The article “6 Actionable Ways to Increase Your Cold Email Response Rate” was originally published in 2018. It has been reworked and modernized for 2021.
Outbound email marketing can be an extremely effective way of acquiring new sales leads and establishing key B2B connections. One challenge the sales and marketing teams often face is increasing the response rate of their cold email campaigns.
No matter what your campaign goals are, without creating content that manages to earn a response – your efforts are all for naught. Whether you’re in sales or marketing, it’s your job to inspire action from the reader in your emails.
With the right messaging in the subject line, your cold emails will get opened. As challenging as that aspect may be, the real fun begins when it comes time to create infectious email content that’s impossible to ignore.
Achieving a higher response rate from a cold (non-permission based) email campaign can be difficult, so we’ve outlined 6 actionable strategies to help you out.
6 Actionable Ways to Increase Your Cold Email Response Rate
Not all benchmark data is the same, and it should come as no surprise that B2B email open rates are often much lower than B2C emails. The business-to-business audience is a tough crowd of busy professionals that like to do their research.
If you hope to capture the attention of a business professional, your cold email game better be on-point. Use the following proven tactics to increase the response rate of your cold email campaigns.
1. Warm Cold Prospects Up With Content Marketing
Content marketing can be a powerful way to compliment your cold email marketing efforts. But if content marketing stems from website traffic through search engines, what does that have to do with cold email marketing?
Think about it, if the reader has already consumed your content in some form prior to your email, they’re not really cold anymore. When it comes to marketing your business towards your target buyer persona in your industry, it’s your job to be everywhere.
This strategy includes providing detailed and insightful information about the solutions to industry-specific problems. Share your unique business perspective and experience with the world through various online outlets to increase the chances of crossing paths with your future clients.
- guest posting on relevant websites and blogs
- regularly publishing blog content
- producing branded video content resources
Remember, the goal is for your prospects to discover you on their own. If you provide them with valuable free information at an earlier touchpoint, they are much more likely to respond to your cold email campaign later. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these 25 clever content marketing examples by Optinmonster.com
2. Read Your Cold Email Out Loud Before Sending
This simple, yet powerful technique can have a serious impact on the response rate of your cold email campaign. The last thing you want is to send a bulk email campaign to a large audience with uninspired content that is destined for the trash can.
Reading the email copy out loud has a way of further humanizing your message. It lets you hear your email the way people actually talk. I bet if you looked, you could easily find examples of cold emails you’ve received that failed to leverage this strategy.
A cold email that is poorly worded with grammatical errors feels just that…cold!
In the world of cold B2B emailing, first impressions are everything. Your email should be clear, clever, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Some errors may not get noticed until you actually take the time to read the message out loud to yourself!
It’s best to filter your content to ensure that it answers the following questions:
- Will this email capture the attention of my target audience?
- Is the message free of grammatical or spelling errors?
- Have I included a clear call to action for the reader to take?
- Why should the reader take action? (What problem are you solving)
If the email sounds uninteresting or uninspired when read aloud, chances are it will have the same effect when read silently. This technique is a great way to identify whether your message is too long or repetitive as well.
3. Ask Your Team for Honest Feedback
You might think that your email has got everything going for it, but it’s easy to get “too close” to the project and miss potentially egregious issues that are staring you in the face.
Before you hit send on that cold email campaign, send a test email to someone you trust to give you some honest feedback. This simple step takes very little time and could potentially save you a major headache.
Having a second pair of eyes to proof your email not only decreases the risk of sending out an embarrassing spelling error but also gives you another interpretation of the way you’ve framed the content and overall message.
Send it to someone who is going to be brutally honest. This is not the time to get sensitive, because that cold audience certainly won’t be! The harsher they critique your cold email, the better.
Reading the email with a fresh pair of eyes is something you are not capable of on your own at this stage. Do yourself and favor and get some insightful input from a friend or coworker before hitting send.
4. Keys to a Subject Line That Gets Opened
It’s no surprise that improving the subject lines of your emails can increase open rates, but there are varying opinions about what to write in this important area. Some companies spend months trying to perfect the subject lines of their cold email campaigns to improve their response rate 1 percent at a time.
