Writing Outreach (Cold) Emails That Will Be Welcomed

In last week’s article, we covered the basics of writing outreach (cold) email. It covered how to make your cold email stand out from spam, and how you need to re-write the email to be you-focused (reader-focused).

In another article from the ahrefs blog, Tim Soulo has an even longer list of tips on how to write outreach emails. So check that out.

Those tips will help your email be tolerable.

But how do you make your email be welcomed?

Received At Just The Right Time

When you send your reader an email, she will likely have a job to get done, a struggle to get over. Maybe it’s something that came up suddently. Or maybe it’s something that’s been nagging.

She will be in a situation that needs fixing, somehow. And if you craft it right, you can make your email be helpful for her situation. Your email will then come just at the right time. That’s how you make your email welcomed.

So how do you figure out the situation you can help, and how can you be sure your email will come at the right time?

It requires some empathy, and some forces of progress.

The Struggle And The Other Three Forces

In a previous article, we looked at the Four Forces of Progress. They describe the four forces at play in the mind of a buyer when discerning a purchase.

To make a sale, make sure the top two forces (bringing the person toward a “yes, this, now”) are greater than the bottom two forces (bringing the person back toward a “not this, not now”).

Forces Diagram

  • ⚬→ Struggle of the moment: Imagine something that your reader might be going through. A typical struggle, something that re-occurs but never gets solved on its own.
  • →⚬ Attraction to the solution: Envision a way to present your thing that would be attractive to the people going through that struggle.
  • ←⚬ Anxieties about the solution: Make sure your offer doesn’t induce any pushback or anxieties. List them and address them. It’s all in the service of helping them make progress from…
  • ⚬← Habits of the present: the mish-mash of things they currently do to solve their problem (or do to avoid addressing it deeply). This is what people default back to.

“But I’m not selling anything in my outreach email.”

People don’t just buy things, they also buy into ideas. They also “hirefree things, like your newsletter, or, in your case, the free guide that you’re proposing to send them in your outreach email:

Would it be helpful if I sent you a guide listing some accessibility gotchas that e-commerce sites like yours can quickly dig up and fix, plus ways to automate their prevention?

Just reply “yes” and I’ll send you the guide. Otherwise, just reply with “no” and that will be the end of it for me.

Whether it’s a guide that you’re sending, or a question you’re asking, it helps to understand that your email is there to help your reader make some kind of progress.

They might have the struggling moment you’re there to help with, so describe it to them. It’ll build trust right off the bat:

Are you currently having to lower the priority of making accessibility tweaks to your site? Maybe it’s because you’re focused on sales, feeding your social media presence, or working on adding new products to your store.

And remember, the forces are equally at work in the first few sentences they read. The forces are at play as they decide whether to read your email or whether to hit delete.

So make your subject line and your first few lines fight with the reader’s present situation: reading other emails, or getting on with their work. Make sure your email gets hired for the job of a reprieve from their work day. Which is why it’s such good adive to make the first few lines all about them. “I got noticed!”

Subject: Greg, are you currently pushing accessibility aside on your site?

Happy Friday Greg,

Your online store is thoughtfully crafted and hits a lot of the right notes visually. Love the way it’s tastefully showcasing your furniture in neutral settings. They really pop-out that way. Also love the close-ups of the fabric.

Every decision to read your email a little further is a decision to hire your email for a job. And if you use this mindset to the hiring of your free piece of content, you might get a chance to get hired as an authority on the subject (in the mind of the person). And maybe after that you’ll get hired as a person to keep an eye on by following you and paying you with their attention.

And if all that works, maybe they’ll eventually hire your service or your product. So help them make progress!

Stay Sharp!


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