Elijah Masek-Kelly, Managing Director @ Powerful Outreach

December 15th, 2017

So, you’re writing an email to someone you’ve never met before and you want them to engage with your business, website or blog in one way or another. Maybe you want a great quote from an influential CEO or you’re looking for some quality backlinks to your site, but none of that is going to happen unless you can write a stellar cold email that doesn’t end up in a person’s spam folder.

The name alone, cold email, doesn’t sound very appealing. After all, why would this important, influential person agree to help you out if they don’t even know you or your company?

The truth is that there’s no magical recipe that will get every person to respond to your cold emails, but there are some things you can do to stack the deck in your favour.

So, if you do your job well, about one quarter of your recipients will open the email and just over 4% will actually read it all the way through.

But cold emailing can still be an effective way to grow your business. Just do yourself a favour and be concise, unique, and straight to the point.

Writing a Compelling Subject Line

Your first challenge is to get people to actually open your cold email and no one is going to do that unless you send them an awesome subject line.

So, what goes into writing a compelling subject line you ask? Usually 5 to 7 carefully chosen words that illustrate the point of the email and why it matters.

The people you’re emailing are probably used to seeing 10, 20 or more cold emails a day eating up precious real estate in their inbox, so you need to figure out a way to get their attention without being insincere.

Pretend that this is your email inbox. Which email are you most eager to click on? (Also pretend that your name is John Doe.)

The first email is likely to get the best results because:

  1. It mentions the recipient by name
  2. It offers some kind of an incentive
  3. The words, “marketing influencers survey” makes the pitch sound more professional

Customized Content That Speaks to a Real Person

Now it’s time to dive into the content of your cold email. Hopefully, the person clicked it open and now they’re looking at a few short lines of text that get straight to the point.

The email should be brief, no more than a few short paragraphs with two to three sentences each.

To start, introduce yourself and your company, including a few accolades or credentials that speak to your authority.

Next, the email needs to quickly lay out a case for why the person should be interested. To nail this part, you should try catering to the individual recipient or influencer by mentioning a few of their credentials and speaking to their specific expertise.

You can use this as an example.

We’d love to have you participate in our marketing survey because:

  1. You’re a marketing professional with the experience to prove it
  2. This will ultimately help you achieve your own professional goals
  3. Aspiring marketing professionals really care about what you have to say.

Try to reel them in by appealing to their own wants and desires without promising something you can’t deliver. So, don’t tell them they might win a free boat.

Write Like a Human for Humans

This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many cold emails sound like they were written by an automated toilet plunger.

Take a look at these two example cold emails. Now, which one was written by a human and which one was written by that robotic housekeeper from “The Jetsons”?

When you’re writing, use words as if you were striking up a conversation in a bar. You still need to be professional but use language that appeals to a human being.

Cold emailing isn’t an exact science, but you really need to choose your words carefully. There’s only so much space on the screen and you’ll their attention after just 8 seconds, as reported by Time Magazine.

So, cut out the fluff and put in the extra work to customize all your cold emails down to the last sentence. If you don’t have the time to create dozens of compelling, personalized emails, working with a professional outreach company might be your best bet.

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