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The average person receives 85 emails per day. And we only spend 15-20 seconds reading each one.

With numbers like these, sending a cold email to prospects seems frightening. How do you make sure your email doesn’t get lost in a sea of newsletters, personal correspondence, spam, and other sales pitches?

Luckily, by spending some extra time carefully choosing your words, cutting the fluff, and crafting a clear call to action, you can greatly increase your odds of getting a prospect to respond to your email.

Here’s how to get prospects to respond to your email:

Write an Engaging Subject Line

You could argue that your subject line is the most important part of an email. Those fifty characters will decide whether your email gets marked as spam, moved to the trash, or opened. Don’t take the easy way out and summarize your message in the subject line. Instead, make those fifty characters count and entice prospects to read more. Your subject line should be creative, thought-provoking, and peak curiosity. Here are some examples of great subject lines from Hubspot:

  • [Mutual connection] recommended I get in touch
  • Hi [name], [question]?
  • X tips for [pain point]

 

Make it About Them, Not You

How many times have you started an email out by introducing yourself? This makes the email about you, not the prospect. That first sentence of your email is incredibly important, and you need to give prospects a reason to keep reading. You need to say something about them, not about you. Instead of introducing yourself or explaining why you’re reaching out, start your email with one of these phrases that shift the focus onto the prospect:

  • I noticed you….
  • Congratulations on…
  • I loved your blog post/article about…
  • I saw that we both….

 

Keep it Short and Sweet

Make it as easy as possible for prospects to skim your email. Don’t waste their time by writing long paragraphs, where the meat of your message is buried underneath run-on sentences. Use spacing, numbers, and bulleted lists to visually break up your email and get straight to the point. Your first email doesn’t need to cover every single detail — your goal is to get a response and build interest. You can cover the minutiae later.

 

Use numbers

There’s a reason everyone is writing numbered list articles (I’m talking about those Buzzfeed-type titles of, “10 Ways to Do X” or “25 Reasons Why..”). Numbers written out as numerals (25 instead of twenty-five) have been shown to stop the wandering eye of readers, making it more likely that an article, or an email, will get noticed. Use numerals in your subject line when possible to cut through the clutter, and include statistics and data in the body of your email to boost your credibility.

 

Be Specific

There’s nothing worse than taking the time to read an email and having no clue how to respond or what the next steps are. Don’t end an email by saying, “Let me know how you’d like to proceed” or “Let me know what works best for you.” These open-ended statements can end up confusing prospects. Instead, include a very specific call to action in every email. Take the decision making out of the equation, so your prospect doesn’t have to spend extra time and energy thinking of next steps. Here are some examples:

  • Are you available on Monday at 2pm PST for a call?
  • Would you be interested in a demo on Thursday at 1pm PST?
  • Can I take you to coffee next Thursday between 1-4pm PST?

 

Next Steps

While it can be tempting to draft one email and send it to dozens of prospects in one fell swoop, you’ll only create more work for yourself in the long run. When emailing potential clients, focus on quality over quantity. You’ll have a much better ROI if you only send a couple emails, but spend the time to personalize each message and craft an eye-catching subject line so people actually read it.

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