When you’re reaching out over a cold email, you are not just virtually crashing into someone’s inbox uninvited, but you might be interrupting the flow of their day. This requires caution and craft. You need to be respectful of the prospect’s busy schedules (even if you think they’re not) and be mindful that writing a good cold email is not just an email but it’s your first impression. And like the wise people say – “First impressions are often lasting impressions”

Cold email campaigns help simplify sales:

To double your sales quota, you need to be quadrupling your reach out to create a bigger Total Addressable Market (TAM) . That’s easier to do when you’re sending mass cold emails. It’s true when they say cold calling is great, but a salesperson only has a finite number of hours in the day when he/she can make calls. With emails, things become simpler because you warm your leads over emails and jump into calls with the promising ones. A recent Hubspot study found out that 8 out of 10 prospects want to talk to sales reps via email, over any other Medium.

We at Alore have found email campaigns to always work for us consistently. So much so that we have emailing as a central feature to both our platforms – Alore CRM (Sales platform) and Curated By Alore (Marketing platform)

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Summary Analytics of a cold email campaign sent from Alore CRM

Now comes the moment of truth. If only cold emailing were that easy!! Like we mentioned earlier writing a great cold email is a craft and this craft is dependent on numerous factors:

1. Plain Text or HTML

Plain text emails are the equivalent of sending a letter by post or from a fax machine. Words informing of an intent in the simplest way. No images, no hyperlinks or fancy fonts. That said the advantages of plain text emails are jaw-dropping.

a) You always land in the inbox because spam filters don’t block you 99% of the time. (Pure HTML emails are mostly caught in the spam filters net.)

b) In an era when the world is scampering to save time, plain text emails help convey their intent in the shortest manner possible without the reader having to search for the intent in the fanciness of things. The whitespace makes emails scannable.

Our suggestion – Sales emails work best when plain text.

To be specific, in sales we have found immense gains with our plain text DRIP cold email campaigns. (DRIP campaigns are a sequence of trigger-based emails that are sent to a prospect to elicit a response in case they do not reply to the first ones.)

HTML emails are the emails which have coded email templates. They are heavy in design, color and imagery and come across like a webpage.

But hey, it’s not that HTML doesn’t hold its value and place. It’s popular for its own reasons. In one of Hubspot’s surveys on cold email campaigns, the respondents said that a 2/3rd of them preferred HTML emails for understanding a products end use.

HTML help creates a strong visual impact and helps in brand reinforcement with the clever use of colors and logo positioning.

Hubspot-survey-HTML-emails

Source: Hubspot.com

The human mind processes visuals faster than text so if the layout is well designed and the CTA is clearly mentioned, the conversion rates are quite high!

HTML-email-builder-Curated-By-Alore

Tools like Layouts By Alore help create professional HTML email and newsletter layouts in under 60 seconds!

Our Suggestion: Go for HTML emails for marketing campaigns where the goal is community and brand building, click bait, link tracking or influence purchase on impulse.

2. Subject Line

Whoever said “never judge a book by its cover” never really thought about emails ever. That’s exactly what we do in emails. With an average person receiving about 120 emails a day, its no wonder that we train our minds to scan through the fluff.  47% of emails are opened or discarded based solely on their subject line.

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Your open rates depend upon subject lines, time of sending, day of week etc.

We suggest spending 40% of your time crafting subject lines. If you’re sending out mass emails its best to do an A/B test of the email subject line sto see which ones are working better and bringing out better email open rates.

3. Timing

The timing of your email can influence email open rates. Conventional wisdom talks about hitting inboxes at times when people are just settling into work or closing emails for the day i.e. between 7 AM to 10 Am and then around 4 PM of the recipient’s local time.

This could be true in a way but imagine this- If everyone knows this to be the best practice and everyone’s sending emails exactly at this time then you’re actually hitting inboxes in peak office traffic in the inbox. In my experience, I’d suggest – experiment and find your best timings. It’s not really that hard with tools providing advanced analytics.

