Cold emailing has largely become a black hat strategy; nobody likes to send them and nobody likes receiving them.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. According to Yesware, you can receive a response rate of as high as 30-50% from cold email. But most businesses are not even getting 1% returns from this channel.
Because getting people to respond to an ice-cold email is tough.
The question is how you can warm up your cold emails. If you can optimize them, you can boost your response and return rates from this channel.
Optimizing cold emails doesn’t just mean adding recipients first name in the email – though it does work. But you’ve got to show your recipients that you’ve put work into understanding them.
Below are a few tried and tested strategies that you can use to get better returns from cold emailing.
General best practices for cold emailing
These practices may seem obvious to some, but they’re certainly not universally in play. Make sure that you incorporate these into your cold emailing strategy:
1. Provide value
What does your receiver get by opening your email? Is it a piece of helpful content? A solution to their problem? Whatever it is, make sure you give them something that will truly interest them.
In an era of marketing overload, sales messages only work if they provide value.
2. Segment your email list
Segmenting your email database can result in better open and reply rates, as segmenting your list is the key to relevant messaging. But when it comes to cold emailing most marketers often overlook segmentation, as figuring out the best way to compartmentalizing the contacts is tough. To make it a little easier for you, here are a few ways to segment your email marketing database:
- The geographic area or zip code
- Ticket size
Segmenting your email database takes time, but if you take the time, not the easy shortcut, it’ll definitely pay off.
An inbox is a personal space. If your marketing message is landing in someone’s personal space; show them that you know at least a little bit about them. So, include the user’s name (or their industry) to mimic the feel of a one-on-one conversation.
Personalized emails have a 100% better response rate than their generic counterparts, according to a Woodpecker study.
Don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to cold emailing, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
4. Clean your database to maximize deliverability
Cold emailing works but only when you land in your prospect’s inbox. If you want to land in your prospect’s inbox, you should clean your data by running hygiene checks.
When done right cold emailing can virtually grow your leads overnight but done wrong it can hurt your mailing reputation badly – be careful.
These are just a few best practices you should always follow when creating cold emails. But if you want to harness the power of cold emailing, it’s crucial to work on every aspect of them and avoid cold emailing myths.
Everything from the subject line to the preheader to the copy of the email to the CTA can affect the open, response rates, and conversions of your emails. Let’s dive deeper into the specifics of cold emailing optimization.
Subject line strategy
The subject line is one of the most crucial elements of your cold emails. It determines the open rate, on which the response rates, and the overall performance of your entire cold emailing program depends.
You won’t get any returns from this channel if you can’t get recipients to open your emails. Here are a few tips you can use while crafting your subject line rules to make sure your emails stand out in your prospects jam-packed inboxes:
5. Avoid using clichés in your subject lines like the plague
Certain words and tired phrases have become so embedded in subject lines that they’ve lost all meaning. But they can also trigger spam filters.
Cliches such as ‘This isn’t a scam’ and ‘Increase sales’ are words that signal spam filters and can hurt your deliverability – if you want to use them do it sparingly.
6. Avoid sounding salesy
No one likes to buy from people they don’t know – so to avoid the DELETE key and don’t sell too early.
7. Add clarity to your subject line and make it exclusive
You must have heard this a number of times but it’s worth mentioning again as people take only a glance at your email before deciding whether to open it or delete it.
So, the clearer your subject line, the better your open rates will be.
8. Add the recipient’s first name in the subject line
William Shakespeare once said, what’s in a name. But when it comes to subject lines a name has everything. You don’t have to take my word for it because I have the stats to prove it; including the recipient’s name in the subject line can increase your open rate by 22.2% (Source: Adestra)
Preview text space utilization
The preheader is as important as your subject line; they matter. If you are not utilizing this space effectively then you’re wasting valuable real estate. Below are a few tips to optimize your preview text:
9. Pay attention to your words
Words can encourage, or discourage people, to open your emails – so include words that are likely to pique your recipient’s interest and capture their attention.
10. Make it easy on the eye
Use an easy to read font for your preheader text.
11. Don’t shoot arrows in the dark
A/B test your preview text just like your subject lines.
Copy matters. No matter how creative your subject line is or how well written your preview text is, if your email copy is devoid of well-written content, you’ll not get any return from your cold emailing. Here are a few tips to help you in crafting a good copy:
12. Personalize your email copy
Sending out the same copy to everyone on your list can save you time, but it won’t get you results. Before you start crafting your email copy, research your prospect. This will help you in personalizing your text to the prospect’s needs and situation.
Most cold emails say the same thing to everyone – which is why conversion rates are so terribly low.
13. Avoid copywriting mistakes
Mistakes can kill your conversions – once you’re done writing your email copy, reread it – make sure it has no spelling and grammar mistakes.
14. Be succinct
People don’t like reading long emails, respect their time. Keep your copy short and crisp.
According to research, the most-opened sales emails contain between 50 and 125 words, with the 75 to 100-word range representing the sweet spot.
No matter how good your emails are if you don’t nudge people to take an action they won’t take it. Make sure you include a clear CTA in your email. Here’s how to do that:
15. Test your CTA copy
Generally, marketers test their subject line copy, but they rarely test their CTA copy; always test it. Sometimes, simple changes in the copy can make a big difference in the response and conversion rate.
16. Be clear and specific
Inducing people to open your sales emails is tough, but getting them to take action is even tougher. So, don’t just tell them to act; make it absolutely clear what you want them to do. Given below is an example to show you what to do and what not to do:
CTA: Are you available to hop on a quick call (20 minutes) on Aug 28 at 4 PM WST?
Instead of: Are you available to hop on a call?
Cold emails can be a great (cheap) way to increase your leads and conversions – but don’t abuse the privilege. Be thoughtful, be relevant, and be valuable, and your contacts will reward you by engaging and converting into customers.
Guest author: Reshu Rathi is the Director of Marketing at MarketJoy, a B2B sales development company. She is an online marketing and conversion rate enthusiast. She has been in the internet marketing industry for nearly ten years, specializing in content and product marketing, lead generation and engagement strategy. She provides thought leadership for a variety of global publications. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Linkedin.