Oh No, You’ve Received Another Cold Email…

Is that the feeling you get when you receive a cold email? As a marketer I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that cold emails can be a tricky strategy to get right.

It’s like going all in blind to a hand of Texas Hold’em, anything can happen, but you’ve already thrown in all your chips. That’s a tough way to win the pot.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of strategies you can use to make your cold emails a lot more effective.

For the most part the cold emails I’ve received are total clunkers. Either the sender tries to get me to make a big commitment upfront or their offer isn’t in alignment with my business.

Often times I’m not sure whether I should just delete them or tell them why their offer doesn’t work for me.

However, these aren’t the types of responses you’re looking for.

When I’m working with clients I’m trying to figure out what story they want to tell. Humans are terrible at understanding features and benefits, but we are great at understanding stories!

What’s Your Story


Disrupting Your Subjects

The best way to get your cold emails opened is to be somewhat disruptive with your subject lines.

Get your prospect out of their routine and peak their interest by taking them out of their status quo.

Remember, the subject line is where the story starts. One example of how my firm created a disrupting subject line for a cyber security client was with the line, “The bad guys are already in your network!”

This subject line creates some intrigue as well as some real urgency to see what our offer is.

This email was especially effective when targeted to other network security experts since our “story,” was that their network was already compromised and that message was alarming enough to knock them out of their status quo. After all network security is their responsibility!

Don’t Stop The Story! Start The Next Chapter

After you engage with a disruptive subject you want to keep your story going. What insight or data can you provide to offer value and keep them reading? With the above example we said something like, “over 80% of networks are already penetrated and their protectors are unaware.”

This kept our prospects attention going long enough to hear out our offer.

Focus The Offer On The Hero

Now this is where a lot of people screw things up. They make the offer about themselves, their business, and their best outcome. This means phrasing like, “make an appointment on my calendar, call me back if you’re interested…”

It’s too focused on you and not on your recipient.

What we offered was a free network security assessment that would let them know if their network had been penetrated or not.

You want to lead with a value-oriented offer like that to keep your prospects in the role of the hero.

They will see you as a crucial part of their story and will remember how you helped them save the day.

Action Steps

  1. Use a disruptive headline to get your prospect out of their status quo.
  2. Give some insight or data to help your prospect be the hero of the story.
  3. Rework your offer so it’s value oriented to the prospect and not your own goals.

Bonus: Spend time thinking of all the ways you can make your prospect be a hero!

Results You Will Achieve

Consistently better open rates from subject lines and emails that position the recipient as the hero.

Mentor: Mike Lieberman

Founder, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist of Square 2 Marketing. A professional services company providing marketing and sales strategy and tactical execution for a diverse group of clients.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.