2022 Wrap Up: B2B Cold Email Trends
Looking Into 2023: B2B Cold Email Trends To Keep… And What To Get Rid Of
Cold email is a super effective way for b2b companies to bring in new business. The problem is… every one of your competitors is also sending cold emails. Your prospects are not going to respond to your company’s outreach when it’s buried among the literally hundreds of emails they receive in a day. But there are ways to make your cold emailing campaigns more effective and it starts by understanding what your prospective customers want. Then you have to figure out how to connect your company’s main objective to what your prospects actually want, and do this in a way that gets their attention.
I’ve compiled a list of 8 types of cold emails that are trending in 2022. Any of these types of emails can work well to grow your outbound leads, however there are some things I’ve found out in the wilds of cold email country, that I advise you to avoid.
The Problem-Solution Cold Email
A large number of b2b cold emails begin by stating the problem they believe their prospects are facing. Starting off your cold emails with the prospect’s problems helps grab their attention and gets them into their negative feelings. This approach creates a perfect opportunity to present your company as the solution to your prospect’s needs.
These emails often present the problem in the form of a question, a before and after story, or a simple statement of the problem followed by the your company’s solution. Any of these approaches work as long as you’ve correctly identified the prospect’s pain points and you manage to capture their attention with your words.
One of the pitfalls of these types of emails is spending most of the email bragging about your company instead of dedicating the bulk of the email talking about your prospect. If you get the problem right, and get the prospect feeling their pain in the specific area where you can help them, they will want to learn more all on their own.
The “Straight Talk” Cold Email
Lot’s of cold emailers try to get noticed by using a familiar tone, like you would use when writing to a friend. They may even make a joke about the nature of cold-emailing and try and “break the ice” with a laugh. These types of emails can work well for b2b companies who have a whimsical product or a highly personalized sales process.
The key to making the familiar, friend-to-friend, cold email work is that it has to feel genuine. Think of these types of cold emails like a pick-up line. Canned and cliched phrases are going to get your email deleted before your prospect even finishes the first sentence. However a person-to-person conversational style email that feels sincere can be a great way to bond with your prospects and increase conversion rates.
The Customized Cold Email
Customizing your cold emails to each specific recipient takes time and attention… and it should. There is nothing worse as a cold email recipient than getting a personalized email that feels fake, in fact it’s most likely a cold email death sentence.
The key here is to choose personalized information that is relevant to the product or service that your company offers. Don’t settle for generic references such as “visited your website and…” or “searched for you on Google and found…” In order to make your personalization count, you need to go far enough into your prospect’s business to find something that only you would notice, and that your company has the perfect solution for.
Personalization can be incorporated into other types of cold emails included in this article. You can personalize a problem-solution cold email by calling out a problem you found in your prospects business that you can help them solve. Below I describe how “in the news” emails can be personalized to your prospect by searching for literal industry news references to your prospect’s company.
If you’re sending out hundreds of cold emails every day, personalization is not a good fit for your email marketing strategy. But I suggest reducing your volume and increasing the quality of your emails and you will probably see much higher quality results.
The Story Based Cold Email
A story based lead can work for all different types of emails, problem-solution emails, customer centered emails, referral emails, in the news emails and more. But this approach to cold email is severely underused. The reason stories work so well for cold audiences is that they appeal to our basic human affinity for, and comfort with story telling. If an email begins with a compelling story the prospect can’t help themselves from wanting to know how the story ends, and thus continuing to read your email. The key here is to start the story at the height of the action, where their is a lot of emotion and then quickly direct the story back to something your prospect cares about.
When I talk about story-leads with email, I’m not suggesting simply a “once upon a time…” sort of story. Telling a story to a cold audience is as simple as setting your words in a specific time and place with a subject (usually the reader) and some sort of conflict. The example below is an example of a story-type lead that draws you in immediately with an emotionally driven first line. Try re-working your emails to include a story-type opening, and watch your open rates and conversion rates soar.
The Reference Cold Email
This type of cold email works if your company has a pre-existing connection with the prospect, of any sort. In the example below, the email is reaching out to current users of one company and introducing a product offered by their parent company. But referral emails can work if you have something in common with the prospect, or if you learned about your prospect from a mutual connection. Using relationships or past experiences that you have in common with your prospects is an incredible opportunity to build momentum for your cold email.
The most important thing to avoid with these types of emails is being fake. If you don’t actually have a common reference point with the prospect, you should not go making one up. These emails can take time and research so they make the most sense if you already have a lead on a connection, or if you are going after a specific company and want to make a notable impression.
The Bullet Points Cold Email
Sometimes all a company has to do to convert prospects is list a series of catchy bullet points about their product’s features and benefits. If you have a fairly simple to understand product and you can provide concise solutions to specific pain points, then a bullet point email is a great way to combine design, i.e. plenty of white space, with well crafted copy and win over your prospects.
