After about 2 years of a lot of cold emailing, I’ve learned a few things about increasing open and response rates. I’ll share some tips later in this post, but first let me give you a round up of some good Cold Email articles (surprisingly hard to find considering the amount of people cold emailing, and interested in cold emailing).
A few tips:
1. The most important factor to open rates is personalization. When writing an email always be questioning the subject line and body whether your email looks like its personal and that you’ve given thought to the recipient. Ask yourself “does this email seem like it could have been mass mailed?"
If it does, you need to add phrases that make you look more human. Of course going into specifics about the other person or their company through a compliment generally works, but adding in “haha’s”, smiley faces, and other whimsical expressions make you seem more human as well.
2. Confused by the subject line? I used to get stuck by this. I would write the entire email, then spend 30 minutes staring at the screen with the cursor blinking on the subject line. If your subject line has the same phrase as the opening line (or any other line) in your email body…that’s fine.
Subject line is important though, (just not worth spending a ton of time on, unless its a really important recipient). And my recommendation is this: Try to come up with a subject line that others aren’t using.
When I went to Salesforce’s dreamforce conference and gave my email out, I got a ton of cold emails a few days later. All of them sounded contrived, and generic. Most of them put their own company’s name in the subject line and went something like “Dreamforce, more from X company”. When you connect with someone at a large conference, they’ll likely receive a ton of emails, and most of those emails will have “Nice meeting you at XYZ conference” as the subject line, and the body tends to say “I’d love to tell you more about our software product”. So if your email sounds like that its going to be ignored.
*Notice the "unsubscribe" link meaning this was sent with an email mass mailer
While at a tech conference, I chatted with a venture capitalist after he gave a speech. His speech was on biohacking and tech, and I talked to him about his thought on biohacking.
Later I sent him an email that looked like this:
Subject: Thanks for chatting with me and my friend about Biohacking
He opened because my subject line is personal and memorable, and he replied to my email because it was genuine and distinct.
3. Your first goal is to get a response, not a meeting or a phonetical or a sale. The reason is, once they reply, your likely hood of getting a meeting goes way up. I think this is both psychological (you’re more likely to respond again to someone you’ve responded to before) and because gmail adds an “important” flag, which is more easily noticeable when people are scrolling down their email feed.
4. One last important concept I’d like to point out is open and response rates and their relation to subject line and body. The subject line and first sentence is what the recipient sees in their inbox; this is the main determinant of whether your email gets opened. Then, your email body is what determines whether or not you get replies. With Yesware or Sidekick, you can track these things. So if you’re noticing that your getting a lot of opens and no replies then your subject line is fine, but your email content needs to be more personal or needs to add more value.
To conclude, I’d like to emphasize that the main thing in getting cold email responses is how much you don’t sound like a spammy robot, and how much you differentiate yourself from those who do.
So, I’d like to hear your experiences with cold emailing, any good tips or links to good articles on the subject?
I think I’ve finally crossed the path out of complete beginner. I closed my first client two weeks ago, got paid for the first time last week, and I’m waiting for 3 potential clients to sign and pay the deposit. For a while I thought I’d be sending out cold emails forever. I also thought I’d be clueless when pitching to clients forever. Now, my hands still jitter when I walk into a meeting, but I enjoy pitching to clients face to face now. I can honestly say that the thought “Why do I have to meet them in person, can’t I just pitch to them through email?” has completely left my mind.
There’s a few things I’ve noticed from my progression that I’d like to highlight:
-I’ve found books like The Sales Bible, Selling to Vito, Spin Selling to be very boring. I learned the most about sales from Ramit Sethi’s creative live session. (Note: I would get Earn1k but I can’t afford it. Also, I don’t really like Ramit, or his blog. I find his style of writing arrogant and his free material gimmicky. But his creative live session really is what’s helped me the most).
-When starting out, it’s very tricky to balance doing work for cheap to get experience, and saying no to jobs that constrict you in pay and/or creativity.
-Mentors save you a lot of time, although, finding a good mentor is really hard. I was asking everyone for advice: my professors, my parent’s friends, friends, even strangers at networking events.
Daniel Odio gives tips and tricks for entrepreneurs!
Click to listen to "Episode 65: Interview Part 1" and click to listen to "Episode 66: Interview Part 2"
Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts