A cold e-mail is certainly not the easiest or most profitable marketing tactic for a company to employ, but if this form of contact is carefully thought through and presented in the correct manner it can certainly achieve its intended purpose. A positive reply!

Cold E-mail errors to avoid

We will concentrate on the most effective ways of ending a cold e-mail in order to increase your chances of receiving a response, but first, let’s understand some of the most common errors made by those who have decided to try this type of approach on someone they have never met or been in contact with. It is this type of mistake that will greatly increase the chance of the recipient either ignoring your request or deleting it before they have bothered to read it in full.

Subject line
Far too many cold emails have weak, uninteresting and uninspiring subject lines. Industry research claims that 1/3rd of all those receiving unsolicited e-mail base their decision on whether to open it or not dependent upon how interested they are in the subject line.

This means you need to make your subject line something that will catch the recipients attention or intrigue them. When composing the message subject think about what catches your interest when looking at a newspaper page containing a number of different stories all with titles. After skimming each one you will read the one you find most ‘catchy’ first, or the one that immediately jumps out and grabs you. Take the same approach with your cold e-mail subject description.

Introducing yourself/your company
Use the recipient’s name to open the email and use the first paragraph to refer to the recipient or their company in a positive manner with information that is in the public domain. Such things include product reviews, recent awards, growth figures or trade interviews. From here you should explain who you are and the role you play in ‘your’ company before going on to make your request.

Advantages for the recipient
Make sure the proposition or request states clearly how the recipient or their organisation could benefit by acknowledging your message.

How to end a cold email
Remember, the reason you are contacting the person concerned is that you want a positive response that leads to further dialogue. To achieve this, you must close the e-mail with a question or a clear ‘call to action’. Failure to do so will greatly reduce your chances of a response.

By requesting a response, you are relying on an active part of human nature to surface. That is to give an answer to a question. It is also wise to keep this call to action short but concise. Do not give multiple options. A single request is far more effective.

Do not leave things at that
Once you have sent the email you should make a note in your diary to send a follow-up message. The jury is still out on how long you should wait before sending this reminder. Some say 3 days is ideal others double that. It is worth experimenting with the number of days you allow to lapse before trying again and see if any positive pattern emerges from this.

There is also the issue of how many repeat requests you should try before abandoning your quest. Some maintain 4 times is enough, others double that and there is a smaller percentage of companies who will go into double figures in search of a response. Remember, a negative response is better than no response because it allows you to close that avenue.

Don’t forget to send a ‘Thank You’ response to anyone who does reply but is not interested. By doing so you are leaving the door open for future contact and to try again. The number of times you decide to repeat the request should be varied to see if a pattern emerges in terms of success or what works best for you.

Cold emails have their place
While cold e-mails are not seen as the most productive marketing method they certainly do have a place in your business strategy, but they need to be carefully thought out, it is far more effective to personalize them than auto-creating a text. You should keep the message short, give it a dynamic title, explain what the value proposition is to the recipient and don’t forget that call to action.