Are you a podcast host looking to find new podcast guests? Are you a freelance writer looking for writing opportunities? Or are you a brand or business looking to build your backlinks? Then chances are high that you’re needing to reach out to people via a cold email, or its relative, the pitch email.
Cold emails are a great way to get in touch with potential customers and partners. They open the door to making personal connections, building relationships, landing that next podcast interview, or generating new leads. However, if not done correctly a cold email can have the opposite effect. Instead of converting those leads, it could land you in the spam folder, or worse, the bin, and all those opportunities disappear into the ether. And you certainly don’t want that! That’s why it’s important to hone the skill of crafting cold emails that are both effective and engaging.
But before we get to the how, let’s talk about the what…
Specifically, exactly what a cold email is.
What is a Cold Email?
A cold email is defined as an unsolicited email sent to someone who has not previously expressed an interest in hearing from you or your business. Cold emails can be used for networking, promoting yourself or your business, and even for sales purposes. Cold emails are different from other types of marketing because they are sent to people who have not agreed to receive them.
And therein lies the rub.
Because in order to land that podcast interview or partner with that dream brand, you have to overcome the fact that your intended recipient has, up until this point, not agreed to this communication. This barrier has to be overcome if you want your email to deliver the intended outcome.
In short, you have to show that your cold email, in fact, offers a hot commodity.
And that’s exactly what we want to help you with today.
We receive a fair amount of cold emails, or “pitch emails”. Many go straight to the trash. (Sorry, but it’s true.) Others are opened…and then get sent to that trash can in cyberspace. But there are some that have us seriously considering the offer on the table, and have resulted in favorable outcomes.
So, what’s the difference between all these cold emails? Keep reading as we break down our tips for crafting a cold email that actually converts, and what to avoid if you don’t want to be iced out!
Steps for Creating a Cold Email that Actually Converts
1. Develop a clear tone and structure for your email
Step Number One for creating a cold email that converts lies in the planning. Before you start writing that cold email, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want your email to accomplish. Are you trying to land an interview? Promote a product or service? Introduce yourself and build relationships? Once you know the purpose of your email, choose a tone and structure that will best serve that purpose.
A word of warning…
Once you know the tone and structure you want your email to follow, by all means, create a template.
If you have different purposes for different cold emails, create different templates! Pitch emails, or cold emails, are definitely NOT a “one-size-fits-all” type of operation! But more on that in a bit.
Next up, Tip Number 2…
2. Craft a compelling subject line
The next step in creating a cold email that converts is creating an email that is actually opened! And in order to do that, you need a subject line that gets your foot in the door. Or in this case, gets your recipient, at the very least, opening your email.
You need to take time and work on your subject line. You need to make your email stand out from all the other emails assailing your intended target’s email.
In short, you need a subject line that grabs the recipient’s attention. It should be concise, to the point, and it should set expectations of what they’ll find in your email.
If you’re reaching out to a popular brand, or a “big name” in the podcasting space, for instance, you have to consider the fact that they likely receive tons of cold emails every day. So a generic subject line like, “Business opportunity for you” is probably not going to get your email opened. Subject lines are a vital part of crafting a cold email that actually converts, so don’t overlook this step.
Want more insight into writing killer subject lines? Check out this post: 13 Tips on Writing an Email Subject Line (Plus 100 Examples)
Speaking of generic, let’s tackle Tip Number 3…
3. Know your audience and personalize your message
While all the other tips are important, this one is probably the most important. Sure, you crafted a great subject line, and got us opening your email. But want to know what’s sending your pitch email on a one-way trip to the trash can in the sky? A generic message!
For example, if your pitch email has a line like, “I have a great opportunity for your business.” To the trash it goes!
Because you didn’t even take the time to state what business you’re referring to! A sure sign that this is just a generic template you use for whoever you’re reaching out to.
If you want to send a cold email that actually delivers, do not do this! I repeat (in caps) DO NOT DO THIS!
Rather, show that you’ve at least done some homework on who the business/person/brand/etc. are and what they offer. Include some details that make the recipient feel that you’re actually talking to them as an individual.
In general, if you can offer a solution or an opportunity that is tailored specifically to the recipient, they’ll be far more likely to respond favorably. Or at the very least, pique their interest enough that they reach out to you to find out more.
4. Establish your credibility
Next up, you also want your cold emails to establish your credibility and niche authority. You can establish credibility by demonstrating your knowledge and skills in the cold email. Explain how your product or service can help them, or what they can receive should they choose to take you up on your offer.
If applicable, you could provide relevant data and research, or cite customer testimonials as evidence of your credibility.
5. Clearly explain what you are offering and why it is beneficial to the recipient
Next up, your cold email should clearly convey what you are offering and how it can benefit the recipient. The more specific and relevant you can make the offer, the better. Remember, you’re avoiding generic at all costs!
Avoid lines like, “This offer is beneficial to both parties.” How? What precisely do you mean by this?
(Can you tell this is another “straight to trash” offense?)
Rather, you want to explain to each recipient what your offer can do for them. Explain why they should take you up on your pitch, and how it will help them in the long run.
Highlight what you can do for them in terms of solving their problems, making their lives easier, or helping them reach their goals.
Bottom line? You also want to use your cold email to show that you understand the recipient’s needs and that you have a solution to help them meet these needs, reach their goals, or overcome any problems they may be facing.
6. Offer an incentive
Your cold email could also include some sort of ‘hook’ or incentive. This is not always necessary but may be something that tips the scales in your favor, depending on the purpose of your cold email or pitch, and what you have to offer.
If you’re offering a product or service, depending on what action you’re wanting the recipient to take, you could offer them a free trial or sample, even if they’re not planning on taking you up on whatever your initial pitch is.
This is a great way to help you keep your foot in the door. But more importantly, it can show that you’re serious about the pitch, and confident in what you have to offer. In short, it can help establish your authority, and this will always keep you in good stead, even if something only comes to fruition down the line.
7. Include a call-to-action that encourages reply or further engagement
As you’re getting ready to sign and send your cold email, you’re going to want to include a clear and logical call-to-action. The action you’re wanting your recipient to take should obviously align with whatever your initial pitch was. But whatever it is, it should be clear, easy to understand, and as easy as possible for your recipient to execute.
Finally, it’s totally okay to follow up after a few days if your initial email garnered no response.
However, this email needs just as much care and precision as your initial cold email. As such, you still need to consider your subject line. And you still need to make sure that this email does not feel generic or impersonal.
In addition, this email also needs to be respectful and avoid any language or syntax that could read as passive-aggressive.
As a bonus tip: Try not to inundate your recipients with your requests. Instead, wait a couple of days in between each one and include new information or a varied call-to-action.
Cold emails can be incredibly effective…if crafted correctly. Above all, it’s important to take the time to craft an email that is personal, relevant, and engaging.
Do your research. Make sure your brands or goals align. And steer clear of anything that feels generic or impersonal. And with a little practice, you should see an increase in responses from your cold emails!
Related read: Growing Your Podcast Audience Through Email Marketing