The top 25 cold email mistakes to avoid

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Getting undivided attention from a stranger via an unsolicited email requires skills – especially when you’re asking them to do something.

Having a strategy to ensure that your cold emails stand out from the number of emails sent to a person is a task that most marketers and sales reps find challenging to handle. But having a well-drafted cold email definitely saves the day!

So, what is a cold email?

To simply put, a cold email is a means of communicating with someone unaware of your business via unsolicited emails. It is an initial email you sent to a receiver asking them to take a favorable action that will prove beneficial for your business.

The cold email patiently sits in their inbox, waiting for them to read it and hopefully add some value to them. Cold emails can boost businesses by:

  • Building links
  • Generating leads
  • Promoting content
  • Building your network
  • Pushing sales

Cold email requires prospecting. It is all about identifying, making a list, and targeting potential customers who might be interested in what your business has to offer.

25 cold email mistakes to avoid

Cold email is a lot like door-to-door sales. You don’t know them, and you probably just have one shot at turning them into potential customers. But unlike door-to-door sales, you can’t modify your approach on the spot since there is a lack of non-verbal feedback.

So, the question that pops up then is how do you draft a sufficient cold email to get you a positive response and turn your target options into potential leads? Well, the first thing to do would be to avoid making these 25 mistakes while drafting your cold email:

1. Don’t be a robot

An ideal way of writing an email is to make sure that you keep the tone conversational. Be friendly. Remember that there is no need for you to sound like a professional robot in your email. Try to create a rapport with your audience, and the best way to do that is by writing the way you talk.

2. Don’t sound autotuned

An email that sounds like millions of other emails is not going to get you any response. And even though there are thousands of templates available at your disposal, try avoiding using them as they are. As in, use your templates as a guide and tweak the language to sound like yourself.

3. Don’t be cold and distant

The key to an effective cold email is personalization. Including elements that indicate you’ve written the email just for them, rather than sending them a generic email, will make you seem warm and create a lasting impression on your recipients. Customizing elements like company name, industry, and geographic locations will add a personal touch to your email.

4. Don’t be vague

A cold email should always have a clear purpose. Sending vague, “just checking in” emails will train your audience not to open them at all. Having a few purposes like following up on an action the recipient has taken, sharing a blog post, offering a live demo, etc., will give your emails credibility.

5. Don’t forget to mention a pain point

It is a known fact that people rarely take action until they are supposed to. Since that’s the case, your email needs to be drafted in a way that you address their pain points. A well-drafted email does three things – one, provides information about the pain points; two, explains a solution; and or three, provides tips for overcoming it.

6. Don’t just ask before you give

A simple way to build trust and brand recognition before asking your recipients to take action is by offering value. When you generously give without focusing too much on sales, it will not only make them trust you but also makes way for a powerful, useful persuasion tool – reciprocity to set up. You’re more likely to get a ‘yes’ when you give something before you ask.

7. Don’t push sales

A cold email should focus more on what you can ‘give’ rather than sales. Resisting your temptations to push sales is the key to hold on to your potential customers. People like to buy but hate to be sold primarily from those they don’t know, like, or trust. By focusing on your ‘give,’ you’re taking the first step towards building a relationship.

8. Don’t mention your product

A compelling cold email shouldn’t include a product, but if you do end up mentioning it, avoid selling it. The only selling in an email should be the outcome and or benefits of your ‘give.’ An efficient cold email should try to grip your recipient’s attention and build trust among them before you start selling.

9. Don’t forget to introduce yourself

A cold email should always start by introducing yourself. Just imagine receiving an email without no beginning and no end, just marketing jargons thrown at you. Off-putting, isn’t it? To avoid that, treat cold emails like a real-life conversation starter. In doing so, you not only sound human, but you’re also making them willing to read more.

10. Don’t make them wait

After introducing yourself, don’t stall. Talk directly about why you’re emailing and why they should be listening to you. This is where you’re supposed to mention your mail’s purpose, how it is related to their pain points they are facing, and how your solution will help them.

11. Don’t make false claims

The cold email you draft is incomplete without credible proof for the claims you make. If you’re claiming or promising something to your recipients, make sure you have enough proof to back them up. After reading your email, recipients should know that you know what you’re talking about, who have you helped in the past, and what the outcome was.

12. Don’t forget to match your CTA with your offer

A cold email is not just about the ‘give.’ It is only one aspect of your cold email. The other, equally important aspect of your cold email is call-to-action (CTA). It is just not enough to drop a call-to-action message in your mail. Make sure that whatever CTA you use, it should match the offer or ‘give’ you’re focusing on.

