How Not To Write An Amazing Cold Email

Want to be king of the spam folder? The blacklist emperor? Follow the guide!
  1. Neglect that subject line

The best way to kill the sale right away is to avoid your email being opened. Considering that, according to Convince and Convert, 35% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone, messing that up is a great way to ruin things from the start.
In case you have a change of heart
Your subject line is essential to have your email opened, make sure it’s optimized.

  1. Avoid SPAM trigger words

If you want to get that subject line to have any effect, well… you’d better land in your recipient’s mailbox first and get through those spam filters.
For that reason, we’ve put together an extensive list of words to avoid in your email subject line. While some should be banned, for most it’s all about context. Time to get creative!

  1. Keep it short

A subject line longer than 45 characters may not fully appear in your recipient’s inbox.
According to Litmus, the sweet spot is between 4 and 15 characters, with an open rate of 15,2%. 28 to 39 characters seems to be working as well, with a 12,2% open rate.
Also, keep in mind that around 40% of emails are first opened on mobile, where screen space is even more scarce.
And while, in our experience, 15 characters seems to beat everything else, GetResponse seems to have found out that specific headlines could work work 90-109 characters.
See what fits your needs!

  1. Personalize it

This isn’t just about using their name or their company’s name -although it’s a great way to operate- it’s about showing them that you’re reaching out to them personally.

  1. Lay out the reason why you’re writing

Tell them what’s inside, especially if they don’t know you. You wouldn’t email them if you didn’t have a good reason, then make it clear why they should care.

  1. Introduce yourself and your company at length

According to Litmus, the average attention span when it comes to reading an email is 11 seconds. And 43% of readers won’t get past the first 8 seconds.
If you start by introducing yourself, your job title and your company -which they’ve never heard of and don’t care about- as well as what it does, you are certain to waste at least 5 to 6 seconds!
Keep adding useless bits of information and you’re to lose them before you get to the interesting part!

In case you have a change of heart
Since your prospect doesn’t know you and -really- doesn’t care, you should start by grabbing their attention. You can do that either by referencing to something they did or something they wrote on their blog, or by immediately addressing their challenges.

Keep in mind that every sentence you write must compel them to read the next one, and then the next one, and so on.

  1. Send a ready made template and don’t bother researching your prospect

Nothing says “I don’t give a sh*it” like a ready made template with no personalization! Just replace the first name with a merge tag and send the same email to every prospect. That’ll show you put in as little effort as possible into reaching out to them.
They’ll hate it!
In case you have a change of heart
Templates are great, really. I even use and build some myself on a regular basis.
But their purpose is to make your job easier, not do your job for you. Templates are made to be personalized with info about your prospects and about their challenges.
Do your research and segment your prospects based on the intel you’ve gathered. If you manage to focus on their challenges enough, you might not even need to include the company name.

  1. Don’t provide social proof

If they know you have actual clients/customers, your prospect might think you’re somewhat reliable and they might take interest in your company.
To avoid that, don’t mention any partners or -God forbid- their satisfaction with your product.

In case you have a change of heart
Existing or past customers are the best ambassadors for your business. When you get in touch with a prospect, don’t just mention a few satisfied customers, make sure that these customers are actually relevant to your prospect (industry, company size, country…).
Social proof asserts credibility!

  1. Emphasize on the features

Who likes to be shown features of a product they don’t know and have no reason to care about? That’s right, nobody!
With this technique, you combine the powerful effects of boredom and disinterest about your prospect’s pain points. Fireproof!

In case you have a change of heart
Keep in mind that your product and its features only enter the stage as a solution to your prospect’s pain points and challenges. Which is why that’s what you need to keep the focus of your cold emails on, leading with your product’s benefits.

  1. Be as vague as possible

The icing on the cake! I mean… if there was a clear call to action, they might be tempted to reply, if only to insult you and that might positively influence your response rate in your careless manager’s dashboard. The best way to avoid that is to just stop after you’re done describing the product. Sign off and you’re good. Not a chance they will ever write back!

In case you have a change of heart
The goal, the very purpose of your email, is to get the prospect to take action to make the sales process move forward. Which means everything you write in the email must be directed towards that one and only purpose.
Which implies 2 things:
  • Only seek one action: don’t ask them if they can hop on a call and if they want to get your latest report on my industry and if they’re interested in samples of your product. Focus.
  • If you legitimately believe that your product can bring value to your prospect: make the ask. “Are you free for a call later this week? Please let me know”, “I can have free samples shipped to your office today. Are you interested?”
More ideas to burn your outbound sales process to the ground?

These are the most obvious ways to slay your sales process I could think of but here are a couple more tips:

  • Make sure to not… follow-up and ask them what the next steps should be
  • Buying email lists is a great way to obtain unreliable, unverified and unqualified email addresses that won’t generate any sales.
  • Don’t use a reliable ESP and trustworthy sending address in order to help make sure your email doesn’t get delivered, or gets spammed/trashed if it gets delivered.