If you are someone who checks their mail on a regular basis, you form a part of the 3.9 billion email users, a figure which is projected to grow to 4.8 billion in 2024.
With a broad audience and its own set of perks, email outreach is a powerful tool and a massively influential channel for brands. Cold emails are a way to start a conversation with a potential client to build a connection with them.
Cold emails have come a long way since the start of brands using them, to this age. Cold emails started with mass emails to random potential prospects to targeted, personalized mails used today. Needless to say, the approach had better results when cold emails shifted from sounding like a sales pitch to a personalized email.
A survey conducted by Statista mentions that one-third of employees check their mail at least once an hour during office hours, but the weekends have the highest open and click rate.
If you’re looking to boost outreach conversions, there are a lot of elements that weigh in. From using personalized templates to spam filters, tracking the performance, and open rates, these elements require variation over time. In general, the cold email that you write must be far away from being considered spammy.
How do I increase the responsiveness of my cold email outreach campaigns?
Now, a successful campaign would have the brand reach out to prospects and receive replies from these prospects. Again, the intention of your cold email campaign is to not make a sale straight away, but to drive engagement and lead them to the next course of action.
For prospects to not just open the mails, but to respond, requires a format that compels them to do so. Rethinking the approach to email campaigns with a creative twist on the format of your mail can help. From text-only templates to visual and text brings about a stark difference in conversion rates.
How does it bring about a difference? A comprehensive mixture of image and text increases readability thus increasing click-through rates, replies, and engagement.
Over a third of email recipients decide to click on an email solely based on the subject line. Hence, a well crafted, personalized email has a higher rate of being opened than other generic emails.
A proper format of an email campaign would,
- require a personalized subject line that compels the recipient to open the mail.
- The email needs to be scannable and should have a call to action that leads them to a particular course of action.
- The customer or prospect opening the mail should be compelled to reply to the mail or take further action based on the mail’s content.
Phil Forbes, digital marketer at Packhelp says that humour and charm are the basis of his cold outreach subject lines.
“My best performing subject line is ‘The most clever email you’ll read in the next 7 minutes’. With an open rate of around 76%, it proves that going against the grain gets you that click. Another personal favourite is ‘Your sports team will lose this weekend if you don’t read this email’. Use them sparingly!
Along with these, tracking your email’s performance and fine-tuning the contents over time can gauge the effectiveness of the outreach.
Here are 5 actionable tips that can help increase the responsiveness of your cold email campaigns,
Highlight common ground
A cold email campaign reaps good results when the outreach is done in a way that invites the recipient to open and share information or contact.
Not all audiences require a similar type of approach. For instance, the approach towards a prospect that knows about your services versus a prospect that doesn’t would vary.
Highlighting common ground can be a good way to grab the attention of the recipient. Highlighting the reason, or the mutual connection between the two ends of the mail can help build interest. With concise paragraphs and a friendly tone, the chances of the prospect replying or taking action increases.
When the common ground is put forth, the feel of automated mail is eliminated. To get the most out of your campaign, use the recipient’s name, greetings, and humour, wherever appropriate.
An example of a style of humour that was easy to adapt and seemed like a fun playful way to encourage readers to open the mail was done by Rebels Market.
With a subject line that said “Hey, it’s Friday, and you’re killing time anyway” and sending it out on Fridays piqued interest and maximized open rates.
2. Use cross channel tools to grow your list
Growing your email list can be done via offline and online channels. The part of merging the information from both channels to generate leads shouldn’t be a headache for brands.
A tool that can coordinate the marketing campaigns on both ends to generate a combined list of prospects makes things easier.
For a brand, it is common to encounter several prospects in a day. The challenge is to retain and engage with most, if not all. Finding a tool that works best for a brand is no piece of cake either. An ideal tool can be used in both offline and online channels.
For instance, QR codes can be used as a tool for both channels. You can use QR codes on marketing materials like flyers, display windows, business cards, and so on. All you would need is a QR code generator and an array of marketing materials. QR codes can be a simple way of switching the experience of traditional advertising to an engaging and interactive one.
An example of a creative way to convert leads to customers would be this campaign from Burger King. One of the offers it had, urged people to scan the floating QR codes on TV commercials. Upon scanning, people were directed to their webpage that offered a free whopper via purchase on the BK app.
And how can QR codes help?
Customers can scan the QR code on product packaging or other marketing materials to initiate engagement for retail stores. For brands devoid of a retail store, embedding a QR code on websites, emails, or blog posts is one method.
A proper CTA that allows customers to scan and sign up for a newsletter or a specific discount, or engage in an interactive experience can help garner leads.
This cross channel concept of generating leads and using QR codes to create an engaging experience has an advantage. Customer behaviour can be understood via analytics such as date and time of scan, geolocation, and device.
This can help analyze an email campaign’s performance, the preferred time to send emails, the open rate, scan rate, and so on.
3. Add a personalized touch
Out of the hundreds of emails in a mailbox, if you were to open one, the chances are that you would choose the ones that are relevant to you.
It goes without saying that personalization is a significant component that drives open rates. However, not all parts of your audience require the same amount of personalization. It differs based on the segmentation of the audience.
It differs based on the customer journey’s point and duration, whether they have made purchases before, the period of inactivity, or the specific course of action requested.
Most brands use personalized templates. But, modifications are necessary over time. You can customize the template based on your campaign goal and the audience it is being sent to. Gauging how it works makes the campaign more effective.
So, what are some personalized elements that can be added?
Adding a name in the subject line, when appropriate, can lead to a higher open rate. Experimenting with a creative subject line based on the brand’s unique style or a form of a question can also affect open rates.
At the other end of the mail, the person is not a business to sell to, but an individual to pitch a logical, formal decision to. The content of the email should be personalized according to the prospect, concise, with the proper delivery of the sender’s intent.
4. A non-spammy call to action
When a single, clear call to action follows the content of the mail, it becomes easier for the prospect to move onto the next step. The call to action could direct the recipient to sign up for a newsletter, to avail of discounts, get on a call, take a survey, or any other preferred action.
How can you make sure your call to action isn’t spammy?
The call to action at the end of the mail must be a straightforward, simple, and soft pitch to the recipient. For instance, a sign up for a newsletter could include a redirect to the required page, scheduling a call could have a calendar tool attached to minimize scheduling issues, and so on.
Email design plays a role in delivering content in a user-friendly, with a call to action format. Minimalistic design, visual aspects such as image, adding animation, or video explanation contributes to effective information delivery.
Remember, The email’s objective should be to guide the customer into the next phase and not make the sale in one single email.
5. Work on driving replies
If there was a mail that looked spammy and one that looked personalized with a human touch, which one would you go for? Prompting a response requires transparency to be present in your mail. This builds trust between the sender and the recipient
So what are the other elements to not be overlooked when you’re driving replies?
Laying out the points about your product or the service you offer in a simple, concise format or bullet points makes it easier. Readers can scan and understand the content.
A personalized subject line with the objective laid out, contact proof, and a soft call to action is a format that would capture the attention of prospects and drive replies.
Even with a single, clear CTA, follow-ups are necessary. A follow-up email would be appropriate as a gentle reminder after a week. By optimizing the mail outreach strategies and switching approaches by mixing a multichannel system, reply rates can increase.
Follow up for better results.
Regularly monitoring your cold email campaigns over time helps gauge its effectiveness, whether modifications are required or not, and factors such as timing for the most successful campaign. Testing, refining elements, and checking which characteristics work best improves the conversion rate and the reply rate. Email marketing can be rewarding as it has the potential to create engagement and better ROI.