints at times to breakthrough. That’s why you need to think of your outreach as a deliberate sequence instead of an individual message.
Likewise, you don’t want to load up a single email with everything someone needs to know about you and your products and services.
It won't work.
It's going to fail.
Then you’ll get frustrated.
And give up.
If you are looking for a quick-fix silver bullet insta-close email, I recommend to stop looking now. It's a waste of your time. And that type of thing is not a long term stress. That's going to get resolved consistently. That's going to bring in new opportunities.
Long term success with cold email is only possible through sequential and consistent messaging and touchpoints. The graphic above is from a Microsoft Study that interviewed 13,000 sales professionals. They found that, on average, it takes 7 touch points before a prospect will agree to a meeting.
But the staggering part is that FIFTY F$%&ING PERCENT of sales professionals gave up after a single unanswered email.
89% gave up after the 4th attempt even though they KNEW that it takes an average of 7 attempts before you will be successful.
So just by sending a single follow-up email, you are 50% more likely to get your prospect’s attention than your competitors.
That means that you want to have a series of emails ready to roll and queued up before you even plug in your prospects into the campaign.
And if you follow the four keys that I laid out in this post…
- Make Your Email Valuable, Not Commissioned
- Ooze Relevancy
- Be Personal, Not Robotic
- Cold Email is Sequential, Not One-And-Done
They're foundational. They are tried and true. But you might be thinking that they sound too simple. They are simple by design. It’s not complex to send your friend a personal email. That’s essentially what you’re doing here.
The truth is most people don't do the simple things.
“Business schools reward complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior is more effective.” Warren Buffet
Entrepreneurs have been sold on the myth that they need some complex funnel with all the bells and whistles to be successful.
But that’s just not the case. Simple, calculated, consistent outreach and follow up is all 90% of businesses need to generate consistent growth.
That’s what Connect 365 does for our clients by…
- Sending personal outreach or follow up emails to dozens or hundreds of potential clients in a way that gets an average of 2x-3x better engagement rate
- Scheduling out sequences of emails all at once so that you can have weeks or months of emails queued up at once
- Providing dozens of proven campaign templates preloaded in every account that can be tweaked and launched in a matter of minutes with a click of a button
- Attracting and building sincere relationships with your perfect prospects in as little as 60 minutes a month
So if you'd be interested in learning more about how our customers are using these four keys to generate better results from their cold email and follow up you can request an invitation to try it out free for 14-days.