Cold Calling or Cold Emailing, to be precise, is a great form of connecting to your target audience to bring potential leads and sales.
But cold emailing isn’t easy, and that’s pretty much for two reasons :
- You have no prior relationship or connection with the audience yet
- You lack any non-verbal feedback making you unable to modify your approach in real-time.
However, cold-calling emails can bring great results. In fact, businesses have built a fortune on it.
It also has been a boon for startups and new online businesses as well. Cold email needs strategy, research, and tons of optimization to get better results.
The largest hurdle that comes to cold emailing is not getting the emails opened in the first place.
So in order to get open rates on your cold emails and even get a better response rate, here are the best cold calling email strategies and tips to work on.
Don’t Use A Email Template
The very first step in order to write a good cold-calling email often tends to get a template on it.
Your first instincts are to search on Google for “best cold email templates,” and you are certainly going to find lots of them.
They can be good for understanding how cold emails are written or could be written but using them as a template isn’t a good idea.
A good cold email has been personalized, but you wouldn’t find any personalized cold email template.
And it makes sense because when you have to personalize something, it cannot be a template.
So recipients get thousands of cold emails on a daily basis, and more likely that lots of them, if not most, are using templates.
They become blind to those emails which have this tone-deaf, insensitive, soulless voice and content.
Make sure you avoid the template and write a personalized cold email according to your research on recipients and other factors.
Research Your Prospects
Research is the key to achieving higher response rates from your cold emails, and it is indeed the foundation on which you begin writing in the first place.
You need to research your prospect and it is a pre-email or pre-call ritual anyway.
In a nutshell, you cannot communicate with your prospective client or customer without having enough information about them.
You need to track down every key information about them :
- Who are they?
- What is their professional background?
- Where do they live?
- To whom were they clients previously?
- What do they want?
- Any recent activities, groups, or job changes?
- How much do they earn?
- What are their previous experiences?
- What are their motivations?
- Any mutual connection?
- Find out more detail about the market
And everything around it. Research is also the key to personalization which will help you tailor the message for the specific recipient. ( more to it in the next point)
When you don’t do research, you would appear a selfish and not-caring salesman who just wants to sell without knowing the person on the other end.
With your efforts knowing your recipient, they would appreciate you for the work. It will also make you stand on your ground more confidently.
You would have pointed to a counter in the conversation, and you would be more capable of putting across your point regarding the product or the deal, and its potential.
Tailor Your Message To The Recipient
Research is essential to but what you need to understand is that there is always a right way and wrong way to do it.
People you’re sending emails to might receive more than thousands of emails every day, so anything generic would be more likely to be overlooked.
Generally, the recipients get tone-deaf requests in their emails without any level of personalization to it at all.
Personalization when it comes to writing these cold emails means you consider –
- Who is this person?
- What are their interests?
- What do they want or look for?
- What motivates them?
And much more, depending upon what your email is about. You need to show them that you have put in some good work to understand them.
You also need to put across the point that why are you emailing them and not others?
According to the research, people who are capable or qualified to help aren’t usually motivated to help others.
So it is important to give them some motivation on why they should help you. What’s it in for them?
You tell them exactly where they fit in the story you’re telling so they can make sense of it.
The proper research on the person, their work, their interests, and preferences will help you to cut out all the things they have already heard or done.
Asking A Question
It is really difficult to get through the conundrum of hundreds, if not thousands of emails your prospect receives every day.
In fact, for businesses, it is a great challenge to get to the primary inbox of the email, and not get spammed or sidelined in any way.
So if you want your business email to get into the Primary Inbox, you need to periodically ask your readers to hit “reply” with their response.
When you get regular replies on your email address, it gets verified by Google that recipients want your email.
So there, you get a better chance at getting into the Primary Inbox of the emails rather than elsewhere, leading to more opens.
All from constantly asking questions and inviting the recipients to respond. Asking questions also helps you make your readers participate in this two-way conversation.
It builds trust and communication both ways when you invite responses by prompting questions.
