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To many, cold emails are like a lottery; enter enough times and your odds of a win go up. Thankfully, there’s a lot more we can do to increase response rates, and indeed response quality! Despite the monotony of this process, cold emails can account for a substantial amount of business when done right. Let’s dive in.

What is a cold email?

A cold email/cold email outreach is the method of reaching out by email to members of your target audience that you think may be interested in your service/product – the ‘cold’ part of the term meaning you have no previous contact or ‘in’ with the person you are emailing.

How do I start?

Like many things, the best first step is to make a list, a long one. Using Excel or Google Sheets works best here. You’re looking to get the names, emails, and business names (if reaching out to businesses). Sometimes a person’s website is useful too, knowing which items of information you need will become clearer further down this article.

You can find these types of lists with names/email addresses in online directories or some professional association registers. Take these down and add them to your Excel/Sheets list, with all relevant information in the correct columns. Once this is done, it’s time to draft up your email!

What should I write?

This will vary depending on the reason you’re contacting them in the first place, if you’re reading this I trust you know this. We’ll focus on tone and style here.

  • For starters, you want to be as unobtrusive as possible, you can try to create some intrigue with your subject line (keep it short), but besides that, no fluff.
  • You don’t know them or their circumstances, and some people do not take kindly to cold emails, be respectful at all times.
  • Ask only very little of them, if you want them to see something, link it, if you want their opinion on something, show it to them or have a Google Form made up, make everything as easy as possible for the recipient.
  • You also want to be concise. Their time is valuable, don’t make them read for longer than ~ 30 seconds.

Are there tools to help?

Thankfully, yes! Reply.io and Active Campaign among others are extremely helpful for this form of outreach. These can let you schedule follow-up emails automatically to your prospects but most of all they let you upload your spreadsheet of contacts to their platform and automate the whole process so you don’t have to send them manually!

What’s great about these services is that they can use variables (a person’s first name, their website or business name) if you have that information.

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