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‘Practical Techie:’ Heating up ‘cold’ emails

Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com. Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

E-mails with no response are a frustrating part of running an online business.

“Cold emails,” software developer Robert Graham calls these electronic messages that seem to vanish into thin air. Or rather, get no attention from the recipient.

There are 2 billion email users worldwide. This means that 90 trillion mails are sent via the Web every year. There is no tally for how many go unanswered but salespeople suffer this negative dynamic the most.

Cybermarketers, luckily, have developed strategies to deal with such contingencies.

On target
Have each message fit the audience. Ideally, the email must fit the person it is addressed to. We all know how mass mailings and generic messages turn us off immediately and light up the “spam” alarm in our heads. A worthwhile client deserves a little invested time in tailoring the message to that person’s interests and needs.

It is almost logical that a poorly targeted email will inspire little attention, or no response at all.

Insert something in your message that injects a bit of adrenaline into the reader. This will move your potential client to action. At least, to acknowledge your message. This is a sure sign of interest in what you have transmitted.

Before emailing a prospect, find out a bit about that person. Do your research through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and especially, LinkedIn.

Never get personal. Address the person’s professional interests. Make the person feel you have their concerns in mind as part of your business. This will make it easier for you to sell solutions.

Use demographics briefly to help state your case. Also, show knowledge of geographics, if it pertains to the type of service or product in your business.

Learn your subject’s background. Visit the person’s website or read their blogs. An analytical tool such as opensiteexplorer.org, helps to find out who links to your addressee’s site. The more key information you find about a person you want to do business with, the better chances you have to get a timely response to our message.

No fast-balls
Next comes the correct pitch in your message. This must be designed to generate good response rates. Offer something valuable in your initial pitch. A problem solver. Fine tune the first words of your email so they convey the idea that reading on will help the receiver solve a snag in a person’s practical life. This type of content will also protect your messages from spam filters by your Internet postal provider.

What type of info can one offer to an unknown recipient?

Offer information of value. Brief and to the point. Data that will help that person exercise better judgment in searching for a solution to the problem with which your business deals. This is called education-based marketing. A fancy name for handing out wise advise.

The top marketers usually package that material into an e-book, report, video, newsletter, or PDF brochure and mail them out to their prospective clients. It is basically putting forth useful information to help a client make an intelligent decision when buying a product such as yours.

It’s alright to offer this information unsolicited. The hope is that the recipient will find it interesting enough to shoot back with a few questions. This action means half of your sale is in the basket. After that, establish an equally intelligent exchange of information and the client is soon in your bag. No more cold emails.

Patient listener

  1. Always apply a very useful strategy for “cold calls” of the type that expert phone marketers deal with everyday.
  2. Which is it? Your ear.

In your reply emails, lend a willing ear to your client’s problem. No sales pitch yet. This builds trust and receptivity.

Listen carefully and offer your best professional advise in your emails.

To summarize, it is better to send quality emails instead of quantity. Craft emails as if they were directed to help others take care of themselves in a way that only your business can help.

It is time-consuming and requires a verbal balancing act, but a good deal comes from a good sell only and it takes footwork. Eventually you will discover a response pattern to a certain play of words and this will allow you to build a script that follows the classic structure: greeting, connecting statement, praise, soft pitch, close and signature.

Personalize your message to establish that connection.  Keep it short to inspire quick empathy. Follow up fast.

Talk specifics, advise intelligently, throw in some stats, do your research in a relevant manner only.

All this will put a little warmth to light up those messages that went cold and seemed to have vanished into the deep recesses of cyberspace.

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