How to Ensure Your Cold Emails Actually Get Opened

cold emails

I have the pleasure of reviewing many emails as part of the customer experience team at Scott’s Marketplace. Solicitations, complaints, questions, general feedback, you name it.

Sometimes I am wildly entertained by the messages we receive, and other times I am shocked by these poorly crafted cold emails, especially when it comes to sales pitches or guest-blogging inquiries.

It makes me think, “do these crappy emails really work?” We typically respond with a “thanks, but no thanks” general reply. Sometimes they respond back with the most random note, making you question if they even bothered to read YOUR email.

Hint: Don’t Scare Your Recipient 

For example, one of my favorite cold emails as of late was a woman who wanted to write about music — for our small-business blog. That’s obviously not a fit, so we sent our standard reply, and she got all Single White Female on us.

  • “Maybe we can just talk since you seem so busy?”
  • “Have you read my email yet?”
  • “I really want to work with you.”
  • “Please tell me the reason, I really want to work with you.”

Frankly, it was beginning to get scary. It took 10 emails for her to take a hint.

Save Your Cold Emails From Instant Deletion 

In light of this, I recently asked our senior director of content marketing, Shannon Willoby, what she’s looking for in cold emails, including guest-blogging pitches. I knew she would be a great resource for best practices. She said, “If you want someone to consider your guest post, you’ve got to sell yourself!”

Here’s how to shake your moneymaker and get noticed via email:
  1. Include a link to your own blog or website.
  2. Detail your experience and explain why that person/editor would want to: have you guest blog/interview you/be interviewed by you/talk with you about your products.
  3. Include past and RELEVANT writing sample links/PR hits/product images.
  4. Reference something you like about the blog/site/person you’re pitching. Please remove any reference to other blogs/sites/people that you may be pitching with this same sort of solicitation.
  5. Give them some stats! Data is king! How many followers do you have on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram? If you’re asking to guest post or interview someone, what will your social-sharing strategy be once it’s published?
  6. If you’re asking to guest post, share topic ideas and make sure they fit with the blog’s content. Case in point, posts on drum circles don’t match with small-business-tax-deduction ideas, unless it’s a networking event!

End on a Non-Irritating Note

A former colleague used to sign his emails “Warmest” and it used to irritate the heck out of me. Warmest what? Regards? Wishes? Thoughts? I always felt like he left me hanging, and it was super annoying.

Since email is one of the main forms of business communication, it’s more important than ever to get it right. And using “Warmest” as your 2017 version of “Sincerely” is not going to cut it, IMO.

The moral of this story is that you need to personalize the emails you send and make them relevant to the recipient. You don’t have to go overboard with details. A quick intro before you cut to the chase is best, and then sign off with ANYTHING but Warmest. Deal?

Share examples of the funniest cold emails you’ve received. Did you reply?

About the Author

Michelle Steber

Michelle is the Customer Account Manager at Scott's Marketplace and loves all things local: shops, parks, garage sales, and yes, even the local bar. She engages the selling community by day, and by night is a chauffeur, sous chef, spin instructor, and Pinterest junkie. Michelle seeks joy in everything she does, especially closet organization.

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