Sales Best Practices: Cold Emails

Sales Best Practices: Cold Emails

Aki Merced
Sales Best Practices: Cold Emails Get the most out of your cold emails.

If your customers have a computer at work or home, chances are they have an active e-mail address. If you look at your own e-mail inbox, how many messages do you receive each day? How many do you send? Do you read everything you receive or do you just glance at them?

In one sense, every e-mail that you send and receive is a piece of marketing material that you can take advantage of to open up a new sales opportunity. At the very least, it is an effective way to increase your company’s visibility, since your company domain is in the address and is also hopefully included in the signature block in the e-mail. You might even have a tag line in those e-mail signatures or a link to your website or your Facebook page.

Note that even emails sent by customer service representatives responsible for replying to online inquiries need to be considered as sales opportunities too. They might send a coupon, send useful information about discounts, promos or other offers, send a link to free content, answer questions and concerns about the product, quote price ranges or offer available shipping options.

In this post, we will discuss an essential component of sales best practices: sending cold emails.

A Word of Warning

If you send out e-mails to a list of people, you should not be doing so from your personal e-mail address! When you send a message to a large list of people, your own e-mail service will tag it as spam, and then your subsequent messages also get flagged as spam or even get blocked entirely.

Remember that once your e-mail address is blacklisted, it is extremely difficult to work your way back into people’s e-mail inboxes. Save your personal e-mail for messages to one person or a small group of people. Use a distribution service for reaching out to people in your database for sales and other commercial purposes.

A distribution service can help you to generate some of the more sophisticated looking newsletters, articles, and white papers that are part of the marketing mix. Many of these distribution services come free of charge, which will allow you to experiment and see what works best for you. It will also keep you from being blacklisted.

In some countries, you are unable to market commercially unless the people you are e-mail have opted into your e-mail list. This is called permission-based marketing, and means that everyone on your list has asked to be included in your contact list, or has at least given you permission to add them to the list. They can do this automatically with links on your website or on your e-mail list, and your distribution service will help you do this.

Email efficiently with distribution services

You’ve probably already received sales and marketing e-mails that come from mass email distribution software. You will know which services are being used by looking for their logo at the bottom of your e-mail.

When you are choosing an e-mail distribution service, you need to make sure that they can offer you some important support to your own efforts to amp up your sales. Specifically, you have to make sure that your selected email distribution software can:

  • Maintain a list of your contacts (including their name and e-mail address) in a secure database
  • Merge your existing contacts into their database by importing a list from wherever you currently have them stored
  • Manage people who want to opt in and opt out
  • Provide easy to use and attractive templates
  • Include an easy to use unsubscribe button on the bottom of each e-mail
  • Offer distribution that takes place on time
  • Generate reports that tell you the number of emails that get opened (the open rate), bounced e-mails and the related e-mail address, links within the e-mail that are clicked, etc.

Always remember to back up your list of subscribers on your own servers from time to time, just in case a service that you are using is unavailable, changes its terms of services, or in a worst case scenario, go bankrupt. People work for years to cultivate a list that gives them a strong ROI, so make sure you consider it as one your most important works. Whether you are using a paid or free service, you’ll have some peace of mind when you know that your subscribers’ information is kept private and that you are in complying with the range of spam and consumer privacy laws in effect in different countries.

Entice and engage customers and leads with useful content

Just as your website needs to have rich content, your e-mails do too. Give your visitors something to think about, talk about and be attracted to. Offer the receiver something valuable and original, whether it is a resource, a bit of useful information, a strong visual (like a well-made infographic), or at the very least, links to similar things.

Many sales emails echo a similar “buy me” message, which can alienate or turn-off potential customers. Instead, try giving people compelling content that provides them enough reason to click a link that takes them to your main website for more detailed information, a map with directions, or even your product page and shopping cart. Remember to provide potential customers with a compelling reason to engage with you, and they will.

Below are some tips to consider in writing winning content that gets your sales emails read and responded to ASAP:

1. Get to know your target customer. In order to make your emails more engaging, you will need to conduct in-depth research about your ideal customer, what they want and what they need. So before you start writing your copy, Robert Bly, well-known ad man and author of the Copywriter’s Handbook recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who will buy the product?
  • What exactly does the product do for them? What do they love about the product?
  • Why do they need the product? And why do they need it now?
  • What is the customer’s main concern when buying this type of product (price, delivery, performance, reliability, service, maintenance, quality, efficiency, availability)?
  • What is the character of the buyer?
  • What type of person is the product being sold to?
  • What motivates the buyer?
  • How many different buying influences must the copy appeal to?

The answers to these questions will help you organize your copy outline to make it more customer-oriented and effective in converting your target audience to actual sales.

2. Know yourself and know the competition. You need to take an honest look at your operation in order to create a plan that helps you to outdo the stiff competition. The following questions can help you with this process:

  • What are you exceptionally good at?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How would you describe the product?
  • What makes the product unique or different from other similar items available on the market?
  • Why should the customer buy your product instead?
  • What is the biggest benefit of using the product?
  • What will the customer gain from using your product?
  • What problems does your product seek to address?
  • What are the specific features of the product and their intended benefits?

In order to be an effective sales tool, your email needs to show the value of a product or a service. Focus on knowing the issues commonly faced by your target audience and think of ways to show how your product offers the best solution.

3. Use grease slide copy. Well-written persuasive emails should be written in such a way that it effortlessly hooks a reader’s attention and takes him from the headline up to the call to action. This writing technique is called the “grease slide copy” where a reader feels as if your words represent a greased slide that is easy and enticing to read from start to finish. Some examples of grease slide copy are:

  • Have you ever wondered why?
  • Want to know more about?
  • Want to know a secret?
  • We’ve all been there.
  • Let me guess.
  • I know what you’re thinking
  • You’re probably thinking
  • Here’s the point…
  • Here’s the deal…
  • And the best part?

4. Each message needs to be short and complete. Don’t leave out important matters, and don’t say, “Call me for details.” That puts too much strain on peoples’ time. If you want someone to respond to your message, make it complete.

5. Make sure the message gets to the correct person.

6. Provide people with a definite date for when you will follow up, if needed.

7. Avoid using abbreviations or technical jargon when you speak, unless you know the person you’re contacting has the required background to understand what you mean.

Warming up a cold email

A warm email refers to a sales-oriented email that is made to someone that you already have so. me kind of connection with. Here are some tips for warming up cold emails:

Personalize your emails. Send a preliminary email with the person’s name spelled correctly, a tailored letter with information directly relating to the prospect, and a small brochure introducing your company and the services and products that you offer.

Maximize the power of referrals. If somebody you met during your networking or someone you have dealt with successfully has referred you to the person that you are sending an email to, you can use the referral as a good way to warm up a cold email. Take note however, that you can only use this technique when it is really a referral, and not just a third-degree connection you uncovered via LinkedIn or other social media networking sites.

What about you? Do you have any other suggestions for transforming cold emails into warm ones?

Or do you have any other problems about an aspect of cold emailing not covered in this article?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Aki Merced

Aki Merced

Aki Merced writes about B2B sales and marketing as a content marketer for Tenfold. Follow her on Twitter @akimerced!