Spending hours on cold outreach, but not getting any promising responses from your prospects?
Don't panic, you're not alone. 90% of people who send cold emails don't have the right approach, hence, they end up spamming their prospects, or worse... stop using cold emails for their business.
During the last 3.5 years, we analyzed thousands of cold emails to understand what's the best way of doing outreach and what are the most common mistakes to avoid.
By reading this article, you'll be able to understand why your cold email campaigns are not performing the way you want and how you can boost your chances of signing more clients.
So let's dive into the most common cold email mistakes and ways to fix your campaigns.
1. You’re reaching out to the wrong people
If you reach out to the wrong people (or the right people at the wrong time) → they won’t have a reason to reply → your campaign results will be poor → there won’t be business growth opportunities → you’ll think cold emails suck.
So, how to avoid that?
Here’s a 3-step process that will help you target the right audience at the right time, and increase your reply chances:
Step 1: Define your Buyer persona
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target audience. Even though it’s fictional, it’s based on deep research and can help you boost outreach personalization which will help you book meetings.
The goal of a buyer persona is to be able to clearly understand who is your target and what are their challenges so you can offer them the right solution. Once you have a solution to their specific pain point, it’s much easier to build a relationship, and eventually, sell your product or service. So, how do you create your buyer persona?
Step 2: Segment the target audience into tiers
This step allows you to identify which buyer personas will be the most profitable, and where you should be spending most of your time.
You can identify them into three tiers, based on the amount of value you’re bringing to them, which will later translate to the amount of revenue they are bringing to you.
Your tier 1 will include accounts generating the most revenue, tier 3 are the ones bringing in the least, and tier 2 clients are the ones in between.
You can use these tiers as indicators of where to put the most effort when it comes to personalization and lead generation. For example, you will work on every tier but put the most time and money into the first one as it brings you the biggest ROI.
Step 3: Pay attention to their buyer signals
In cold outreach, it’s not enough just to know your buyer persona characteristics. Why? Well, you might have a great list of promising prospects, but if you reach out to them at the wrong time, you still won’t get any results. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to buyer signals.
A buyer signal is a sign that a prospect can be an ideal fit because they’re in a stage where it makes sense for them to buy your product/service. The secret is to reach out to leads you know are currently facing the pain you solve.
And to identify there’s pain, we prepared these 25 buyer signal tactics to help you stay relevant and figure out the perfect moment to reach out.
2. Your intro line is not personalized
If you want your prospects to meet you, you should catch their attention and create a connection right from the start. So, how do you do that?
In short, an icebreaker is the first sentence of your email. The sentence that your prospects read first and the sentence that can make your email stand out from everyone else’s. The goal of an icebreaker is to let your prospects know that you took the time to do your research and create something personalized just for them.
There are tons of ways to build an icebreaker that we covered in our Intro lines article, but here are the most important ones to get you started:
On a personal level
In this example, Simon watched an inspiring interview with the VP of Sales and wanted to connect with him. Therefore, he used the shared opinion from the interview as his icebreaker:
A personal approach like this:
- shows you dedicated your time and effort to talk to them
- helps you find common ground for future conversations
- doesn’t sound generic which makes your prospect more likely to reply
Based on company news
Here’s another example of how we got in touch with a prospect after seeing their company update. Prospect wrote about how their business went from a small team to unicorn status in a few years. Since lempire is on the same path, we used company news for the icebreaker:
Why should you use this approach?
- It’s a good alternative to get to know your prospect more in case you can’t find their personal information
- mentioning company similarities is a good starting point for later growth tips sharing
- it’s showing you know them well and that your solution might be a good fit
Based on a job post
As we built an email automation software, seeing our prospect posting about hiring SDRs was a good sign for our sales team. It means that their team is growing and facing challenges where our tool can help. That's why we used the job post as an icebreaker:
Why this approach works?
- It shows you are a true follower of their work
- It creates a personal connection through a genuine compliment
Bonus tip: If you’re going to personalize your intro line, you need to make sure the topic is connected to the pitch. Why? Because otherwise, you might catch their attention for the wrong purposes. By reading the rest of your email they might find you not relevant and leave you on read.
3. Your pitch is self-centered
Your pitch should be 100% focused on your prospect and not on you. You should avoid talking about your product and focus on discovery questions that confirm there’s pain. Why?
The goal is not to sell, it’s to build a relationship. Once you build a relationship and confirm the interest, it will be much easier to hop on the selling part.
So here’s an example of a prospect-focused pitch you can apply to your next outreach:
Why this approach works?
- by mentioning the prospect’s achievements, the sender sparks interest and proves that this email is unique
- the focus is on the prospect’s struggles which catches their attention
- it's clear they want to provide value and create a relationship, not to sell
Rather than making your prospects hear about your product and company, try to find out more about them. What are their struggles and pain points, and what do they need help with?
Once you make them feel like you're there to help them, not to sell, they will feel more comfortable booking a meeting.
Bonus tip: If you want to level up your personalization - use custom images, videos, and landing pages! With lemlist, it takes only two minutes to create an ultra-personalized pitch that will make your prospects instantly reply.
4. You aim for a meeting, instead of a reply
Based on thousands of cold emails that we analyzed during the past years, we figured out that the best-performing endings are helpful rather than pushy.
Instead of immediately asking for a meeting, you can try to help them first and confirm if there’s any interest at all. Why? When you prove you’re genuinely trying to help, rather than signing one-off deals, your chances of getting an answer only increase.
Let’s check out this prospect-focused example that got Alan a 69% open rate and a 51% reply rate:
Why did this closing line work?
- Alan didn’t write “Can you add the link please” which wouldn’t take into consideration what’s in it for the prospect. Instead, he asked if the link would be useful which completely changes the approach and puts the focus on the customer.
- No meeting or demo request, but only a value for the prospect is what brought him this high open rate.
- He sticks to a single, clear CTA that helps prospects understand what’s the next step in less than 3 seconds.
Using a closing line like this, you can get to know more about your prospect, and see if there’s a true interest to get them into the next step of the customer journey.
The key takeaways
Repeat after me: It’s not about me, it’s about them.
Following these steps help you boost response rates and book more meetings, but most importantly, build meaningful relationships with your target audience:
- Only reach out to leads you know are currently facing the pain you solve.
- Customize the intro line to build trust and get them to read the rest of your message.
- Avoid talking about yourself in the pitch and focus on discovery questions to confirm there’s pain.
- Don’t ask for a meeting in your CTA, aim for a reply.
The more relationships you make, the more potential customers you have, which will eventually lead to higher sales numbers.
P.S. To find out the rest of our secret tactics and access 40+ cold email templates that will boost your business growth, sign up for our Cold Emailing eBook. And for any additional questions, join the lemlist family, the community where you can get daily advice on how to create better cold email campaigns. 🚀