How to maximise replies, engagement, and sales from cold emails

A significant challenge for any small business is finding and contacting new business leads. No matter how high your rate of repeat business, to continue growing, you need to be constantly working to secure and serve new customers. While there are many ways to do this, one of the most popular is cold emailing.

It’s easy to see the appeal of sending cold emails. They cost nothing, can be sent out in bulk, and are quick and, in theory, easy. But writing and sending effective cold emails can be much more difficult. It’s easy to spam someone’s inbox, but that’s not the goal here. Effective cold emails are ones that get replies, engagement, and ultimately, sales. The best cold emails will bring you a stream of new customers and revenue.

So how do you craft an email that stands out, especially when this is such a popular method? On average, your email will be one of many crowding your prospect’s inbox - office workers can expect to receive over 120 emails a day - so you’ve got your work cut out to stand out from the crowd.

So what can you do to maximise your chances of sending cold emails that convert? Here are a few pointers to refine your cold email strategy.

But before we go any further, we’ll address the elephant in the room:

“What about GDPR?”

We understand that businesses are nervous after the introduction in May 2018 of new EU-wide regulations around personal data, emails, consent, and much more. But cold emails can still be a legitimate way of garnering business even after GDPR. In a nutshell, this is because GDPR is primarily focused on protecting personal data, and so leaves the topic of business communications up to individual countries.

In the UK, the 2003 Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) are followed, which allow business communications to be “opt-out”, meaning you can get in contact first and give them the option to say no, rather than needing their consent to make your initial approach. You can find further guidelines on this topic from the Information Commissioner. Reaching out to social media contacts (through sites like LinkedIn, for instance), as well as existing customers, with relevant offers, is generally acceptable.

On with the tips then!

Send your cold emails to the right people

While many cold emails amount to little more than spam, personalised offers, targeting people likely to be interested in them, are an effective way to get engagement, replies, and even sales from your cold emails.

Fear of hefty fines addressed, do your research to ensure that your email presents a relevant offer for your prospect. If you’re targeting businesses, make sure you know the industry and find the right contact within the company. Generic business email address (like info@example.com) aren’t considered personal data and so reaching out to addresses like these can be a quick win if you’re trying to find the right person within an organisation. If in doubt, aim higher - you want to be wooing those with the power to make purchasing decisions rather than lower-level employees.

You can use your subject line to target specific pain points that your service or product addresses for your customers. Equally, you might want to focus on a mutual connection that explains your interest. A/B testing of subject lines can be a real game-changer here, with the right subject lines of properly-targeted emails leading to open rates of up to 86%.

In the body of your email, you have the chance to further explain your legitimate interest in the prospect. Be sure to focus on the benefit they’ll receive, rather than the details of your own company and product. If you have their name, use it. Doing so throughout the email, as you describe how your product will help them, can build a personal connection that will do wonders for your reply rates.

Put together a simple case study to sell your solution or expertise

The most effective approach to engage people with your cold emails and maximise replies and conversions is to show your prospects that you’ve done this before. By “this”, we mean solving their problems and delivering the solutions they want to individuals and businesses just like them.

To put together a case study, simply take a piece of work from your portfolio that was relevant, professional, and successful. Get a positive testimonial from the client involved and briefly explain your involvement: what was needed, what you did, and what the results were. By showing that you’ve solved these problems before, you demonstrate your understanding of your prospect’s needs and your skillset, and you build trust through social proof.

Add videos to your cold emails

It’s been estimated that 82% of all internet traffic will be video-based by 2021, a sign of shifting trends in consumer behaviour. People will buy through media that feel familiar to them, and so adding videos to your emails now will likely catch their attention and keep it too. When 25% of businesses are already increasing conversion rates through the use of video, now is the time to get onboard.

Follow the same best practices of including relevant content that focuses on benefits, and be sure to let your prospects know that you’re including a video, as simple awareness of this fact can increase click rates by up to 300% in some cases.

As ever, keep the goal of the email in mind and encourage prospects to take the actions you want from them. Whether it’s answering a poll, booking a free demo, or giving you a call, expect enhanced engagement when you utilise these cold email tips.

About the author

Jake Waller is a wordsmith who plies his trade here at Findmyshift. He uses his background in engineering to simplify complex topics for a variety of tech firms. When not writing for Findmyshift he blogs under a pseudonym at My Name is Skylance and has a passion for creative writing and editing, about which he's always talking on Twitter.