How to Cold-Email Without Being a Bother

The average working professional receives approximately 121 emails every day, according to the Lifewire blog. This number suggests that our inboxes are filled to the brim. If we take the time to read those emails, they better be worthwhile.

Email is one of the most common forms of communication, both personally and professionally. But if you’re using email for your website, the rules are a bit different — especially if you’re sending unsolicited messages to professionals. If you haven’t yet mastered this art, here are some helpful tips for learning how to cold-email.

Know your audience

Who you contact over email will shape what your message says. Whether it’s a shopper, a new vendor, a mentor, or a potential partner, do your research beforehand.

For example, if you’re reaching out to another business owner about a potential partnership, it’s important to have some background information, such as how long they’ve been in business and their reputation in the marketplace. Knowing this information in advance can help you determine if a business would make a good partner, so you don’t waste time emailing an unsuitable prospect.

If you make and sell knitted scarves, determine which audience segments would be most interested in receiving your emails. Individuals who live in warm climates like Florida probably won’t be interested in purchasing your winter wear. Focus your cold emails efforts on those who would regularly use your products or services.

Make it about them — not yourself

Try not to focus on what you want from a transaction or relationship, as a cold email will only be successful if you highlight the value the recipient will receive from your products or services.

If you’re emailing shoppers about a new line of products or a new service, consider how you can entice them to explore further. Maybe a discount code will encourage them to check out your shop. Offering an incentive like a free appetizer when they visit your restaurant shows that you appreciate their loyalty.

The secret to a successful cold email is not only sharing information, but also providing a valuable resource to anyone who opens it.

Keep it short and sweet

There’s nothing more dreadful than opening an email and seeing endless blocks of text. You’re not writing a love letter; you’re establishing a professional relationship. Get to the point quickly, especially when you contact a busy person.

In one study conducted by Boomerang, emails that were between 50-125 words in length received the best response rates. Shorter is better when it comes to cold emails, so structure your note with a quick introduction, a clear request, and a proper display of gratitude.

Don’t forget to follow up

When it comes to cold emailing, it may take more than one message to receive a response — but that doesn’t mean you should be overbearing.

If you’ve emailed someone and they don’t immediately respond, give them a week or two and send a polite follow-up message. Everyone has a lot to juggle, and some people aren’t great about sending timely responses. Sometimes your emails may accidentally end up in junk folders, so space out your messages appropriately. If a person doesn’t respond to your second email, weigh whether it’s worth sending a third message, or whether you should focus on reaching other potential prospects instead.

Personalize your message

Personalize every part of your cold email, from the body text to the subject line. Each recipient should feel uniquely valued, and shouldn’t think of themselves as one of many prospects.

This is especially important when you reach out to someone you personally admire to start a mentoring relationship, or to seek their advice. Potential mentors and partners want to know why they’re specifically qualified to help you, and why they should invest their time in doing so. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework by framing your request in a way that proves you understand their accomplishments. Make sure there’s some alignment between yourself and your potential mentor (whether it’s working in a similar industry, the fact that you’ve both made a career switch later in life, or belonging to the same professional organization). Highlight your similarities and briefly explain how you could mutually benefit from a relationship.

Learning how to cold-email is a lifelong skill that can create more opportunities for your business and career. Doing this effectively requires some legwork, including researching initial prospects, outlining the value that you can bring to the table, and personalizing your emails so that anyone who opens them knows that your message was tailored to them. If you follow these steps, your cold email could result in long-lasting business relationships.


Satta Sarmah Hightower

Satta Sarmah is a writer, editor and content marketing manager who launched her first personal website a decade ago — on WordPress, of course.

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