Stop Making These Common Cold Email Mistakes (w/ Templates!)

Justin McGill posted this in the Lead Generation Strategies Category
Reading Time: 8 minutes

As a former done-for-you service, we saw a LOT of cold email mistakes people were making. 

Obviously the message is critical. We’ll get into that. But do you know how many cold emails to send per day? 

When should you send your cold emails? 

These are all topics we’ll dive into in this post!

cold email mistakes

If you’re making these COMMON cold email mistakes, you’re going to ruin any chance you have at success.

If you have a well-crafted message, cold email is a great way to generate leads.

But NOT if you are making these common cold email mistakes! Sending one of these common templates might immediately repulse your prospect.

Sometimes the best way to learn, is by knowing what NOT to do. 

Take a look:

BAD Cold Email Template #1: “Hi, You don’t know me…”

cold email mistakes

To understand the psychology at play with this example, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient.

You probably get between 50-200 emails per day.

On top of your proactive workload.

Right when you see the first sentence, especially if you are viewing on mobile, you immediately know you can skip this email.

This is one of the biggest cold email mistakes on this list.

You know this is someone that you don’t know, and is going to sell you something.

Don’t make it easy for your prospects to skip your email!

BAD Cold Email Template #2: “We do this and this and this …”

cold email mistakes bad template #2

Blah. blah. blah.

How much of that email did you actually read?

My guess is not much. 

And neither did your prospect, if you wrote a selfish essay like this. 

These kind of cold email mistakes will cost you sales. 

Avoid generic, rambling descriptions like this if you want to generate any type of response to your cold emails.

Focus on what your prospect is interested in, and invite her into a conversation around that specific topic.

BAD Cold Email Template #3: “Marketing talk”

cold email mistakes bad template #3

People like when you talk to them like a real person.

When you throw a lot of generic marketing talk at them, they tune out.

Write your cold email like you talk. Your prospects will respond to your better.

Does cold email work?

Beside being an inexpensive method to meet new people valuable to your business, cold emails are a great tool to introduce your company to potential clients.

You can introduce your products, services and skills to other business owners who might be interested in doing business with you.

Furthermore, if done right, cold emails can be a valuable foundation to creating and building fruitful business relations in the future.

Using an appropriate cold email subject line can help you attract the attention of a potential client which may lead to a positive response.

Once you start networking, your online communication can serve as a base for developing a solid business partnership further on.

Another important advantage of cold emails is that they provide you with a great opportunity to clearly target your potential clients.

When writing and sending cold emails to people, you can choose exactly who will receive your offers.

By contacting the right people, you can focus solely on the individuals who can be of great importance to your business.

Taking into consideration all of the important benefits of cold emails, it is clear why many entrepreneurs are have found them to be effective as part of a full marketing campaign.

However, as we teased with the examples above, there are many traps to avoid when cold emailing.

11 Common Cold Email Mistakes

So now that you have some examples of bad cold emails, let’s get more into specific cold email mistakes.

Here are the 11 most common cold email mistakes
cold email mistakes

1. Forget the Introductions

Newsflash…your prospects don’t care who you are or even what you do.

If you’re doing email outreach, don’t even bother introducing yourself. Just get to the point.

All they ultimately care about is how your offer can help them.

Ideally, they care most about saving time, saving money, or making money.

So try and frame your email to cater to those needs.

The first sentence in a cold email is critical as that’s what they see in their email preview panes.

First Sentence in a Cold Email is Critical

cold email mistakes

2. Misleading Subject Lines

Trying to mislead them, or just not putting any thought into the subject line will kill your open rates.

Your subject line needs to relate to what your email is about, but it needs still appeal to them enough to get them to open it.

Spend the time in really trying to craft a great subject line.

If all else fails, something like “Quick Question” or “Strange Question” works pretty well, though it isn’t quite related. If you use this subject line, you better be sure it really is a quick question and a short email overall.

3. Stop Rambling

When you are passionate about what you offer, it is hard to really just strip things down to the basics.

You want to really make sure you show them all the different ways you can help them.

This is overkill.

Focus on a single benefit. You can focus on other benefits in follow-ups if needed.

If doing email outreach, keep it to two to four sentences.

If you’re calling on leads, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get them engaged.

You should never give prospects hypothetical situations.

“If your company does this, if you wanted to do that…” if you’re asking the right questions and engaging them…you’ll know exactly what and how they do things.

You can then tailor your message to THEIR needs, not your rambling sales pitch.

4. You Use Big Words

By trying to sound too professional, you end up sounding like a robot.

People don’t talk in a series of multiple syllable words.

A good rule of thumb is to write your emails like you would if you were having a face-to-face meeting with them.

Have someone else read it out loud back to you to get a sense of how it flows.

5. Special Characters

I usually see people use too many exclamations!!!!!!!

I’ve seen an email where every single sentence inside the email ended with an exclamation.

You might think it’s driving home the point, but it’s really just putting up a flag that says this is all hyperbole.

6. Multiple Calls to Action

You don’t want to feel like you’re going to miss out on converting them if your primary call to action misses the mark. So, you ask for 15 minutes, you ask for a reply to a question, and you try getting them to download your super awesome white paper.

Focus on getting them to do one thing per email. Otherwise, they won’t do anything.

If your trying to get them to click through to your website, make sure you have a landing page for their specific industry or use case.

It allows you to speak in their terms which helps them resonate with your messaging. Even better if it is dedicated especially to their vertical. Here’s a great breakdown comparing two of the leading landing page builders if you need help putting this together.

