Cold emails are usually no more welcome that a cold phone call. However, For small businesses, the emergence of email marketing has transformed the opportunities they have to communicate, but so many fail to do some pretty simple things before embarking on a campaigns, so screw it up, and often give it away as ineffective.
Email marketing has become subject of some very good automation software, integrated in highly sophisticated platforms like Salesforce, and the Adobe marketing cloud, but for SME’s without the financial and management resources to make the investments these require successful, there are still very good low cost packages, like Mailchimp, which at the basic level is free, Aweber, and others at about $30/month.
However, the key to success is not the software, it is how you use it, so some simple market tactics to use.
- Find a connection to the recipient. You have a much better chance of not just getting the email opened, but also read, if you can establish some meaningful connection with the recipient. A common former employer, people you know, interests you share, or some project type you may be working on. This takes some time and research, but the investment pays off. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for uncovering these connections.
- Nail the email subject line. If you fail to do this, the email will not be opened and read. We are all too busy to open emails that do not immediately touch some chord. The challenges is to do this in a very few words that communicate the value the email will deliver, and why it was sent to you. The subject line is in effect the headline of your story, so make it compelling to the potential reader, or they just become at best, a passing browser.
- Keep the email short, simple, and with a clear call to action. The recipient must understand easily what the message is all about without having to interpret blocks of text. Remember that many of them will be opened on mobile devices, making the clarity even more important. At the end of reading it, which should be a very short time, there must be no doubt about what you want them to do with the information.
- Be respectful. If the recipient gives their time to read, and hopefully respond, that gift needs to be respected, and even if they do not immediately respond, following up too quickly, or too aggressively will rarely be appreciated. You are asking them for something, be respectful of their time and expertise, and the simple fact that it is you doing the asking, not them. Disrespect is about the quickest way to turn off somebody from responding I can think of short of being rude.
- Never be desperate. Desperation is not a pretty sight, and will sway most people away from responding. Desperate people have little to offer back to a time poor person with the power to say yea or nay to you.
- Never, never, never promise something you cannot deliver.
As a final catch all for email marketing success, it is essential that you have a list. This is one case where bigger is actually better, the more accurately segmented and targeted the better, and the greater the level of active “opt-in” by those on the list the better.
Like all marketing activities, the better you are at it, the more targeted to the message recipients interests, problems, and situation the activity, the better your results will be. See the email you are about to send as if it was you that had just received it, and be a harsh judge.