***Please note that this is supposed to be a helpful guide for beginners – in case you already are a cold-mailing professional and generate millions from your mailing campaigns, then feel free to skip this one.***
Email prospecting, also known as cold emailing, is in its essence a combination of art and science and for you to become successful at it you need to strike a balance of both.
Think of it this way – you can have a feel for writing kickass emails, yet you get the science part wrong and send it to the wrong audience, at the wrong time, and your email does not even reach the recipient and so on… Which sucks for business, to say the least.
Or vice versa, you could know exactly what time to send the emails out, who to target and who exactly those people are, but your sales & communication and writing skills aren’t on par and nobody even opens the emails they receive or just delete them after reading the first line.
This is why we put together a (relatively, mind you) short list of all the things that you really should know before you start cold-emailing everybody. Or things you’ll want to find out quickly once you’ve already started and need to save a prospecting campaign that’s started poorly.
One tip worth mentioning before moving any further is that cold emailing using a sales-platform like our Platformax, for example, makes things way easier and can take as little as 20 minutes to setup, since all of your contacts are neatly organised in one place AND all of your outbound-incoming communication gets tracked nicely.
Now, without further ado, here’s a list of basic steps, concepts and problems you’re likely to face:
How to get lists
We already have a whole article available on this, and you can find it right here. In short: you can have the best email subject and body, the most sophisticated CRM software and so on, but still crash & burn if your prospecting list (list of emails) sucks. No need to sugarcoat it – quality beats quantity when it comes to making money. If you want to test to get a better feel for what works best, then a mix of both should be OK, but quality should always be paramount.
How to avoid spam
I spoke to many so-called experts on emailing, and read quite a lot about it on the web. Most people I’ve spoken to, never really asked this question. It’s always all about subject lines and call-to-action buttons. Check out http://www.mail-tester.com/ , and see how well your introduction email actually performs.In short: avoid spam-words, use a proper mail service, make sure you are not blacklisted, give them an option to unsubscribe from your mailing.Why this is important? Think of it this way. You can have the best-the fastest car in the world. But it’s stuck in the garage, and you don’t even have access to it. That, does not really help you, does it? I went into much more detail in this article about avoiding spam filters.
Tons of guides for this on the internet, but rule of thumb is: Be short, be effective, be to the point. The subject line “John, I have a question” has been done to death, in all possible variants.Think about your end-goal when it comes to emailing. You want to start a conversation with the recipient. Convey your end-goal, what you can do for them.Something in the line of “I have an idea how “COMPANY” can improve “something that you can actually improve for them”.Never. Ever. Mislead. It’s better to get no reply, than to piss somebody off with a misleading subject line.
Send-time of the email campaigns
Depends from industry to industry, stick to this lovely infographic done by pure 360, but in general, you can’t go to wrong with morning hours when people sip their coffee at work or afternoon, when they are lounging at home.Again, it depends, so make sure to do a lot of testing for your particular target group.Here is a free tip, that works wonders for me.Be where the competitors aren’t. How many emails do you get at 7-8 PM, specially on a Sunday?
Exactly, not that many. Use any knowledge you can and turn it to your advantage. If need be, ask a couple of your friends how often they get emails, how often they check their inbox and what actually gets their attention!
CTA or “Call to action” means exactly what it is. What is the purpose, what is the point of the email?
- Do you want the prospect to click on a link?
- Do you want him to call you?
- Maybe you want him to stretch his legs or something else?Make sure the CTA is short, simple and most of all, clear. It’s not advisable, to use more than 2 CTA’s in any cold – email.And sure as hell it’s not a good idea to send emails (or any form of communication) without any sort of call to action at all. It’s a waste of time and opportunity. You do NOT want your recipient to ask him/herself “Okay, and now what?” after they finish reading your email.There has to be a specific drive for them to say either “yes” or “no” , maybe even “not right now”. Something, that lets you take the next step.
