Cold emailing outreach is actually something I both hate and love because, on the one hand, you can’t really live without it, but on the other hand, it just doesn’t always feel right.
But building a business requires two things most founders hate: marketing and sales. Especially indie makers and bootstrappers who are keener 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 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?
For my SaaS business, I’m actually not doing cold emailing, except every now and then when I absolutely think I could contribute to someone's search for a product like ours. Think about reaching out to someone who tweeted that they need a solution for their user feedback, I then send them a DM with an introduction to our product Upvoty.
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 sharing 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 s*ck, to be honest...
Email outreach: DON'TS
Let’s start with the DON'TS: there are two 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 blacklist 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, bla”
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, treat 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
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, 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: 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.
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.