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Col email open rates for various industries , Source: Mailchimp

4. Copy

While subject lines are much like gatekeepers to the show, the email copy itself is the star of the show. Spend considerable time on this in terms of creating a copy that’s personalized, has the right CTAs, is the right length (no essays please!), has the links placed well (Do not share more than 2 -3 hyperlinks in one single email unless you want the recipient to be confused about what to look at. The average click-through rate for a personalized automated email is nearly 4 times than without.

Here’s a good guideline to go by when it comes to planning the amount of time to spend on the key components of cold emails.

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The breakup of planning a good cold email

 

5. Day of Week:

Yes, the day of week matters in sending cold emails. Mondays are almost unanimously the worst days for reach outs because for most professionals they are packed with meetings and planning etc. People do not appreciate being interrupted much on Mondays. However, Tuesday to Thursday are great days to send out emails.

How to ensure cold emails work:

Cold emails help break the ice with the prospect and introduce a mild degree of familiarity with the brand or business. For the cold emails to work the copy of the cold email should ensure that it matches the level the prospect is in the sales funnel. Top/Middle or Bottom of Funnel.

Here are some best practices to follow when it comes to code emailing:

The 1st  email:

if you’re sending out a very first email to a prospect, most likely the person is at the top of the funnel. At this stage, the aim of your email must be to get the person to familiarize with your brand name, you as a person or both.

Some key points to take care of in the first email are:

1) ALWAYS personalize! – Avoid sending out an email saying “Hey there”. Personalizing subject lines can increase open rates by 50%.

2) Introduce yourself and validate yourself – Before you start showering your flowers on the prospect, tell them who it is doing that, and it will become more endearing. For eg. I always begin with “I’m Deepika and I head marketing at Alore” – In an instant the email recipient knows who I am and what I do. If you can mention a common link there after its an added advantage eeg a common friend, group or conference you both attended etc.)

3) Touch upon a pain the recipient is likely to be facing but don’t dig that deep. Pain always rings a bell with people.

Here’s a recent example of a good cold email I got:

Cold-email-example

A good first email needs to personalized, succinct, create a certain degree of connect and have a CTA

4) Have a CTA – at this stage you need to move clear of your impulse of asking anything. Instead just give. the intention should be to keep the prospect engaged with your brand for longer so he /she can understand better on what you so. Share a blog link or whitepaper or something that keeps them engaged to your brand directly/indirectly.

5) Keep your email short and concise. – Though we all have the inner poet in us wanting to come out, its not really a great idea. Keep emails short and simple and as much jargon fee as possible. Shorter emails always get higher reply rates. The ideal length of a sales email is between 50 and 125 words. (Source: Boomerangapp)

The Follow Ups

Now let’s say for whatever reasons your first email did not elicit a response. It’s time to raise the game and really get creative to get a response.  The thing is to get respectable gaps in between follow up emails and not come across as desperate. I would recommend a minimum of 4-5 follow-ups after the first mail with a minimal interval of 2 days between consecutive follow-ups. Woodpecker in its findings inferred something similar – “campaigns with 1-3 emails in a sequence have a lower reply rate (9%) and campaigns with 4-7 emails in a sequence have three times higher response rate (27%)” .Also tracking whether your emails are getting read is important. If they aren’t, you can try reaching out via other channels 😉

Here’s a good guideline to this from Steli Efti, Founder of close.io

Steli-efti-follow-up-gap-between-email

Source: Close.io

Another key point to get right here is being clear with the objectives. what is it that you want to achieve from the follow-ups? e.g. a meeting, download a lead magnet or whitepaper, watch a video, sign up etc.  Here’s some points to look at when following up:

For the 2nd  email (The first Follow-up email)

a) Do not send out a fresh email but chain it to the previous one (You’d be surprised but many still don’t realize this mistake)

b) Add context and remind them you mailed before. e.g.

Was wondering if you had a chance to look at my previous email I sent on Thursday about – <whatever the subject was>

I do not intend to sound like a stalker but saw that you read my email and hadn’t replied yet. Just wanted to ensure if I might have not missed any reply. Meanwhile happy to answer any questions you might have.

Wanted to take a moment to follow up with you on my last email to you about <subject of conversation>, I’d be happy to answer any queries you may have.

c) End your email on a perky high. You need to sound upbeat about the conversation to make the other person think of you as a person and not a robot behind an email. Humanizing the email will get better response rates.

d) Always have a CTA – Even if the recipient did not reply to the previous emails its best to add another CTA to get them to engage with the brand or product further to help them understand your value and offering better.

