Now, we’ll start crafting emails that cleverly use psychology to slip us inside the door of our most wanted prospects, building on top of the mindset shifts we just learned. You could almost think of our emails as little trojan horses (in a good way).
Obviously, there’s a couple different pieces of your email, so we’ll tackle this section in 6 parts:
- Your call to action (aka your “ask”)
- Writing the body of your email
- Personalized bonus extras
- Objection Counters
- Subject lines
- Basic technical fundamentals
- Your Call To Action
The very first thing we want to do, even before writing a word of your subject line, is to make a list of all of the potential “asks” you can utilize in your email. This is the main differentiator between all of the emails we’ll end up making, and once you figure out what the call to action will be, your email tends to write itself.
(Not sure what I mean by the “ask”? It’s the part at the end of your email where you ask the prospect to reply and do something. For example, “would you like to chat?”, “can we schedule a demo?”, or “do you mind if I send you a link?” We’ll use “Call To Action” and “Ask” fairly interchangeable throughout.)
So, figuring out your ask is definitely worth tackling first. This is the step where we’ll create our entire outreach strategy, so we’ll need to brainstorm many different options, be creative, and keep in mind the three mindset shifts we learned in the last section!
To start, go through the table of potential general Call To Action Types below and think of all the ways you could use each call to action to start a conversation with your prospects.
The first four are very straightforward, to the point, and don’t require much imagination. The last three are less direct and thus will introduce more steps to the process — this is where Mindset Shift #2 comes in! (And some creativity.)
If some of them don’t make sense, don’t worry. We’ll be looking at examples later, and that will help you understand how to use each one.
|Call To Action Types||Estimated Ease Of Reply|
|Ask to schedule a product demo||1|
|Ask for 5 minute intro call||4|
|Ask for referral to correct person||4|
|Ask to send over a demo video||5|
|* Ask to send more details||6|
|* Ask to send a link||9|
|* Ask to send a report or document||10|
|* Ask if they’d like to be featured||5 (influencers)
The Estimated Ease Of Reply scale
This is a scale from 1 – 10, lower meaning the ask will generally require more time and effort for the recipient to reply favorably to, naturally resulting in a lower response rate. Higher meaning the ask tends to be very easy to reply favorably to. (Higher is better, obviously.)
Note: This scale assumes that you’re not the hot company that everyone’s talking about already or already a significant influencer with a large following. If that’s the case, your emails will magically become much “easier” to reply to
At this point, you might also be wondering “Which of these Call To Action Types is the best one to use? How do I choose?”
The answer to that is two-fold: (1) it depends on factors like what your end goal is, what type of person you’re reaching out to, and what everyone else is doing and (2) you never really know until you start.
That’s why we ideally want to test out most or all of them to see which ones work best, then we’ll know what works once we scale up. And remember, you never know which ones will work best for sure before trying. Sometimes, you might assume that no one will respond to straight up asking them if they want to jump on a demo, but that sometimes works! So, it’s always a good idea to test, test, test!
|Do you want to use the “ask for referral to correct person” strategy?
If you want to use this Call To Action, there are some things you need to be aware of.
First, in some industries, this approach has been beaten to death — particularly larger enterprises. There are some popular books that recommend this strategy that have been out for years, so if you employ this strategy you might find that you get some combination of a low response rate or a lot of people responding negatively.
If that’s the case, don’t panic! Just choose a different Call To Action to build your email outreach campaign around because the “asking for a referral” tactic has probably been overused in your industry already.
That said, this IS a strategy that’s usually worth testing out. It works because of two reasons:
Collateral Personalization Strategy
Here’s where we get into the main strategy behind our email outreach. For each of the Call To Action types above with a star next to them, we have to translate that Call To Action into some kind of real content or collateral that we’ll send over.
What do I mean by content or collateral? Well, I mean something tangible that you can pass along to the prospect. For example, a PDF file, a webpage, a video, or anything else that you can send over that isn’t plain text.
