Home

Have you set your sales goals for 2016 yet? Do you want to increase sales by an extra 30% by targeting a new industry? Or maybe you want to land a meeting with a CEO from one of the fastest growing companies in America?

You can achieve all this and more by learning how to use cold email to fearlessly start conversations with decision makers and C-level executives.

Whether you’ve tried cold email in the past and weren’t successful, or you’re already having some success and are looking to improve your existing efforts, these three tips can help you get more responses to your emails and crush your 2016 goals.

Cold Email Tip #1: Do Your Research Before You Even Write A Single Email

As a child, do you recall knowing which adult was most likely to say, "Yes" to you than the other? You already knew who to ask and exactly what to say in order to get what you want.

The same concept still applies to cold emails.

Before you start emailing prospects for your business, make sure you research the people you intend to reach out to. Get to know how they think and speak, what they value and dislike, and what kinds of content they read.

One way you find general material on them is to “e-stalk” a handful of them via social media (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). You're looking for common trends, keywords, and interests. Maybe you'll discover that many VP of Sales in the SaaS space tend to love science, tend to be more analytical, and are numbers-driven. 

So instead of saying something like this in your email:  

“We have the best software in the business and win lots of awards.”  

You should be saying:  

“Our software helped [Client x] double their qualification rate from 15% to 32% in only 3 months.”  

Always keep in mind that you can never have too much insight into how your prospects think. You never know what tidbit you can turn into an intriguing subject line that will catch their eye, or a powerful introduction sentence that can instantly build rapport with even the toughest audiences.

Cold Email Tip #2: Always Have an Alluring Subject Line

No matter how full your inbox is, the subject lines that grab attention will be opened first.

If you know what keeps your prospects up at night or what they need to achieve in order to get a big promotion, you can create a subject line that feels like it’s reading their mind.

Imagine you are your recipient: What subject line would you most be inclined to open?

For example, if your prospects’ biggest concerns are the risk of a potential data breach and you have a solution to that, you might try a subject line like this:

SUBJECT: {!Company}’s next data breach

This email was sent to CIOs and had a 57% open rate with an 8.6% positive or neutral response rate.

Emails that leverage a strong emotion like fear have a high chance of getting opened, but you have to be careful with these so that you do not upset the recipient and get them to hit spam.

Use fear cautiously and carefully. If you use a subject line like this you need to very quickly point out your solution in the email in a way that is sensitive to their pain point.

If you think your audience will react too negatively to a fear-driven approach, you can just stick to more positive, value-driven subject lines. However, testing a more edgy subject line can have big payoffs if you do it correctly.

Cold Email Tip #3: Create a Powerful Call to Action

Even a pretty compelling pitch can be killed by a weak Call to Action.

The final sentence of your email is prime real estate. It’s your opportunity to incentivize your prospects to respond and start a conversation with you. There’s no point in sending cold emails if your CTA is confusing, or not there at all.  

The following CTA is feeble and pathetic:

"If you have any questions, feel free to message me at any time. Hope to hear from you soon!"

Would you be enticed to respond if you read that in the last sentence of an email?

If you hope to get a response, the last sentence of your email should be clear, actionable, and enticing.

Use words like “when” to subliminally put it in your readers’ minds that they should talk to you. Generally speaking, emails that have a call to action with the word “when” outperform those that have yes/no questions. And as a general rule, calls to action calls should always be put in the form of a question.

Here’s an example of a call to action that came from an email template with a high response rate:

Example: “When do you have time for a short call to hear how Linkedin was able to double their sales productivity?"

This CTA works well because it promises to deliver valuable advice (successful strategies from Linkedin’s sales efforts) if the prospect agrees to a call.

So no matter who you’re emailing and trying to start a conversation with, remember to do your homework before writing a single email, and to both start and finish strong.

Whether you’re sending a single one-on-one email or a massive email campaign to thousands of individuals, here are a few more insights to help you make your emails feel more thoughtful and persuasive.

About the Author

Heather R Morgan is the founder and CEO of Salesfolk. Salesfolk helps B2B companies write highly effective cold email campaigns at scale, leveraging tested copywriting best practices, game theory, and multivariate analysis.