When you get an email from a stranger, you would want to know who that person is and, why he or she is emailing you, also what they matter to you.
The same goes for ‘you’ when you are writing cold emails to potential clients or any recipient.
You’re the stranger to them. You might have done plenty of research on them to know who they are, but they still don’t know anything about you.
So, it becomes important that you show your credibility, so they can trust you.
There are different ways to show credibility, such as :
- Referring to a mutual friend creates a direct connection for you, making you no longer a stranger to them.
- Show them your authority, credibility, or social status through your profile, experience, etc.
- There also can be some commonalities, such as being from the same interest group or personal group.
- The commonality also can be the same town, some random meeting of yours, some unusual hobby or anything else.
What you need to aim to do is make yourself an acquaintance from a ‘stranger’. This will allow you to get preference in their inbox.
Building Anticipation Of Your Emails
This has to be one of the smartest ways to increase the open rates of your cold emails.
The idea is to create anticipation for your email. It works great because when you make people wait for something, their desire or interest in it increases.
Anticipation is, in fact, a huge part of marketing. The email campaign also tends to increase your open rates and click-through rates as well.
To make your anticipation effective, first, you grab attention with something interesting and profitable enough for your subscriber.
The Inverted Pyramid Method
- Grab Attention: Send emails that hook your audience, and grab their attention
- Build Anticipation: Now put a promise to be fulfilled in a next email
- CTA: Send the email at the promised time with your CTA.
Here, knowing your subscriber will help you better craft this email to gain more traction.
Once you grabbed attention, now you build anticipation and tell subscribers to wait for the given time for the following email.
You put a promise in your attention email for the next email, which the audience is supposed to look forward to.
It will dramatically increase your open rates and click-through rates for the following email and even further emails as well.
Giving Your Audience What They Want
What you need to ask yourself is –
- Why should the recipient care about your email at all?
- Why does a busy person respond to an email from a stranger?
- What’s it in for them?
It is a human tendency to avoid pain and gain pleasure. People are ready to go out of their comfort zone to avoid their pain or alleviate it.
With your research, you might have found the pain point for your recipient. Now, what you can offer is some relief from it.
Make sure you highlight that part- How you can alleviate their pain or help them get what they want.
If you do not have something that reduces their pain or solves their problem, then give them something that they want.
In one way or another, you need to connect with them in exchange for offering them something that they want.
Figuring Out When To Send Email
You need to figure out the right time and right day for sending your emails to your respective prospect.
According to the research, there are best days and best times of the day when emails show higher results in their open and click-through rates.
So sending your emails at those times will automatically increase the chances of your open rates and click-through rates.
Here’s a study conducted by GetResponse analyzing 21 Million US-based emails :
Image Source: WVO
It shows the open ratio of the emails on every particular day of the week and how it varies.
As per the study, you can see Saturday and Sunday, the weekends, are the worst time to send your email as it gets the least open ratio compared to other days.
Similarly, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays seem to be the best days of the week to send cold emails as they have higher open rates.
The same study also shows the results for the CTR across the different days of the week :
Image Source: WVO
Here we see that Thursday is clearly the best day to send emails for better click-through rates on your cold emails.
Again, Saturdays and Sundays are not ideal days to send emails.
Apart from the day, the time of the day also matters to optimize for better open and click-through rates.
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
This shows the percentage of open rate by the hour for emails. You can see that the best time to send a cold email in a day is around 3 pm.
Keep It Easy, Short & Actionable
Helping someone is a noble deed. And getting an opportunity to help others can be a really enjoyable experience.
Some people even really “want” that, so when you ask for help through emails, you are offering them a chance to feel good about themselves.
But you need to make this very easy for them to give it a push.
It is evident that shorter emails tend to be read more as compared to longer ones. So make sure you write precise, to-the-point, and as short as possible emails.
You also need to ensure that emails feature very clear requests, specific actions to take, and concise information to grasp.
This improves the chance of getting higher response rates from your cold emails.
If you’re writing long-paras, rambling, unclear cold emails, then it is more probably going to be put aside.
