One of my recent B2B clients offered a great service to SaaS companies, but they weren’t having much luck doing outbound email. They already had a list of contacts, but their cold email response rates were hovering around zero.
They asked me for help improving their outbound emails, and after working together we were able to create an email template that saw 28% response rates, bringing them more than 50 new leads from a single email template.
What Was Wrong With Their Email Templates Before?
Once I saw their email templates, I knew what was wrong almost immediately.
- They were way too long, mentioning too much information about themselves. No one wants to read long paragraphs in a cold email.
- They were selling too hard, too early. You can’t sell yourself in a cold email. You can’t build enough trust in a cold email to close a sale, so don’t try. All you want the reader to do is get them to click a link or respond to you to schedule a call.
- They talked about themselves too much. You need to explain who you are and why you’re emailing someone, but you shouldn’t drone on about yourself. The reader doesn’t care who you are or what you do. They care about things that are valuable to them. Things that save them time or money, make them more money, or reduce risk are interesting to them. You aren’t.
- There was nothing specific to the reader. There was absolutely no indication that this wasn’t a mass email. If you want people to treat you like a robot you can write vague and impersonal emails to them, but you’re not going to get many responses from these emails.
The Elements You Need to Craft Great Cold Email Copy
As I mentioned in a previous post, you should be focusing 80% of your efforts on crafting your subject line. The other 20% of your time should go to crafting the body of your cold emails. Pay attention to these points if you want to turn cold emails into customers:
- Brevity: Cold emails should be short and sweet. Cut out jargon and irrelevant information. Aim for about 4 sentences or less.
- Be Valuable: You won’t get responses if you aren’t relevant to your reader and relevant to the subject of your email. Writing great emails requires understanding your reader and what matters to them. Why should the reader care about you or your company if you don’t offer them value? Do some research on your prospects and talk to existing customers if possible to understand what’s most important to them.
- Personalization: The more you can customize the email around the reader (their company, their industry, etc), the more opens and responses you will have. This takes some work, but it really pays off. (Note: this is a great task to outsource to someone doing your lead research.) You should use custom inserts to mention their name or company name several times in the email to appeal to their subconscious. If your contact list is already narrowly targeted, include as much specific relevant language and information as you can in the email, like industry facts. We’ve seen that specifically mentioning their competition in your template using a single sentence like “Our software recently helped <<Competitor Name>> increase their sales by 22%” as a custom insert can increase response rates by 32%. It’s extra work, but it definitely works.
- Intrigue: Catch their interest, but leave enough mystery to always leave them wanting more. The purpose of the subject was just to get them to read your email, and the body’s purpose is compel them to respond. You don’t need to sell them (in fact you shouldn’t in the early emails!); you just need to get them to talk to you.
- Call to Action: Always have a simple and clear call to action. You don’t want it to be complicated or make your reader think too much because that gives them more reasons to say no. When cold emailing, your only goal is to get them to click on a link or schedule a call; nothing more. Everything in your email has been leading up to the call to action, so don’t screw it up by making it unclear or complicated. Finish strong.
Example of the cold email that got 28% response rate from 183 B2B companies:
Why was this successful?
- The subject line was relevant to the recipient and had clear value (getting more customers). It had an open rate of 67%.
- The potential value of the hack to increase said company’s conversion rate is both enticing and intriguing.
- The name of the recipient and company were listed multiple times.
- The mentioning of the specific SaaS company acted as a potential competitor, and created a sense of urgency and loss aversion in the reader, as well as credibility.
- The call to action was very clear.
- A 15 minute call is also a low risk commitment for a high potential value.
What happens if I don’t get responses after my first try? Keep Testing! Keep trying! Sending your prospects outbound emails isn’t something you do once. Follow up more and your response rate will continue to grow. Sometimes a prospect won’t respond until the 7th email or even later. Each followup email you send is a chance for you to iterate and improve your cold emailing skills by testing new subject lines, pitches, timing, and the sequences of your email followups (cold emailing is never a one-off).
If you’d like a team of experts to manage this process for you, contact LeadGenius for a free demo.
Heather R Morgan is a writer and consultant who helps B2B startups improve their copy to get more customers. You can contact her at Heather@salesfolk.com