Sales / Sales Process

How to boost your cold email response rate in 2019

Will Cannon

Mar 13, 2019 · 6 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

Email on a laptop

It’s 2019, and if you’re still sending out generic, non-personalized, non-compelling cold emails, that’s just not going to cut it anymore.

The numbers don’t lie: The average person gets 147 emails per day, but only bothers to answer about 12 of those emails. From the rest of the emails sitting in our inboxes, we ruthlessly cull an average of 71 emails in under 3.2 seconds.

Sound pretty daunting? The good news is that cold email isn’t completely ineffective, nor is it a waste of time. As long as you use the right strategies and techniques, you can have your cold email stand out, and increase your response rate from your sales leads.

In this post, you’ll find three tried-and-tested strategies that will help you improve your cold email reply rates. Read on to find out more!

1. Play into human emotion

Most guides on cold emailing will tell you to illustrate the benefits of your product or service and talk about the ROI that you could potentially bring your lead. That’s fine and dandy, but you can make your pitch even more powerful if you play into human emotion on top of that.

For example, a standard cold email might say something along the lines of: On average, our PPC management tool helps teams cut back on 43 percent of their ad spend each month, and still achieve the same results.

To add that element of human emotion in there, you might re-word your email to say: On average, our PPC management tool helps teams cut back on 43 percent of their ad spend each month. Think of how impressed your CMO will be with you… And how much of a hero you’ll look like to your team!

Now, phrasing your cold email this way helps you cover all your bases. Regardless of whether your lead is the logical, rational sort, or whether they lead with their gut and their emotions, your cold email will be convincing and compelling enough to warrant a reply.

2. Make it easy for your lead to reply

We’ve talked about how most people get a ton of emails in their inboxes every day, but they can’t spare the time to read (or answer) all these emails. Bearing this in mind, one easy way of increasing your cold email response rate is to make it easy for your lead to reply.

Say you craft a cold email to tell your lead about your company, and you end off by asking them to reply and tell you about the three biggest challenges they’re currently facing. While it’s great that you’re trying to dive deep and understand your lead better, do you think that your lead has the time to sit down and type out a lengthy response to you? Chances are, probably not.

So, what should you do instead? A far better way of going about this is to simply describe a few challenges in your email to your lead, and ask him or her to pick one that best illustrates their situation (Option A, B or C).

If you’re trying to set up an appointment with your lead, the same thing goes. Don’t ask them to reply to your email and suggest three timings—instead, send them a link to an appointments tool (like the one in Keap) where they can book a slot with you, without any further back-and-forth.

3. Be brutally honest

Here’s the thing: It’s common for marketers and sales reps to downplay or gloss over the disadvantages of their product/service, and to put a positive “spin” on everything that they tell their lead.

Bearing this in mind, if you take the opposite approach and commit to being brutally honest about your product or service, this will definitely make your cold email stand out. At the same time, you’ll win the approval of your lead, who will respect you for choosing to be completely transparent and honest.

How, exactly, should you be brutally honest in your cold emails? One way of doing this is to address any shortcomings or less than ideal features about your product, right off the bat. For example, you might choose to say:

*Full disclosure—our product is priced at a premium of $2,000 per user per month. Yes, I know it’s expensive. In fact, it’s the most expensive UGC marketing tool in the market, and if you’re looking for something cheaper, we have competitors that price their UGC tools at just 20% of what we’re charging. *

So… how are we still in business after years of charging such exorbitant prices? It’s because our tool gives our clients 10x the results that they can achieve with other tools. If you’ve got half an hour to spare, I’d be happy to walk you through a product demo to show you exactly how this works.

How’s that for a compelling cold email?

Final thoughts

Many marketers and sales reps write off cold emails as something that just doesn’t work, but that’s far from the truth. In fact, if you do a quick Google search, you’ll see plenty of cold email case studies that boast of high response rates.

The bottom line? The key to reaching out to sales leads using cold email is to make a concrete effort to humanize your cold emails, and show your lead that you’re there for them.

Here’s a quick recap: Instead of simply referencing statistics, play into human emotion, and talk about how your product/service will help your lead get the recognition or validation that they deserve. At the same time, be brutally honest with your lead (even if it goes against your better judgment), and finally, make it easy for your lead to reply and carry on the conversation.

Here’s to skyrocketing your cold email response rate, and taking your conversions through the roof!

Will Cannon is the founder of UpLead, a B2B sales intelligence platform for businesses looking to reach out to new customers.

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