“Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms spaghetti.”
To some, that’s an excerpt from the first verse of Eminem’s iconic 2002 hit, “Lose Yourself.” To others, it’s the battle cry that precedes a cold emailing session. If you’re following down any entrepreneurial path, including starting your own online business, cold emails are pretty much unavoidable. Reaching out to complete strangers may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but it’ll be a key part of your business, so get ready for the ride!
How do we know? Well, we’ve been there, done that! That’s why we’ve compiled our best tips to save you from the doom and gloom cold emails can bring you. You might even find that they’re not as scary as they seem.
1. Know Your Prospect
While there are some people out there who can, in fact, sell ice cream to Eskimos, it is certainly a lot easier to sell them blankets — which is why you should do your best to truly understand your prospects. What are their interests? Priorities? Values? Are they aligned with your business? If not, what about their competitors? Basically, make sure you’re reaching out to the right person or company before you reach out at all.
2. Preface Your Outreach
So we’ve established that you should know your prospect, but they also have to know you. Don’t be afraid to contact them on social media, for example, prior to your outreach. Social media is a great tool for this because it allows you to keep close tabs on your prospect in a socially acceptable, non-stalkery way. Have they reached a milestone? Congratulate them! Shared something interesting? Leave a comment! Basically, win them over before they even have a chance to say no.
If you choose to preface your outreach, make sure to space out your attempts. You don’t want to come across as insincere, for example, by sliding into their DMs just before sending an important business email. Timing, young grasshopper. It’s key.
3. Work the Clock
Speaking of timing, never send a cold email at 6 p.m. on a Saturday. The only demographic you’ll be targeting is well-meaning grandmothers. Instead, schedule your emails to be sent at times where they’re most likely to be read and responded to. Ample research tells us to shoot for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and late mornings. There are a few different extensions you can download for this, but, conveniently, Gmail actually has their own built-in feature. Simply click the dropdown arrow on the “Send” button, select “Schedule send,” and boom! You’re done.
Tip: Keep time zones in mind! If you really want to have your email seen and responded to quickly, schedule your emails around your recipient’s corner of the globe.
4. Personalize the Email
A personalized email is an effective email. Imagine being asked to do something important with your time and money by someone who doesn’t even know your first name. Not only is that ineffective, it’s also a terrible first impression to make. Things like addressing your prospect by name (instead of the ubiquitous “Hi there”) and staying away from mass emails will, at the very least, have a better chance of grabbing your reader’s attention. With all the resources the internet provides us, there’s no reason to skip out on some quick preliminary research on the people you’re emailing. These extra steps will help your email come across as thoughtful, well-meaning, and, hopefully, memorable.
5. Have the Right Attitude
People who receive cold emails tend to have one thing in common: They know that they’re reading a cold email when they get one. The best way to navigate this potentially awkward situation? Acknowledge it! A positive, lighthearted approach will ease your prospect’s hesitation about you and establish a level of comfort and trust.
Having the right attitude also extends to the way you talk about your product — instead of giving them a hard sell on why they should work with you, allow them to realize they want to by offering a helpful tip, bit of advice, or anything else they could do to improve their business or positioning. Honesty and helpfulness go a long way when it comes to cementing new relationships.
6. Keep It Short
Brevity truly is the soul of wit. Luckily, you don’t need to be the second coming of Shakespeare to come up with a solid pitch. Try to keep it no longer than three sentences and stick to the essentials. Most of the people you’ll be emailing deal with hundreds of emails a day, so keeping it short and sweet is essential if you want to get their attention and encourage a response. If they ask for more information, awesome! That means they’re interested and is your prompt to talk about your company’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations. If not… see tip #7.
7. If at First You Don’t Succeed… Follow Up
So you followed all our tips… but you still didn’t get a response. Worry not! You can write a kick-ass cold email and still get the cold shoulder. That’s just the name of the game, but that doesn’t mean you should feel discouraged. In fact, industry trends cite an approximate 30% higher response rate for follow-up emails as opposed to initial outreaches. Aim for 2 to 3 follow up emails and, if you still don’t hear back, cut your losses and move on to the next one!
Ultimately, your success in cold emailing will be dictated on some level by the quality of your product. However, by implementing some of these tips, you’ll be able to present your product in the best possible way. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get cracking.