— why you should do it
— how to do it without pissing anyone off
I’m starting this post with a disclaimer; cold emailing is not my favourite way to generate business. Not yet, anyway.
When it comes to landing clients I’m a huge advocate of responding to hot leads (or warm ones at the very least!) and good, old-fashioned networking, whether in person or online. However, I’m the first to admit that these strategies will only take you so far.
At some point you’ll have to look into other forms of marketing.
Traditionally, cold calling has been a fantastic sales tool for businesses but, frankly, I refuse to go there. When the time comes that I can’t afford to keep my kids in Haribo and I’ve sold my last kidney, I may do a U-turn on that but, for now, I’ll stick to cold emailing.
Cold emailing feels far less intrusive than cold calling and definitely far less scary.
I know that many of you will be reading this and shaking your head thinking that you’d rather pluck your eyelashes than send out a cold email. What if you’re rejected? What if you piss people off? What if you’re hit with an angry reply from one of your prospects?
The truth is, all three of these things will happen. They’ve certainly happened to me. And I don’t mind admitting, I let it get to me. So why, I hear you cry, am I entertaining the idea of going down that route again?
Because I know that it works.
One of my oldest clients came to me as a result of a cold email and our relationship is still going strong. Goodness knows the revenue that one little email has generated for me! And, the great thing about failure is that it gives us a chance to do things differently next time. Sure, I’ve annoyed a few people in the past but I now know why and I won’t make the same mistake again.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a cold emailing campaign to generate sales for your business, read on for my tips on how to do it without pissing anyone off.
This was my first mistake, many moons ago, when I was looking for designers to collaborate with. I thought I was terribly clever; I crafted a beautifully worded email, following all of the principles of great copywriting, and sent it out to just about every designer whose email address I could find.
What a disaster.
My emails were largely ignored but I did receive one reply from a designer who was most pissed off at my intrusion into his busy work day. With the gift of hindsight, I don’t blame him.
My email was generic and ‘salesy’. It was bloody awful.
I won’t make that mistake again and hopefully neither will you.
The key to getting this right is to personalise every email. You can use a template but make sure you customise it for every prospect. Use their name when you address them and explain why you’ve chosen to contact them specifically.
Perhaps you’re getting in touch because you’ve read about a new project they’re handling and you know that they might benefit from outsourcing work to you. Maybe you’ve looked at their website and something you’ve read there makes you think that you’d be a great fit for working together.
Don’t bang on about how passionate you are.
As ever, when you’re writing sales copy, it’s not about you. It’s about how you can help your prospect. If you start by listing your qualifications and your passion for your industry, they won’t even finish reading the email.
You have to find a way to make your content relevant to them and whatever problem you think you can help them with. Show them how working with you, or buying your product, is going to make their life easier or more fabulous.
Keep it short.
An email is definitely less annoying than a cold call but you’re still asking for someone to take time out of their busy schedule to listen to you. Keep it short and to the point.
Make it easy for them to contact you.
Remember to include a call to action at the end of your email where you make it clear how the reader can contact you.
Even better, you could offer a follow up. Suggest a specific day or time you’ll call to discuss things further or, if you’re dealing with a smaller, local business, you could propose a time that you could pop in for an informal chat.
Check your spelling!
I kid you not, I’ve received cold emails from aspiring copywriters whose writing is so full of errors it’s practically unintelligible. Needless to say, these people are not working for me. Nor will I ever consider recommending them to anyone if I have surplus work.
Sending out a error-riddled email when you’re pitching for writing work is about as lazy as you can get but don’t think that just because you aren’t pitching writing work, you can get away with mistakes.
You are asking someone, a stranger, to invest in you, whether with their time or their money. Why should they if you couldn’t even be bothered to do a spell-check? Errors in your email make you look sloppy and unprofessional and may even distort the clarity of your message.
If you aren’t great with words, ask someone else to proofread your email for you or hire a professional to do it. At the very least, make sure you’ve run your content through a spelling and grammar check.
If you’ve followed this advice, written personal, concise and relevant emails and you still haven’t made any progress, don’t despair! It may be that you need to tweak your content a little or that you simply haven’t contacted enough of the right people. Cold emailing is a numbers game and if you keep at it, you will eventually strike gold.
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