At Reply, we live and breathe email. Every day our clients send thousands upon thousands of messages to and from companies of all sizes. No matter the size or your target market there is a very simple rule to follow, make your emails easily understood and promote engagement.
If you haven’t been doing this for very long, chances are you aren’t getting the responses you’re looking for (learn how to turn cold email rejections into opportunities here . And, more often than not, it is one of these common mistakes that are to blame.
TLC – Too Long & Confusing: Try to keep your word count as low as possible. Two to four sentences should be more than enough space to get the basic idea out and ask for feedback or a reply. If you’re witty and charismatic you may be able to get away with a bit more but it is always safer to keep it short. Also, don’t drone on and one about amazing new features, sing-up bonuses or offers. You are trying to convey too many different messages. Stay on task and don’t confuse your prospects.
The Questions You’re Asking are to Hard or Vague: Your list is most likely comprised of total strangers. If a total stranger came up to you and asked, “What are the major challenges your business anticipates overcoming this next quarter?” or “Hey, maybe I can help with that?” you would walk away. The easier you make your questions to answer and the clearer you make your calls to action the better. Don’t beat around the bush, be direct and say what you mean.
Follow-up to the follow-ups: Email etiquette is difficult to nail down. Everyone is different and responds to different things, but if you don’t ever follow-up on what you originally propose you will never see an answer. The majority of first step emails aren’t responded to. Taking the time to send a follow-up shows initiative, perseverance and acts as a reminder. It is completely possible they missed your email or simply didn’t have the time to reply. A good reminder is always appreciated.
Now that we’ve covered what you could potentially be doing wrong, here are a few ways you can boost that response rate.
Peer Pressure: Have you ever tried something just because one of your friends or someone you admired did it first? This same idea can work in cold email. In life we take cues from other people. If you can prove that other people in your prospects field love your product or service they will be more receptive to the idea of giving you a go. For startups this can be a bit tricky to accomplish but even small victories count. You don’t have to say Facebook is using your product; a smaller, local team will be enough to get you started.
Humor: You’ve created a rapport and mentioned your pitch but you just aren’t getting to the finish line, you can’t make the sale. When it comes down to it, people prefer a conversational style to a more formal one. Throw in a quip or a joke to lighten the mood and see your response rate inflate.
Make it Friendly: Everyone loves to hear the sound of their voice; they also like to hear their name. The more often you can address your prospect directly the better. They will feel engaged, more receptive to your offers and more likely to actually read the email to completion. Nobody likes to get a birthday card filled with vague wishes to an unknown entity. A person is their name, use it.