CommonLounge Archive

Writing Cold Emails

December 30, 2017

Once you’ve found good interview candidates, you’ll need to contact them and invite them to meet you. Since these people don’t know who you are, you’ll be sending them cold emails.

Of course, most people won’t read or respond to an email from someone they don’t know. That’s why it’s important to write your emails carefully.

This tutorial will introduce three important principles for writing cold emails, plus two bonus tips for even better results.

Even with perfectly-written emails, you shouldn’t expect more than a third of people to actually respond. For example, if you want to conduct 10 interviews, you’ll need to email at least 30 people.

Your customer’s time is precious, so they’ll probably only read a couple sentences of your email. Make those first sentences good.

Three principles for successful cold emails

The three principles of cold emails are:

  1. Be short: Four to seven sentences long. Shorter is better.
  2. Be personal: Personalize the email. Mention how you found them. If they sense that the email was automatically-generated, you’ll lose them.
  3. Be valuable: Show them how the interview will value them. You don’t necessarily need to give them gifts (although you could). Most people like to do good things for others, so showing them that their input is valuable to you might be enough.

Bonus tips

And here are two more tips that will increase your chances of getting a response:

  1. Mention that you’re not from sales: Most people are afraid that you will end up selling them something. Calm their fears at the beginning and they’ll be more likely to trust you.
  2. Make them feel special: Give them the VIP treatment. Show them that you want to understand their specific problems. Your stance should be all about helping them by improving your product.

A step-by-step guide for writing emails

Start with a one- or two-sentence introduction. It’s not a self-introduction, so don’t talk about yourself. Talk about them.

“I read your blog post about ___. I really enjoyed it.”

“I’ve noticed that you’re having trouble with X feature in our product.”

“I saw that you had a problem with ___. That’s a common problem, and I thought I could maybe help.”

Continue with two sentences about why you want to talk with them. Show them the value of speaking to you.

If no product yet: “I want to solve your problem.”

If product exists: “I think I can help you use our product better.”

You can also show them their importance to you with phrases like:

“You seem to be an expert on _. You could really give us valuable insights about _.”

“You’ve been a customer for longer than most…”

“You seem to understand our product really well.”

Another option: offer them money.

And if you have contacts in their industry, simply implying that you know people may be enough to convince them.

Finally, use one last sentence to schedule a time to meet. Save time and effort by picking a specific day or time (October 15 from 4pm to 4:30pm), so they can say a quick yes or no. Or use an online scheduling tool.

Either way, take the hassle out of scheduling and they’ll be more likely to respond.

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