Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about how to write a great cold email.
When people ask me how I get new business, I tell them most of it comes through cold emails. I also do a fair amount of networking, which is definitely a front-runner as far as how I get new clients, but the cold email has also been immensely helpful. It’s probably my most useful piece of content marketing, so I figured I’d talk about it here.
I started sending cold emails about three years ago, shortly after I had quit my day job to write full time. I had just read a book on how to make a living as a freelance writer and the author’s main tip for getting new clients was cold calling. The author was from a previous generation, so I took the liberty of translating “cold calling” into “cold emailing.” No one likes making or getting cold calls, and companies have set up barriers to make sure cold callers never get past the front desk. While there are ways around those barriers, in this decade, it seems to make more sense to just send an email. That way you can provide them with all your information, and if they want to follow up and/or hold onto the information, it’s easy for them to save your email. If not, no pressure.
Probably the trickiest (and most important) part of the cold email is the headline. You want to make it clear why you’re reaching out, without sounding too salesy. I’m continuously reworking my headline to see what gets the best responses. Believe it or not, when I started, it was something like “Affordable Freelance Writer for Hire!” I don’t recommend going that route, although I did get some new business from those emails. That’s probably because it’s clear what I’m offering, and since I was mostly emailing people who I knew could use a freelance writer, it worked out pretty well.
But then I realized calling myself a “content marketer,” rather than a “freelance writer” was much more effective, which meant my headline needed to be adjusted accordingly. After trying a few things, I now use the headline “Level Up Your Content,” since that’s what most of my clients are looking to do. Almost everyone has some content, but it’s often not as good as it could be and/or they haven’t been posting consistently. They have content, it just needs to be improved upon, and that’s where I come in.
The body of my email looks a little something like this. It’s pretty basic as far as cold emails go, and it’s easy enough to adjust for your specific needs based on your industry:
My name is Alison Ver Halen, and I am a content marketer in the Chicago area. I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and inquire whether you have any ongoing or occasional need for a good writer to help create any web content, articles, or promotional materials.
In the six years I have been a professional content marketer, I have helped generate business for my clients by producing various forms of marketing content – from blogs and newsletters to social media – on topics ranging from employment law to health and nutrition. I am confident I could help with any needs you might have for content development and/or strategy and I would love to discuss opportunities with you.
Please find below my contact information and a link to my portfolio. Thank you in advance, and I hope to work with you soon.
Alison Ver Halen”
This is pretty much what I send out to almost everyone. If the company does something in which I have a lot of experience, I’ll highlight that experience. And if I know the name of the person I’m emailing, I’ll always include their name in the intro.
After my “signature” I always list my contact information, including a link to my LinkedIn profile, and a link to my portfolio. That way people can quickly and easily see what I’ve already done before deciding if they want to get back to me.
After my signature, I always include all my testimonials. I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again: testimonials are golden. Use them everywhere you can. I think they’re especially beneficial to include in cold emails because they provide validity. Because they’re way down at the bottom, people can read them if they want, but they don’t have to get through them in order to see who I am or how to contact and/or learn more about me.
Thanks for reading! If you like what you see here, you can sign up for my email at the top of this page to make sure you never miss an update. If you still have questions about content marketing, let’s chat.