The bottom line is, if your subject line isn’t compelling, people are not persuaded to open your email. Here are some proven ways to get more opens by improving your subject lines.
Personalizing your emails is a great way to improve campaign performance overall. You may already employ this strategy to the body of your email, but did you know it can also have a powerful effect in the subject line as well?
Inject the email recipients’ names or better yet, company name in the subject line. This one tweak is enough to make your email message stand out against the rest, and feel more personal.
People are conditioned to respond when they hear or read their name – the same goes for when they hear or read other personal information too.
Don’t Ask Questions
This one may be a bit of a surprise to you. When you think about getting a response from someone, the first thing that comes to mind is to propose a question, right? The problem is, this technique has been completely overdone, and the effect is less powerful (It also comes off a little spammy).
Instead, present the idea in an intriguing way that mentions a specific task or action. For example, rather than writing “Having trouble generating B2B leads?”, you could word it as, “Your B2B lead generation problem”. Try it out, the results may surprise you.
Keep it Short!
Studies show that 6-10 words is the sweet spot when it comes to the optimal email subject length. That doesn’t leave a lot of room to get fancy, so get creative with those 6-8 words!
Be sure to include tip number 1 here (personalization). Adding the name of the recipients business in the subject line has proven to increase the response rate of a cold email campaign.
5. Improve the Formatting of Your Emails
For a cold email campaign to perform, it must look professional and like it was written by a real person (What a concept). One simple tip is to remove most formatting. Don’t use varying fonts and/or colors in your email body content. This includes not overusing bold, italics and underlined characters as well.
Why? Because people don’t normally format a one-to-one email message this way. Multiple fonts and colors make your email look like an advertisement, and quickly send a red flag to the reader. Instead, focus on creating email messages that look handwritten from one professional to another. It should blend in with the other day to day emails your prospect receives from existing contacts. Take the below example from Bananatag.
Include your professional signature in the campaign. This includes your name, title, phone number and company name. To remain fully compliant, you’ll also need to include your physical address and of course, an opt-out link.
6. Focus on the Benefits
Marketers and sales professionals often make the mistake of listing the features their business provides, not benefits. Features are easier to write about because they are not directly related to a specific audience type. On the other hand, writing about the benefits the reader will experience requires a deeper knowledge of their current position.
The benefits should clearly state the personalized benefits your target audience can expect if they follow up with you. For example, for Clickback, we will let our prospects know that our Email Lead Generation (ELG) software allows you to maximize the ROI of your purchased list. This is a common problem our customers have. We provide a solution that allows them to realize the value of a previously underperforming asset.
Avoid jargon wherever possible, and keep the message simple and easy to understand. If the reader doesn’t understand exactly what you’re talking about, they’ll quickly move on. You need to explain how your product or service can solve an obvious problem their business is having.
- Introduce yourself
- Create a sense of urgency
- Make the email as personal as possible
- Keep the message short and simple
- Explain the problem your business solves
- Inject the “fear-of-missing-out” in your content
- Build credibility using relevant testimonials and case studies
- Include a clear call-to-action
The goal of your cold email prospecting campaign is to introduce your business while offering a valuable solution to a common problem your ideal prospect faces – not to close the deal with a single email. Present the reader with useful information that applies to their specific needs – and they’ll notice.
Use the tips outlined above to get your cold audience to opt-in to your drip marketing campaign, or sign up for a demo or one-on-one call. If you’ve managed to pique their interest by offering personalized, well-thought-out content, you are much more likely to get a positive response.
Send Personalized Email Campaigns to a Cold or Purchased Email List with Clickback
Our Email Lead Generation software was designed to turn a cold list of contacts into warm, opted in B2B leads. The advanced list hygiene tool will perform a variety of health checks to ensure that all of the bad data has been removed.
You’ll benefit from our industry-leading cold email deliverability, and be able to create profitable campaigns that accelerate your B2B lead generation efforts.