One of the best ways to keep things short and make it direct is to write as you would talk to them.
Just assume you’ve met them at a cocktail party and walk up to them. You would probably introduce yourself, compliment them or tell them something nice about them or the evening.
You might further try to build a connection through a common friend, common interest or other links. And further pitch yourself.
That’s exactly what you need to do while you’re writing a cold email, make it natural and easy-going.
Make sure you make it easy and actionable. Don’t put so much decision-making on them, for example –
Rather than saying, “ Let me know if you want to meet up”, you better say, “ I can meet on Tuesday or Wednesday between 8 am to 11 am at Barista Coffee on the 10th, if that works for you. If I don’t tell you what it does, I will make it happen.”
Here you are making it easy for them to decide rather than “asking” too much to do.
Inject Some Humor In Your Emails
Humor can really make a strong connection while you communicate with anyone. It really adds a personalization aspect to your emails.
People tend to respond better toward something which consists of humor than something bland or just boring.
Humor helps your content stand out and makes your emails more entertaining to read for the subscribers.
And when they really get entertained or surprised, those tend to remain in their memory.
It just makes your next email get more opened easily as they already feel compelled to at least open it.
You don’t have to be very funny to make your email content humorous. It is all about truly understanding your recipient enough to say something relative.
When you know their likes, dislikes, challenges, and desires, it becomes easy to pull off tongue in cheek jokes, references, and relative stuff.
Write Multiple Email Headlines
The first headline idea for your cold email tends to be mostly bad. It is usually the very first thing that comes to your mind.
To really get more open rates, more than anything, which plays a significant role has to be the email headline.
After all, that’s the first thing the recipient will see in their inbox.
And if that only doesn’t interest them enough to open it, then it doesn’t matter, even if you wrote the best piece of cold email pitch ever written in the world.
Get creative with your email headline, and don’t settle with just the first one or two headline ideas.
Try to brainstorm multiple email headlines that are creative, and compelling and hook the audience to open them.
Chances are, it won’t happen in the first few headline ideas, so write multiple and see what could be more meaningful and apt.
Different headlines can also be representing different perspectives on how you want to approach the recipient.
For example, one headline can be targeting a particular benefit for them while others can be different.
Send Emails That Only You Would Want To Receive
There must be some types of emails that really piss you off in your inbox. It could be lame pushy marketing emails, irrelevant emails, spam, and others as well.
Most chances are you will just simply unsubscribe from that party or just spam it.
The same happens to people as well when they find emails that they would never want in their inbox.
The easiest way to pull down your cold email open rates dramatically is to send a couple of low-value, irrelevant or pushy emails.
So the same is true for the opposite, in order to improve your email open rates, you need to send only emails that people actually want to read.
You need to make sure that you are sending emails that are :
- Highly relevant
- As per the interest of the subscriber
- Not repetitive
- Send timely
- Not Pushy email
- Something that really beneficial for the subscriber
- Not spam
- Marketing email, not sales
Make Sure You’re Appreciative And Bit Vulnerable
It is not just okay but wise to go as far as being slightly submissive in these cold emails to really get more attention.
After all, you’re asking someone a favor who doesn’t know you. So when you show gratitude and some little vulnerability, you make them feel that they are a good person if they decide to help.
You kind of give them this ego boost and little rush to their power and status because you’re asking them a favor and approaching them for help.
This is a very effective strategy. It has been seen that even just adding “ Thank You So Much! I am very grateful” doubles the response rates of a request.
You also need to be empathetic. Tell them it is okay if they’re busy. When you give them a way out, they are more likely to help.
And when you make things too much for them, like too much to ask or too much restriction, they feel obligated, so they won’t help.
The kind of language and tone you use in your writing makes a huge impact on whether you will get your response or not.
Segmenting Your List
List segmenting is one of the key strategies that will help you achieve better response rates and open rates on your cold emails.
It is a strategy that only very few companies really implement because it does need some setup or a learning curve.
But when you invest your time to create multiple customized list segments depending on your email marketing strategy, it tends to give you enormous results.
