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Do you use Cold Emails to attract clients?

Equivalent to Cold Calling, Cold Emailing is when you send unsolicited email to someone without prior contact.

A Cold email is a very effective way to reach out to potential new clients. So effective in fact that it’s been in use since the first businesses were around. OK, maybe not cold emailing, but cold calling has been. Even before phones were invented business people would knock on strangers doors trying to sell their wares. It was their version of cold calling. It’s a practice that has worked for generations and can work for your design business as well.

Sending cold emails is not the same thing as sending spam emails. A cold email is a one-to-one personalized message sent to a specific individual. Its purpose is to start a business conversation with that one person rather than to promote your services to the masses as spam emails do.

Email, a force to be reckoned with.

Did you know that email, in the form that we know it today has been around since the mid-70s? In terms of technology, that’s archaic. And yet, even in today’s world of social media platforms, direct messaging, video chats and the likes, email still reigns.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform boasts over 2.44 billion users worldwide. But there are over 3.8 billion email users, that’s almost double the number of Facebook users.

Over 500 million tweets are sent every day, but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the 281 billion emails sent each day.

Face it, business is built on email.

If you want to get ahead in your design business, knowing how to write effective and compelling emails is something you shouldn’t ignore. Especially when sending out cold emails. If you cannot capture someone’s attention with your first email contact, what chances do you have of starting a working relationship with them?

10 tips that will help your cold emails convert.

1) Self-Awareness

The problem with the written word is everybody interprets it differently. Your meaning could be misconstrued and not come across the way you intended.

Think of this simple sentence “I can’t wait”. Does it mean you’re looking forward to something or does it mean time’s up and you can't wait any longer?

In order for your words to come off the way you want them to, you need to be self-aware of what you are writing. Meaning you need to imagine yourself in the recipient’s shoes and try to understand how they will receive your message. Make sure what you write is straight forward and only has one meaning or interpretation.

2) Length

Be efficient. The less you write, the more chances of your message being read.

I’m subscribed to several email lists. I read almost every short message I receive but rarely do I read any of the ones that are several pages long. And that’s from people I’ve asked to send me stuff.

Imagine how people will react to a message from a complete stranger?

A 2018 study done by Hubspot said that only one in three messages longer than 2500 words receive a reply. Their study concludes that between 50 and 125 words, the length of a small paragraph is the ideal length when sending unsolicited emails.

People are busy, some receive dozens if not hundreds of emails every day. Increase your chances of being read by keeping your message brief.

3) Be Clear

Short messages are not good enough if the message isn’t clear. Skip the niceties and get directly to your point.

Messages that come across as boasting or too academic in writing makes it difficult to understand and can hurt your odds of getting a reply.

The company behind the Gmail add-on Boomerang found that emails written at a third-grade reading level are 36% more likely to receive a reply than those written at a college reading level. Don’t try to sound smarter than you normally do. Excessive formality, complex sentences and long-windedness won’t impress anyone.

4) Be specific

Be very specific in why you are emailing this person and what you are expecting from them.

Don’t list every design service you offer. Instead, mention the one service you think this client is in most need of. Let them know how you can help them with that service and let them know how to get in touch with you should they want your help with that service.

Once you get the conversation started you can mention your other services, but in this cold outreach, you should stick to one specific topic.

5) As a question.

According to the Hubspot research I mentioned earlier, emails that ask one to three questions are 50% more likely to receive a reply than emails without questions.

A question is your call-to-action. It informs the recipient that you are expecting a response from them and will increase your chances of receiving one.

6) User soft language.

Cold emails are sent to people that don’t already know you. You don’t want their first impression of you to be harsh. Don’t overstep your bounds or come off as too forward. Avoid this by using friendly, more suggestive language.

Instead of saying something like “Call me to discuss this more”, say something softer like “If you’d like to discuss this more, call me.” It’s friendlier and more inviting to a reply.

7) Use short sentences.

This is a secret that copywriters use. The longer the piece of text is that they are writing, the shorter the paragraphs they use. Shorter paragraphs create more white space, making them easier to read. As a designer, you know the importance of white space.

Use short sentences in your cold emails

8) Read your email before sending it.

We’re all busy, and sometimes it’s easy to simply write an email and send it off without a second thought. But that’s a mistake. You should never do this when composing a cold email or any email for that matter.

Take the extra time to read over your email. Better yet, read it out loud. Doing this will help you catch typos, weird language, excessive verbiage and anything else that may hurt your credibility if you sent an unpolished message.

9) Add the email address last.

One of the worst feelings is accidentally pressing send on an unfinished email. It makes you look like an amateur and very unprofessional. Especially if this is the first time you are reaching out to someone.

Avoid this feeling by doing everything in steps 1 through 8 BEFORE adding the recipient’s email address to the message.

10) Follow up, and follow up again.

If you don’t hear back from someone you sent a cold email to, don’t give up, follow up. These people live busy lives and can’t answer every email they receive from strangers. However, if you follow up they may take notice and take action.

Statistics show that 80% of inquiries require multiple follow-ups before an action is taken. And yet, 44% of people give up after the first follow-up. This is where you can succeed where other designers have failed.

Follow the 2:1:1 rule for your cold emails. Wait two days after your initial email to follow up. If you don’t hear back, follow up again after one week. If you still don't receive a reply follow up again after one month.

This strategy will allow you to get through to people who might have been having a bad day and ignored your initial email, or those who may have been away at a conference or on vacation.

If you are offering something the recipient needs they will be happy you followed up.

Rules when it comes to unsolicited cold emails

Depending on where you live and where the recipient of your cold emails live you may fall under certain legislation and laws restricting how you proceed.

Regulations such as:

  • GDPR General Data Protection Regulation)
  • CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)
  • CAN-SPAM Act
  • Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
  • Australian Spam Act
  • New Zealand – Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act

For the most part, as long as you are targeting one individual, you are not collecting, storing or selling any of their data, and you abide by their request to not contact them anymore, you should be safe.

Cold emails are a communication tool that can greatly increase your client base and revenue and they’re much easier to implement than cold calling over the phone or in person. If you apply these strategies you should see your return on cold emails drastically increase.

Do you use cold emails as part of your marketing campaign?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Will

Have you ever looked into becoming Adobe Certified? Other than personal education, I am wondering whether clients ever consider this when choosing a designer.

To find out what I told Will you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com