What is a cold email?
Cold email is generally an email that you send to someone who doesn’t know you. It’s a very good alternative to the telephone as it is asynchronous, which makes it less intrusive. It’s very much used in BtoB to make connections or sales. It’s also a very good networking tool… provided that it is well structured! – because writing effective cold emails is not an easy feat.
Indeed, cold email is often compared to spam. However, if you respect the good practices I’ll list in this article, you should be able to write cold emails that get replies.
What differentiates a cold email from spam is the degree of personalisation. The primary objective of a cold email should never be to sell something in the first exchange, but rather to create a conversation. Writing a cold email is a bit like contacting an acquaintance, except that the person does not know you yet.
Let’s see how to break the ice and write cold emails that get a reply every time!
Tips for writing effective cold emails
Grab reader’s attention with a catchy subject line
The subject line is the first thing your interlocutor will see when opening his inbox. It is therefore extremely important to make sure that it makes them want to open your email. If the subject line is too vague or uninteresting, your email may end up in the trash without even being opened. According to Propeller, 35% of recipients decide to open their emails solely on the subject line. That’s more than one in three people you’ll have to convince with a catchy title.
There are several techniques for this:
- Ask a question
- Include the first name of your contact in the subject line
- Highlight the added value that the reader will benefit from immediately on opening the email
- Opt for a mysterious subject line (e.g. “We have to talk” or “We’re in this together”). The reader doesn’t know what to expect when they read these sentences and curiosity makes them open your email to find out more
- Create a sense of urgency – with a deadline or limited offer for example
Of course, you can combine these techniques to improve the open rate of your cold emails.
Personalize your ice-breaker
Now that you know how to get your recipients to open your messages, you need to optimize the content to increase the response rate. The key element is personalisation. Research your recipient to get to know them better. Take an interest in their passions outside of work if they have any. This way you can personalise your ice-breaker and make a good impression from the very first lines of your cold email.
For example, you could start your email with a sentence like: “Hello [first name], I really liked what you said about [X]” or “I saw that your company is looking for [Y]”. Don’t be afraid to be specific and give details of how you heard about this person in order to create a healthy relationship. Don’t try to sell your product/solution right away. Instead, focus on the connection you are trying to build with your prospect.Think about this cold email as a way to do some networking. It’s the quality of this relationship that will allow you to go into more detail later on about what you want from this person.
You will then have to introduce yourself. It is important that the person in front of you understands why you want to get in touch with them. So explain why you are reaching out.
Although it’s important to introduce yourself so that the other person knows who they are dealing with, do not overdo it. You can add a signature at the bottom of your cold email to give more information about yourself such as your name, photo, phone number, website, social media profile, job title and company. Keep it short and tell them more about themselves and what you can offer them.
Keep it short and sweet
Highlight what you can offer your prospect without overdoing it. Again, if your message is too aggressive, it will come across as spam. It is therefore essential to write a short and sweet message.
Don’t insist on scheduling a demo or meeting at any cost. Simply explain why you have contacted this person today and why this exchange could benefit both of you.
Again, remember to personalise your message if possible by tailoring your message to your target: “since your company does [X], our services can help you achieve [Y]”. You can also add multimedia elements such as an image or a video to make your email more visual. Isn’t it said that a picture is worth a thousand words?
Ask a specific question
To close your email and encourage your prospect to respond, I recommend that you always add a question at the end of your message. This question should be very specific and related to what you have discussed above. For instance: “Would you like to take a moment to discuss [X]?
This question should not be too pushy, but rather like a non-binding proposal. You don’t want your prospect to walk away at the last moment after having taken the time to read you.
Include a single CTA
A good cold email should have a clear call-to-action (CTA). You can place it right after the specific question you asked your reader. This will encourage your prospect to take action and increase your response rate. For this CTA to perform well, it needs to be unique – that is, there should be only one in your email to focus your reader’s attention on that one single action you want them to take. It doesn’t have to be something overly complicated. For instance, if you want to schedule a call with the person you are reaching out to, insert a simple link to your Calendly.
Should you be sending follow-ups to your cold emails?
Yes, definitely! Sending a cold email follow-up will maximize your conversion rate. Just because the person you contacted did not reply the first time doesn’t mean they are not interested. They may be very busy with work and have little time to check their emails. If this is the case, answering your cold email is certainly not a priority, so it is crucial to send a follow-up to increase your response rate.
There is no ideal number of follow-up messages. However, you should be careful because there is a fine line between providing value to your contact and annoying them. However, don’t give up too quickly, as several studies agree that 80% of sales are completed after 5 follow-ups.
You are now ready to send effective cold emails and maximize your chances of converting your prospects! Share with us your favorite hints to write amazing cold emails in the comments below.