The Cold Email: 4 Tips to Maximize Your Results

If your current sales tactics are running out of steam, it might be time to turn to one of the lesser-used, albeit highly effective prospecting methods—the cold email.

What’s a cold email? Cold emailing is similar to traditional cold calling in that both introduce a product or service to a prospective buyer in hopes that they will respond with interest. The only difference is cold emailing is done via email.  

Many sales agents take this avenue to generate potential leads, however, due to the nature of emails—i.e. how easily recipients disregard messages they perceive as spam—it’s important to follow some guidelines to ensure success. Below are four tips to improve the chances that your cold email will generate warm leads:

1. Don’t Get Discouraged

Three emails should be sent before the likelihood of a response dwindles, meaning follow-through is a key ingredient to success. If your first message didn’t receive a response it could be due to a number of different reasons. For instance, it simply might have been overlooked, or perhaps you didn’t introduce yourself in the subject line – leading the recipient to believe it was spam. In contrast to cold calling and face-to-face prospecting, cold emailing can appear rather passive if a certain degree of assertiveness isn’t apparent. So, don’t quit if you don’t hear back right away. Try again.

People receive tons of emails every day. Why should they care about yours? Learn the fine art of the cold email.
Tracey Panek, Marketing Manager

2. Know the Company Hierarchy

The best chance sales agents have in receiving a response to cold emails is targeting the right decision maker. If you start out by sending the company’s CEO a message, it’s doubtful you’ll receive a response. However, sending an email to the VP of marketing or IT director will increase your chances of success. Don’t know where to find a decision maker’s email address? A third-party list provider, such as Hoover’s, can provide you will the email addresses of decision makers within your target market.


3. Convey Urgency

High-level executives receive dozens of emails a day. Why should they care about your message? It’s important to establish a sense of urgency to prompt a response. Give the prospect context as to what your email is about by keeping the first few lines of your email consistent with your subject line. For instance, if you reel in the prospect with a witty subject line, then hit them with a blatant sales pitch, chances are they won’t respond. Instead, focus on the client’s needs. Research your addressee’s pain points and relay an implicit understanding of their requirements in your message. Look into your catalog of case studies and testimonials to leverage success stories on how you’ve helped other businesses and use this information to spark your prospect’s interest.

4. Keep It Conversational

A cold email shouldn’t feel cold to the reader. If your email is too formatted and impersonal you’ll run the risk of ending up in the junk folder. You’ve got about three seconds to engage your reader once they’ve opened up your message, so make it count. Decision makers can tell if you’ve sent the same email to 50 other prospects, as they receive sales emails all day long. So, if your message is going to stand out it needs to have personal flair. In fact, an infographic conducted by Implisit titled The Science Behind Sales Emails revealed that sales reps who include a headshot in their signatures receive a 24% higher response rate than those who don’t. This type of extra touch offers your prospect a visual so they’re more likely to remember your message.

It’s important to make use of a well-rounded set of prospecting methods to keep your sales strategy fresh. When you’re hitting a wall with phone calls and in-person meetings, try cold emailing, but remember to remain compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act (i.e. always provide an unsubscribe option).