 For the 3rd  and  4th  email onward – email follow-ups

If you have not received a response by now it means either the prospect is unavailable (for whatever reason) or is a tough one to warm up. In either case, you will now need to get creative with your copy and ask. However, do not fret over it, sometimes it can take much longer to get a response in the sequence of follow-ups.

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Source: Iko system report via Mailshake

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Source: Yesware study via Mailshake.com

Patience and persistence is key when following up. It’s important that you sound confident yet humble at the same time in your emails. Here are some suggestions on working on the copy of your follow-ups:

1. Add social proof :

Chances are that the prospect doesn’t trust you yet. You need to delve deeper and have him/her trust you by adding social proof. You could say something like:

a) {prospect_first-name}, I’m proud to share some snippets of what our customers are talking about us – <add testimonial>

b) Should you like to explore some more – here’s what our community is talking about our product

c) While I was discussing our offering with a customer of ours today, I was instantly reminded of you and felt you’d find this product comparison manual quite useful as well. Do have a look and let me know what you think of it!

2. Be noticed.

Connect elsewhere and reach out on other professional mediums e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Do not overdo it by sending a Facebook friend request though!

3. Get Creative

Go with Cold Calling 2.0

COLD Calling 2.0

Cold Calling 2.0 is a technique developed by Aaron Ross while he was at Salesforce. This technique helped Salesforce generate $100 million in revenue with the core tenet being “ making cold calls without cold calling”

Cold Calling 2.0 is a systemized process of lead generation where you create internal referrals in the prospect’s company before reaching out to the prospect directly.

cold-calling-2.0

Image credit – sellulose.com

Good news is this methodology works in cold emailing too!!

In fact, recently I received an email that was a moderate attempt at cold emailing 2.0. I head marketing at my company and a recruitment agency executive first approached me on LinkedIn and on getting my email address sent me the following email. His intention was to reach the HR head of our startup via me. Now when I introduce him to the HR head, all he needs to tell the HR head is that Deepika referred me to you and he would have instantly broken the ice and built an image of being my acquaintance in the HR heads mind. That’s what cold emailing 2.0 is about. Building instant rapport and image in the mind of the reader.

cold-calling-2.0-example

Best practices for cold email copy.

Humility – Sound humble and not brash or boisterous. Humility is a virtue even in sales.

Confidence – A confident tone reflects confidence in the offering and product and an insightful mind.

Data and facts – Talking data will always rule over talking abstract. Just don’t overdo the data.

No Hard Sales – Sales has built an image of brashness and being pushy. People today are averse to this attitude and hence it’s important to come across as anything but salesy. Be polite, not pushy.

No spamming – Do not spam prospects if they’ve engaged negatively with your email or offering. Bombarding them with constant emails or calls when they’re not interested might just irritate them and lead to bad press or word of mouth if not handled better.

Personalizing emails – Always personalize your emails for better response rates and being categorized as mechanical about your offering.

Consistency – Be consistent in your outreach. Do not send the follow-up email weeks after the first one and so on. Also, be consistent in what your objective is and what you offer.

In Conclusion:

Cold emailing works. Email is in essence, a virtual 1-to-1 interaction and they always work when crafted well. The more time you spend in creating the list of prospects better the conversion rates will be. Remember it’s all about breaking the ice and laying the foundation of a human interaction in the coming days. Your email needs to reflect confidence, calm, humility, data etc. Always know what the objective of the reach out is and the relevance of your reach out with respect to the position the prospect in the sales funnel – Top, middle or bottom.

Lastly, always have a CTA in your email and track the analytics of your email (open rate, open time, etc.). Without these the cold email reach outs campaign would be vain.

If you’d like to play around with cold emails and experience the difference great analytics makes, I invite you to create your first cold email campaign at Alore CRM for free – It takes minutes to set up and there’s a 14-day free trial. No credit cards needed so no strings attached!

Would love to hear more on what your experience with cold emails has been. Do drop in a comment below or email me at deepika@plash.in