Cold Emails: Targeting & Initial Outreach

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In this first blog post of the series “How to Master Sales with Mailbutler, I will walk you through an experience-based guide that describes how to personalize cold emails without spending too much time on each one. You will learn a specific sales strategy to take advantage of more, quality leads. These are the main goals of this post:

  1. How to target and prepare for cold outreach
  2. How to compose a converting email copy
  3. How to organize and succeed in further steps

Emailing people who don’t know you is a challenge 🤔

Cold outreach emails are some of the toughest to get engagement from. You compete with every other sales or marketing person in the world for someone’s time, running the risk of coming across as a spammer. Are they worth it? Do they draw any attention or interest from readers at all?

You may also have considered automating your emails through services designed for people looking for leads. Here’s my opinion: automated emails are useful when you need to address a broad audience — like Newsletters (as long as people have agreed to receive them).

However, cold emails need a personal touch to be successful: show the reader why you could really hit it off, and stand out because of it.

Take your time to target 🎯

For your target: Sometimes the question of “who” is not easy to answer. Ask yourself why someone would be interested in your service or product, instead. When I answer this question, I look to the industries and niche markets that have already shown interest and think about why they were drawn to my service in the first place.

Answer the “why?” question to identify your target group’s needs and what they have in common (i.e. companies in a particular industry x, have a need or problem y). Your service or product is valuable to them because it fulfills this need.

Narrowing down your outreach list to the right people (even if it means fewer emails or calls made in total), and including a high level of personalization, will drastically increase your success rate. 📈

Now you have to find the groups or companies that are in your target group. I look for online portals or platforms where companies that are in my target group might be listed so that I don’t have to look them up on my own.

Step by step: However you find them, make a list of 50 companies as a first. List the company name, contact info (and the contact person, if that name is available), and website of these new leads. (Once you go through these 50, then you can make another 50.)

Don’t worry yet about doing too much research on each one. Just answer the question: are they a match? Do they have a reason to need my service? Would they benefit from it?

You know what matters ✅

You had to answer the “why?” question with some sense of your target group’s needs. For all of these 50 companies in your list – what particular feature or element of your product is it they would benefit from.

If you have a service with multiple features, just choose one or two relevant focuses. To-the-point emails can seem more approachable, while showing too much information can be harmful (keep contact details and other highlights in your signature).

I also like to think about what type of communication the industry is, and I adjust my sales-pitch accordingly. If I’m emailing startups or tech companies, I may use emojis. If I’m writing in German, I make judgments about whether I use “Sie,” or “Du,” the formal or informal. Think about it as if you were in their shoes.

Now is when you write the body of the email

For a new cold email, I start by creating a message template, that includes the information that is relevant for all the 50 targets. This strategy saves me a lot of time and helps me avoid errors: I don’t have to write the same things over and over again. You can visit Mailbutler’s Dashboard to find some useful examples.  

Make a template 📝

Here’s what goes into mine:

  1. Write your subject line. It should be short and personal. For example: “Elisa here with an offer for you.” Experiment with this to find which sales-pitch you think performs best.
  2. Add the core of your message. What is your product? What are people’s benefits? Capture the reader’s attention by showing them you’re respected as an expert at what you do!
  3. Add a call-to-action (CTA) at the end. Don’t expect much from it—you may need to follow up with them multiple times. But a CTA is more likely to trigger and guide their engagement. Some examples I use: “register here,” or “want to talk?”

Make the message personal

The introductory lines before the core of your message help your reader to feel that you are speaking to them.

Go back to your list and look at the profile of the recipient of the email. Ask yourself: what grabbed your attention when you were looking at their particular profile? What could you mention that you have in common? How can you build an individualized connection?

Extra tip: Nothing is more annoying than an email that is supposedly personal, but is obviously generic. Take the time to really personalize your first sentence. “I saw your profile—it’s amazing!” is not enough. If you write that, add why you think it’s so great.

Sign off on your cold emails 🖋

A good signature is really useful. Let them tell your reader about who you are: add a picture (smile!), include a quote or saying that shows a little about you. Don’t just make it some fancy unreadable script and an address—although you can have that too.

Sales is all about relationships. The signature is a memorable and convenient way to help your reader know that there is a person that sent the words they are looking at. That can help them trust you, and feel that they are important.

An example: a kindergarten teacher once wrote me an email. She was using Mailbutler customized signatures, which included a beautiful picture, appealing colors, and a trustworthy quote about what children are in this world. She made me think that I would trust her with my children and I wrote to her that I cared about what she did. This is how we bonded and she became a happy customer. 🙌

Similarly, I had one lead who is a writer who wanted people in their writing workshops. I advised her to include a quote from one of her favorite authors. They appreciated the touch and told me that people reacted to it.

Show your reader who you are. Let them in on things your friends know about you. Help them to feel a connection with you.

Of course, contact details, your company’s homepage, social media links, and upcoming event banners are also important for your signature. Just make it yours, too.

Track your cold emails and turn guessing into knowing

One of the biggest challenges in sales is how to recognize a hot lead, but how do you know when to write or call again? This judgment takes trained intuition; especially with emails, you don’t have signs of emotion, of enthusiasm or concern—like you do when in a call—to help you know how to proceed. So how do you follow up on hot leads with emails?

Tracking your emails is enabled by default with Mailbutler: you will be able to see who has opened your email, and how often they have done so. This helps you identify who would be interested, and from that group, the high-potential hot leads that are low-hanging fruit.

This feature gives me a sense of when people are likely to read what I have sent them. In my experience, people are more open to new ideas on Fridays, when they are happy and looking forward to the weekend. From there, I determine which leads are better than others.

Extra tip: If you find Friday to be good but don’t work on emails on Fridays, just schedule them!

Our upcoming blog posts will be on how exactly to define hot leads and take action beyond emails with Mailbutler, and you won’t want to miss it! Stay tuned at unpacked.mailbutler.io!

Stay in touch and organized with an overview of your created contacts

I set follow up reminders for all cold emails that I send. With Mailbutler, my default for a reminder is three days: a task will be created by the Mailbutler service with a due date 3 working days from when I click send.

If the person responds, then the reminder is deleted. If not, I get a notification to write another cold email.

I also make sure that I BCC all of my emails to our CRM system (Customer Relationship Management). We at Mailbutler use Hubspot. I track my communication in one place so that I can make sure my colleagues can take over if I’m out of the office or on vacation.

A great way to remember to BCC — make it automatic! That way you can never forget.

Extra tip: If you use a task manager, you can integrate it with Mailbutler to manage all of your tasks and follow-ups.

A checklist helps ☑️

That’s all there is. Here is a checklist that condenses the process of sending cold emails:

  1. Ask yourself why someone would benefit from your product
  2. Based on your answer, look for leads that fit this profile
  3. Make a list of all of your targets
  4. Determine one or two characteristics of the lead that makes them a good fit
  5. Make a message template for the body of your email and your subject line
  6. Personalize the first two sentences of your message
  7. Create a professional and appealing email signature
  8. Enable tracking and set follow-up reminders before you hit send
  9. BCC your emails to your CRM to track communications company-wide

More tips are coming soon!

I hope you found this guide helpful, and you feel more confident that the cold emails you send will be far more effective. The next article will give you some tips on great ways to follow up on the leads you find. Stay tuned at unpacked.mailbutler.io!

Get in contact

If you liked the article, but want to learn more for your individual endeavor, feel free to schedule a demo with me.

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