How to improve your cold email response rates

by Steli Efti

Say you’re sending cold emails to drum up business. Your open rates are great (30% or higher), but your response rates suck.

Why?

Typically it’s because there’s a disconnect between the subject line and the email body. A gimmicky subject line that tricks people into opening, but once they start reading the email, they see right through your ploy.

Before you know it:

markedasspam-1 

But what if that’s not the case? What if you’ve got a relevant and effective subject line? Then it’s time to look at the email body.

Your prospect is inundated with dozens of cold emails every week. To them, it's just noise, and as soon as they smell a cold sales email, it's in the trash.

They’ve heard it all before, and they don’t believe a word they read.

If that’s the case, acknowledge it. Address the elephant in the room. And then be different.

Here’s how:

Straight talk

Let’s take a recruitment product pitch for example. Instead of starting your email by saying:

“I was wondering if you have recruitment problems and if you’re the right person to speak to about your recruiting needs for the next year?”

Acknowledge their situation and be honest with your prospect:

“I know you’re getting dozens of emails about recruiting every week, and you probably delete most of them - but here’s why I’m writing to you anyway, and why I think you should read this.”

Then get to it immediately. A customized pitch. A compelling proof element. Something that gives you credibility.

For example:

cold email sample: You probably know Quick Sprout. We helped them find 3 engineering hires within 2 weeks after they’ve been looking for this position for 4 months in vain. Six months later, these 3 hires are full-time members of the team. Hiten, the co-founder, is 100% satisfied with our work and said he’d come back to us with all future recruiting needs. I know you’re currently hiring too and wanted to see if there’s a way to help you out.

If you don’t have a great case study to hand, then show the prospect you’ve done your homework.

Tell them intimately, why you reached out to them and dive below the surface into more granular details about their business. Demonstrate that you already have a specific idea how your offer can be of value to them.

Get your message across quickly

The average attention span of an internet user is just eight seconds. Which means you better get to the point and grab your prospects attention.

The average person can read at 300 words per minute, so eight seconds gives you around 40 words to pique their interest and get them engaged in your message otherwise they’ll tune out. For context, this paragraph is 40 words.

If your pitch  is hidden two paragraphs into your email, your prospect will hit delete before they even figure out what you’re selling.

2-step approach to cold email success

If you want to succeed in improving your cold email response rates you must do these two things:

  1. Acknowledge their current reality: Write with candor to demonstrate you understand that they’re getting a ton of cold emails, it’s mostly BS, and they don’t read it.
  2. Rise above the noise: Your pitch needs to stand out from the crowd. You can’t write the same thing everybody else writes and expect different results. Customize your pitch to their business and immediately establish credibility.

These tactics will help you fix bad response rates when your open rates are great.

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