Tips for creating winning cold emails abound. They range from the vaguely helpful (“don’t sound like a template!”) to the oddly specific (“leverage a trigger event in the prospect’s professional life”).
The bottom line is: cold emails that get responses are cold emails that don’t sound like cold emails.
So: how do you achieve an organic look and feel in that initial outreach?
First: Focus on Getting In the Door
Your response rate flows from your open rate; for a cold lead to respond to your email, they have to read the email first.
Industry wisdom says that you shouldn’t expect better than a 30% open rate, no matter what cold email best practices you put in place.
But what if I told you we’ve consistently seen open rates double that?
If high open rates are ‘foot in the door’ for higher response rates, then qualified, verified email lists are your ‘in’ for high open rates. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to build your list of leads, then export your saved LinkedIn leads for your cold email campaign.
By starting with a list of verified, company-specific emails we have seen open rates above 80%.
Create Your Best Cold Emails That Get Responses With LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Once you get a cold lead to open the initial email, it’s time to win over their hearts and minds.
There’s no 100% tried-and-true approach to getting positive responses (don’t sound like a template, remember?)
But you can put a couple of best practices in place to make sure your cold email lands makes leads want to respond.
These are the two ideas that stick across the board.
#1 Focus on your subject lines for cold emails
Great subject lines can go so far in your cold email campaigns.
Subject lines are about more than getting your leads to open the email in the first place (though they help). Once their interest is piqued by a great subject line, it will likely remain piqued.
In a recent cold email campaign, we received an open rate over 80% and a response rate over 10%. Even leads who weren’t in the market for our solution took the time to reply.
It wasn’t the right fit — but it still got a response! (Stay tuned for a full case study on this cold email campaign).
Your subject line — and your subsequent email — shouldn’t focus on you. Cover your value proposition too many times and you’ll make it sound like the cold email it is.
Instead, make it about them. Make the initial email seem like you’re continuing a conversation between colleagues. To frame it this way, use subject lines like:
- Quick question for you
- What are your Q1 2020 goals re: ___________?
- How do you ___________?
You can also personalize your subject lines with the lead’s name or company name. Use Advanced Search on LinkedIn Sales Navigator to narrow your list and personalize accordingly.
#2 Use a creative, less demanding CTA
Nobody wants to hear “Do you have 15 minutes to jump on a call?” in a cold email anymore.
Warming up a cold lead will mean engaging with them at least a few times. Why not take it easy the first time around?
The decision-makers you’re contacting don’t have a lot of time. Make the next step as easy as possible for them.
- Share something truly valuable to them. Sending over a relevant case study or white paper is a great way to open up the conversation. Again, you can use Sales Navigator to determine their interests.
- Ask a simple yes/no question. This does a couple things: it makes it incredibly easy for them to respond to your email, and it opens it up for them to say ‘no’.
- Add your value prop to your CTA. “Do you want to hear more about how x can do x for you?”
Subject lines and clever CTAs go a long way, but you have to get in the door first. You heard it here: the best way to ensure great metrics around your cold email campaign is to start with a great email list.
What are you doing to build that winning cold email list?
A version of this article originally appeared here.