But the fact remains that sometimes you truly need to contact a certain demographic or even a specific individual to get the ball rolling. You have no choice because it’s part of the prospecting required to open the door for new business. You’re sending it from your personal professional email address to theirs — and it must impress them.
Sometimes you just have to send a cold email.
First, accept that even when your recipient knows you and and expects regular emails from you, the delete key is easy to access. Bet you do it too; delete emails with barely a scan, especially when you’re busy or you’ve fallen behind cleaning out your inbox. According to the Radicadi Group, a technology research firm, business people get an average of 108 emails every day, and they tend to pile up. How do you make sure yours stands out?
The best way is to become that sender who consistently send useful and interesting emails.
The second best way to get your emails opened is to make sure the person receiving your emails is expecting them. Rule number one in deliverability and list building is a confirmed opt-in.
But there are times when you want to try reaching out to someone you’ve identified might be a good fit as a business client or a partner in a project…the only trouble is, they just don’t know it yet.
You need to send a cold email to start a relationship.
A couple of days ago I tried this — only I wasn’t asking for his business. I wanted to give the guy MY business. Here’s the story:
Last week Mr. MyTeamConnects and I bought our first rental property. As a writer to and for investors over the past decade, I am excited to finally start investing my own money in real estate. (Woo hoo! )
Now, you’d think I would know what to do with a property after all the research, webinars, seminars and phone calls about real estate investing that I’ve been exposed to. But though I know the marketing side of things, I have a steep learning curve to climb dealing with actual property. Now that I own a tangible investment, I’m searching for a property management firm to get some questions answered.
Funny how it works learning something new…in theory, it’s easy-peasy. In practice, you really feel the bumps in the road. 😯
The first firm I contacted told me they don’t manage houses like ours that have septic tanks and wells, due to liability issues. (Hmmm, first road block.) But he referred another management firm — even gave me the owner’s direct email address. Cool! I sent an email to him on his buddy’s recommendation.
To his direct email address, mind you…name spelled out and everything.
I’ll bet you can guess what happened. No response. After waiting a couple of days I went to the firm’s website and sent an inquiry through the website. It was sent to “propertymgr@…” not the man’s direct personal email that his colleague/competitor gave me.
See, the gentleman my first contact recommended was not expecting my email. So it’s probably sitting somewhere in a junk folder. The email filter did it’s job, even protecting him from someone who needs his services! I even dropped his colleague’s name in the subject line: “Your colleague Bart at Bella recommended you.” Crickets. No response. He probably never even saw it.
Now imagine how difficult it is to get a response from a cold email when its purpose is to engage a possible customer — it’s even more challenging!
Many business people, especially B2B sellers, contact prospects via a cold email. They get their list of names and address from various sources:
- Business cards from a conference, trade show or Meet-up they attended.
- LinkedIn contacts
- Purchased email lists
- Online data-gathering services like Jigsaw or ZoomInfo
Whether you have a long list of cold prospects, or you’ve selected just a few to contact, your next hurdle is creating an attention-getting email. How do you capture someone’s attention within the first few words?
Tip #1, and I can’t stress this enough: Never forget that you are not “selling” anything with a first touch. All you’re trying to do is get them to read and respond in some way.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this first email is a one-time shot.
It’s a fantasy to believe that all you have to do is send a cold email, and someone picks up the phone and calls you. As I said before, you’re lucky if the email even lands in their inbox, let alone gets read. The type of response you’re aiming for with a cold email is more likely to be one of the following:
- Reading it and simply digesting the message. It’s rare that a reader will remember and follow up at some point in the future, even if you’ have left a good impression. Plan to reach out at least a couple of times, spacing your emails a couple days apart. Remind them who you are and repeat your message.
- Clicking on a link for more info: a white paper or web page. This is the ultimate response, because now you can ask if they would also like to receive updates, a newsletter, or a follow-up by phone or email.
- Deciding to add you to his contacts on a social site — following you on Twitter, checking out your Facebook page or Linked In profile. Reinforce your message or campaign by repeating it on your social sites. That way, your recipient will see a common thread, something to hang onto and remember.
If you make an impression, that’s great, but guess what? The ball is still in your court. Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to just getting that first cold email opened…
Now that you have the proper mindset, it’s time for the real work — writing a subject line that compels action when they don’t even know who you are.
Thursday’s blog post will give you five smooth moves you can use to get their eyes to lock onto your subject line and open your email. Stay tuned!