Email outreach can be a powerful too. lMuch like cold calling, a cold email can unlock massive opportunities. If you craft your emails well, they can be your foot in the door with the Fortune 500 clients you’ve been dreaming of..
But wait—there’s a catch.
If you’re not careful, cold emails can also be incredibly annoying.
Think about some of the low-quality outreach emails you’ve received. I’m sure there’s a long list of uncomplimentary words that come to mind, but I’d be willing to bet “annoying” is in your top three.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 99% of all cold emails suck.
So here’s the key question you should be asking...
How can you set yourself up for success with your email outreach?
Since email outreach is a truly powerful tool, we want to help you unlock its full potential. The goal is to set you up for success, no matter what you’re looking to accomplish with your cold emails.
We’ve broken the process down into six important rules. As you craft emails for a potential client, partner, or business opportunity, keep these six key principles top of mind and you’ll start seeing the needle move.
Let’s dive in.
1. Stop talking about yourself—Make it about them
If your business was founded 20 years ago on a stormy Thursday night in some bar, your first business plan jotted down on a napkin, that’s pretty awesome. But guess what?
Your leads don’t care.
What do they care about?
They want to know what you can do for them.
And that’s it.
If you lead with two bulky paragraphs about who you are, what you do, what the company does, where the company came from, where you hope to be in two years, what you’re having for lunch today, or any other irrelevant filler, you’re going to find your way to their trash bin after 10 words—and that’s if they even give your email the time of day in the first place.
Here’s the reality:
People care about themselves the most, and that’s what they want to hear about.
Keep that in mind when you’re crafting your emails. Focus on how the recipient will benefit from whatever you’re offering even more than you focus on the offer itself. Put the spotlight on them, and they’ll be much more likely to keep reading and respond the way you want.
2. Use specific & attention-grabbing subject lines
If you think the recipient will spot your email in their inbox no matter what, I’ve got some sad news for you…
There’s a ton of noise in everyone’s inbox, and if you can’t cut through the noise you’ll get looped into a mass deletion of emails. Just like that, your email is dead before it even had a chance to live.
What’s the key to cutting through that noise, you ask? This one’s easy.
Your subject line.
It may only be a few words long, but the subject line is the most important part of the entire email. You could have a beautifully crafted email that is absolutely sure to convert, but if your subject line is trash, no one will ever see the perfect email inside.
Short and sweet is key, and make the subject line as specific as you can. If you roll with a generic, canned subject line that you obviously blast out to everyone, your open rates will reflect that. Personalize it when you can, make it specific, and entice recipients to click.
I put together a cold email templates guide, including the do’s and don'ts of cold subject lines, that you can check out to make sure you’re on the right track.
Keep in mind: The subject line needs to accurately reflect the email. Don’t make a promise in the subject line that you’re not going to keep.
3. Keep your email short & sweet—No essays
Quick trivia time… How often do I read an eight-paragraph cold email from a salesperson I don’t know?
If you guessed never, you’re spot on.
And I know I’m not alone. If you successfully get someone to open your email, don’t scare them with a screen full of bulky, essay-style paragraphs, and don’t bore them with pointless filler just to make your email look longer.
You may think adding those few extra sentences to really describe your offer will help you. For one recipient, maybe it does. For most, all they see are more words, and more words is bad. There’s a simple rule you can follow to keep this from happening:
The more words you add, the fewer results you see.
Nobody wants to sit around reading long emails all day. If you’re lucky, they’ll give your email a 10- to 15-second glance. If you can’t convey what you’re trying to say in that timeframe, they’re gone—and good luck getting them to even start reading next time.
If you simply can’t dock your word count, do your best to structure the email in an easy-to-read fashion, like this one from a pizzeria:
I’m sure I can guess which of the two you’d rather read.
4. Cut it with the generic & templated flattery
By now you know the email needs to focus on the recipient, not you, and that means showing them you’ve done your homework on what they do, what they’ve done, and what they’re best at.
That does not mean sending cookie-cutter flattery that you clearly didn’t spend a second personalizing.
If you think saying “Hey [NAME], I read your latest blog post and thought it was awesome!” is all you need to reel them in, good luck getting an open next time around.
Templated flattery like that actually hurts your cause far more than it helps. Whoever’s reading your email wasn’t born yesterday, and they know the exact same sentence went out to every single person on your email ist. Cutting the canned flattery is one of the B2B cold calling tips that translates perfectly to email.
When making your email about the recipient, it shouldn’t be about them as a marketer, or them as a salesperson, or them as a business owner… It’s got to be about them as a person. Here’s a few great examples of how you can start an email like this:
- Hey James - Noticed you’re in New York! I lived on 45th for 6 years. Ever been to Jane's Cafe?
- Hey Alicia - Saw your tweet about the Honeymoon. (1) Congrats. (2) Jealous of Hawaii vacay!
- Hey Vic - I noticed you’re attending SalesCon in January! I attended last year, great event.
If you plant the seeds for a trusting, legitimate relationship, and convince them to actually like you, your chances of success will skyrocket.
5. Make sure your Emails are personalized
And that’s a perfect segue to the idea of personalization.
Again, it can be painfully obvious that you’re blasting the same email word-for-word to dozens of people. Nobody wants to be one of many getting the same painfully bad email script.
Of course, you don’t have time to craft an original, completely personalized email for every single lead you reach out to. The longer you spend on emails, the fewer you can send.
They key is to make every email look personalized.
Sure, you want to plug in their name or company name, and take the time to reference some of their work if you can, but one of the best ways to create a personalized feel is to simplify the look of the email.
Don’t go full corporate with a beautifully designed template. Run as far away from the one-to-many feel as possible. Use a simple, standard email template so it looks like a real email, written and sent by a real person.
6. Don't beg for attention in your follow-ups
The follow-up is one of the most underrated aspects of email outreach.
If you think shipping one email then taking a nap will bring in results, you’re not going to be in business too long. Simple as that.
If you don’t believe me, I’ve been able to get in touch with some industry heavy-hitters like Gary Vaynerchuk through my follow-up formula. The first email won’t be the one that closes the deal. It’s the next wave that really moves the needle.
Does that mean you just ship follow-up emails left, right, and center?
Of course not.
If you desperately beg for someone to pay attention to you, you will end up blocked. Then all you’ve done is become another spammer trying to claw your way into someone’s inbox. That’s not good.
Don’t be desperate. Follow up, but do it the right way. For some guidelines, grab this free guide I put together on how to master the art of the follow-up. Templates, frequency, content—it’s got the whole nine yards for you.
Now over to you...
That’s it: Six keys to email outreach that far too many salespeople ignore. Read them, study them, read them some more, pound them into your memory and never write another email without them.
A cold email that you create with these rules in mind will perform better than a cold email you create on the fly 99.99% of the time. People will respond more often—and find you far less annoying too.
Here’s a quick recap for you:
- Stop talking about yourself—Make it about them
- Use specific & attention-grabbing subject lines
- Keep your email short & sweet—No essays
- Cut it with the generic & templated flattery
- Make sure your emails are personalized
- Don't beg for attention in your follow-ups
If you’re ready to get rolling, we’ve got some cold email templates you can use right now to start generating spicy hot leads. Download the free cold email templates right now: