Warming Up to Cold Emailing


How many emails do you get a day? If you’re like the average American worker, your answer is in the low triple digits; if you’re a business owner or C-level executive, that number’s probably grown with every step you’ve taken up the career ladder. In that daily avalanche of email, how can anyone spot the few beautiful snowflakes you want your messages to be? If you want your cold emails to get noticed, the first thing you have to do is make them warmer.

People, not Prospects

Everyone who receives an email from you is more than a title or a position. You’re writing to people with names, busy jobs and a lot of other concerns that seem more pressing than another cold email. To get a chance with them – and remember, you only have about three seconds before they decide whether to delete your mail sight unseen or open it – respect their individuality and their time. Use the data your marketing automation and CRM team has compiled to address recipients by name. When they choose to open your introductory email, they’re giving you a gift; repay it by being direct and friendly.

Skip the Tricky Subject Lines

At this point, only spammers use hyperbolic, hide-and-reveal subject lines such as “You Won’t Believe How It Works!” or “Look Inside for Your Prize!” Put the email subject right up front instead of burying it like a prize in a box of Cracker Jacks somewhere in the body of the letter. Give your audience more credit and tell them why they want to open your mail without tricking them into it. “Free Introductory Offer from [Company]” works well, for example. This is the first time most of your potential customers have ever heard of you, so don’t give them the impression that you have to trick them into reading.

Shorter Is Sweeter

You’re impassioned about your products and services and could write volumes about them, but avoid the temptation to do it in your initial cold email. Right now, you’re just saying hello, not going for the hard sell. Think of the light, affable tone you’d adopt when talking to a new acquaintance at a party. You wouldn’t share your whole life story, but you would want to talk a bit about your shared interests. The same principle works for cold emailing; you and your new prospect already have a shared interest, so put that front and center in the body of the email. Your SEO copy and content marketing strategy should be in full swing, so include links to let interested recipients learn more at their own pace.

Let Them Know Why They’re Getting Your Email

Unless you’re following a spray-and-pray method of purely random email blasts – and you really shouldn’t be – you already have a good idea why you’re sending a cold email to this particular person. Include that information in some way so your readers know why they’re getting emails from you. If you went through a list broker and selected lists that contained healthcare professionals, you might include a line about their chosen field: “As a healthcare professional, you understand the need for up-to-date prescription databases.” By establishing that common ground, you give yourself a firmer foundation for building a customer relationship later.

Demonstrate Benefits, Not Features

It’s a marketing truism to frame features as benefits, but that’s especially important in an introductory email. Listing all the magnificent features of your latest product line certainly piques the interest of someone who already knows its value, but for a new prospect, the response is likely to be a resounding “So what?” Tell them why your offer is relevant to them, and you’ve given them a reason to keep you out of the spam filter at the least.

Avoid a Pitch

You have plenty of time to ask for money later. Your initial cold email isn’t the place for high-pressure sales. At this point, your content creator’s job is to persuade recipients that they might like to hear more from you, not that they should buy. People have become jaded to hard-sell tactics and instantly tune out when an introductory email contains them. Consider your email the textual equivalent of a handshake and don’t go in for the hug just yet.

Emails count as content too, and your introductory email should be especially carefully crafted. This is a message to entrust to professional copywriters who can put together a letter that strikes just the right note of warmth, approachability and professionalism.

© Business Content, Inc. 2014 All Rights Reserved.

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