There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration when learning how to write a cold email that gets the results you are looking for. Some of the biggest of these considerations are fairly obvious. How to write a good email involves researching your prospects, craftin greta copy that is compelling and gets your point across. How to choose an email address – and an email provider – that will keep your message out of the spam filter. How to choose words that will do the same.
Most people will tell you that an effective cold mail should be as short and sweet as possible. For the most part, your prospects are busy people who don’t have the time to wade through endless paragraphs all about your product or service, so short and sweet really is the way to go in many cases.
However, too short can be a terrible thing too. While you might have great follow-ups planned already, the cold hard truth is that this may be the only time a prospect ever opens an email from you, so every single one you send has to work as a standalone eyecatcher and get what you need to say across.
This does mean that there may be times when you really do need to send a longer cold email. And doing so can be very effective – sometimes even more effective than a shorter message, as long as you understand – and make use of – the right cold email formatting.
Cold Email Formatting Best Practices
What do we mean by great cold email formatting? Well the good news, it’s not anything that requires you to know anything about HTML or technical things like that. It does not involve having to learn to code your own email templates, or make use of special software. What good cold email Great formatting should include is all of the following if your message is a longer one:
Use Distinct, Headlined Sections
An H1 heading may be too big for the smaller email format, but an H2 should be be just fine. If the email is even longer make use of a combination of H2 and H3 headlines using them to further delineate what the most important elements of your message are.
Important Information Should Be Highlighted
Your email formatting needs to help draw the reader’s eye to the most important information of all. Many will just be skim reading – as that is how most of us go through our email these days – so that important information needs to really stand out.
How can you do that? Make use of bolding, italics and/or underlines to emphasize or re-emphasize a point. And add bulleted lists. Bulleted lists are a great way to make important points in a far more readable way.
Craft a Great Signature
Use a standard, well thought out signature that includes all of your important contact information in a visually appealing manner so that you don’t have to waste space in the body of the email itself. Make sure it included all of your contact information, and your title. If you are going to use a photo make sure it’s a good, clear image that represents who you are now (not ten years ago)
Following good formatting practices for cold emails does a couple of very positive things. Firstly, it makes it far easier for the reader to scan the message and extract the important information. Secondly, it demonstrates that you put time and effort into crafting a message that would be easy to digest and pleasant to read, so it feels professional and well-thought out, rather than spammy.
Here is another way to think about it. What newspaper have you ever read – online or off – that simply presents its stories as huge walls of text? None, because that would simply be unreadable. Ever since they began newspapers have always been formatted with headlines, subheadlines, bolding and other visual techniques and they work.
For any cold email message to be a success it has to be readable so the effort you put into condensing your copy and formatting your text will be worth it, in terms of both reader appreciation and an improved cold email response rate.