• Digital Marketing

How to: Write cold emails for sales


First, let’s get rid of two misconceptions about the email sales pitch.

One it doesn’t work because people don’t open emails from people they don’t know. This can be dismissed right off the bat. If this report is to be believed then the average open rate of emails from a cold approach is above 20% and can go even higher when you optimize your emails for success.

The second objection I often hear is that a cold sales email can be disturbing to the receiver.As someone who has worked in the sales industry for the past 4 years, I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve been cold calling people for as long as I can remember if I am cordial and don’t over do the follow-ups to the point where it is disruptive, I’ve mostly received very positive results from it.

So shouldn’t a cold email be much less disruptive than call anyways?

Convinced? Let's move on.

Writing a sales email is much an art as it is a science. Here we will go through the techniques of writing emails that get mad results and how to use email automation tools to optimise our open rates, test out our messaging and keep track of our follow ups.

7 Tips to writing effective sales emails

Write an attention grabbing subject line

The subject line is one of the two things your clients will see first when you send them an email. Your Subject and first line of the email body are the only two things that a receiver sees when they find your email. So it is natural that the decision to open your email or not will depend upon whether your prospect finds the subject relevant to him. In your subject write clearly (in brief) why you’re getting in touch and add tokens of personalization to grab your prospect’s attention.

Write in a conversational tone

The best advice I can give anyone about writing a good sales email is to write like your speaking to a friend or colleague. We receive thousands of emails everyday and given the choice, we would rather choose to open an email from a friend than a sales bot.

So instead of opening up with a pitch like this:

“Hey Dan, this is Kazi from Allstate and do we have an amazing offer that’s gonna blow your mind”.

Do this instead:

“ Hey Dan, This is Kazi from All State. Can I have 5 mins of your time to talk about insurance?”

Keep it short and sweet

In other words K.I.S.S. is a simple strategy to keep things brief and to the point. Elaborate sales pitches will get you nowhere if people just skim over your emails after opening. Long emails are daunting for anyone and if we are likely to pass on reading a big email from our peers, it's more probable that we’ll completely skip over an email from a stranger. In your first cold email, stick to what’s important and write only the basic necessities:

  • Writing a brief introduction
  • Why you are emailing the prospect
  • A problem you can solve for the prospect
  • Request a follow up.

It’s important to note, that your goal in an introductory mail is not to close a sale. Your focus should be to get a follow up email/meeting.

Personalise your emails

Personalisation is key to successful email marketing campaigns. The best sales pitches don’t sound like a sales pitch at all and they definitely don’t send like a marketing bot had sent a bulk mail to 1 million other prospects.

To put things into perspective, imagine being in a crowded bus. A man comes on board and is travelling to a location 3 stops ahead. He doesn’t know how many stops to his destination so he shouts out to the people on the bus:

“Does anyone know how many stops to my next destination?” People take one look at him and get back to doing whatever they were doing. After all, the question wasn’t addressed to them. The man disappointed, looks in your direction, and says: “Hello, do you know how many stops till my destination?”. You stop to look at the man and tell him that it’s the next stop.

Now ask yourself, what was the difference between the two approaches? The first time the man called out for help, no one was obliged to answer because they didn’t believe the question was directed towards them. The second time, however, he asked you specifically, and even if you didn’t want to answer, you’d feel pretty uncomfortable not helping out a man who directly asked for your assistance.

In Emails, your recipient should feel like the pitch was made for him. Include personal details like his name, the company he works for, and go a step further by including something that’s relevant to his company.

Avoid Images

This tip is more of a technical hack than anything else. I do admit, there are some pros to sending an image attached to your email:

It looks great. If you’re a design company, you get to show off your design chops.But you gotta ask yourself, do regular people send you images with their emails?

This is where the cons come in. Firstly, images come off as unnatural or off key compared to most emails you get from normal people. This might send a signal that this email was designed a sales pitch or worse- Spam. Moreover, email servers use algorithms to recognise this practice as spammy and might divert your emails to the designated spam folder.

Use Hyperlinks

Are you placing external links in your email? Then add a hyperlink instead of full body links. Inserting links in your email body can make the email read longer and discourage users from reading. If you have to add a link then follow this advice.

  • Use a hyperlink with an anchor text
  • Or shorten your URL with a service like bit.ly

End with a Call to Action

Hopefully, you’ve still got your eyes on the prize and remember that the end goal is to get a follow up reply or meeting from the prospect. That can’t happen unless you get a conversation started. Your email should encourage people to provide a response and serve as a catalyst for a further discussion.While there are various factors that go into getting a response from your prospect, one method that gets a higher response rate is posing your call to action as a question.

As human beings, we are naturally inclined to answer questions as a part of conversations. A question is an invitation to participate and your prospects are more likely to reply to your email because they’re hardwired to do so.

Optimising your emails

Using data and analytics tools are just as important in writing a great sales email on any given day. I personally use adapt prospector to find leads, track who’s seen my email, create templates and automate my follow ups. Let’s get into the details of how you can use a similar email marketing tool to create effective email campaigns.

Finding leads

Lead generation is the most fundamental part of sales. Finding prospects who need your solution is a difficult task and successfully narrowing down your list comes with the challenge of finding Emails of prospects who are facing a problem that only you can solve. Once you find that sweet spot where you’ve found a group of people who could be prospects, the next task is to find out ways to reach out to them.

This is where Hunter.io becomes really handy. Lead generating tools coupled with LinkedIn can be a great source to fish for prospect’s emails and start our outreach campaign.

Alternatively, you can visit the company's website to collect all the emails with in the given domain address.

Creating templates

A set of templates is necessary to run your sales campaign in a very organised and measured way. With email tracker tools like the one we’ve mentioned above, you can track who's seen your sales emails and compare which set of subject line and Email body combination works best to get people to open your emails and send a reply.

Read this on Email A/B Testing to discover more ideas on optimising your email campaigns.

A/B Test your Emails

An A/B test or split test is a simple experiment where you test out two or more versions of an Email.

Once templates are ready and you're ready to hit the send button, conduct a split test to see which templates are more effective. You have the option to test out multiple variables in your tests. For instance, a great place to start your tests is to use different subject lines for the same Email body. At the end of each test, you should find which subject lines had a better open rate.

Automating your follow ups

Your emails might not be read the first time you send them. It’s likely that your prospects are busy people and an email or two might be skimmed over when they’re swamped with work. However, the same email might’ve been opened by your prospect if it was sent during a time when the recipient had a lighter workload.

A gentle reminder asking your prospect if he received your last email can work wonders in getting the person on the other end to see your mail. Fortunately, you can automate this mundane task with adapt’s engage tool and set the auto follow up options to send a follow up mail if they haven’t replied to your email within a set period of days.

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