11 Hot Tips That Will Make Your Cold Email Unforgettable

Sales and marketing
  • If you are cold emailing to market your business, you need to make sure to do it in a way that will make people actually open your email.
  • Subject line, personal touch and a good writing style are only a few of the tips to help you with that.
  • But to make it impossible for prospects to ignore your emails, you must consider timing, social proofing, selling a benefit and proofreading.

11 tips to make cold emails unforgettable

If you’ve been writing cold emails, they probably suck.

And the thing is, you know your cold emails suck and that’s why you’ve decided to read this article. It’s harsh but something you needed to hear.

A lot of people tend to mass-mail potential customers because planning and writing take too much effort. And they get zip. Nada. Nothing. Mass marketing emails are old-hat and the medium is saturated – everyone sends emails! And because everyone sends emails, customers have become desensitised to the few that make it past their spam filter.

Here are 11 basic guidelines on how to write emails that will get you a response.

1. Write a killer subject line

Your email could contain the script of the next season of Game of Thrones (GoT) or the formula for the secret of life (which is pretty much the same thing because everyone knows that GoT is life) but if nobody opens the email, it’s a waste of time.

What you need—and this sounds rather obvious—is a compelling subject line. Open your inbox and look at all your unopened and unsolicited emails. You’ll see that all the subject lines are uninventive dross such as “Zero commission – the secret is simple” or some other word soup.

To write a great subject line, you need to distil your message down to 6-10 words and include the recipient’s name. For example: “Daenerys—Take Westeros by Friday with this plan.” If your subject line is clear about what you want from them, then it is more likely to be opened.

2. Personalise your message

Every email you send must be personalised. It shouldn’t be a standard mail merge with a {name} field. This type of cold email blast is nothing more than a copy and paste exercise, and your potential customers know it. Make it clear why you are reaching out to them – not just why you are reaching out in general. This means going beyond adding their first name in the greeting or email title.

3. Make them feel important

Your recipient needs to feel valued and not just another name on a database. Make them feel as though you’ve singled them out for their expertise, time, or importance to you.

Do a little homework and reference a mutual contact or find a common ground for an extra personal touch. Doing this shows that you put some effort and consideration into your message. If this person will be helpful for your business, it is worth the extra time. It won’t go unnoticed, unlike your competitors’ generic mass emails.

4. Get to the point – quickly!

We’re all busy people with ever filling inboxes – don’t add to the problem with lengthy emails dealing in minutiae in the vain hope of winning them over with detail; it isn’t going to work. Keep it short and punchy, and get to the point quickly… like telling them their cold emails suck.

The best way to keep things short and direct is to write as though you are talking to them. Drop the formalities and get straight to the “Hey, Denise, I’ve been following your blog and I think we could collaborate on __ because __.” It’s easier to digest and different from the norm.

5. Sell: what’s in it for them?

You must sell the benefit for that person, whether it is your new product, webinar, or just a friendly chat on how your business can work together. Selling a benefit means you must identify what they need or want. Start with that and then the conversation will flow naturally to what’s in it for them. Use video, slides, or anything that catches the attention quickly and gets the message across in the easiest way possible.

6. Proof your worth

Sometimes you need to prove your credentials to be memorable. Think social proof, recommendation, or title and awards. However, avoid beating your chest too much. It is an email not a press release. Keep it short, sweet, and memorable. Only put crucial details that help sell your business or yourself.

7. Show some personality

This is one of the easiest ways for your cold email to stick in their mind. Remember you are emailing as yourself to another person, even when you are representing your business. It is a one-to-one communication, not a one-to-many. Write how you would talk to a person in real life. Be humble, confident, open, and, add humour when possible.

8. Never skip proofreading

You’re almost ready to send your email, but first you must proofread before you send. Your email might be informal and a bit quirky but that’s no excuse for sloppy spelling. Grammar mistakes are easy to spot and, unfortunately, leave a bad impression. To avoid making mistakes, don’t write long sentences unless you’re confident in your writing and punctuation skills.

9. Have a clear call to action

Your email must have a clear call-to-action, which makes it easy for your recipient to take the next step. Tell them clearly what they must do if they are interested in dealing with you, talking to you or buying from you.

Make it easy for your email recipients to reach you by including links to all your social channels and contact details. Not giving a reason for your recipients to reach out to you is bad enough but giving them a reason to get in touch and then not making it easy is an epic fail.

10. Follow up

Now just because they don’t reach out straight away doesn’t mean your email has flopped. We’re all busy people, so maybe they’re dealing with other stuff. If it is important to you, always follow up with another email or a call after some time has passed. This also helps you identify whether he or she is interested, or the right person for what you need. Sometimes cold emailing is to find out if someone is right for you, not to sell something.

11. Reach them at the best time at the best address

Get in touch with them where they are likeliest to answer. If they have multiple emails, go with the one they are most active on. This may take some guesswork. Don’t forget social media messaging. LinkedIn messaging is growing more popular for social networking. Time-wise, early mornings or after work may be best for some people. Busy people may not notice an email during working hours as much.

There isn’t a precise formula for the perfect cold email but by following these tips, you give yourself the best chance of getting a response. Making a great impression and nailing your email pitch will help your business; you just need to be ready to stand out from the crowd.


Maria Bellissimo-Magrin

CEO at Belgrin

Attitude isn’t everything. But it sure helps. Maria certainly wouldn’t have become a CEO of a full-service creative marketing agency without it. She started out in the industry 15 years ago and has done so well because she offers the perfect blend of design, PR and social media. Her aim? Her aim? To make marketing easy, so you can spend your time on more important stuff.

Belgrin

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Yee Trinh

Yee Trinh , Cofounder at SavvySME

Great points Maria. There's a fine art to sending effective emails. Biggest thing I've noted in those that send me emails, is that I ignore those that give me a big intro on who they are. Short, sharp, punchy. As mentioned above. Agree on all points above. Can't say any point is more important than another. Some common knowledge here but rarely executed well.