Cold emailing outreach is actually something I both hate and love because, on the one hand, you can’t really live without it, and, on the other hand, it just doesn’t always feel right. But building a business requires 2 things most founders hate: marketing and sales. Especially indie makers and bootstrappers who are more keen on just building an awesome product rather than doing marketing and sales, right?
But again, you just really need it in order to get customers and to build a viable business.
Cold emailing as part of your sales strategy
One of the things you can do in sales is cold emailing outreach: sending emails to potential customers or in general just people you wanna get in touch with.
And like I said, I both hate doing it but it’s also something I can enjoy when it gets me the results I’m after, right?
So, for my SaaS business, I’m actually not doing a lot of cold emailing, just every now and then when I absolutely think I could contribute to someone’s search for a product like ours, so think about reaching out to someone who tweeted that they need a solution for their user feedback I can then perfectly send them a DM or email with an introduction to our product Upvoty, right? But, besides that, I’m not doing a lot of cold emailing.
On the other hand, I am doing a lot of cold emailing outreach for the SaaS Pirates Podcast though, to get people on board for doing interviews. And I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and thus I have some learnings I’d like to share with you. PS: I’m also doing this based on the cold emailing outreach people are doing towards me, because, I’m getting a lot of cold emails as well and some are really good, but most of them suck, to be honest.
Email outreach: DON’TS
Let’s start with the DON’TS: there are 2 absolute DONTs for me when it comes to cold emailing outreach.
❌ 1. Don’t send a templated message
So many times I see these copy/paste emails, with often either just a default “hey” instead of “hey Mike” or – even worse – with the wrong name.
And I can guarantee you, you will not only not get a response but you’ll also end up on a so-called black list from that person. Meaning: every new attempt from your end to reach out and them seeing your name will result in an instant block or spam report. I guarantee you.
❌ 2. Don’t tell your whole story yet
The thing is, the person you’re emailing isn’t interested in your story at all and its time is limited, right. So it’s important to GIVE first, so always reach out with some kind of value, so for example, if I’m reaching out on behalf of SaaS Pirates, it’s never “Hey we want you so badly on the Pod, bla bla” no, it’s always something like “Hey, congratz on raising new capital, or congratz on reaching a new revenue milestone, or thanks for sharing that awesome blog post” and I’ll then go like “would you be interested in talking about it on our podcast, I think our audience would love to hear from you and it could also be a nice opportunity to promote your product, or your book, or what else”.
I once read in an article that email outreach should be considered like you are dating the person you’re emailing. So whatever you do, threat them well and respectfully.
Email outreach: DOS
My absolute favorite hack in doing cold emailing outreach is to make sure they know me, or at least, have seen my name or my picture somewhere.
✅ 1. Get them to know you
So, what I always like to do is to make sure to comment on some of their tweets and to follow the person I wanna reach out to. This way, especially on Twitter, I’m almost sure that when I reach out, they have heard of me.
✅ 2. Tell them what you like about them
This is something I kinda already mentioned, but always make sure to tell the person what you like about them. So tell them you like a certain tweet, or a book they’ve written, or an article they shared, just something that they’re most probably proud of and something that will trigger them to keep reading your email.
✅ 3. Do your homework
A follow up on this one would be to do your homework: So, Google their names and see if there’s any news around them or their companies and make sure to address it.
✅ 4. Don’t ASK, GIVE!
And last but not least, don’t ask for anything right away.
Give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give, ask.
— Sahil (@shl) August 14, 2021
So I would never ask to apply as a guest and to submit a form right away in the first email. The first cold email outreach should always have the intention of just connecting and starting a conversation in order to build a relationship. And only when you’re getting a positive response, you can take it from there and see how you could benefit each other.