I love the science behind prospecting. There are so many things that can impact whether you get responses or not. Whether it’s what accounts you go after, if the contact you picked at that account is the right person, what time you did your tactic, or maybe you just wrote bad email copy, anything can go wrong impacting your response rates.
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Stop introducing yourself in Cold Emails.

First things first, it is an issue with your cold email’s appearance. When you write a cold email, the average prospect decides if they are going to read your email in 3 seconds, so why are you going to waste space explaining who you are in the first sentence? Most people do this at the beginning of their email, since an introduction is almost always at the beginning of things in life.

I mean, what do you see first when you watch Star Wars right? Everything has an introduction.

Here’s an example of an email I received from someone a few weeks ago:

A bad cold email exampleI can tell this is definitely a sales email (in this case this person is soliciting for a job/service) because it opens with an introduction.

I’m going to ignore that this prospect is trying to sell me on something we are trying to replace with LeadIQ, and just focus on the mistake of introducing themselves. Immediately, my eyes tell me it’s a sales email because they introduce themselves.

The problem with introducing yourself in your emails is that it’s redundant. When you write a good cold email, you should explain who you are, but in one or two sentences tops. The best cold emails let their email signatures explain the real meat of who they are, and instead use the one sentence in their email to align a potential value proposition with their prospect.

Now imagine if I wrote a bad email like some of the pitches I see how there with redundant info.

A bad cold email example from Ryan O'Hara

Spacing is precious on a cold email.

Space is precious on a cold email. The opportunity costs of using the first sentence to introduce myself is HUGE. I just blew my first impression sharing things that they could have seen in my email signature. Here’s me matching up the redundancies of my signature to the introduction for those wanting to see the different ways these things match up:

Labeled cold email You can see I matched up different aspects of the email the prospect could have discovered just by poking around my signature.

Some of you are probably thinking, “I don’t even look at email signatures when I get emails from prospectors.” Next time you get an email that interests you, watch where your mouse and eyes go after you finish reading the email. If copy compels someone enough, they always dig into the email more. They’ll click the links, google the company, poke around, etc. We all have curiosity in us.

'Me First' Email

Introducing yourself in a cold email is the easiest way to accidentally turn your cold email into a “ME FIRST EMAIL."

The flow of a cold email is super important, and when you writing your hearts out to win a prospect’s love, it’s very easy to slip into a giant wall of text that’s focuses on you and your company, as oppose to your prospect and why they are special to you.

Try and write a cold email right now where you introduce yourself, and then not talk about your company’s services? It’s almost impossible to create a smooth flow that’s easy to read. Emails that focus just on your company’s product or service are bad, and only work 3.5% of the time. If you want to start seeing response rates go up, skip the introduction next time you write you cold email.

You want to make sure your emails are more fun, mainly about your prospects, and most of all, human.

Example of a Selfless email that Worked:

I was following up with people I talked with at Saastr a few weeks back, and was trying to follow up with one of my favorite sites on the web is Quora I’ve been a Quora user since they launched many years ago, and was so pumped to finally meet their sales team. They recently just started selling ad space on their Q and A site, which really excites me because users visiting their site have more intent than other platforms. We had a really quick stop and chat, but I had to think of way to get their attention with the flood of Saastr follows they likely are getting.

Rather than send a “let me introduce myself again” type email… I decided to have some fun with them. This was the cold email I wrote:

Quora cold email exampleAs you can see, I made the email mainly about the prospect. I swapped out the HTML in a Quora question I answered once with text about the prospect, then took a screenshot.

And of course, I got a reply:

Quora response from Ryan's cold email outreachSince I didn’t make the email about me, didn’t waste space on introducing myself to the prospect, we got the meeting.

Introducing yourself in an email is a death sentence to your cold email. Make your emails about prospects, and remember space is precious!

Posted by Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics, including Dyn who was acquired by Oracle for $600+ million in 2016. He's had prospecting campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in branding, business development, prospecting, and coaching people on how to make good digital first impressions. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft, and hosts The Prospecting

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