List segmentation is about customizing your message depending on the interest of the given subscribers.
You have to make sure to segment your list most suited to the subscriber’s demographics, preferences, needs, and wants.
You have to create different possibilities of sign-ups as many as possible
- Pop-up form
- Sidebar sign-up form
- Drop-down signup form
- One for each content upgrade
- One for each opt-in
- Article page sign-up form
Figuring Out The Right Frequency
Identifying the right frequency for your subscribers as in how many emails you will send them and when is essential for the campaign.
To even go there, first, you always need to find out the priority of the campaign.
The priority or the objective of an email marketing campaign determines the frequency of the emails to be sent.
If your goal is to boost your website traffic, more and more emails over a day will always help to increase website visits.
However, when you want to get more open rates, then it is not just about sending more in the day.
There is a limitation on a subscriber as to how much they would want to hear from you in a day, even if they like you a lot.
Not to forget, there is so much content that people can consume in a day that the rest of them are more likely to ignore.
One of the great examples for sending the lowest frequency but higher results has to be Brian Dean.
He built Backlinko to 90,000 visitors per month by just writing one post per month.
So it depends on the audience whether they would prefer twice a week or once a month from you.
At the end of the day, you have to test and learn, and figure out what is an ideal frequency for your subscribers.
You Need To Keep Your List Fresh
Keeping your list fresh means finding out whether your subscriber still wants to hear from you or not.
It is already customary to keep sending emails consistently to your subscriber base so your list doesn’t go irrelevant or stale.
Sometimes over a long time, some people may get their email accounts changed, aren’t relevant enough or may not be interested enough in your brand.
It is essential to keep your list fresh, where subscribers are engaged with your content on a consistent basis.
Don’t forget to remove inactive or irrelevant subscribers from time to time, as it also helps you keep the list more effective and fresh.
However, before you get rid of these inactive subscribers, you need to try a win-back email campaign to get them again.
Cleansing Your Email List
If your email list is outdated, no matter how much time you invest in the improvement of your open rates, it won’t make any difference.
That’s why it is important to update and keep your email list fresh, active, and highly relevant to date.
And will be only possible when you cleanse your email list periodically.
The losing relevancy is bigger than you think. In fact, the chances are you might be losing 20% of your subscriber list every year.
We have already discussed keeping your email list clean and fresh. But you need to take one step further.
You need to apply strategic and smart ways to cleanse your email list in order to maintain higher relevancy and reliability.
Ways To Cleanse Your Email List
There are two types of bounces of your email, one is hard to bounce, and the other is a soft bounce. You need to monitor both kinds of bounces on your emails.
A hard bounce on your emails means that it is failed to deliver for some permanent reason, such as being an invalid email address or failed domain.
You must have ESP that supposes to automatically remove all the hard bounces on your email list, so you won’t be sending emails to them again.
This prevents you from damaging your sender’s reputation as well.
Another kind is soft bounces which fail the delivery due to temporary reasons. It may be because the recipient’s inbox is full or receiving server considers the email to be large.
There can be multiple reasons. So you need to monitor and find out what those reasons are. Also, try to keep these bounce rates lower than 2% which is an industry standard.
Avoiding Spam Filters
Spam filters are more and more sophisticated when it comes to filtering spam in people’s inboxes. However, they are still not perfect!
So you need to ensure that even your best emails might get caught up in a spam folder that will never see the light of the day in their inbox.
In order to ensure your email doesn’t end up in spam and reaches the maximum potential for your campaign, you need to do every possible thing to avoid making it flagged as spam.
Here are some of the best practices you can do to avoid your emails getting into spam folders :
- Always send your emails through verified domains.
- Make sure all of your recipients have actually opted-in for getting your emails.
- Avoid any excessive use of ‘sales’ language
- Avoid using any spam-triggering words such as ‘buy,’ ‘cash,’ ‘clearance,’ etc.
- Never use ‘bait-and-switch’ in your subject lines
- Always include your location
- Make sure you include an easy way out for subscribers to unsubscribe from your email subscription.
- Always keep your code clean.