This step is the entire key behind what makes my outreach strategy effective. You’re going to think like a marketer and come up with SOMETHING that compels your prospect to reply to you. How can you create something they can’t ignore?
Remember relevance in this step. The more relevant your collateral is, the better your response rate will be. (Hint: What’s the most relevant thing to someone? Themselves! So, any way you can tailor your email with personal information — like their name and photo — will almost always improve your response rates.)
To illustrate, let’s look at some good and bad examples of ideas for collateral, following the each of the starred potential Call To Action types above.
Ask To Send More Details
|Send more details on why your company is #1 and why the prospect needs to talk to you.
Example Ask: “Can I send you more details on why we’re the best in our industry?”
|Send SPECIFIC details about how you personally think you could help the prospect.
Example Ask: “Based on what you’ve done in the past, I came up with 4 ideas for campaigns that fit your focus. Mind if I send you more details?”
Ask To Send A Link
|Send a link to your homepage, “request a demo” page, or anything else that’s not specific to the prospect.
Example Ask: “Mind if I send you a link to our homepage so you can see what we do?”
|Send a link to something that SPECIFICALLY pertains to the prospect.
Example Ask: “I created a page on our site just for you, showing how we can help you save 25% on your payroll insurance (and how we did it for Competitor X and Competitor Y). Would you like the link so you can check it out?”
Ask To Send A Report or Document
|Send your sales deck, overview deck, or something generic and/or salesy.
Example Ask: “Would you like to see a quick 5 page PDF that explains what we do and how we can help boost your revenue?”
|Send something that you personally created for them.
Example Ask: “I created a 3 page report for you titled How Peter Can 2x Revenue Next Year With Influencer Marketing. Want me to send it over?”
Starting to get the idea?
Asking to send over anything is about a 5 out of 10 on the Ease Of Reply scale because it has a curiosity gap (and it’s an easy step for the recipient — they don’t have to agree to meet with you, or do anything difficult on their end). However, make that collateral that you’re asking to send over personalized and highly relevant to the prospect and you’re now very close to a 10 out of 10…irresistible!
To summarize the Call To Action part…
- You need to figure out what your Call To Action will be first. I suggest picking 2 or 3, and creating email sequences for each one, then testing them against each other.
- Some Calls To Action don’t require much strategy behind them (as far as creating the “hook” that will get people to reply).
- However, some DO — especially when you’re asking to send something to your prospect.
All right, at this point you should have brainstormed some Calls To Action that you want to use, and come up with some ideas for things you can send over, if you’re choosing one that that applies to (and I hope you do — they get the highest reply rates!).
Then, we’ll get writing!
- Writing The Body Of Your Email
Okay, now the part you’ve all been waiting for…now we get to write our damn email!
Quick recap, to make sure we’re on the same page here. At this point, you should:
- Know who exactly you’re going to be targeting (Part 1).
- Have the mindset of thinking how to make your email really hard to say “no” to, rather than trying to get people to say “yes” (Part 2).
- Be thinking about breaking your outreach into smaller steps that are easier for your prospects to bite off (Part 2).
- Be making relevance a top priority when thinking about email outreach (Part 2).
- Have an idea of some specific Calls To Action that you can build your email around (earlier in this section).
Let’s continue and start writing!
The first thing I want you to do is this quick exercise to help you think about how to write emails that are short, to the point, and fluff-free.
Here’s the scenario: You just received 4 tickets to an event, and you want to email some friends to see if they’d like to come with you. (Yes, I know you’d probably just text or post on Facebook, but let’s say you have to email for some strange reason.)
How would you write that email?
I’m guessing it would look something like this:
Just scored 4 tix to the game this Sunday.
See how that email works? Super simple, to the point, and there’s no “filler” text that doesn’t add anything to the conversation.
This natural, friendly conversational flow is what we’re going to be modeling our emails after. Sure, we’re going to need to add SOME additional sentences to dress them up a little bit, but that’s because we’ll be emailing people we don’t know yet. Plus, the context isn’t quite as frivolous.
