When starting a new business, you will find yourself with little money and even less time. That last one, time, will become the most valuable asset in your business. To save time, you decide to send out “cold-call” emails to random people and companies who can benefit from your product or service. Before you do, know that there is a system behind sending out random emails; you can actually get business in return for your messages.
When launching Virgo Girl Media, the first people to take a chance on the company were from cold-call emails. The percentage in the beginning may be low, but here are some tips for getting better results:
1. Know your target audience. Find a good fit for your product and service. Start with compiling a list of 10 to 20 realistic companies and people who may actually read your email. As much as we want Oprah to be on the list, let’s be honest: Even if you do have her email, do you think she’s actually reading your cold-call message? Time is of the essence; don’t waste it. Let’s put Oprah in the 12 to 18-month goal pile and get back to reaching out to companies whose decision-makers actually check their emails.
Choose a target base within your state that can benefit from using your company. Many people and companies are prone to be being attracted to a startup company located nearby. After you have outgrown your state, move on to other states whose residents are in your target market.
2. Work your connections. One of the best results from having a great email pitch is being able to say, “I know you from…” Being able to say I know you from a party, or a friend of a friend, can quickly change the direction of your email—from a cold call to a warm introduction.
Of course this may not always be the case, so before emailing this person, look them up online. Play the “I read your article online” card, or “I am a follower of yours on Twitter and love the post about…” Anything that could break the ice of being a complete stranger in his/her inbox.
3. Pitch your story and mission. So, honest moment: Your company is not that interesting to the reader on the other end of your email. He/she will probably receive a hundred more emails from a company pitching their product/service, some similar to yours. So—what’s your story? Not your company’s story. What is the mission behind your company and why are you doing this? Provide personal facts in your pitch email that the reader can relate to. Be honest and transparent about your desire to become a vendor for this company and what it would mean to you.
4. Get to the point fast. After you have introduced yourself, the company, and done a little genuine flattering, it’s time to sell. Make it short and sweet. In three to four sentences explain what you’re looking to offer them and how you can do this. Offer pricing details (low to high) and why this would be a good opportunity for their company. Personalize this as much as you can so it doesn’t come off as generic and unflattering.
5. Write a killer subject line. Think about this for a second: What would make you open an email from someone you don’t know? An attention-grabbing subject line. A subject line that stands out like no other. Your subject line should be straight to the point and offer a personal message to the recipient. Clear and concise for what you are pitching. It should not appear to be spam-like. Support, opportunity, and partner are some good, strong words to use in your subject line.
6. Make sure to follow-up. Don’t fret that most emails will go unread or unnoticed. They might get read quickly and flagged for follow-up, but people often get busy or forget to respond. This is where you come in after seven days with a brief reminder that you would like to chat about your initial email. Again, keep it simple and to the point. In this follow-up email, state that you would like the opportunity to chat with them on a brief 10 to 15-minute call to address any questions or concerns they may have.
7. Know what “no” means. This will happen more often than we‘d like. It’s okay though; it’s part of the learning curve in growing a business. Not everyone will say yes. If you receive an email from someone saying they are not interested, respond by thanking them for replying and ask them to keep you in mind if anything should change. It’s possible that most recipients who reply have a slight interest, but could be working with another company or on a budget. Having them respond leaves a crack in the door for future correspondence. I’ve received nos on the first email pitch and then later pitched again with a sale or new service launch and have gotten yeses. Never underestimate the power of a no. A no now could mean yes later.
And here’s a bonus tip: know when to send your email. When is the best time to send the email that could change your company’s future? While there is no precise time, the best time to get a reply would be to send your emails on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This schedule works best if you are attracting companies on a 9-to-5 schedule. People are checking emails before they leave for lunch and when they return to see what they missed.
Sending an email on a Monday or Friday, you run the risk of it getting overlooked because the person is focusing on the weekend or returning to work on Monday morning to a pile of emails and your cold-call email isn’t that important. If you are pitching to companies with a more relaxed schedule, then pitching in the evenings or even weekends tends to receive a better response. During these days and hours, business is less busy for them, however, their email is still on their radar.