How to Take the "Cold" Out of Cold Email Marketing

You’re tired of telemarketers calling your cell phone, right?

Maybe you’ve taken proactive steps to block these calls, but somehow your phone still rings with more irrelevant telemarketing calls than rings from friends and family. Or you’ve given up altogether and don’t even answer unknown callers.

Cold email marketing can feel like the email version of telemarketing — that is if you don’t know how to execute a good strategy.

Never heard of “cold” email marketing? Your email list right now is probably mostly subscribers: people who’ve opted into receiving your emails by giving you their information. When you send a “cold” email, the recipient is someone who’s not subscribed to your email list and likely knows very little (if anything!) about your business.

If done right, cold emails are effective in generating leads, raising brand awareness, and converting prospects into clients and customers.

We’ve got good news too: cold emails are not the email equivalent of telemarketing calls.

They’re less intrusive. They also give prospects time to reread your email and mull over your offer.

So how do you take the “cold” — the “spammy,” the “creepy,” the “salesy” — out of cold email marketing? We’re sharing our best tips for crafting cold emails that people respond to.

#1 Create your list of prospects.

Ever answered the phone and had a telemarketer immediately dive into a sales pitch for a service completely irrelevant to your life? You probably thought, “You’ve got the wrong guy (or gal!).”

Marketers make a big mistake when they try to sell their product or service to everyone. The same goes for cold email marketing (and telemarketing).

To reach the right prospects, start with creating a customer avatar: a detailed description of the ideal customer or client you’re trying to reach. Then build a list of possible recipients for your cold emails.

Unsure how to build your list? Try searching the web for email databases, using Chrome extensions, etc. But be sure that your sources are trustworthy and your list is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation — especially if your list includes global contacts. You should also check that the emails on your list are valid. Using an email list cleaning service will ensure that your email deliverability won’t take a hit due to fake or invalid email addresses.

#2 Personalize your emails.

One sure way to sound cold and salesy is to use a cold email template you found on the Internet.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t look at examples. But people can tell whether you’ve plugged their name and business into a generic email template or done the homework to understand their industry, average day, pain points, and possibilities.

Tim Watson is an email marketing consultant at Zettasphere. He said, “I often see open rates of over 40% on cold emails when I personalize my outreach with highly relevant information that I find in my prospect research.”

Don’t be afraid to personalize cold emails. Use a friendly, conversational tone. Yes, building a solid email list and personalizing your emails is time-consuming. But recipients are more likely to respond to your cold email if they’re convinced you understand their pain points and want to help them.

#3 Use “you-centered” language and explain how your product or service solves their problem.

We stress customer-centric copywriting a lot, but it’s worth repeating:

Your customer is the hero in the marketing story you tell. You’re the guide. Use “you” more than “I” and “we” in your copywriting.

Prospects are turned off when you focus more on you and your business in cold emails. Talk about your customer instead. Describe the problems or pain points they have, and tell them how your product or service solves them.

Copywriter Daniel Doan said you could write several different types of cold emails, but you’ll always be okay if you include these elements:

  1. Their problem
  2. The solution they've been looking for (yours)
  3. And how their life will change because of it

#4 Remember the purpose of a cold email.

You eager beavers might be disappointed to hear that the goal of an initial cold email is not a closed opportunity or immediate sale.

Cathay Dawiskiba at Woodpecker wrote, “The goal of a cold email is not the instant conversion, but building the relationships from strangers to business partners. In other words, to warm those leads up. Little by little.”

Commit for the long haul after you send an initial cold email. Send a couple of follow-up emails or create a cold email series — we recommend checking out Daniel Doan’s blog here for some ideas!

Then set the bar for commitment as low as possible in your call to action (CTA).

#5 Include a CTA and an offer.

The CTA is the next step you want people to take on their customer journey now that they understand how your product or service solves their problem. Remember, prospects receiving your cold emails probably know very little or nothing about your business. Your call to action shouldn’t be “Sign Up Now!” or “Install Today!”

As Dawiskiba said, “warm those leads up.” What’s the lowest bar you can set so prospects take the next step in the customer journey? Could they respond to your email and request more information? Schedule a call? Watch a 5-minute demo? Register for a webinar?

You should also include an offer to thank them for taking the next step. In other words, give something of value for free in exchange for their time. If you’re hesitant to invest in a free offer, ask yourself how much a lead is worth to your business. A $5 gift card to a coffee shop in exchange for a phone conversation is a small price to pay if a prospect becomes a lifetime customer or client.

What can you give away for free to incentivize a response?

#6 Invest time in the subject line and signature.

All of your efforts to craft the perfect cold email are fruitless if you don’t put some work into a subject line that hooks people. We wrote a blog on writing subject lines that get people to open your emails here.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a clean, personal email signature either. We suggest using an email signature generator like Hubspot’s. The signature also shouldn’t be your company’s name. It’s too impersonal. Put your name and photo at the bottom.

Include links to your website and social media too. Think of these as implicit CTAs. Someone might not respond to your explicit CTA. But they might click on the link to your website and subscribe to your email list! Even though they didn’t respond to your cold email, they’ve still taken a step forward on their customer journey with you.

Cold email marketing can be salesy and spammy — or, if you do it right, it can invite people into a better story than the one they’re living, with you as their guide! Implement these tips in your cold email marketing strategy, and we’re confident you’ll begin turning “strangers [into] business partners.”

We’re always here to help you reach new customers or clients if you’d like to add cold email to your digital marketing strategy. Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how we can build an email list of prospects and execute the right cold email campaign that brings people to your business.

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