I’m not going to give you word-for-word templates for a couple reasons. For one, templates get overused, and people start getting used to receiving them, so the effectiveness dwindles to near zero REALLY fast. Second, your email needs to come from your voice. Third, hopefully you know your prospects better than any generic template could. Lastly, relying on templates is never good — you want to be able to write your own emails rather than copy/past!
However, I will give you a framework that you can use to organize your email and know what to write, and where it goes. All hope is not lost!
Ready? Here’s our framework:
[Call To Action]
[PS Line – optional]
This is the general structure that we’ll use to create our email. At this point, you’re probably wondering what each of these components are, so let’s break them down. Then, we’ll put it all together and look at some example emails so you can see how it all works.
This is one of the simplest parts of the email. It’s just the way you address the email to your recipient. For example,
Right? I’m sure you’ve written this many, many times already, so we don’t need to go into great detail here. Just choose your favorite salutation (Hey, Hi, Howdy, etc) and use that plus the recipient’s first name.
Here, you will do one of two things (but usually not both):
- Introduce yourself (remember, this is specifically for people that we have never spoken to before)
- Give the recipient a compliment (flattery)
This is a step that a lot of people think WAY too hard about and end up messing up, so let’s cover the keys to a good Intro:
- It needs to be super short and concise.
You do not want to take up much space to introduce yourself. Just a quick sentence, and that’s it — remember, the prospect doesn’t care about you (yet), so too much here and you’re ALREADY turning them off, and you haven’t even gotten to the important stuff!
- You do NOT need to explain your presence
Here’s a big mistake a lot of people make, especially when reaching out to people that you feel are way “above” you. We feel like we need to prove that we’re good enough just to email that prospect, so we write out this really awkward monologue that explains why you’re qualified to be inside their inbox.
I’m emailing you because I love everything that you’ve done. I’m your number one fan, and just to know that you’re reading this makes my day. I tell all my friends about every blog post of yours that I read. You’ve totally changed my life, and I’d be so honored if you’d consider my request!
No one is above you, and you do not need to explain your presence! Even if you feel a bit scared or intimidated, just push through that and pretend you’re emailing a friend instead.
So… Do. Not. Explain. Your. Presence. If you do, I’ll reach out of your computer screen and smack you. Really.
- ONLY use flattery (option B) if you have a genuine compliment to share
What do I mean by genuine? Basically, it has to be super specific. Don’t say “I love your blog” or “I love what your company is doing” or anything that takes zero effort. That’s WORSE than not adding any flattery at all.
If you don’t have a genuine compliment that you can give your recipient, just use Option A!
So, what SHOULD you say in your Intro?
If choosing Option A:
Just introduce yourself and be natural! For example, here’s what I usually say in my Intro:
Peter here — nice to meet you!
That’s it! No over-explaining necessary. Take the same concept but just put it in your own words. This shouldn’t be longer than 10 words.
You can also include your company name (but don’t explain your company either). For example:
Tim from Apple here — nice to meet you!
If choosing Option B:
Just do a quick one-liner compliment. Don’t make it overly corny and don’t try too hard. Example:
I loved the point you made about the importance of focus in your keynote at MindsetCon last month — thanks for highlighting that because so many people overlook it!
One more thing on Intros:
While flattery does help build rapport (if done correctly — be genuine!), it doesn’t improve response rates THAT much, so the disadvantage of Option B is that it takes much more time because you have to personalize each email. With Option A, you’ll just be using the same thing for everyone, so it’s much quicker. Make sure to consider if the extra time is worth it.
In our Overview, we want to give the prospect a BRIEF overview of why exactly we’re reaching out. In other words, here we’ll be building curiosity to set up our Call To Action.
Generally, you can use this formula to start your Overview:
I’m reaching out because _________.
I’m reaching out to _________.
What fills in the blank is up to you of course. You want to create desire that will be fulfilled by your Call To Action (which will come immediately after this).