7. You Have Spelling / Grammar Mistakes

Nothing can ruin your cold email outreach campaigns quite like having spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

This wreaks of amateurism and is going to be a major turn off.

Make sure your emails are spell checked and have someone else proofread it.

8. You Don’t Build Trust

Using your address and phone number helps build credibility that you’re a real business.

Never mind the fact that you need to do this legally anyway.

In addition, providing an image of yourself helps put a real person’s face to the email.

If you don’t have a presence online or at least within your local community, you are fighting an uphill battle.

Work on establishing credibility for your business before you try focusing heavily on lead generation.

Build up some content, speak wherever you can, guest post, offer white papers, etc.

If you’ve won awards or have awesome testimonials, try and incorporate them somehow below the email signature.

9. Letting the Negativity Get to You

You are going to get responses from people that get upset you are emailing them.

This happens and you just have to move on.

If you are somehow offending people with your message, or getting people very irate, then you will want to evaluate how your message is being perceived and make adjustments as necessary.

For the people that just don’t want you to contact them, great…move on.

This is actually a good thing because it means they didn’t flag you as spam and you don’t have to worry about spending the time to send them another message.

10. Sending Just One Email

You just send one email and assume they’re not interested if they don’t respond.

Although, this is logical, it can be detrimental to your lead generation efforts.

Initially, they will feel like they somehow got on a list or you’re sending them a blanket email.

When you follow-up with them, they start to understand that you’re contacting them directly and you feel like you can help them specifically.

“Just checking in” emails don’t count.

You need to have a worthwhile follow-up that pulls them closer into your world.

If you aren’t investing in content creation, then you don’t have anything to nurture your leads. By investing in content, you not only can leverage this on the front end with lead generation, but you can keep top of mind of existing leads in your pipeline.

The beautiful thing with lead nurturing is, you can simply re-purpose what you’ve already created!

Nearly 85% of all our internal lead generation efforts at LeadFuze actually come from follow-up responses, not the initial outreach message.

How many times are you following up?

11. You Don’t Do it Every Day

Don’t try something for a day and then determine if it worked.

Sending a direct mail piece once, or making one initial outreach email to 20 or 30 people and not getting a response, does not mean that the tactic won’t work for you.

You might need to refine your message, you need follow ups, etc.

You need to dedicate some time every single day to performing outreach for you to have measurable results.

Even if one day you only send one or two, it’s better than nothing.

Try to keep a tally so you start building momentum and more pressure on yourself to keep the streak alive.

Although cold email outreach isn’t SPAM, it can sure feel like it to your prospective customers if you aren’t doing it right.

Try to avoid the 11 mistakes outlined above when you’re doing your cold email outreach.

How many cold emails per day should you send?

There are limitations on how many emails your email client will allow you to send.

You don’t want to look like spam, otherwise other emails that you send could be blocked and that’s no good.

The rule is no more than 200 cold emails per day should be sent if you want to avoid getting your email account shut down. Even less, if it’s a newer account that doesn’t get much inbound email. 

Remember, you have to account for follow-ups. So realistically, this means if you have a 4 part email sequence, then 50 new prospects per day is the max you want to add. Because by the time the 4th follow-up goes out, you’ll be at sending 200 cold emails per day.

When should you send cold emails? 

Simply put, when your prospects are most likely to be opening. 

The single most successful time to send cold email that we pinpointed in our research was 10am EST. This time got the highest amount of opens. 

The best thing you can do is test this. Your cold email tool should be able to show you data for your opens, clicks, responses, etc.

Pay close attention to these reports to know when you should be sending your cold emails. 

Will cold email work for me? 

Businesses exist because they have something to offer. They fail because they don’t have enough customers.

cold email mistakes

cold email mistakes

Lead generation is a broad and very tedious task. However, a business’s life depends on having customers.

If your lead flow is looking bleak, then these are probably the reasons as to why.

If lead generation, and cold email results specifically, is a problem for you currently, then I suggest looking at some of the foundational issues first. 

These are most likely the reasons:

1. You don’t know what works

Shooting in the dark and trying 10 different things at once isn’t going to move you forward.

Try one or two lead generation strategies at a time and then figure out which, if any, is working.

Give the results some time to work themselves out and then dump the tactics that aren’t generating leads.

2. You don’t really know your market

Don’t try to appeal to everyone.

By focusing on a specific industry, it doesn’t mean you are closing the door on all other companies.

It just allows you to focus your marketing and your messages to a very specific target.

This will help resonate with that audience much then if you try to be everything to everyone.

If you try to appeal to all businesses, then you appeal to no businesses.

3. You are being too self promotional

It is almost better for you to give your pitch to someone outside your company and then have them put it in their own words.

Use what they say and write as your message.

Your prospects don’t care about how good you are, they care about how you’re going to help them.

4. You don’t have a system or process in place to handle leads

If you don’t have a CRM and/or some other system of managing your leads then you will undoubtedly have qualified leads slip through the cracks.

But, before you worry about a CRM, you need to have leads to put into that CRM. That’s why LeadFuze exists 🙂 

LeadFuze is a software solution to help you build lists of accurate leads automatically, while integrating with sales outreach tools to allow you to contact those freshly verified leads.

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Want more leads?

First, make sure you aren’t falling into the cold email mistakes above.

Secondly, focus on making this an automated process so that you can work out your next lead generation strategy, while this one runs itself.

Need help with your cold email? Connect with me on LinkedIn and I’ll be happy to help.

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Connect with me on LinkedIn and let's discuss.

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.

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