In an ideal world, new business would drop on your plate and all you’d need to do is look up, smile and say thank you. In reality, if you’re offering a service that you want customers to consider, there’ll be a time when you’ll need to bite the bullet and put word out through the magic of email. Once you’ve exhausted the contacts you do know, you’re going to find yourself making unsolicited approaches. But while it can be a tough gig, with a little bit of social savvy you can turn one in every ten-fifteen mails into a potential lead.
Here’s what to do.
1. Be selective. The number one reason emails don't get read is because they're so generic they might as well be spam, or are actually confused for spam by the recipient.
While it’s perfectly possible to fire off queries in bulk or get a junior member of staff to write them, this will drop your success rate tenfold. A better strategy is to do it one by one until you’ve got a formula down pat.
First, work out what the email address is through deduction, or by using an online address directory (this is something junior members of staff can handle).
Next, build a solid picture of the person you’re mailing. When composing the mail, get ultra-personal. Reference something they've done or something they've written, proving that you must be a real human who has put some work in to your message.
2. Use an image they’ll recognize. Put in a screenshot or an image from their website/business. It’ll grab their attention, making them stick around. Either compliment them on an aspect of the site you really like or overlay the image with a shot of something your product can do to make the site better.
3. Talk about people in the biz. Every good salesperson knows that a lead is more likely to sign on if they think their neighbor has too.
Talk about businesses you’ve helped and people you’ve worked with in a similar field to the lead. If you’re completely new, use Linkedin to scout out influencers and drop their names in the hope that something sticks. You don’t need to know these influencers personally but the connection can’t be tenuous that it falls apart upon closer inspection.
4. Be honest. Honesty doesn’t hurt and it can work in your favor. Make light of the fact you’re probably interrupting their busy day:
A person in your position, you probably get fifteen emails a day from people pretending not to be selling you something when in fact they are.
Well, I might as well come out and say it – I’ve got something to sell, but I wouldn’t be reaching out if I didn’t think it’d be of interest. I hope you don’t mind?
5. Track how someone interacts with your mail. Configure email tracking on your email client or download a third-party tool to do it for you. Then keep it enabled for every cold email you send.
When you see that someone has opened your mail but failed to respond, give it two days, then send a reply containing something along these lines:
I couldn’t help but notice you took a look at my___ the other day.
Let me know if I can jump on a ten-minute call to talk you through everything. Alternatively, fire off any questions you might have over email.
You see, the trick isn’t to close the deal then and there, but to simply get the opportunity to talk more.
In the end it’s a numbers game but there’s no point in alienating people by doing everything in bulk. Create enough mails that are personalized to a tee and you’ll come away with a few leads that bite.