You also don’t have to use that formula if you can think of a better way you want to write your overview. For example, another Overview starter I often use is “I just noticed _________.”
|The Relationship Between Your Overview and Your Call To Action
Your Overview and Call To Action work hand-in-hand. Kind of like a 1-2 punch.
The Overview builds curiosity, and the Call To Action provides the mechanism for satisfying that curiosity.
Here’s a super simple but intuitive example that should get you thinking about the relationship between these two crucial components.
“You’ll never guess what happened to me at the coffee shop today. Want to hear the story?”
Can you guess which sentence is which?
Overview: “You’ll never guess what happened to me at the coffee shop today.”
Call To Action: “Want me to hear the story?”
How about another intuitive example:
“I’ve got something important to tell you. Do you have a minute?”
Not going to tell you which part is which. You should know by now, if you’re paying attention
See? All we’re doing here is modeling natural language patterns that we already use!
Just like the Intro section, this is another huge area where a lot of people go wrong. There are three main areas where people stub their toes with this piece of the email, and end up with a crappy piece of text that practically clicks the delete button by itself.
- Too Much Information: Going into WAY too much detail for an initial cold email outreach.
- Not Relevant: Remember the principle of relevance (Mindset Shift #3 from Part 2).
- Confusing: Using too much jargon and/or vague words and not just explaining your value in simple, plain English is a huge turnoff.
Keeping this in mind, here are my keys to success with the Overview:
Key #1: Be compelling but vague
This is super important because this is what sets up your Call To Action and makes it irresistible for them to say “no”. If you can master this, then you’ll see your response rates skyrocket.
The idea here is that you want to be compelling (What’s compelling? Remember — it’s all about relevance!) so you capture your recipient’s interest, but you can’t give it all away! You have to leave some level of “curiosity gap” in order to hook your prospect in and make them want to reply.
For illustration, the classic example of a curiosity gap is, “Do you want to know a secret?”. That works because the word “secret” is compelling, but you’re not telling the secret yet. That’s the curiosity gap. All we need to do is recreate this bit of psychology in our Overview and we’ll have a fantastic response rate!
(Our example of “I’ve got something important to tell you” from above is another great example. Compelling but vague.)
So, when you’re writing your email, don’t tell everything that there is to tell about whatever it is you’re emailing about. You need to withhold some of the information, so there’s something that they need to reply in order to find out.
Let’s say you’ve decided on a Call To Action strategy where you’re going to offer an audit of the recipient’s website usability. You might say something like this:
“I just reviewed your website usability and found these 3 errors. Here they are: (1) it’s too slow, (2) the design isn’t good for your target audience and (3) the checkout page has way too many fields on it.”
But there is no curiosity gap. If we were to keep some information back to create a curiosity gap, it would look like this:
“I just reviewed your website usability and found 3 errors that are hurting your website’s usability — and thus your revenue coming in the door.”
Seriously, that’s it. Don’t say what they are! That’s the curiosity gap that will compel your recipient to reply.
(Side note: Remember, this is just the Overview section. We’re not there yet, but immediately after this we’ll include our Call To Action. The Call To Action would be something like “Would you like me to send a report details these 3 errors and how to fix them?” in this example.)
Key #2: Keep it super quick and only include what is absolutely essential
This is a logical extension of #1, but often our first instinct, especially when we’re really excited, is to include tons of information about whatever we’re reaching about. We feel like we need to explain every detail and nuance of our campaign.
This is a big no-no. Bombarding your prospect with detail after detail, benefit after benefit, feature after feature, doesn’t help one bit. Actually, not only does it not help but it makes your email super overwhelming and turns your prospects off big-time.
So, what we need to do here is train ourselves to include only what is absolutely essential for your prospect to know on your first email. It’s almost always far less than you think. Remember, all we’re doing is starting a conversation, and some details don’t need to be figured out right away.
For example, let’s say you’re emailing to invite influencers to your podcast. Do they need to know exactly what the format of your podcast is like, and all about the lightning round that you do at the end?
