7 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Cold Emails

I opened an email that came from a familiar name; someone I'd done business with in the past. I couldn't believe what I was reading. What is this nonsense?

I immediately picked up the phone and called them. "What the hell is this? Are you actually reaching out to people this way?"

It was gross, and it had to change.

Whether you're a freelancer, consultant, salesperson, or someone looking for a full-time job, you're likely going to send a cold email.

At Broadway Leads, we've helped dozens of freelancers tighten up their cold emails to win more clients by sharing the very same techniques we've used to earn six figure clients.

We work to make sure you are in the best position to get new clients. We know that a cold email will likely be your customer's first impression of you. So, needless to say, it's important.

Here are some trends we notice when it comes to awful cold emails:

You always have an agenda.

Sometimes it's fun to ask for advice or pick somebody's brain, just because. This is what I did last week when I reached out to Chad at Thoughtbot.

I love Thoughtbot and think they're one of the best, if not the best, software development agencies in the country. I had been thinking about how we judge success at Broadway Lab, and I wanted to ask Chad how he judged success at his company.

His response?

Employee fulfillment.

Sounds a little woo-woo, right?

He also told me a little bit about how they measure this internally and how it drives their core business.

I didn't have any agenda when reaching out to Chad. Zero. I didn't want to do business with him, get a discount, pick up special secrets, or anything. I was just being curious.

Reach out to ten people you've always wanted to talk to and ask them a question. What's the worst they can say?

You don't have a plan.

When reaching out to a sales prospect, you need to have a call to action. You want to get them on the phone, give them some marketing info, or sweeten the deal with a special offer.

You need to have a plan when you send that email.

You're not setting a timeline.

What not to ask: "Are you available for a call?"

It sets no clear agenda, it's not time bound, and there's zero urgency.

People don't like vague meetings or calls. They also need a hint of urgency to agree to talk to you.

What to ask: "Are you available for a quick 12 minute call to discuss how Broadway Lab can help your business?"

12 minutes!?!? What does that even mean??

Well, wen you say "it will just take 5 minutes" it never takes 5 minutes. 12 minutes shows you're acknowledging it's going to take time, but that you will be cognitive of that time and that both parties agree on that endpoint.

Your email is all about you.

Hey! Let me give you three paragraphs about my company and me. Me, me, me.

They don't want to hear about you. Really, nobody wants to hear about you. They want to hear how you can help them. Are you familiar with the 80/20 rule? That applies to emails, too. 80% of your email should be about them. At most, 20% should be about you.

Your email isn't targeted.

To whom it may concern:

Delete.

If you're reaching out to a person cold, tell them the reason you're reaching out. Don't be vague; be flattering.

Example: "Saw your most recent app and was blown away :)"

Flatter them, but be sincere. Don't tell them you love something if you think it's shit.

Your subject line is boring.

A bad subject line: "Android developer for hire"

You and every other Android developer out there, buddy. When you're reaching out, put your marketing hat on.

A better subject line: "In love with your product. Want to help build it"

Most important: You ramble.

Your emails look like this:

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Make them look like this:

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Nobody wants to read your Great Wall of Text.