Cold email copywriting is half art and half science. Whether you’re sending to one prospect or thousands, you need to deliver the best email you can. It’s much harder than nurturing warm leads, because at each step of the way, you need to convince your contact to keep going and remain interested.
If you’re finding that your cold emails just aren’t hitting the mark, figuring out how to improve them can be a struggle. There are a lot of pieces that go into a cold campaign.
This article will give you best practices, tips and tricks to bring your cold email copywriting to a whole new level and help drive your campaign success.
Cold Email Copywriting: How to Craft the Perfect Outbound Email
The key to success in cold emails is not to sound like a cold email. This holds true whether you’re sending to a single recipient, or an immense list. We’ll show you how to achieve this, as well as these other tips and tricks:
- Create a powerful subject line
- Use personalization
- Avoid overselling
- Include social proof
- Don’t sound like a cold email
- Don’t waste their time
- Offer real value
- Leverage urgency and scarcity
Don’t neglect your subject line
The subject line is the single most important piece of your email. If your subject line doesn’t entice the recipient to read your email, it’ll never get opened. The best copy in the world won’t make a difference if that happens.
Not to worry – you simply need to put some thought into your subject line. Not just the actual content, but the style. You want it to jump out at people and make them want to click it.
One way to do this is asking a question. Many subject lines are statements. A short, punchy question stands out and draws the eye. It opens up a dialogue and urges the reader to engage with the email.
Try including numbers in your subject line. Digits draw the eye, and provide a break from the text of the subject lines above and below in the inbox. You can also experiment with extremely short subject lines. A subject line that is a single word likewise stands out among the rest in the inbox.
When it comes to actual messaging for a subject line, convince the reader that the contents of your email can solve a problem they have. If your target audience is photographers, for example, a subject line like “How to shoot crystal-clear photos” will encourage more opens than “Read about our new camera lenses”.
Use personalization to build familiarity
Have you ever heard of the “cocktail party effect”? It’s a psychoacoustic phenomenon that occurs when you hear an important word or phrase in the midst of a lot of noise.
Like someone saying your name halfway across the room at a crowded cocktail party – you might not have been listening to the conversation, but you’re tuned to react to hearing your name, so it jumps out at you.
The same trick works for email copywriting. Whether it’s in the subject line or the body copy, using someone’s name immediately fosters a sense of familiarity. It sounds less like a mass email blast and more like a message directed solely at them. Their name will stand out from the rest of the text.
Use what you know about your recipient. It might be their name, company, industry or location – the goal is to make it feel like the email they are reading was written solely for them.
Try adding in a small headshot of the email sender to your signature, too. It puts a face to the name and adds a sense that “this came from a real person, not a robot”.
Nothing diminishes your email’s importance to the reader more than getting the feeling that “they’re just trying to sell me something”. Especially if it’s a cold email – if it comes off as pushy, it’ll get ignored or junked.
You’ll do your clickthrough rate (CTR) a favor by focusing your writing on the reader, not yourself. It’s not about you, your company or your products. It’s about your reader’s problems and how they can be solved.
This shift in approach can make a huge difference to whether a reader perceives your email as “advertising” or as valuable content that’s worth their time.
Include social proof
Many readers won’t just take your word for it – it’s your product or service, of course you’re going to say it works, it’s the best, etc. A little backup can go a long way in that regard.
Include testimonials and compelling data points. Someone else talking about how fantastically your offering worked for them is worth a lot more than you saying it. Supporting your claim with “we’ve served over 10,000 happy customers” lends weight and credence to your claims.
Even better if you can point the reader at a detailed case study. Hard evidence that your product or service excels at what it’s meant to do is worth a thousand great sales lines.
It’s a bonus if you can secure official approval by an industry-recognized expert in the field, too.
Keep it to the point
Your email landed in the inbox of someone who’s never heard of you. Your subject line was good enough that they clicked it and are taking a glance at your body copy.
Don’t make them regret it by taking forever to make your point. Keep it short – a few sentences to a couple paragraphs – and informative. They took unplanned time out of their day to read your email, make it worth their while.
Offer real value
While we’re talking about making it worth their time, make sure you give them something worthwhile and valuable. If your email reads and feels like an ad, it’ll be treated like an ad.
If it reads and feels like useful content, then it’ll be treated as such. Address a problem the reader has, teach them something new, and they’ll be happy they read your message. And much more likely to convert on it, too.
Urgency and scarcity are very powerful
Fear of missing out is a strong motivator. Add it to your subject line and body copy with phrases like “don’t miss out”, “time’s almost up”, “today only”. It’s one of the best ways to urge someone to take an action.
This works for time-based things like limited-time promotional offers, where the reader is urged to take an action before they miss the opportunity.
Another approach is to spark alarm at an ongoing problem that requires an urgent solution. For example, if you’re a web designer, an email with the subject “Critical problems with <company name>’s website” will get a lot more opens than “We offer web design services”. If you back it up with examples of those problems and then offer a solution, you’ll have their interest.
The best cold email copywriting doesn’t sound cold
Cold emails have a tough time already – you’re asking someone to unexpectedly take time out of their day to read your message. If that message sounds like an ad, you’ll lose whatever interest they already had – if they even open it in the first place.
If your email feels more like a conversation with valuable content, it will be much more successful. Your goal is for the reader to forget that the email they’re reading was unsolicited, and to engage with the content as though they’d requested it themselves.
To really make sure your email reads well, read it out loud as though you were saying it to the recipient face to face. If it sounds unnatural, tweak it.
Use the right tools to ensure deliverability
With all that in mind, you’ll still need to get that email sent. This can be troublesome, particularly if you’re sending to a large list, because standard email platforms don’t allow that.
Even if you’re on a bulk email sending platform, you’re running the risk of being blacklisted if your recipient list contains bad data, spam traps etc.
There’s a twofold solution to this problem. The first is to ensure you’re purchasing your lists from reputable data providers. This will already go a long way to preventing deliverability issues.
Just in case there is bad data in there, you’ll want to get the list verified and sanitized.
Clickback MAIL does that for you. When you upload a list, it performs a number of hygiene checks on every contact, removing any bad data and spam traps that could impact your deliverability.
It also offers multiple layers of safeguards to keep your domains and IPs from being blacklisted. Plus a powerful email editor, campaign reporting and tracking, and more.
Want to see just how it works? Schedule a 1-on-1 live demo now.