No! That’s a part of the conversation that comes later, after you’re already established that this person is actually interested in being on your show. So, cut it out of your initial email!
Key #3: Include social proof
If at all possible, we definitely want to include some social proof here to build your credibility and improve your chances of getting a positive reply.
Things that can add valuable social proof could include:
- Notable people that you’ve either worked with in the past, or if applicable, are already working with you on the project that you’re reaching out about.
- Names of your top clients (usually only useful if the clients are either recognizable or, better yet, competitors of your prospect).
- Some kind of customer/client review or testimonial.
- Vanity metrics like your number of email subscribers, amount of website traffic, number of social followers, or anything else.
- Places/publications where you’ve been featured.
- Anything else that validates you or adds to your credibility! Be creative.
|Pitfall to Avoid
One thing that people mistakenly think adds valuable proof is certifications.
For example, “I’m certified by Google Adwords and accredited by Bing Ads.”
This is bad for two main reasons. (1) Who cares about your certifications? Thousands of people probably have the same thing! And (2), while some people might indeed care about your certifications, they aren’t likely to care at this point in your initial outreach.
Remember, in our outbound email, we only want to include what is absolutely essential in order to garner a positive response. Certifications almost always are not absolutely essential
The exception here would be if there is a credential that is both (a) well-known to most people in your field and (b) has some level of prestige to where not just anyone can get it. (For example, being a Master Sommelier, of which there are only 230 people who have ever reached that credential. Or if you’ve won a Nobel Prize…that would also be a credential worth including.)
Oh, and are you actually certified by Adwords and accredited by Bing Ads, like in the example above? Instead of your credentials, you want to include your results! For example, “My average client gets a 9 to 1 ROI.”
Here are some example social proof lines that you can include in your email:
- We’ve had 100k+ downloads, plus a 4.9 out of 5 rating on the App Store.
- People that have already received this free report have described it as “incredibly valuable” and “gave me a ton of clarity”.
- I’ve worked with Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates in the past. (Obviously a made up example, but wouldn’t that be extremely compelling?! )
- Gary Vaynerchuk, Marie Forleo, and and Seth Godin are already confirmed to speak at this event.
- Some of our other clients include Apple, Uber, and Tesla.
- My work has been featured in Time, Inc. and The New York Times.
- I have 100k email subscribers and 150k monthly unique visitors.
When incorporating Social Proof into your email, keep it quick and concise. (Noticing a trend here? Everything in this email needs to be quick and concise!)
Don’t overemphasize your Social Proof, otherwise you’ll look like you have nothing else to offer and you’re just banking on the fact that you have a bit of credibility (and thus, you’ll have the opposite effect and your credibility will decline).
Lastly, two small but important notes on Social Proof:
If you’re just starting out, you might not be able to think of anything you can use as Social Proof. In this case, do one of two things:
- Don’t worry about it! We can still put together an effective email without Social Proof.
- It’s okay to stretch just a bit. Just starting out on your own as a freelancer after a corporate career? It’s fine to drop names that you’ve worked with in the past as an employee — just make sure to be honest and don’t be misleading.
You might have already included Social Proof elsewhere in your email — perhaps in your Intro or as part of your Call To Action.
For example, one of our example Call To Actions I showed above has built-in Social Proof:
“I created a page on our site just for you, showing how we can help you save 25% on your payroll insurance (and how we did it for Competitor X and Competitor Y). Would you like the link so you can check it out?”
In this case, you don’t have to worry about including Social Proof anywhere else, unless you have more really compelling credibility to add!
To help you build your Overview following these best practices, I find it useful to run through this quick exercise:
Step 1: Write out a big, long email and say everything that you want to say in your initial outreach email. Don’t worry about keeping it short and concise. Don’t worry about holding back from details — let your excitement come out and just write.
