8 Cold Email Tips from Experts to Improve Response Rates in 2021

Cold emailing is non-negotiable for successful lead generation programs. For agencies, an outbound business development program that creates consistent lead flow is the ultimate solution to getting off the agency revenue rollercoaster.

When done right, cold email is a powerful, cost-effective, and quick way to generate opportunities that predictably lead to more new clients. With so much noise in professional’s inboxes, getting prospects to read your emails is more than half the battle. 

It’s essential to go into cold emailing campaigns with a plan. There are ways to make your emails stand out and achieve high open rates. In this article, I’ll share which cold email tactics are working for business development and sales experts in 2021. 


1. Personalize Your Emails

Making your emails personal has the potential to double your response rates. Salesloft analyzed tens of thousands of emails and found that you’ll get a 112% lift just by personalizing your message. Those are incredible returns for just a little extra effort.

Also, personalization reduces the chance of your emails getting caught in spam filters. Using the same templates over and over reduces your open rates over time. This means that even your best email will eventually lose its effectiveness if it’s not personalized.

“Personalization is the greatest differentiator between a winning and losing sales campaign. Nowadays, people can quickly snuff out between a template and personalized email. This is why being genuine and authentic is so valued. By studying someone before you send the email, you can mention their favorite hobbies, recent awards, kids, college, or anything else relevant that you two have in common. Not only does this get their attention, but it also creates an affinity. Now, if your offer is strong enough, you’re likely to get them to take your call to action.”

-Brian Robben, CEO of Robben Media


2. Make Your Subject Lines Sound Natural 

Your subject lines are the first thing a prospect sees in their inbox. This makes them a crucial part of your email. Within the first second of reading your subject line, recipients determine whether your email is worth opening.

Remember, prospects are highly skeptical, so your subject line should look and sound more casual than a corporate marketing email. 

“A subject line in Title Case is a dead giveaway for a marketing mail and goes straight to trash. You want your email to look as if it is from someone they know. To make prospects want to read the content inside your email, make your subject line sound like your message might be from a friend or colleague.”

-Nikita Agarwal, Head of Growth at Milestone Localization


3. Include Personalized Images

One of the latest trends in email outreach is adding personalized images to your messages. Personalized photos and videos effectively “catch the eye” of your prospects. Customized images are compelling because they follow the most basic cold outreach principle: making the email about them, not you.

“Humans process images differently than text. Adding an image will make the recipient curious, and they will pay attention to the email. You can add an image to the start of an email or after some text.” 

-Azza Shahid, Digital Marketer at GigWorker


4. Include Videos in Your Emails

Like including images in your emails, videos are a proven way to make your emails stand out and increase their effectiveness. Just in the past year, there’s been an 800% increase in watch time of ad-supported videos globally. There’s no denying that video is the future of marketing.

“People perceive videos to be more valuable than text. Why? They deem videos as more challenging to make, and thus, more expensive to produce. If they see a video, they’ll take notice and make more time to consume it.

A MarketingProfs survey found that 76% of marketers agree that email videos led to higher click-through rates.  “Video” as a keyword had the biggest impact on whether emails were opened. The results of this survey were staggering: by adding the term “video” to your email text and title, open rates increased by 18%, unsubscribe rates came down by 26%, and click-through rate increased by 20%.”

-Andre Oentoro, founder of BreadnBeyond


5. Always Include a Call to Action

Your call to action (CTA) ranks second in importance after your subject lines. A CTA is an action you want your prospect to take after receiving your email. It’s the reason you’re contacting your prospect to begin with. This may seem obvious, but many either write unclear CTAs or leave them out entirely. 

“For the best result, have one clear call to action.” Make your CTA clear, simple, and short. The recipient doesn’t have time to read through long emails. If the email is too long or there is no clear request asking them to do something, they’ll most likely delete it without even reading it.”

-Azza Shahid, Digital Marketer at GigWorker


6. Combine PPC and Email to Boost Results

Combining pay-per-click (PPC) ads with your email efforts packs a powerful punch. PPC ads allow your agency to rank on search engine and social media searches, taking buyers from the awareness stage to the consideration stage. Then, your emails can bring them over the finish line, turning warm leads into hot leads. 

“It sounds counterintuitive to run ads on your email list as you can reach out to them for free or at a much lower cost. But not everyone regularly checks their email, and people tend to forget about your brand over time. This combination will generate higher email response rates and an audience that requires less convincing.”

-Yogesh Jain, Founder of ConceptAllies


7. Keep Your Cadences Consistent 

Hubspot defines a sales cadence as a sequential order of different outreach methods spread out over a set number of days. In other words, following up on your cold emails is just as important as sending them in the first place. Consistency is one of the most critical pieces of any business development campaign. 

“Create and maintain a consistent email schedule. Having a consistent schedule and impactful email content takes precedence over the date and time you send your emails. Sporadic emails don’t leave a good impression on the user. It’s much better to have between two and five email campaigns a month to stay fresh in the recipient’s mind.”

-Simon Dwight, Founder and CEO of SDK Marketing


8. Automate Your Cold Outreach 

Sales prospecting had already begun experiencing technological transformation, and then 2020 happened. This year’s events catapulted automation even further. Prospecting will shift almost entirely online as efforts like door to door visits and in-person events dwindle. The demand for more digital outreach, especially email marketing, is flourishing. 

“Artificial Intelligence is making big steps forward, getting closer and closer to human intelligence. Especially in fields like email outreach. Advances in big data and algorithms allow sales departments to access highly qualified data about prospects, allowing for more personalized approaches.”

-Gabriel Cian, Co-founder of GetEmail


The Bottom Line On Cold Emailing

  • Personalize your emails. People have become experts at quickly sniffing out templated marketing messages.
  • Your subject line is the first thing prospects see in their inbox, making them the most critical part of your email. 
  • Personalized images and videos increase open and click-through rates because they capture the reader’s attention.
  • Include clear, straightforward CTAs. Missing or vague CTAs defeat the purpose of cold emailing.
  • Combining paid ads with your cold emailing efforts will boost your lead generation program results.
  • Take advantage of email automation technology. The advancement of AI will increase efficiency without you having to sacrifice personalization. 

Watch my Masterclass, “Three Keys to Landing 6- and 7-Figure Opportunities Predictably” for more information on how to generate leads for your agency through outbound business development.

Christian Banach

Christian Banach

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