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How to Write Cold Emails that Get Read

Do you want to write cold e-mails that get read? Here are some of the well-known strategies for writing an ideal cold e-mail that always gets a read.


Make sure the headline is neutral


Think about cold e-mails from the recipient’s perspective. All of us have received cold e-mails in the past, and it’s pretty apparent when you receive a bad cold e-mail.


What makes it bad?


A couple of things hit you straight away. When you look into your mail inbox, you see the subject line, and you see some bits of the first line of the e-mail, and those two things will make you decide whether to delete that e-mail or open it. So the very first thing to do is to make sure the subject line is neutral. That’s why generic subject lines are so good.


The main reason why those generic subject lines work is that they don’t turn anyone off. If you pitched your products in that subject line, there’s a much higher probability you’re going to get deleted, which means they won’t even read the body of the e-mail.


The first line should be particular


The first line of the e-mail needs to be very specific to the prospect’s business. You can use a compliment. An example of such an e-mail headline would be:


‘Hey Alex, Came across [agency ABC] Congrats on working with Ohio Rangers!’


Or in case you’re targeting a local restaurant.


‘Hey, Mark, just looked at your website and loved the food photography.’


What that will do is get them to open the e-mail, which means you’ve already beat out most of the bad cold e-mails because you’re not in spam, and you’re actually getting open.


The primary way to get somebody to respond to an e-mail is to tell them something they already hold true and speak of it like a friendly expert. Tell them the solution.


For example, Hey, you know [do that typical compliments], found your website really like the work you’re doing with Ohio Rangers. My name is Mark, and I do marketing for digital agencies a …’


Or if you’re talking to a particular digital agency, and you say you do marketing for digital agencies that are instantly going to make them spark-up.


If you’re targeting some SaaS companies, you can say,


‘Hey, Alex, I do marketing for various SaaS companies…’


Or you could say something like


‘Hey, Mark, I just got off the phone with the CMO of a telecom company, and they had these two principal issues. Here are the solutions. I’m wondering if you’re dealing with something similar, [and then two ideas].’


Use the exact same ideas for industries. For instance, when you’re reaching out to a CEO of an agency with 1 million to 20 million in revenues they’re most likely going to be dealing with the same problems, where if you were reaching out to a CMO of that same type of company they might have different problems. And those two issues come from talking to your customers.


For example, you have a coaching call with somebody who sells Facebook ads in the e-commerce space, and in his idea e-mail, the main thing he has to point out is:


Facebook ads with video sell worse often than Facebook ads with images, so he recommended testing both ideas. That is a very niche and specific idea. Then coming up with those is how you get most responses.


End each e-mail with a CTA


‘Let me know if you find this idea interesting. We’d love to hop on a phone call with you and discuss further. Will you mind if I send over a few times?’


The call-to-action doesn’t matter as long as it is a question they can understand, which ends with an actual question mark. You’d be surprised how many e-mails go out that end in a period.


What’s the process of finding out the right people to contact?


In reality, it goes back to putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and who would you rather buy from. For example, if you’re the CEO of a company, let’s say you’re T-Mobile, would you buy Facebook ads from someone, or would you delegate that decision to some CMO?


Would that CMO delegate the decision to another Director of Marketing, e.g., Director of Marketing – Paid Acquisition? Thinking about that particular decision-making tree at the target company is the primary way that you can find titles to go after. From there, it’s like using LinkedIn to identify the target customers.


Typing in Director of Marketing, T-Mobile, for example, will bring about a list of people on LinkedIn. Then it’s back to those assumptions to find out which of the targets is one that’s likely to buy from you. So, for example, a Director of Media and Marketing at T-Mobile is probably a much better fit than the Director of Field Sales at T-Mobile, until you’re selling a product that profits the field sales team.


For each company, especially if you’re targeting someone like the T-Mobile, it’s worth doing this deep dive.


An Alternate Method


If you don’t want to do all this research, the easiest way is to start with the CEO. E-mail them. If they don’t get back within 2 weeks, then go down one level. E-mail the Director of Marketing. If they don’t get back within 2 weeks, then go to the next level.


It is not recommended to send multiple e-mails to the same company at a particular time because that is a good way to get written off by that entire company.


What does that even mean?


You are on some sales call, and you sell some marketing services for agencies, and you are talking to some agency owner. You know because of your cold e-mailing process and research that they’re between 1 and 20 million dollars in revenue, and on the basis of your past conversation not with them but with other similar agency owners in the same spot, you have an excellent idea of how they think and issues that they might be dealing with. 


Now, you don’t have to come right out and say it blatantly. Instead, give your two cents on what your agency does, and then inquire them about their marketing. Have you hired the services of a marketing vendor in the recent past who runs marketing for you right now? Do you have performance indicators?


Set up questions in a way that doesn’t lead them towards an answer, but give you a good understanding of what they want to gather. Your sales managers might have given you some scripts or key points to hit the bull’s eye, but the easiest way to sell anything is to:


Listen to a particular question

Relate it to some case study

The answer is based on your past experience

So if they say, ‘Oh, we’ve run all of our marketing internally this time, and it’s just me who runs the marketing process.’


You could answer something like ‘Yes that happens in a lot of agencies. It’s more common than you think. One founder tries to


Take on the marketing department and also the sales department and also do the production, and it slows the entire company down. I know a ton of such marketing agencies, and based on their client results, you’d think they were crushing it. But when you look at their websites, and their inbound leads are way less than where they should really be, and that’s the exact type of problem that we help solve.’


What you did there is you heard their answer, you internalized what they said, you listened to them, and then you took it back to your pitch and brought up one of your relevant case studies.


That’s about it for this article. You just got a power boost, now go do something with it. Will you?

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