Step 2: Now that you have everything out of your system (and also everything written down in one place so it’s consolidated), start ruthlessly cutting everything out of your email that isn’t absolutely necessary for the initial outreach. You can keep everything that you cut out — just create a list called “Details For Later Conversation” (or whatever you want).
This step is actually very hard to do if you’ve never done it before, because you’re going to think that everything is critically important, and you’re not going to feel like you can cut anything out.
But, keep in mind that (a) you’re just trying to start a conversation here, not do everything in one shot and (b) you WANT to be “compelling but vague” (see Key #1 above).
So, include only what you need in order to build curiosity. Remember, you are still going to share all of these details with the recipient, but only after you’ve engaged them in email conversation and they’ve shown interest.
Step 3: Build in Social Proof, if you haven’t already.
Once you finish this exercise, you should have your Overview ready to go! Again, you should end up with only 2 or 3 sentences.
Call To Action
This step is going to be pretty simple because we should have already figured out our Call To Action! The entire email revolves around this part, so that’s why I had you figure it out first, before we even got to writing the body of the email.
So, just include your Call To Action right after the overview. Other than tweaking the wording to flow naturally with your Overview (if necessary), you shouldn’t have to make any changes at all.
Just drop it in here
Just like the Greeting, this is something that you shouldn’t need much training on. Just sign the email off with your favorite closing line, then sign your name on the next line.
Nothing to it
PS Line – optional
Ah, everyone’s favorite part! The good old PS line.
I like the PS line with cold email outreach because you can really get creative here and put anything you want. While it might seem like a really small, unimportant part of your email, remember these two things:
- Everybody always reads the PS line.
- You can put just about anything here.
Remember, the main body text of your email needs to be super succinct and clear, so often there will be little details that you really want to include because you feel like it’ll improve your response rate. However, you might be worried that it’ll clutter your main message.
And that’s what your PS line is for! Just stick it in your PS line and everybody’s happy.
(Also remember that this part is optional, so if you can’t think of anything that you want in your PS line, don’t worry about it!)
Here are just a couple ideas for things that you might want to put in (or move to) your PS line:
- (My favorite) Bonus Extras like a personalized image or a link to a personalized YouTube video (see section 3 below for more details here.)
- Social Proof (if you didn’t include it earlier — or even more if you have tons of really strong social proof)
- Genuine flattery (if you didn’t include it earlier in your email) — see the Intro part above
- Objection Counters (see section 4 below)
- Anything else that you think would make your prospect interested, or even something as simple as making them smile, laugh, or get to know you more.
- Personalized Bonus Extras
This is one of my favorite parts of your entire email for a couple reasons… (1) Here is where we really catch our prospects’ attention and give them the WOW factor, drastically improving reply rate. (2) We have a ton of flexibility and can do some really cool things here to capture attention. And finally (3) this is the most fun part!
Okay, so you’re probably wondering… What the heck is a “Personalized Bonus Extra”?
I’m glad you asked. (Really! Remember, this is my favorite part, after all!)
Let me get all giddy and walk you through creating a Bonus Extra for your email outreach campaign. Basically, it’s just something that you can create that (a) relates to your Call To Action and (b) adds some level of personalization or illustration (or both) to catch your recipient’s attention (thus, making your email harder to say NO to).
What personalization details work well? These are the big 4 that I like to use:
- The prospect’s name
- The prospect’s profile photo
- The prospect’s company name
- The prospect’s company logo
(Wouldn’t you find it pretty compelling to open up an email and see your own face at the bottom on a PDF cover? That’s the idea here.)
Sounds kind of abstract at this point, I’m sure, so let’s look at some examples.
Example #1: Personalized Report Cover Image
Let’s say your Call To Action is to ask your prospects if they’d like to see a free audit of their checkout process that you’ve created for them.
A really cool Bonus Extra that you could make would be a image showing the cover of the report that you created for them, including their logo highly visible.
While this might seem like a ton of work, it’s actually pretty simple. Just create a simple template that you can use with the title of the report and space to include their company name and logo.
Here’s an example I just created in Google Slides that took me about 2 minutes:
With this template, it’s super quick and easy to change out the company name (that’s just a simple text edit) and the logo (just use Google Images to find a good copy of their logo). Then, just go to File > Download As > PNG Image and boom — you have a personalized “teaser” image to send out to your prospects!
(Remember, you don’t actually create this report until AFTER you get a reply from someone saying they want to see it.)
Hint: You might want to use a white background when including company logos so you don’t have to worry about trying to find logos with a transparent background.
Example #2: Video Introduction
Let’s say you’re reaching out to influencers and you want them to eventually work with you. Since you’re not sending over something tangible (like a report as in Example #1), you might be wondering what you can send over as a compelling Bonus Extra.
How about you record a quick 1 or 2 minute video introducing yourself to the influencer and telling them a bit about how you’d like to work with them? (How many email pitches do you think they get with a personalized introduction video? Not a lot!)
So, just turn on your webcam, and record a quick video introduction. Create your own script here of course, but you could say something like…
Hey [influencer name], it’s [your name].
First off, thanks for reading my email.
Second, you might be wondering who I am, so I wanted to record a quick video and introduce myself.
I’m reaching out because I’m working on this really cool project about [insert a couple details here] and I thought you’d be a really good fit.
You’ll also love it because [insert a benefit or two here].
Anyway, thanks for watching, and I hope to hear back from you soon!
Record that quick video, upload it to YouTube (make sure to set it as unlisted), and then copy the YouTube URL and paste it in your email as a hyperlink.
For example, you might say: “I don’t think we’ve met before, so I made a quick video introducing myself.” Link the underlined text to the YouTube video.
Pro Tip: In some email platforms (Gmail for sure, possibly others), it will pull the video thumbnail automatically and include it at the bottom as an attachment, adding more meat to your email and making it look even better.
Example #3: Personalized Landing Page
Let’s say you’re reaching out to some very high value prospects — whether they’re large enterprise companies or in-demand influencers — and your Call To Action involves asking your prospect if they want to take a look at a personalized page on your site you created just for them.
So, you should be used to the drill now. Make a page on your website (hopefully using some kind of landing page builder that makes it super quick to add/update pages) and add some personalization details to grab the prospect’s attention. As we’ve already seen, the prospect’s name, picture, company name, and/or company logo work well.
All you need here is enough to pique the recipient’s interest and make them think “this is something I’ve gotta see!”
Then, just grab a screenshot of the page and use that image as your Bonus Extra.
For example, let’s say I want to reach out to Brian Dean from Backlinko. Here’s how my preview image might look:
Then, for each other prospect, you’ll just change out their name and profile photo. Again, we won’t actually be making the page until they reply and say they want to see it.
Example #4: Photos
Let’s say you’re not really sure what to send over to someone as a bonus extra, but it’s a very high-value prospect so you want something in order to maximize your chance of a positive response.
One easy thing you can do is include in a photo of yourself — always helps to put a face to a name! If possible, you’ll also want to include something of theirs IN your photo to bring it back to them.
Is your target an author and you have a copy of their book? Take a picture of you holding their book smiling!
Does your recipient make physical products (or work at a company that does)? Take a picture of you holding one of their products! (That you’ve bought, of course, not at the store!)
Does your recipient make digital products (like an online course, etc) that you’ve purchased? Pull up their member’s area on your computer and take a picture of you smiling beside the computer screen!
Have you actually met that person before at an event and had your picture taken with them? Use that!
(Can’t think of ANY photo to use? Just load up their website on your computer — or even a specific page if it relates to your email — and take a photo of you with their site in the background.)
How and Where To Include Your Bonus Extra
Now that you have something really cool to include in your email that will increase your response rate…where’s the best place to put it? And how exactly should you embed it into your email?
