If you’re a marketer looking for proven cold email tips to increase your reply rate, you’re not alone. Most marketers have to battle the frustration of poor response rate to cold emails.

All your efforts of collecting email addresses of potential clients and chalking out the right cold email strategy can go down the drain if your response rate is poor.

Thankfully, there are some strong, actionable tips to improve things. Here are 8 tips to get a better response rate to the cold emails you send out.

1. First things first – be nice, trustworthy and helpful

An email is just another form of communication and, in its essence, is no different from meeting someone personally. Follow the same rules of decency.

Writing in a simple, easily understandable language is the first rule of being decent and polite. If you write in a roundabout or excessively technical language, you are not only taxing your prospect’s time but are also being discourteous.

Next, try and establish your credentials without being too elaborate. People would only buy from businesses they trust.

Finally, make a point to come across as someone who wishes to solve the prospect’s problem, not just another salesperson out for a commission.

2. Use a great subject line and opening line

This point is so obvious (and well-known) that we almost decided to drop it. But then we also found that while most marketers know, many don’t practice it. And so we decided that this point is so important, it’s worth repeating even if you know it.

Work hard and write multiple subject lines before you finalize one. Remember, if your subject line isn’t captivating enough, no one’s going to open your email.

Also, craft your opening line of your email carefully. A great opening line must hook the attention of the reader. And remember to keep it short.

3. Don’t automate to the extent of sounding mechanical

Automation of cold emails is convenient but it also runs the risk of making you sound like a machine. 

Look at the following famous line from Joseph Heller’s famous novel Catch 22, where the armed forces write to the surviving members of a deceased soldier.

“Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka: Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.”

Notice how, in an attempt to personalize the content, the message actually becomes ridiculously callous.

The least you can do to avoid sounding mechanical is to use the name of the recipient. Also include at least one feature that shows you understand the unique aspect of their problem.

4. Sell without selling

‘My long standing desire is to receive cold emails that are in a hurry to sell me something.’ said no prospect ever.

Don’t forget using emails to sell is a long game – don’t expect to close the deal with a single email. It will take multiple communications before you can get the prospect to sign along the dotted line, so don’t be in a hurry.

Always remember that your immediate goal is to get the prospect talking. So try to build a conversation, not fetch a sales order.

Insert some tit-bits that will encourage them to hit Reply. If you can strike up a good conversation, a sale is more likely to follow.

5. Be brief and clear

So what exactly do you want them to do?

Do you want them to download a PDF, read a case-study, check out your features page, watch a video, say yes to an appointment….? 

Whatever your objective, make it very clear. Remember, you’re already intruding upon your prospect’s time by sending a cold email, so if you make them waste time understanding what to do next, you almost always lose them.

Short, scannable email copy generally works best.

6. Make their problem the point of focus

“My name is John Doe and I am Vice President, Sales and Marketing, at Sample Products, Inc. We have been featured in the top 100 fastest growing mid-western companies. Our policy has always been to….”

Wow. I am happy you work for a great organization, says the prospect. 

And deletes your email without reading further.

To avoid this, always keep them in the center. Include bare minimum details about your organization – only as much as is necessary to establish credibility – but beyond that the story must be about them. 

Remember, they are the hero of your story; without the customer your business doesn’t exist.

7. Don’t forget to split test

It’s easy to fall in love with a smart subject line or a cheeky phrase you coined but unless you test it out, there’s no way if it’s going to work.

In order to increase the reply rate of cold emails, you need to be clear about what stuff was a hit and what wasn’t. And the most reliable way to do this to do an A/B test, AKA the split test.

Split tests are not just a great way of knowing which email copy is the best. They also keep you from wasting energy and resources on substandard cold emails that won’t bring results.

8. Slog over the details

Apart from personalizing the email to the extent practical and necessary, there are other details that you need to pore closely over too.

First, make sure the names are spelled right. 

Next, run a quick eye over the spreadsheet or database to see if you see funny sounding names. Did you see a name like Dave Licensed Agent or Cathy Established Vet? In cases where people combine their professions with their first name, you want to address people only by their correct names: Hi Dave and Hey Cathy and not Hi Susie Went To Dartmouth College

Use a professional signature to end your email with. Don’t forget to include all your contacts – phone, email, LinkedIn and so on.

Wherever possible, end the email with a short, clear question. That way, even when your prospect only quickly glances at the email, they know what you’re looking for.