Email isn’t for selling. While that might sound radical, let it sink for a moment. When’s the last time you purchased something straight from an email?
The answer is, probably not often.
Instead, your goal with email should be to get the recipient to open it and click on what’s inside. If they’re interested enough to click, then they’ll land on a page that does the selling.
In theory, it’s simple. In practice, it can be challenging.
The goal with email is to convert. And emails that convert follow a similar structure and specific best practices. Read on to learn how to level up your cold email game, and you’ll be well on your way to increasing your conversion numbers like never before.
1. Accurately Identify the Target
The most important step in crafting a cold email that gets results is sending it to the right person and having their correct contact information.
How to find the right people to prospect
First, you should drill down by department. That way, you can narrow down a company’s directory of employees to specific job titles. To do this, ask yourself:
Who are you selling to?
If you’re selling learning or recruiting software, then the department you need to target is human resources. After you’ve created a segmented list of titles, you can begin searching for contacts. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for finding prospective clients. It can filter search results down to job title, who’s currently holding the position, and more.
Utilizing the top-down approach
A good rule of thumb is to reach out to vice presidents and senior-level directors, since they’re typically the decision-makers. Another strategy is utilizing the top-down approach, which means crafting and sending emails to C-level executives.
The strategy involves requesting direction to the best contact at the company to speak with about “X.” Once given a name, you can then use that as a form of internal referral to maximize your chances of scheduling a meeting:
“I spoke with your CTO, John Doe, who said you’d be the best person to contact about upgrading your email tracking software.”
How to find the right contact information
The best way is to use an email finder service like Voila Norbert, which streamlines your ability to find multiple contacts at once. All you need is a first name, last name, and the company’s domain name. Voila Norbert does the rest.
2. Seize Attention with the Right Email Subject Line
Some email subject line best practices include:
- Keeping it short and casual by using fewer words and writing like you’re sending an email to a colleague or friend.
- Personalizing by adding the recipient’s name or their company name, at a minimum – going deeper is even better.
- Avoiding spam triggers like exclamation points, odd punctuation, and words and phrases like “Clearance” and “No cost.”
- Offering value through the promise of a reward for reading the email in the form of a coupon, free product, or exclusive data.
- A/B testing your subject lines on a segment of your subscribers first, if possible, before sending the winning subject line out to everyone.
There’s no need to start from scratch. See what’s working for other companies and customize to fit your needs.
3. Crush the Opening and Make Your Intentions Clear
The first line of text following the recipient’s name is often the furthest the reader gets, typically because information-overload strikes them. If someone dropped a several-paragraph email into your inbox, what are the odds of you reading it, let alone replying?
On the other hand, if your message length is short and not packed with unnecessary junk, you’re much more likely to get the recipient to read further.
The job of each line in any email you send is to make people want to continue on to the next line. One way to do this is to ask probing questions that make them want to stick around to find out the answer. Other times, the first sentences make a promise, such as a free product, a coupon code, or relevant advice. The AIDA model can also be applied as you write your copy, to help create interest, desire, and action.
Whatever you do, make sure you review every line in your email and ditch anything boring or unnecessary. As you review, energize any opening lines that are lacking.
Always convey intentions in your initial email and avoid desperation. Saying things like “I’d be super grateful for just 10 minutes of your time” comes off as needy and weak. Instead, convey who you are, why you are contacting them, and strive to position yourself as a trusted advisor. Not only will you get a higher response rate by ditching the desperation, but you’ll also gain respect and be seen more as a peer than a salesperson.
4. Deliver Your Value Fast
It’s an old cliché, but it’s true: “Don’t talk about yourself on the first date.” The same thing goes for email. People will avoid you if you spend all your time talking about yourself and your products.
If you want engagement and conversions, you’ve got to focus on the consumer. Position yourself to showcase your value proposition and demonstrate knowledge regarding their business and their goals first. Then, once you’ve warmed them up and better understand their needs, you can shift the conversation to your product’s benefits (not features).
“‘Here’s what our product can do’ and ‘Here’s what you can do with our product’ sound similar, but they are completely different approaches.” – Basecamp founder Jason Fried
Apple did this beautifully with the initial roll-out of the iPod. Rather than marketing a 1 GB storage capacity, they boasted 1,000 Songs In Your Pocket.
So think about your value proposition:
- Are you able to lower their cost of goods sold?
- Can you maximize uptime for their machinery or servers?
- Can you reduce the time and cost of maintaining compliance?
Lead with that. Then take it a step further and break down why it’s vital to maximize uptime or lower costs. What could they do with the extra time and resources?
5. Establish Clear Next Steps
Emails that convert never contain any confusion as to what the prospect should do next. Typically, that means ending on a strong call-to-action (CTA), one that conveys action appropriate to their position in your sales funnel.
For most cold emails, the goal won’t be to get the sale, but to move them further into that funnel and take a specific action. Some examples of clear conversions are:
- Scheduling a call or meeting
- Signing up for a free trial or demo
- Registering for a webinar or class
- Downloading an ebook or whitepaper
- Filling out a survey or form
Once you know precisely what your conversion is, you can craft your CTA. Naturally, this will vary by industry and product, but some common effective CTAs include:
Providing a specific date and time for a call
In action: “Are you available tomorrow at 2 PM Central for a 15-minute chat?”
Promoting free trials
In action: “You mentioned on our call that fixing ‘X pain point’ was a priority for you right now, so here’s a code for a 30-day free trial of [product name]. Download the application here [link to product].”
Call-to-actions like these clearly provide incremental steps towards that final sale. Now the salesperson even has a reason to follow up by checking in on the prospect’s progress with the free trial.
6. Master the Art of the Follow-Up
80% of sales require at a minimum five follow-ups before the buyer converts. On top of that, 44% of salespeople will give up after hearing “no” one time. That means mastering your follow-up game should top your priority list, because everyone else is leaving sales on the table.
How to stay in pursuit and nurture leads the right way
Prospects should hear from you more than just sporadically. Ideally, they should hear from you frequently, with the predictability of a sunrise. Same frequency, same day of the week, same time. An approach like this proves you aren’t going to disappear like your peers do, and shows you truly want to work with them.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should email every day, with the same pitch. To avoid coming off as annoying or pestering, you should give ample space between touches and utilize a multi-channel approach.
Try this multi-channel follow-up schedule:
Day 1: Send the initial email
Day 3: Send follow-up email and restate the call-to-action from your initial email
Day 5: Try calling the prospect to switch things up
Day 10: Send a second follow-up email and engage with a new approach or alternate call-to-action
Day 15: Add them on LinkedIn
An approach like this may seem like a lot, but if you use a system like Mailshake, you can easily automate follow-ups. The software will remind you of the necessary touchpoints at the proper intervals you set.
Remember: the pursuit of dream clients is a long game, and the majority of business relationships require constant nurturing.
When crafting your cold emails, be sure to at least warm up the conversation and provide value before going in for the conversion or sale. Craft an attention-grabbing subject line, write a compelling opening statement, and deliver your value fast to keep the prospect interested. Last, but not least, remember that consistency is key. You’ve got to follow up regularly to build momentum and establish trust to get that desired conversion.
What email tweaks have had an effect on your conversions? Let us know in the comments below: