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First things first: cold emailing is not the same as spamming.

It's not uncommon for business owners to be wary of cold emailing potential customers for fear of being seen as spam. However, there is an essential difference between a cold email and a spam email. Cold emails are personalized, researched, and meant for one person. Spam emails are sent to many people. In this case, Recipients are likely getting the same email, and emails are often sent all at once. Cold emailing can be an effective way to drive in new customers, partners, and traffic. An excellent cold email is integral for businesses to stay competitive in today's market. A spam email is a great way to get your domain blacklisted.

Now, let's be clear. If you use the same email template, change a couple of words, and send it to as many people as you can, you're spamming. If you're sending 20 emails to the same company hoping to find a decision-maker, you're spamming. Don't do it. It won't work, you'll end up in spam folders faster than it takes someone to read your email, and you'll be on blacklists for months or even years. If you want to be efficient, why on earth would you send a generic email template you found on the first page of Google to a list you purchased off some shady site?


Don't Spam

Yes, Tom. I'm calling you out. I'm glad you're here, but you need to do better. If your boss told you to do that, go ahead and send them this article to save you both some time. Hi, Tom's Boss! It's not 2005 anymore. It's illegal to buy a list and spam it. You're asking Tom to do something illegal. We need to do better.

A cold email is a sales email sent to a potential buyer who the seller has researched and specifically targeted. If you're sending a cold email, you've put your in work. You've researched the company, have found an ideal prospect, and know specifically how your product or service can help them. You may have even asked around about the person you're emailing so you can provide a reference. You could also call the office to see if they are using a competitor's product or if they would have any interest in your services. A 30-second call will save you 5 minutes typing away at your computer if it's not the right fit. Long story short, these opportunities are contacted because they fit your ideal customer profile, AND you have verified this through your research.

Great, now that we have the difference between a cold email and a spam email, let's get started.


How do I start cold emailing?

There are a few steps that go into creating a phenomenal cold email.

Start with the research. This part will take you the most time, the most energy, and likely be the most frustrating. You may spend hours researching the perfect potential client only to have your email ignored. However, you will be more successful if you put the work in then if you throw together a generic paragraph and send it off.

You're not going to want to come off as a salesman, so it is a good idea to find something to use as an introduction. If you know a mutual friend, know where they went to school, or have the same favorite color, you can lead with that.

Word of advice here, if you somehow find out someone's husband's name, their eye color, or what they had for the dinner the night before. You've gone too far. Don't be creepy.


So how do I write a great cold email?

When you're writing your email, the first thing you'll want to do is establish a connection with your target reader, despite possibly never having contacted them before. This is where the research you've done comes in handy. If your cold email doesn't start with a clear connection and purpose, you'll usually be thrown away. It is also an excellent practice to let them know why you chose to email them individually.

An excellent way to establish a connection is by researching the prospect, their company, or the market. Tell the candidate why you are specifically emailing them and that you understand their pain points. Being specific and personalizing the email to your prospect sets you apart from the hundreds of emails in their inbox. It also keeps you from being marked as spam by the recipient.

There are a few ways to personalize and begin your cold email, including knowledge about their website or product, recent news, or common interests. I've even seen individuals go as far as creating a video detailing how they can specifically help the potential client.

When you begin the email with information about the prospect's website or product or mention a recent achievement of theirs, it grabs their attention. It also shows the individual that you've done your homework. I don't know about you, but if I get an email from someone who hasn't done their homework, I assume I was just a name on a list.

If you want to go the route of referencing common interests, you can do some research to find out their likes, dislikes, and interests. Maybe you are passionate about what their company does or have a similar story. You are showing the individual that you already have things in common and therefore building trust. The more human you can make yourself through an email, the better. Most people receive tons of emails, and most people have had to send a cold email in their careers. If you can show that you're an actual human being that thinks your product or service is an excellent fit for them, you're off to a great start.

Oh - and you probably want to do this in 1-2 sentences. People are busy.

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Prove Your Value:

Once you've grabbed the prospect's attention, you can get into the real context of the email. It's here that you'll want to prove the value of your email.

What your prospect cares about is why should they read your email. So once you have a great opening line, get to the point. It's best to keep this part short and simple. Why are you reaching out to them? And what are the benefits of starting a business relationship with you?

Being clear and concise is important. If you're emailing a professional fisher because you think you created the best fishing pole on earth, say it. Don't dance around the topic or try and put a fancy lure on your line. Show them what you're offering, if they want to bite onto your hook, they will.

"Dear Fishy,  

I saw you won the fish catching world championship yesterday, that's awesome! I grew up fishing with my grandpa, and it has led to starting my own fishing pole company, Fishing Pole. I think we have developed the best fishing pole in the world and I'd love for you to give it a try and give me your opinion. We put a thingy on the dohickey, so it casts farther and smoother.

Can I tell you more about it? Is email the best way to contact you?


Fishing Hook"

Something also important is that you don't explain their pain points to them. If your product or service is solving a common problem, you don't need to explain that problem. You just need to tell them what problem you're solving and how you're solving it.

Picture this. You get to the grocery store, and one of the wheels on your cart is squeaky and wobbly. It's annoying, it's loud, and the cart is hard to control. Seeing you're having a hard time, someone comes up to you and says, "Hey sir, I see you have a squeaky wheel. Can I offer you a new cart?" Perfect! Problem, solution, I'm going to buy some watermelon.

Now picture the same situation, but before the individual offers the solution, they try and explain why the squeaky wheel is an issue. "Hello sir, I hope you're having a great day. I see you have a squeaky wheel there. Squeaky wheels make your shopping experience a hassle. The cart is hard to drive, and you may even run into someone else. The noise is terrible too. Could I offer you a solution?"

Don't insult someone's intelligence by trying to tell them why their problem is a problem. They know - it's their problem. What they don't know is what your solution to the problem is.  

Look at their website or business model and see where your solution can improve the way they do things. If you don't find what you're looking for, this is an excellent time to call the office if you haven't already. Perhaps they are missing out on sales because their competitors are doing something they aren't, or something on their site isn't optimized or broken. When you tell them you know about the problem, i.e., their squeaky wheel, tell them how you can help fix it. If you think it's necessary, you may even tell them the benefits they will receive by solving the problem. For example, companies that use your product save an average of $10,000 a year.

Call to Action:

Finally, you want your email to end with a call to action. This step is pretty straightforward—what do you want them to do after reading your email. It can be either to schedule a meeting, sign up for a demo, or even to give a short and straightforward reply. Ideally, you want to use the foot-in-the-door phenomenon here.

Whatever you want them to do, make sure you have only one call to action, and it is pretty simple and straightforward. People are busy, and if you ask them to do too much, especially in your first email, they will be discouraged. Ideally, you want to keep a conversation going, whether that be about your solutions or scheduling a call.

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Subject Lines:

I'll be honest. Writing subject lines is my least favorite part of writing cold emails. If the email is cold, subject lines are the depth of Antarctica.

But, subject lines are a pain for me because I overthink them. I always want them to be perfect. I hate to break it to you and myself, but your subject line will never be flawless. We can give it a good shot using these strategies.

Rule #1: Don't be Spammy


An email with the subject line, "I can save you $$" is going to end up in the spam folder faster than Usain Bolt ran in 2008. You've put the work into researching the recipient of your email, and your subject line should showcase that.

After reading this article, you may Google perfect subject line examples. Be careful with these lists as they are usually directed at marketing drip campaigns to increase open rates. The recipients of these emails have opted in to receiving 47 emails a day about underwear sales. If it sounds too spammy for a cold email, it probably is.

Rule #2: Talk to Them

If you're sending an email to Rebecca, let Rebecca know that this email is to them and only them. "Rebecca I have a solution for your growing pains" is a lot friendlier than, "I have a solution to your growing pains."

Rule #3: Keep it short and sweet

Subject lines should be under 45 characters. To give you an idea of how many characters that is, that sentence is exactly 45 characters. (Self five)

Rule #4: They are going to open it, or they're not

Don't overthink it. Unless your subject line is horrible (What's up to Carol - Check this out) or spammy (Carol - SAVE BIG $$), you're probably fine. The recipient is going to open your email, or they are going to send it to the trash. There isn't a lot you can do other than give it your best shot and be respectful.


Cold email with confidence

It may sound obvious, but the last key to a successful cold email is to write with confidence. You could follow these strategies covered above and still fail to receive a response. But readers can sense confidence even from emails, and confidence is one of the most attractive and positive qualities there is.

Be confident in your product, be confident in yourself, and be confident in the work you put into your email. Start combining confidence with these tips on how to cold email, and your response rate will start to skyrocket.

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When should I send my email?

You'll also want to take into consideration the time of day you send your email. Most studies show that the best times are 8 to 9 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.

Keep in mind that people's inboxes show their most recent messages first. If you send your email between eight and nine on a Monday morning, there's a good chance it'll be one of the first things your prospect sees when they come into work, relaxed from the weekend.

Sending emails first thing on a Monday morning used to be a hassle. You'd have to purchase tools to schedule your emails or write your emails the night before. However, these days you can easily schedule emails with Gmail or other email providers.

Scheduling an email on Gmail is pretty straightforward:

  1. Write your email
  2. Click on the upside-down arrow next to "Send."
  3. Schedule your email for the time you'd like it to send.

The Follow Up:

If you don't hear back from a prospect after 1-2 days, feel free to follow up. There are two schools of thought to a follow-up.

  1. Your email is buried in their inbox, and you're giving another chance to be in front of them.
  2. Your first email didn't sell them, and you can refine your pitch.  

For scenario one, your strategy is pretty straightforward. You can reply to your original email or send a new one with a similar subject line. You can express just how much you think your product or service will benefit the recipient.

The second scenario is less straightforward but still pretty simple. If you think they saw your email but were not sold on your initial pitch, you can re-think your strategy. Maybe you talked about solving a particular pain point or problem, and you'd like to use a different angle. Or perhaps you use scarcity and say that you want to make sure they have an opportunity to hear about what you offer before a sale ends.

In the past, I've used the all or nothing approach.

"Hey prospect,

I think Small Business Mentor is a perfect fit for you, and I'd love to tell you more about it. In my first email, I described a couple of problems we can help solve, but I may not have hit the nail on the head.

I tell you what. If you tell me your problems and I can't help you, I'll buy you coffee. If I can help you, well, I'll still probably buy you a coffee. What do you say?

Talk soon"

Now, this strategy is called all or nothing for a reason. There isn't any room for a follow-up, and you're leaving the ball in their court. But if you're feeling a little risky, give it a shot.

There you have it. You're a cold email rockstar. Go get em.  

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