What kind of message are you writing, what are you offering, who are you contacting? All important factors, but rule of thumb (as always) is: keep it short enough, to remain interesting, but long enough, to cover the main purpose of the email.There are plenty of guides on creating the right “frame” for the email body, but the most effective so far (in my opinion) was the BAB approach.
Before – The situation – story – problem, before you and your product or service came into the story
After – How things turned out, after your product or service is being used
Bridge – How exactly did it happen, what exactly did/does your product / service do for them?
A short example from my mailings:
I spoke to many company reps that complained about lost opportunities and low cash flow. After implementing Platformax, they started properly tracking all communications and business opportunities with our system, which in turn lead to more deals done and more cash flow. Platformax enables companies to take control of the whole sales process, like in case of company X, where the number of closed deals increased by 34% due to better communication between colleagues and clients, time to close a sale decreased by 46% and monthly sales got up by 52% so far, since Prospecting also enabled them to increase the number of clients”.Tell them the facts, through a story.
There are no shortcuts, no “one size fits all” approach” when you talk to people, or communicate with them in another way.However, we live in a time, where we have plenty of different tools available, to make such a process easier, not to mention many different ways to get in touch with people , or at least find out how to contact them and get information about them.So ask yourself, how much time and effort are you investing into researching your audience, finding the right contact and what-who they are?You can “hack cold emails” once you have enough (or at least the right) information, and put that in the right context.Even if they are not interested in what you have to offer (meaning, the prospect is not interested in your product and service) you can stil it as a success, if your fully automated email sequences are recognised as human-sent emails. I still get daily answers from prospects around the world, people I never spoke to or meet any of them in person, who thank me for my personal and non-automated approach. Even though it’s all automated with our email sequences. Go figure.
How successful are you?
This should be a no-brainer. Which of these indicates a successful prospecting campaign?
- 80% open rate with 0 replies?
- 5% open rate with 100% of the 5% replied?
- People who reply just to say: f… off?Correct answer: All, and none of them.
Ask yourself again, what is YOUR goal, when it comes to the emails, what is your CTA?
If you want to get noticed, so that people know what your company is, A is good enough.
If you want only people who are really interested in what you have to say, B is OK.
There is always room for improvements, so work on what you have and what you know.
If you are a young, small or medium company, it’s likely that you have no objection handling document whatsoever ,or if you do, it’s outdated and for a different scenario.After you send out a few 100 cold-emails, you will have a clear idea, of what the most common answers – objections are.And you really have to get your heads together with your colleagues, to get a great reply for every objection. Naturally, it’s way easier to do objection-handling via Telephone, since there is a flow in the conversation and you can adapt to it, but do your best.Never. Simply. Go. With. The. Flow.
How to track opened emails and email replies?
“Why do I even want to track replies?”I hope you did not really ask that, but if you did, here is why: You want to get “a feeling” for how relevant your content actually is. If your email was “meh” and the recipient deleted it before you can say SPAM, that’s not a good indicator for your future business model.If you got a lot of open-emails with low email replies, you can be quite sure, that your subject-line was good enough, to get the recipient interested, but the body itself was crap.If you got both high open-rate and high-reply rate, it’s even better. Unless all replies are asking, to be removed from the emailing list, or some other kind of complaint.
What to do with the opportunities?
What is an opportunity? Everybody who replies and does not immediately say “Let me be, go away”.
Ideally, the best opportunity will be an answer like “yes, i am interested in what you are offering” or “We are covered on that, but it might be relevant in XZY time”You have to take care of the opportunity, while it is still fresh and there is interest in what you have to say. Manage your opportunities (Opportunities URL – Pmax youtube hiperlink?) and work on them!
Combine emails with picking up the phone
Talking to people – the ancient and almost forgotten art. If you see a lead, somebody opening all of your emails but not replying, or telling you to come back at a later point, and then simply no longer opening your messages… Pick. Up.The. Phone.Why? See here. And trust me, if I can do it with my anxiety, so can you, trust me. Just be yourself.
Now go out there, get ready and prospect like a pro! And don’t forget that creating a cold-mailing campaign can take under 20 minutes if you are using Platformax.