May 18, 2016
It's probably safe to assume that when you reach out to your network via email, you want to be as personable as possible. But in a time when sending bulk mail or email newsletters to thousands of contacts is as simple as clicking a few buttons, it suddenly becomes very easy to send truly cold emails that don't have a lot of heart.
While we'd love to say stop sending cold and bulk emails, but the solution isn't that easy.
Even if you're not sending cold prospecting sales emails, it's good practice to scale all of your outreach, even if you're only guilty of sending a bulk email newsletter once a week. You have plenty of opportunities to personalize these emails in very simple ways, why not go for it? Utilizing these simple changes could mean a higher open rate, or even a higher response rate. But, at the end of the day, you're doing more to build up a better and more genuine relationship with your network and the contacts within it.
What's your solution? If you feel like you can't move away from sending cold outreach emails or big bulk emails out to all of your contacts at once, there are a few tweaks you can make to your process that can help personalize it and make your contacts feel a little more love. This goes beyond making sure that the subject line or the greeting of your email is personalized with your contact's name...
1. Make yourself personable
Now there's nothing worse than getting a bad cold email that's irrelevant and inevitably one that you send right to the trash. We can probably agree that there's nothing worse than getting one of those emails that reads as if it's a form email, with no personalization whatsoever. One of the best ways you can warm up your cold emails is by making yourself a little more relatable.
When you get cold outreach emails or a big bulk email newsletter, don't you want to know who the voice is behind it? Be sure to include a little information about you, make yourself relatable and give your contacts a chance to find out more about you. Link to your social media, and include ample contact information to make it easier for you to be reached.
An easy way to check your writing? Read it aloud to yourself, it gives you a chance to pick up any awkward or cold phrases you may have inadvertently used. But going above and beyond, there are a few words you can remove from ever using in your emails, lest they make you sound like a very cold, spammy, robot.
Many of these words often set off spam filters and could send your well-intentioned email right to a spam folder instead of an inbox. The truth of the matter is, about 58% of folks say that they won't even open an email if it doesn't look relevant to them, and 64% say that they'll only open an email if it's from someone they trust. And that's before spam filters even come into play!
Utilize more inclusive words such as you and us, and where applicable, your contact's name. Don't try and lure your contacts in with 'click here' but instead show and give them value and use words like 'because' that can connect what you're offering them or what piece of value you're sharing with them and how it's valuable for them. Don't be afraid to over-explain!
2. Segment your contacts
First and foremost, segment your contacts. We can't stress this enough when it comes to your outreach to your network. If you can't treat everyone as individuals, then you need to at least segment them out with other similar contacts. While we tend to advocate for segmenting based on how often you want to reach out to your contacts, there's really no wrong way to do it, as long as your system makes sense for you.
Segmenting allows you to send the right message to the right people, and even if you're doing it in a bulk fashion, they're getting messaging that's more tailored to them, what they do, and the information they want to receive from you. While you're doing the work to segment your contacts, you can also utilize tools such as merge tags, which allow you to dynamically place personalized information within the emails. This can be everything from asking about how their kids are doing and have the name of their child automatically filled in the sentence, giving each email a more personal touch.
3. Do your research
This goes hand in hand with segmenting your contacts. Taking the time to get to know the contacts in your network can help you better segment them into a bucket that fits who they are and what they mean for your business, but it also allows you to create a more personalized experience for them.
Your research can be based on their past history with your emails; what they've opened or clicked on before to give you an idea of what they're interested in. You could even do a quick search on LinkedIn to see what they do for a living and what they're latest updates are all about. Utilize that research to share something they may find interesting and show that you're thinking of them. It can be as simple as an article you saw online or an update to content they'd shown interest in in the past.
If you're a Realtor, consider segmenting your past clients by the neighborhood they live in. It's an easy point of connection that they'll almost always be interested in. Share with them articles about the area, or new stores or restaurants that may be opening, or give them a heads up if you'll be in town for an open house and invite them to stop by and say hello or bring a friend who may be interested in moving to the neighborhood. The average person gets about 416 commercial emails a month, that's your competition there in their inboxes. What better reason do you have to get their attention than sending something that's relevant to them? 24% of people say that a business could improve their emails and email marketing simply by sending more personalized content.
Even if these emails are going out to a segmented group of people, they'll still feel personally touched that you did the research to send them relevant information rather than your broad newsletter that goes out to everyone on your list.
4. Adjust your send time
Make an informed decision on your email send time based on your purpose. We've read many studies and seen all the facts and stats on when the best time to send your emails are. The problem is that they never seem to agree on anything. When getting ready to send out your emails, you stand a better chance of getting the open rate, or even the click-through rate you want, simply by doing some digging into what's best for your contacts.
[caption id="attachment_7264" align="aligncenter" width="612"] via Customer.io[/caption]
Depending on what your purpose is, you can better determine the best time for you to hit that send button. Customer.io found that if you're looking for action from your emails, the best click-through-rates are at the end of the week and over the weekend. What does that tell you? If you're looking for your network to respond, to sign up, or to take action, your best bet is to do it later in the week. Don't discredit earlier in the week, but instead send more educational emails out then that won't require an action from your contacts.
Where do you begin? It's all about breaking down your network and giving your contacts a more personalized experience. No, you don't have to start sending all individual emails (although every once and a while you ought to), but there are tricks such as merge tags and better segmentation that can give you an easy way to reach your network in a way that makes them feel as if they're being contacted individually.
Start with your research and segmentation, and then give your network some value. Share relevant information and articles and make yourself a more accessible and personable contact...no matter how cold your email outreach may start out as.