- Show your subscribers how they can whitelist your email and add them in their address book.
Write Like You’re Writing To A Friend
You need to write like a friend while you are writing your emails professionally. It is essential to put your corporate hat to one side and write like a friend.
A friendly approach is what truly appeals to the subscriber, and they are more likely to listen to you and even continue reading when it sounds conversational.
Anything corporate or official-sounding words just put people off the trail. It makes them distant from the content matter.
In fact, the very subject line and initial opening decide whether they are going to read it further or not.
You need to keep things on a casual note and more of a ‘suggest’ rather than push them to do something like visiting the website or checking out the deal.
The kind of greeting you began the email with, the conversational tone you use, and your word choices impact the email open rates a lot.
Think About Your Mobile Users
Another way to increase your open rates for cold emails is to optimize the email reading experience for your users.
You need to realize that a huge part of your subscribers read their emails on their smartphones.
According to an email Monday, 15-70% of all email opens are from smartphones depending upon your product, email type, and target audience.
To say the least, it is your concern to optimize their experience for your emails and make sure your emails look as appealing on smartphones as much as they look on desktops.
In a nutshell, your emails should be mobile-friendly with a highly responsive format, easy-to-load media, short subject lines, and other factors.
Here are some highlighted tips to help you optimize your emails to make them mobile-friendly:
- Make sure the formatting of the email is very simple
- The formatting of the email should be under 600px wide, and single-column
- Use larger fonts
- Use small-size images to reduce image load time.
- Presume that images might not be displayed.
- Make sure your email looks good without the image.
- Don’t place two different links right next to each other
- Don’t place two different links on top of one another.
Try And Test New Subject Lines
Not A/B testing your subject lines means that you’re leaving money on the table.
You need to develop your hypothesis for the testing and decide what exactly you want to learn.
Select the variables that you particularly believe are going to have the highest impact when it comes to conversion and open rates.
There are certain things you can do to make sure the testing gives you the best result possible to improve your cold-emailing strategy.
To begin with, you can try shorter subject lines to see whether they work better than the usual long ones you use.
Apart from that, you can also try some level of personalization in the subject lines and see whether that gives you more openness.
Another great thing to tweak in your subject line is to test whether putting offers right in the subject line of the email works or not.
Or it can be something beneficial, attractive, and attention-grabbing for the recipient, something related to them.
You can also try putting emojis in your subject lines and see how your recipient responds to that.
Setting Up Your New Subject Lines Testing
When it comes to A/B testing of your subject lines of the cold emails, you can go ahead one step further.
There are two different ways to go forward with setting up this subject line test in order to optimize it for better results.
- Launch your subject line test to a limited sample size of subscribers and find out the winner.
- Launch your subject line test to only a particular segment and then apply further to the entire list.
When you go with the first way, as launching the subject line only to sample size, you need to roll out a winner, which will be applied to the rest of your list.
For this, you will come up with two different subject lines to test; now, you will send the A/B test to a sample size of your email list.
For example, you can choose 20% or 30% of your email list. Suppose you choose 20% of your email list, then you will send subject line 1 to 10% of your list and Subject line 2 to the other 10% of your list.
Once you have enough data to read the statistics and make comparisons, you roll out the winner amongst them.
Whichever subject line worked the best, you will use it on the rest of the 80% of your email list.
Now, try to make sure that you send both of these test subject lines under the same circumstances, day, time of the day, and so on.
Basically, try to reduce the number of variables that take part in these tests, so you get a fair result.
Going with the second way to do it is more of a straight route.
Here, instead of testing the subject lines to sample size, you will test 2 subject lines to either an entire list or a segment of it.
Once you run your test, you will be able to learn whether it works or not, which of those are more result-oriented, and other statistics about it as well.
Now you apply what you learn from this A/B testing to any of your future cold-emails sends.
You can change the variable as much and as many times as you want.
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I am certified and awarded Email marketing expert. I’ve spent the last decade reading and writing marketing books and blogs as well as my articles helps people to start their Email Campaign from scratch or boost their existing business.