5 Actionable Tips On Improving Your Cold Emails

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Every week or so, I see another post saying that email is dead. I suspect most of them are written purely to provoke a reaction from me, but it does highlight that people are concerned. Whether they’re struggling to come to terms with new legislation or their open and click-through rates have dropped, people are worried about cold email and how effective it is today.

It’s true that there’s a lot of noise out there, with people receiving hundreds of emails every day. However, by following a few simple steps, you can improve your cold email emailing. At Reply we help thousands of companies with their cold outreach, and we’ve noticed five actions that can make all the difference.

Tip 1: Use the right software

If you want to be successful at cold email, you need to have the right tools for the job. Trying to send cold emails at scale using your standard inbox and ‘BCC’ is a recipe for disaster, leading to suspended accounts and embarrassing mistakes.

Instead, if you’re planning on regularly sending out cold emails, it makes sense to invest in professional cold email marketing software. These come with a host of features that will make your life easier, such as email verification, advanced contact management, and smart email sequencing.

It might seem like a waste to spend money on software when you can send emails for free, but the added features will make the rest of process much easier and give you a strong advantage over your competitors.
Lots of software comes with a free trial period or costs that scale depending on how many emails you’re sending, so you can always try it out and see if the benefits are worth it for you before investing too much.

Tip 2: Know your recipients

A lot of the work that goes into an effective cold email happens before you write a single word. Researching and knowing the people you’re sending your email to is absolutely vital.

For starters, you need to know the basics of who they are. What’s their name, what’s their job title, what industry do they work in. This will help you personalize your email and help you make other decisions, such as when you’re going to send the email; the best time to cold email will vary by their job title and will be different from c-level managers to stay-at-home moms.

After that you need to go a little deeper. What problems and challenges are they facing related to your business? What keeps them awake at night? This will help you personalize the email beyond the {First.Name} merge tag and create a message that resonates with your audience.

Tip 3: Sound human

There’s something about writing a cold email that can make even the most charismatic people turn into a robot. We stop sounding like actual people and instead sound like we’re writing a college essay on why you shouldn’t buy from us.

Your email should be written to establish a connection with your prospects, not get you an A+ from your English teacher. There’s plenty of examples of ridiculous cold emails that get results, using personalization and humor to grab their reader’s attention.

Use your knowledge of your readers (see tip 2) to personalize the content of your email, to show them you understand them and what’s going on in their lives. Where appropriate, establish some common ground, such as a shared work connection or favorite sports team.

Finally, always read your email aloud before you send it. Does it sound like the kind of thing you’d say to someone face-to-face? Or is it too formal and full of jargon? Rewrite it until it sounds like you.

Tip 4: Follow-up

I see a lot of would-be email marketers who spend hours, maybe days, on writing the perfect email. They check every word and every punctuation mark until they’re satisfied there’s no room for improvement. With justifiable pride at the work of art they’ve produced, they hit send and wait for the responses to come flooding in.
Except they don’t. Days go by with only a couple of replies to show for it. The would-be marketer retreats to his lair, wondering what he did that was so wrong.

The truth is there was nothing wrong with that first email. The problem was that it was the only email.
It’s good to spend your time writing the best email you can, but you should never hang all your hopes on a single email. It would be the same as a sportsperson only taking one shot at goal, then giving up if they don’t score.
Instead, write a series of follow-up emails in the event the previous emails don’t get a reply. The right software makes it easy to automatically send a follow-up email after your cold email, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting. I recommend a sequence of at least three additional follow-up emails, although I’ve known others who’ve sent more than seven before getting a positive response.

I’ve also found it best to keep it simple. Personally, I avoid cringy ‘Don’t you like me?’ emails and stick to referring the reader back to the original email, which I include in the email thread.

Tip 5: Review

After the game is over and all the fans have gone home, professional sports teams haven’t finished their job. They spend a fortune on coaches and experts who review and analyze the game, seeing what worked well and what didn’t. Why? So they can learn from the game and do better next time.

You need to regularly review the results of your email campaigns. Professional cold email marketing software will give you all the metrics you need, and allow you to split test variations to optimize your emails. Poor open rates? Try a new subject line. Poor reply rates? Use a different concluding call-to-action. Notice you’re getting low open rates for your Monday morning email? Try sending it on Friday instead.

The key point here is to learn what works for your specific target market. No matter how many posts you read or how many templates you download, you have to find out what works for your audience. No-one else can tell you, not with absolute certainty. The best you can do is follow best practices and refine your strategy for your recipients.

Email isn’t dead, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. However, if you want to stand out in your recipient’s inbox, you’re going to have to put the work in. Use the right tools, know your readers, craft a compelling email sequence (complete with follow-ups) and review your results. Do this and you’ll be sending out better cold emails than the majority of companies out there, and you’ll enjoy the advantage as you build your business.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great post, Lucy! In addition to what you’ve included in Tip #2 about knowing your recipients, I would also add that list segmentation is important there. It’s fine to use one email across multiple prospect segments and that’s certainly the most efficient strategy, but sometimes just fine tuning a small portion of that email for subtle differences between the behavior in groups of prospects can really be effective.

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