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Cold e-mailing tips?

Discussion in 'Sales' started by mfawcett, Jun 25, 2018.

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  1. mfawcett

    mfawcett MVP


    I was wondering if anyone has any tips for cold e-mailing prospects, or researching potential prospects? This is how I'm going to attempt to build my own client base. Part of my research involves finding companies in retail that don't have e-commerce sites yet (so far as I can tell).
  2. djbaxter

    djbaxter Administrator Moderator Member

    Sorry. I don't do cold emailing so I don't have any tips. Between CANSPAM in the US and GDPR and similar legislation in place or coming to Canada, it's too easy to get on blacklists with unsolicited emails.

    I think you need to get visitors to subscribe first and that's no easy matter unless you offer them something attractive for signing up.

    Maybe think about CPC ads like AdSense? and Facebook ads?
  3. VirtualGlobalPhone

    VirtualGlobalPhone Moderator MVP Member

    Cold emailing is best for targeted customers but always need to phone before sending email or followup with a phone call. Also option for them to call you back. Like djbaxter be very cautious on SPAM tools...

    best wishes ..
    djbaxter likes this.
  4. mfawcett

    mfawcett MVP

    Thanks for the feedback.
    VirtualGlobalPhone likes this.
  5. SARubin

    SARubin MVP

    Hey mfawcett,

    I agree with djbaxter, about being careful with the new (and up-n-coming) privacy laws.
    From the buzz I'm hearing in the world of marketing... even the laws that have been enacted are still in the process of being tweaked, and amended. And like with most new laws, there's no telling what the landscape will actually look like once the bureaucratic dust settles.

    But that said... I've never been one to try and stop someone from pursuing their aspirations. So if you're going to attempt cold prospecting, let me at least give you a gentle nudge in the right direction?

    For starters...

    You mention that you're looking for companies in retail that don't have e-commerce sites yet...

    Are you talking about established businesses? Or brand new businesses?

    These are two different audiences, and will have very different criteria for considering your services. And your sales copy needs to speak to their criteria (no one else's) if you want to have your best chance of getting any response.

    Once you figure out who your ideal market is, then you can craft your message in language that's more likely to resonate with them.

    Now I was never one for "cold" prospecting, because I always preferred "warm" invitations.

    But, if you're looking for a cold, "targeted" audience, you can certainly streamline your list building by buying targeted B2B mailing lists from a broker. Some lists will come with names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, website URLs...

    And for a few more dollars, you can often get demographics of the owners, and even annual revenue of the businesses. (along with more info than you'll probably ever need)

    Having these targeted lists will give you the best chance at getting high response rates from your sales copy.

    Of course you can always build your own list, by visiting multiple municipality websites and searching for licensed retail businesses. Then you can narrow down your criteria by geographic location, or annual revenue, or type of retail business, or whatever criteria you choose.

    But if you have the money to spend, renting or buying a list from a broker makes the chore more efficient. And for the right price you can buy lists of retailers that fit (or at least come close to) your ideal target market.

    Side note: One downside to list brokers (if you're just a small company) is most legitimate brokers have minimums. And if you only plan on sending out a few emails at a time, but you need to buy 1000 names in a batch... by the time you get half way through your list, some of the names might not be any good anymore. (so that's something else to consider)

    Now on to your message...

    Just like in direct mail (aka - junk mail) getting your message opened, and read, is the biggest hurdle you face.

    One of your biggest obstacles in any advertising and marketing (online, or offline) can be summed up in one word... "clutter"

    People are slammed with hundreds of marketing messages every day. And as a society, most of us have learned to tune them out. Many people are even annoyed by the invasion of advertisements in our lives.

    So junk mail goes in the trash (without being opened) and our fingers are always on the delete button when we look at our incoming emails.

    So just breaking through the clutter, and getting your message opened, is more than 80% of the battle.

    Of course, after you've established contact, and built some rapport with your audience, one thing that can break through the clutter, and has been shown to dramatically increase open rates, is using a familiar "senders name." But since you're talking about cold emails, we're not going to consider that part right now.

    Which leaves us with the "subject" line...

    Think of the subject line as your "headline" for your sales message. And like any sales copy, if the headline doesn't pull them in, then it doesn't really matter what the rest of your message says (because nobody will ever see it anyway)

    In my experience, some of the most successful subject lines for cold emails have been the ones that either create curiosity (And if it also touches on a possible solution to a problem... even better)

    i.e. "Here's what the most successful retail stores in your industry are doing..."


    The ones that have a personal (even flattering) appeal to them.

    i.e. "I love your store, and I was just wondering about..."

    Note: These are just examples that would obviously need to be tested, and tweaked. But these types of subject lines will get many of your recipients to at least hesitate before hitting the delete button. (and that's more than half the battle)

    Now, once people open your email, the first couple lines (the lede) are critical for setting the tone. So you'll need to decide which way you want your message to go.