Anyone can write bullet points, but it takes a skilled copywriter who understands the market to write a good bullet point. To craft a really great bullet points cold email you want to focus on the benefits of your product and how they are going to make life better for your prospect. The second thing you want to do with bullets is build curiosity, and hint at a result, prompting your prospects to click the call-to-action and find out more.
This email in my example hints at benefits for the prospect, “no subscriptions,” “no messaging limits” but they opted for short and direct bullets, instead of more emotional, sentence length bullets. I think these same bullets would be even more powerful if the copy was flipped to show the prospect exactly how they would benefit from this product. Instead of “no contracts, no subscriptions” they could have said, “Only pay for the service when you use it.” Instead of “same day activation!” I would turn this bullet into a call-to-action and say “Start messaging customers today!”
The “In The News” Cold Email
A common approach I see in cold emails is to start off with a reference to something in the news. This works to grab attention and make the email personal right from the start. The “news” can be a specific article or, like in the example below, a mention of a trend. A great way to individually personalize the email is to reference an industry article where your prospect’s company is specifically mentioned.
The key to making this type of email work is to get as specific as possible with both the news item you are referencing, including a link if possible, and even more importantly referencing news that is specifically relevant to your prospect.
The example below works because it is an emotional appeal to a trend that is probably causing anxiety or even fear in the prospect, hence priming the reader for the sender’s call-to-action. I think they need a little work on their first sentence to make it easier to digest and even more emotionally driven. However the use of powerful words like “devastating” and “security breaches” are going to grab the attention of those readers for whom this fear is on the top of their minds. The follow up link to join their virtual training is well placed and is probably going to see some significant results.
The Direct Offer Cold Email
Studies show 3% of your market will be ready to buy immediately, and this type of cold email is designed to grab those prospects and directly convert them into customers.
These types of emails should start with a question that will directly identify your ideal prospect who is ready to “buy today.” Then you give them your offer, which can include a brief explanation of your company, or you can skip the introduction and go straight to your offer. Then include benefit driven, curiosity inducing, bullets along with your direct offer and you’ve got a complete email package that your most anxious prospects will respond to right away.
Useful Copywriting Tips To Use In Your Cold Emails
No matter what type of cold email you are sending, there are some copywriting techniques that you can use to strengthen your existing approach, or help you craft a winner from the start.
Start with a question
Questions can make great subject lines and great openings. You can turn any of the above email types into an attention grabbing email by starting off with a question that pulls in your ideal prospect and primes them for your message.
Turn your email into a story
A story email is going to make your email stand out from the competition because it offers a human element, which is appealing to almost everyone, and almost no-one uses them. To use a story in cold email you always want to begin the email at the climax of the story, when the emotions of the situation are the most intense. A story can be just a couple sentences or a few short paragraphs, it doesn’t really matter. As long as the story is compelling, it will draw in your audience and help deliver your core message with more impact.
Write compelling button copy
If you have a design heavy email that includes a colorful button, don’t settle for canned, boring copy on that button. CTAs like, “Sign Up,” “Schedule A Demo,” or “Find Out More” do little to move your prospect to take action. Similar to how the best bullet point copy is written, your button/CTA copy should focus on the benefits of your product and promise the result your prospect will receive if they follow your CTA. Some alternate button copy to the examples above are, “10X My Responses,” “See How x-product can solve x-problem,” and “Discover x-case study customer’s Secrets.”
Send your email from a real person
Be careful of getting too familiar with your prospect in your cold emails. Acting like you’re already their best friend in the first few outreach emails will reek of sleazy salesmanship. However, do be yourself in your cold emails and explain why you are excited to reach out and how you think you can help. The more genuine your email tone and copy, the more likely you are to get a real response.
Common Mistakes To Avoid In Your Cold Emails
Finally I’ll leave you with a list of what to avoid when crafting the copy for your cold email campaigns. Avoiding these common pitfalls will help your emails stand out from your competitors by generating more opens, reducing bounce-rates, and ultimately driving more conversion.
Edit your cold emails for these common mistakes:
- Wordy sentences
- Techno-babble – We’re not presenting a report for investors, we’re trying to get the attention of potential customers
- Stories without any conflict or emotion
- Burying your lead with too much branding and graphics
- Mass produced customization
- Including personalization details that are public information and have nothing to do with the rest of your email
- Sending your best performing emails only once
- Using personalization code in your cold emails… when it goes wrong, there will be no forgiveness.
- Inconsistent branding
- Misleading subject lines
Looking Forward To 2023
This is not a complete list of all the different cold emailing trends, but each of the examples I’ve included here are primed to work well for your b2b cold emailing campaigns in the coming year. No matter what industry you are in, but especially if you are a tech or SaaS company, the human touch and feel of your cold emails is going to be the thing that sets your emails apart in 2023.
Hi! I’m Annie Aaroe, a b2b email marketing strategist. To find out more about story-driven, conversion email copy and strategy that’s tailored for e-com apps and SaaS brands, visit my website, aaroewriting.com, or shoot me an email at email@example.com.