With the right cold email approach, you can easily get in touch with your prospects, book more meetings, and sign more deals.
But the problem is that many salespeople still use the same self-centred and sales-y outreach methods that make prospects run. No wonder why they don’t see any results...
So, how do you make your outreach stand out from the crowd and get more clients? We've analyzed hundreds of cold email campaigns during the past 3.5 years and, in this article, you'll find out what to avoid and what to focus on.
Before diving into examples that will help you improve your campaigns, here's an overview of the most common outreach mistakes:
#1 Self-centered pitch
#2 Long paragraphs
#3 Selling from the start
#4 Not focusing on a specific pain point
#5 Wrong email design
#6 Using industry jargon
#7 Not A/B testing
#8 Having multiple CTAs
#9 Not proofreading
#10 No personalization
The harsh truth is - your prospects don’t care about you, or your latest features. They care about what you can do for them and how you can help them succeed. So there’s no need to do a praise talk about your company, products, or even worse, yourself.
Here’s want you want to avoid when reaching out to your prospects:
This email won’t generate many replies, and here’s why:
So, how should you get in touch with your prospect instead? Let's break down this example:
Why this approach works?
Rather than making your prospects hear about your product and company, try to find out more about them. What are their struggles and pain points, and what do they need help with? Use the pitch to build a genuine connection.
Once you make them feel like you're there to help them, not to sell, they will feel more comfortable booking a meeting.
Before deep-diving into why writing long paragraphs is a mistake, you should be aware of the fact that prospects will scan your cold email before actually reading it. That’s why you should keep it short and easy to read.
Here’s an example of a cold email that doesn’t have lots of chances to get replies:
Why should you avoid this style?
Instead, follow structure practices from this example:
What makes this structure good?
If you want your prospects to read the content of your email, you need to keep it clear and concise. Make sure to outline the core value in short and pointed out sentences without making your prospects take too much time to search for it.
Instead of jumping right into your sales pitch, focus on building a relationship with your prospect first. This boosts your chances of actually getting replies and closing more deals.
Here’s what you want to avoid when getting in touch with your prospects:
Why this approach will never give good results?
Instead, aim to build a relationship by following the good practices from this example:
Why this outreach approach works?
To wrap up, cold outreach should never be about selling your product or service. Focusing on relationship building won’t only help you learn more about your target audience, but also close a deal and grow your revenue.
Imagine opening an email containing a huge list of random services someone is offering. Even though one of them might solve your struggles, it will be hard to notice it between other irrelevant ones.
Focusing on your prospect’s specific pain point shows them you did your research, know how to help them, and you’re ready to do so. And therefore, they will be more likely to respond.
Here’s how not to do it:
Why this cold email won't get many replies?
Instead, follow the good practices from this example:
Why does it work?
Everything you have to offer might be impressive for you, but your prospects would care more about a specific service or product solving their specific pain point. The more you show your prospects you understand their struggles, it’s easier to tease them with a solution, which will bring you more replies.
Lots of people want their cold emails to look nice and appealing, almost like newsletters. But, cold email and inbound marketing email and two different things.
I’m sure you don’t want your prospects reading your well-written outreach copy thinking “I didn’t subscribe to this!”. Unfortunately, that happens very often due to poor design choices which lead to a low reply rate.
This is what your cold email shouldn't look like:
What's bad about this email design?
If you wanna boost your chances to get replies to your cold emails, you might wanna pick this design instead:
Why it works?
Many email designs might seem catchy but, with cold outreach, it’s not only about grabbing the attention. It’s about providing value. Focusing on the message (rather than design) gives your prospects the feeling that they received an email from another human, not a business - which increases your chances to get a reply.
A golden rule for succeeding in your outreach is to talk in your audience’s language. Knowing the ins and outs of your industry makes you assume that everyone understands what you’re talking about - which isn't always the case. That’s why you should always adjust your writing when reaching out to people.
Here’s what you don't want your email to sound like:
Here’s why this email is hard to understand:
Instead, follow good practices from this example:
What makes this email get replies?
Using fancy words in your cold emails won’t make you look smarter. On the contrary, you’ll make yourself hard to understand which lowers your chances of getting replies. If you’re reaching out to your prospects because you wanna build a connection with them, make yourself clear first.
A high-quality cold email is a result of strategically chosen email elements. One wrong CTA, or subject line can cost you a reply. So when in doubt - a/b test!
A/B testing is an experiment where you're split-testing two (or more) variations at random, to figure out which variation brings better results. When done right, it can help you determine what variation your audience prefers and optimize your future campaigns for higher reply rates.
But, in this example, you can see that not every A/B testing is executed correctly:
What makes this testing example non-efficient?
The two variables were tested out simultaneously (subject line and body copy). This makes it hard to understand which of them influenced different behaviour. Therefore, you don’t know which one to implement in the rest of your cold emails.
To avoid that, test out one variable at a time:
Here, you can clearly see which subject line caused. the prospect's different behaviour and start implementing your new findings into sequences.
From the subject line, body, and CTA, it’s crucial to test out and measure your campaigns. Knowing what doesn’t work for your audience is as important as knowing what it does.
If you want to automate your a/b testing and track the real-time results, try lemlist email automation tool for free.
When doing cold outreach, all your emails should end with a clear Call-To-Action. If you use more than one CTA, you might get your prospects not knowing what to do next. On the other hand, if you don’t use any, your cold email might loose purpose as there’s no action for prospects to fulfil.
Here’s what you want to avoid:
What's wrong with this example?
Instead, follow the good practices from this example:
Why use this approach in your cold emails?
If they aren’t interested in a meeting with you, sending additional links to booking a meeting won’t change their mind. The key is to make it simple. If you want them to accept the value proposal, you need to make their next step clear.
It’s okay to ignore some grammar rules to make your message sound more natural, but there’s no excuse for bad spelling. If you didn’t write the name of your prospects or their company correctly, it means only that you didn’t bother enough to double-check it.
Here’s what you want to avoid:
Let's see why this cold email won't bring good results:
And to never repeat the same mistake again, try using lemlist custom variables:
So, what's in it for you?
Writing correctly prospects’ info should be the bare minimum. Yet, it seems that so many salespeople fail. When done correctly, it’s a good way to capture a prospect’s attention. The first email you send will leave the first impression, and based on that, the prospect will decide whether they will or won't reply.
The bigger the personalization, the bigger the chances for getting replies and booking more meetings. Outreach personalization can help you connect with your prospects on a higher level and build trust more easily. Once your prospects feel like the message was carefully written especially just for them, the chances for a meeting get only higher.
Here’s an example of how not to do it:
Why cold email like this won't get replies?
To avoid that, check out the good practices from this example:
Why is this approach good?
Email personalization is one of the things that will make or break your cold outreach. No one likes to receive generic emails that only aim to sell. Instead, focus on email quality over quantity and really research who you’re talking to. And whoever you talk to, talk as you would talk with a friend.
If you want to level up your outreach game, you should always:
… and don’t forget to test it out!
Following these steps should help you boost response rates and book more meetings, but most importantly, build meaningful relationships with your target audience.
The more relationships you make, the more potential customers you have, which will eventually lead to higher sales numbers. 💸
P.S. If you wanna get the best results from our cold emails, here's a list of additional mistakes to avoid.