Most people will tell you that there’s no such thing as a fun cold email. They are mind-numbing, dull pieces of correspondence.
But, as it happens, they are also incredibly important in the B2B space.
A well-targeted, carefully crafted cold email could land you the biggest client in your life, or secure a key partnership, or land you a sweet speaking gig…
…so isn’t it ironic that the average business owner puts approximately zero effort into writing cold emails?
Sure, outbound is old-fashioned, not cost-effective, and tedious. But sometimes there is no substitute for it. And then the least you can do is make sure your cold email doesn’t suck.
Let’s find out exactly how to do that in 5 easy steps.
#1. Write like you talk
Just for fun, try to read this masterpiece without cringing even once (we added in some fun bits to make it bearable… and protect the identity of the sender):
“Dear Potential Client,
“My name is Boring McBorington and I am Managing Director at “Another Darn Translation Agency,” a language agency that provides specialist translations from and into any language. Formed in 1989, we have built up an enviable global network of over 6500 highly qualified, experienced and carefully chosen translators who are experts in their particular field. Today we provide tailor-made language solutions, in even the most specialised of subject areas, for more than 1000 clients, big and small, from X, Y, and Z…”
Maybe people who write cold emails like these are convinced that, if they ever make them normal-sounding, their heads will explode?
Or maybe they learned to speak by watching recordings of corporate meetings? Who knows…
We are speaking for everyone when we say this: in your cold emails, please sound like a real person – for everyone’s sake. Believe it or not, you’ll be more likely to get a response.
#2. Keep it brief
“Brief” as in 4-5 very short paragraphs. Feel free to steal this structure:
- Brief intro about how you know about their business
- What’s in it for them if they start a relationship with you
- A sentence (or two) establishing your credibility
- A soft, non-pushy call to action
If you absolutely have to stuff more information into the email, don’t paste it in the message body. All this will do is annoy the recipient.
Instead, link to a Google Doc with all the extra info (attachments are so 20th century) and briefly explain to them why they want to check it out.
#3. Focus on benefits and deliverables vs. features
Nobody cares how powerful your servers are, or how many combined MBAs your incredibly overqualified junior staff hold.
When the recipient reads your email and makes a decision, they won’t be doing it rationally. They will go with emotional appeal of your offer, taking only one thing into consideration…
What can you do for them?…
…Nothing else will even enter their mind!
To make sure they read what they want to read, never focus on features. Instead, emphasize benefits and deliverables – like so:
Don’t say, “I’ll conduct a PR campaign for your brand”…
Say, “I’ll get you a spot on The Tonight Show!”
Don’t say, “We can provide you with state-of-the-art scheduling software”…
Say, “We’ll save you $1,500,000/year in overtime payments due to scheduling errors!”
Everyone and their mother can talk about features till they’re blue in the face. Deliverables and benefits are memorable and persuasive. So why not use those instead?
Note: Make your core benefit appear in the subject line for maximum effect. For example, if you specialize in writing SEO-friendly blog content, make your subject line this: “Getting More Visitors to [Customersite.com]”
#4. Finish with a Soft CTA
Never, ever go for a hard sell directly in your cold email. Let the recipient make that decision for themselves. Instead, finish with something neutral, like:
“Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?”
“Would it be OK if I sent you a few ideas on how we could help?”
A soft call to action reinforces the point that you aren’t out to scam them (you know you aren’t, but your potential client doesn’t) and leaves ample room for the recipient to refuse.
But because you’ll phrase it nicely, and your offer will be crazy valuable, they won’t find it in themselves to say no!
#5. Follow-up like a champ
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when reaching out to a potential customer through a cold email is to give up after the first message.
So you sent it out and didn’t get a response – so what? You don’t know what happened to the recipient. Life could have got in the way. They could have decided to reply, but then forgotten all about it.
That’s why it’s important to follow up. One or two follow-up emails generally work best.
For the first one, just make the subject line “Didn’t want this to get lost in your inbox: [your original subject line]”. Then, briefly explain that you reached out before, and include your original message in the body of the email.
For your second follow-up, try to address some specific objections your potential client might have, or tell them about an additional benefit of working with you (not a feature, remember?).
Note: to know for sure if someone read your message, use software like Bananatag or Quickmail to track your cold emails.
And that’s it! These 5 simple steps will make your cold B2B emails 100 times more compelling, which means more customers, and more sales, for you. We hope that you use them wisely, and acquire as many high-value clients as you can handle!
Do you have a favorite cold email hack that performs really well? Let us know in the comments!