Marketers generally focus on engaging warm leads via email marketing, which makes sense because the conversion rates are high. The average email marketing ROI across different industries varies from $32 to $45 for every dollar invested. Still, it’s fair to assume that most of that income comes from interaction with warm leads. However, the share of cold email conversions is not as insignificant as one might think — up to 15%, in fact.
Sure, crafting a compelling (more importantly, converting) cold email can be a bit intimidating. With today’s strict anti-spam regulations, non-intrusive advertising ethics, and overall digital noise from all channels imaginable, creating a cold email that catches the recipient’s eye takes work. But the following tips should really boost your chances of success, drawing you closer to that desired 15% conversion metric.
Quality segmentation is key to success
Careful segmentation is the secret ingredient your cold email campaign needs to succeed. It sounds obvious, but segmenting cold leads is the kind of process that requires creativity and cannot be solved with automation alone. When you deal with warm leads, a quality CRM can tackle most of the work. With cold leads, you first need a quality email locating tool — because these leads aren’t even in your database yet, right?
The best tip is to go with email finders backed up by a verified contact database like SignalHire. Usually, desktop databases are searchable by industry, job title, location, and plenty of other parameters. For B2B cold email marketing, this is all you need to create a carefully segmented email list. In B2C, the process is somewhat trickier but also doable.
For example, you can rely on social media searches to find cold leads that might be interested in your offers. Professional contact databases often have browser plugins designed for Facebook or LinkedIn lookup — so when you find a user profile that suits your buyer persona, you can quickly extract their contact data and add them to your cold mailing list. It’s slower, no doubt. But without careful segmentation, there is no point in starting a cold email campaign in the first place — your non-targeted messages will simply end up in spam.
Your subject and snippet should work as a whole
That is the first thing the recipient will see, and even though the subject and snippet are technically two things, they work as one when cold lead engagement is concerned. We all know that the email subject line and its logical continuation, email snippet, are primary attention grabbers designed to hook the reader. But when you contact a lead who has never heard about you, the attention-grabbing logic differs from messaging a warm lead. The average open rate for a sales email is under 24%, which is actually not that bad but may decrease with cold emails, especially when they are not carefully crafted.
These tips should help you boost the open rates:
Always include the recipient’s name
Even though most users understand their name in the subject line was not written by hand, it still gives the email that personal touch that spurs curiosity (someone’s addressing me) and increases open rates.
Include your name, too
It can be either your business name or, better yet, your name and a business name — ‘Brad from Best Email Marketing’ is a better pattern because it shows that the email came from a real person’s inbox, and it mentions a company, too. So, there is already a hint as to what the message is about.
Make email subject neutral and informative
Neutral seems counter-productive for an attention grabber, but with cold emails, this is the best tactic. We do not assume a playful tone with total strangers, right? The same logic applies to writing cold email subjects — get straight to the point and remain polite. Most importantly, do not use any phrases that remind recipients of clickbait — Act Now, Last Chance, Click to Find Out, etc. Those may work with warm leads but not with cold ones.
Provide additional info in a snippet
Any additional information that gives specific details about your offer goes into snippet. It’s best to continue writing what matters next right after the subject line — because that is what the recipient will read next, anyway. Here is a simple but detailed example from the Adobe Acrobat mailing list.
Subject: Seal your legal docs as PDF
Snippet: Create a document you can rely on, then share it with Acrobat Pro.
It’s simple, it’s to the point, and it leaves some things unsaid to encourage an open — all good tactics to boost your cold email conversion rates.
Keep the email body short, simple, and respectful
You do not need to apologize for contacting a stranger without this person’s permission, of course — after all, you’re making a good offer. But you have to show that you respect this person’s time, so avoid an overly informal tone. It’s a great strategy in the B2C segment, but you should better wait until leads warm up before you start addressing them like your best buddies.
The same short, informative, to-the-point, and respectful logic that works for an email subject and snippet works for an email body, too. The high-converting addition here is your choice of visuals — often, they speak louder than words. In fact, the body of your cold email may be barely longer than your subject and snippet as long as the visuals provide all the info.
In our example of the Adobe mailing list, the Acrobat Pro offer email body includes only 25 words: “Finish with a PDF. Keep every detail in place. Convert to PDF and share work designed to keep text and formatting where it should be.” This is an excellent, neutrally-written example of a cold email marketing tactic because no one likes to read a long email — just a few lines of text followed by a fancy pic of a legal contract and a call-to-action — one of the final but most important ingredients in crafting compelling cold emails.
Nailing your CTAs and Prompting Leads to Action
Just like careful lead segmentation is your first secret ingredient to writing a compelling cold email, the CTA is your last. But it does not make it any less important! A clear call-to-action prompts recipients to do what you expect them to do — register on your website, get a service quote, place an order — whatever it is. If the recipient becomes interested in your offer, the chances of clicking on your CTA link skyrocket. But the CTA writing has a few tricks, too:
- Make CTA clear: make sure the necessary action (download, register, buy, donate, share) is crystal clear.
- Don’t bury the CTA: very few cold leads are prepared to search for your CTA, so make it easily accessible.
- Align CTA colors with your brand colors: this creates a feeling of consistency, which is something we are subconsciously attracted to. But, of course, do not make the CTA button color blend in with the rest of your email — it has to stand out.
- Create a sense of urgency: this is the part where you need to emphasize the ‘act now’ part — through phrases like limited offer, one-time-opportunity, or the good old-fashioned ‘now.’
The last tip is to keep A/B testing and polishing up your email campaigns. Cold email can convert, especially if you follow the above tips. But cold email marketing is still about trial and effort, so keep experimenting!
About the Author
Martin Brown is a business professional who is always looking for new opportunities and likes to share his knowledge with others in the field. He has been working in the industry for over 10 years and has a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed. Create. Cultivate. Consume. Learn. Explore.