13. Don’t complicate things

A CTA anywhere in the email is not enough. You need to make it as clear as possible what you want your recipients to do next. Use simple language and be specific with your instructions regarding what you expect from them after reading your cold email. While doing that, don’t forget to give them space to ask you questions regarding your business.

14. Don’t forget to add a compelling subject line

A cold email is opened majorly based on a compelling subject line. Stats show that 35% of recipients open emails judging by their subject line. So make sure to keep a short subject line that builds curiosity, claims to give useful information, and is interesting enough to open it. Be specific and concise with your subject line.

15. Don’t forget to add their name in the subject line

A cold email with personalization in the subject line can boost your open rate. According to a report from Adestra, personalization in the subject line of a cold email increases your open rate by 22.2%. Try to avoid being generic and get rid of the idea of ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Personalization makes you more human, helps you stand out from the crowd of emails, and gets more replies.

16. Don’t misspell their name

This is a no-brainer. And even though this seems like the obvious thing to avoid, many cold emails misspell their recipients’ names – especially of those who have common names and multiple spellings for them. Don’t shy away from double-checking every single time you use their name.

17. Don’t be random

When it comes to cold emails, you need to be intentional about when and at what time you send the emails. Don’t just send it a random time and day that suits you. The time and the day of the week you choose to send your emails makes a big difference in your click and open rates. A little bit of research on your recipient’s time zone and an idea about their schedule will take you a long way.

18. Don’t send emails to just about everyone

A cold email is not just for anyone. To get the desired response, you need to send the right email at the right time to the right person. And to know whether someone is suitable for that email, you need to use laser targeting. Research about your contacts and personalization and ensure that every detail of your email matches your contacts is the ideal recipe for boosting your open rate.

19. Don’t be lengthy

An ideal way to draft your cold email is by keeping it short and sweet. Just say enough to be clear and to the point. Be compelling but concise. Even when you’re keeping it short, don’t forget to give context, talk about your recipient more than your product, and tell them why they should revert to you. Don’t waste their time writing long emails. Stick to the point, and you’re good to go.

20. Don’t just leave it at one

An ideal way to get a response after sending out a short, cold email is by sending multiple emails over a period of time. You can send up to 3,5, 7, or more emails of your one campaign. You can distinguish these emails by giving different purposes to each one of them. And since you’ll be sending multiple emails, you can keep them short, crisp, and focused.

21. Don’t beat around the bush

An effective cold email is when you’re direct. If you’re going to beat around the bush, you’re wasting the recipient’s time as well as yours. So say what you want to say and get to the point. No huff and no fluff when it comes to drafting a cold email will help you increase your click rates.

22. Don’t be demanding

A friendly, cold email will take you a long way rather than a pushy email. Using phrases like “All I require is” might give an impression that you’re looking for a transactional relationship. And that might not sit well with your recipients – especially when it’s the first time you’re communicating with them. Reciprocity will happen naturally, don’t be pushy about it.

23. Don’t forecast a sales pitch

As mentioned before, no one likes things to be sold to them. So if your ‘give’ comes off as the first step towards your sales pitch, then you’ve already lost them. And so to avoid that, make sure you give freely and be generous with it. You don’t have to show them that you want something from them in return. Give it time and space for it to grow rather than rushing into it.

24. Don’t forget to add an acceptable email signature

An email signature is about trust and reliability. And most people would prefer to connect with a reputable business. And to make that impression on them, you need to make sure that every element of your cold email looks credible – and this includes your email signature as well. Having an email signature also brings along with it social proof that strengthens your credibility.

25. Don’t send emails from your personal email

A cold email is a part of your business campaign. So make sure to send it from a business email account rather than a personal account. And while you’re at it, make sure that your business email id doesn’t sound and or look like a spam account. That will do the opposite of exactly what you desire. So sending it from the right account is as important as drafting an effective email.

While reading some of these tips, they might seem extremely obvious and not worthy enough to be mentioned. But the obvious ones are the ones that we often get wrong. So, make sure to keep these 25 points in mind while drafting your cold email.

To sum up those 25 points:

  • Be yourself
  • Build trust before you sell
  • Treat your recipients with respect
  • Give before you ask

Tips or no tips – these 4 points will most likely help you nail the drafting of a basic cold email that will help you get the desired results.


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