5 Common Cold Emailing Mistakes to Avoid in 2020.

 In Guest blog

Naysayers can’t get past their beaten rhetoric where they keep announcing the death of email marketing. The truth?
Email delivers the highest ROI for marketers. Compared to video, tv, radio, display or paid advertising, email has always managed to stay ahead of the lot in generating the highest ROI.


Marketers don’t touch cold emailing with a long pole because of a number of reasons:

  • They're terrified of the risk. What if the mail goes to the spam folder or gets marked as spam?
  • There’s the obvious downside of crafting and sending emails with so much care only to find the bulk of them never getting any replies.
  • Is it even legal? With GDPR, cold-emailing has come under the scanner of doubt.

If you haven’t been getting any success with cold email, it could be due to one or many reasons. I am mostly speaking and including examples pertaining to blogger outreach. But the rules and general criteria apply to any cold email campaign you run.

Here are the biggest reasons why your cold emails don’t work:

Mistake #1: The Email Has Little To Generate Trust

Lack of personalization and skewed targeting act as two big double whammies behind why most cold-emails don’t get opened.

It starts with the introduction itself: Most cold emails don’t have any sort of introduction. So the sender just wants the recipient to trust them even though they don’t know who the sender is and what they do. That’s why it’s important to start the email right.

This is what I am talking about.

The sender doesn’t introduce himself. He doesn’t know who I am. He doesn’t know whether I am a startup or established business. He’s shooting in the dark.

Don’t do this. Use first names. Include information that personalizes the content and so on. Something like that is considered downright creepy in the real world? Why should online be any different?

Mistake #2: The Email Isn’t Relevant

When you’re sending an email to a person, think of him as a unique individual. Most take a spray and pray approach to cold-emailing, spam blasting their way into inboxes hoping that they will hit some success. Probably, that’s the reason only 8.5% of blogger outreach emails get a response email. On the flipside emails with personalization get 32.7% open rates.

You can’t be successful spamming the hell out of everyone who comes your way. It doesn’t work. Not anymore. You might know who Brian Dean is. If not, he’s a pretty big influencer in the digital marketing space. He grew his blog to mammoth numbers within a few months of blogging.

Case in point- Brian was able to double his organic traffic in 14 days, thanks to the links and traction generated with outreach.

That’s something most people can only dream of. So when he says something, especially about outreach-- people listen.

Brian says that most cold emails don’t get a response because they are super-vague. Say someone’s reaching out to you to contribute a guest post. But, they don’t pitch you topics. There are no links in the email to past guest posts. A generic email without any social proof ( as in links to previously contributed sites) or without any specifics fails to generate a response from the recipient. There’s not a whole lot to do. It’s easy to toss such mails to the trash.
Personalization and relevancy work. Period. And this is only possible if you research your prospects well ahead of time.

The benefits? If your emails are personalized and customized there’s always the chance that the person receiving it will talk about it on their blog or social media. This generates word of mouth for your brand that can grow your business.

They become brand ambassadors for your site. The other person has the same hopes and desires that make the spectrum of our emotions. He feels the rising tide of anger just as we do.

All those logical decisions are made by people who underneath the mask they wear are just a vulnerable bag of emotions. Just as we are.

Most of our decision making happens subconsciously. We like to rationalize the decisions we make. That doesn’t mean a thing. Emotions drive our purchases.

You see where I am going. People have problems and you have solutions. The best way to get your foot in the door is by empathizing with those problems.

The same thing applies to cold emails. People are constantly on the hunt for solutions. So, your cold email and approach has to nail this. You have to tell your recipients how your service benefits them.

Mistake #3: No Subject Line Optimization

Since subject lines are the first brush someone has with your email, make it good. The ideal subject line is far from easy. You have to build enough curiosity but not go over the top. You might be tempted to oversell. But doing so only discourages prospects from trusting you.

Subject lines that work are creative, prove interest and information. Subject lines that tend to work well.

1) Use the subject line that says “Quick Question”

A quick question can invoke curiosity. There’s a certain uncertainty attached with that subject line. People want to find out what happens next.

Ever cursed tv shows for leaving things at a cliff-hanger? I often do. And yet I return to those shows because I want to know what happens next.

With this particular subject line you create the same effect. It’s a hook and it has the potential to get your email opened. The reader doesn’t know yet as to what the question is and how it matters to them.

Don’t take the opportunity and turn it into a 2 page long email. Odds are that won’t get read that far. Say what you want to say quickly.

Different templates you can use

  • Personalize with person’s name : Quick question for you [name of the person]
  • Personalize with brand/company name Quick question about [COMPANY]

They’re are short and targeted.

This way the email looks like you want a response. You want to start a conversation with the recipient. There’s no sales pitch and that makes it intriguing enough to be opened to take a sneak in.

2) X Tips for [Company] for [Pain Point]

Headline formulas that tend to work with blog posts tend to work here as well. Ever heard of headlining your article with a number. That gets it read.
Similarly you can attract an audience and make them pay attention by using headline formulas such as this.

They’re more likely to open the email with the numbered list since it's scannable.

Here are a few potential subject lines for a list:

  • The Simple 3-steps Process for Your [BRAND] to Get More
  • The 3 things every [business] needs to know
  • 7 point checklist for your [brand]

Mistake #4: You Don’t Follow-up

It’s fool-hardy to imagine that your recipients will get back to you based on your first email alone. Sometimes your mail goes straight to the spam box.
Other times, they’re too busy to reply. There’s no shame in following-up. You’ve spent so much time writing and personalizing that email. Will you give up now?

A study showed an 18% response rate to the first email they sent. For the fourth email they got 13% response rate. And for the sixth email and 27% response rate.

So how do you space follow-up emails?

Steli Refti from Close.io gives the following formula.

Concluding Thoughts

So here’s what you can do to improve the email open rates for your cold email and get more people to engage with your mails.

Don’t make common mistakes as I outlined in the post. Spam blasting cookie-cutter messages seems easy but there are far better ways to generate engagement.

What do you think of the post? Let us know in the comment section!

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