    There's a number of different (effective) angles you can go with. And if you're unsure which one to use, then I suggest you figure out which style fits with the brand image you want to portray for your business. That way it's easier to stay congruent with your value proposition as you move forward.

    Here's just a couple examples...

    Are you going for the straight sale?
    Although I don't usually recommend this approach in a cold email, because nobody asked you to interrupt their day with a sales pitch (see tip above referring to "clutter"). But, if you have a highly targeted list of people, who have a recent history of buying similar services as yours, then a straight sales pitch can work.

    But whatever you do... Please DO NOT start your email with anything that resembles the following...

    "Hi, I'm an experienced professional and I came across your website and I noticed that it has a lot of potential. I can make it a lot better and I can do it affordably"

    This kind of generic opening screams SPAM

    Are you going for the friendly touch?
    i.e. "Hey [NAME], I love your store and I was just wondering why you don't have an e-commerce site where I can buy your stuff online?..."

    Are you going for an informative angle?
    i.e. Hi [NAME], I thought this article might interest you...
    Then provide the first (value packed) paragraph of a value packed article. With a link to your website so they can read the rest of the article.

    This gets them to take one small committed action (clicking the link and visiting your site) And you can then establish yourself as an authority, before you pitch them your services...

    I also recommend opening with the recipients name [NAME] whenever possible. This one personalized touch has proven to increase response rates by many percentage points over using generic salutations.

    And always remember... whatever you decide to lead with, it needs to tie in with, and pay off the subject line that got them to open the email in the first place...

    For example: If you went with the curiosity subject line, you can give people a couple of instant examples so they don't feel cheated. Then a call to action (trial close)... Then a couple more examples, with some teasers (to keep them reading, and let them know there's more where that came from)... Then another call to action...

    If they don't respond after 2 or 3 cycles of "valuable insight / call to action" then they're not likely to respond to this type of email at all. In which case put their names aside, and try a different approach at a later date.

    OK, mfawcett, I could go on for another couple hours here (because not only is direct response copy, and conversion rate optimizing, what I do for a living. But it's also what I love to talk about)

    But this post is already turning into more of a full length novel, instead of a forum post. And I don't want to bore anyone to death. So I'll end it here.

    Hopefully I've given you a couple things to think about, and a starting point to get you moving in the right direction.

    I wish you the best of luck with your venture.

    All the best,
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 8:35 AM
    mfawcett and djbaxter like this.
  6. djbaxter

    djbaxter Administrator Moderator Member

    Excellent post, SARubin! Thank you. :)
    SARubin likes this.
  7. mfawcett

    mfawcett MVP

    Wow, thanks for the massive post, SAR!

    I'd rather not cold e-mail, however, there are very few other ways to directly build your own client base (outside of in-person networking and that can be hit and miss). And cold e-mailing works, from what I've heard. With my cold e-mail campaigns I will be targeting established businesses.
    SARubin likes this.
  8. SARubin

    SARubin MVP

    Ah yes, mfawcett -

    Cold emailing definitely still works. (heck, if it didn't work then nobody would be doing it anymore... right? ;) )

    And when it comes to cold email, there's basically two main ways to get results...

    1. Play the numbers game... We can start with a big mailing list, and just blast out a massive pile of internet trash, to unsuspecting people (also known as SPAM :mad: )

    2. Focus on a smaller, but more targeted audience... We can take the ethical route, and email targeted people whom we can actually help with our services (and just maybe we can all make the world a little better place to live :D )

    I hope from my descriptions above that it's obvious I prefer option #2 ?

    Which brings us to crafting a compelling message, to give you the best chance of getting a response...

    Excellent. If you haven't done so already, here's a question you can ask to help create a slightly more focused, and compelling email message...

    Why don't they already have an e-commerce website?

    - scared to try it?
    - don't think they need one?
    - already selling on a third party platform (Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, other ?)
    - think it's too expensive to set up, or too much trouble to operate?
    - don't want the hassle of shipping products?
    - something else?

    I'm sure you can think of other questions to ask (because you know your industry, and your audience way better than I do) But this is an example of what you can ask during your research phase. And it can help you look for answers to common objections.

    This will help you answer some of those objections, in your sales copy.

    OK, before I turn this into another (way too lengthy) post, I'll end it here.

    I wish you the best of success with your venture, mfawcett. And after you've sent out your emails, I'd be interested to know what kind of results you get.

    If you get good results, then I'd love to study what you did so I can add to my knowledge of what works. If you don't get good results, then maybe I can spot something that got overlooked, and I can offer you some assistance to help bring your response rates up?

    All the best,
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018 at 5:27 AM
    mfawcett and djbaxter like this.

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