In most cases, you’ll be embedding an image inside your email. With images, there are two main things that you need to be aware of:
- Image Size: You need to make sure that your image isn’t too big or small. You want it to be big enough so that the prospect can easily see the important stuff (like their name/photo/etc), but small enough so that it isn’t too distracting or just looks weird. Usually, I shoot for a max width of around 400 pixels. 250 – 400 pixels is a good range to stay in.
- Location: I usually prefer to include my image at the very end of my email, right after a PS line that introduces it. If it makes sense (and doesn’t take away from the main message you’re making) you can even include it after your Overview or Call To Action.
Using a YouTube video? This is actually a bit easier because you can hyperlink any text in your email — doesn’t matter where — and it’ll still show up as an attachment at the bottom (in Gmail, at least).
Using something else? Use your best judgement, but usually the PS line works best.
|YouTube Bonus Extra On Steroids
You know how I mentioned including a YouTube video will make an automatic thumbnail to the video at the bottom as an attachment in Gmail?
[show example screenshot]
Well, what if your prospects aren’t using Gmail? They won’t get this nice extra that makes your email look more legit.
One trick you can do here is take a screenshot of the YouTube video (before you click play, so it still has the play button icon on it) and include that image in your email. Then, make sure to link that image to your YouTube video URL.
- Objection Counters (optional)
As you can see, this component is optional. So first, let’s tackle when it makes sense to include it.
Generally, you’ll want to use Objection Counters if you start to get a lot of “no’s” from your first email (only take into consideration the objections that you get to your FIRST email, not further in the conversation). If so, analyze the negative responses that you get and see if you can find the commonalities. Are there any reasons that people are giving you that seem to come up again and again?
If so, either…
(a) Come up with an Objection Counter (a one-liner that calls the issue out and counters it)
(b) See if there’s anything you should REMOVE from your email that’s causing people to give you these negative replies. Remember, we want to make our email really hard to say NO to, so removing these things will help!
The idea here is to either eliminate the thing that people are saying “no” to right away, or bring that thing to the surface and call it out first, before they can mention it. This way, you’ve neutralized the objection by using it before they can!
Here are some examples of objections that you might get, and the Objection Counter that you would use in your email outreach:
|“I’m just too busy” / “don’t have time”||“Don’t worry, it will only take about 30 minutes of your time. “|
|“I don’t want to sit through a sales pitch”||“Don’t worry, I’m not selling anything — we’ll just have a quick conversation.”|
|You start to get a lot of generic “no’s” from the assistant of the person you’re reaching out to||“Is this [PROSPECT NAME]’s assistant? Let me know if there’s anything I left out that you’d like to see.”
Or if you’re feeling especially cheeky, you could say “Please don’t send me a canned rejection ;)”
Those are just a couple examples — obviously, you’ll want to base these off the real objections you actually get. If you’re starting out and haven’t started sending emails yet, just don’t worry about Objection Counters yet.
Where should you put your Objection Counter?
I find Objection Counters work well either right after your Call To Action or in your PS line.
- Subject Lines
Now, let’s tackle one of the first things your prospects will see when your email comes through! (You didn’t forget about this part, did you?)
Subject lines are something that most people overthink way too much and end up with something super salesy sounding. They’re also an interesting bit of a paradox: subject lines are short, so you don’t have much room to play with, but they’re also very important to getting your email opened and read.
So, what I recommend is just following these keys and you should be just fine:
- Think about how you would email a friend, and write your subject line out the same way
- Be descriptive & compelling (remember, always be relevant to the prospect’s interests).
- Spark curiosity, but don’t be corny or “clickbaity”. (Don’t say something like “Peter, open this email!” or “I dare you to not open this email!”)
- Include the prospect’s first name whenever possible
- Don’t do anything weird like using strange punctuation or all caps. Emojis are fine, but only one!
Here are my go-to generic email subject lines. These are appropriate for situations where you can’t personalize each subject line — if you can, always personalize it as much as possible based on the campaign or anything you know about the recipient.
FIRSTNAME — introduction
Can you help me, FIRSTNAME?
Got 30 seconds?
Remember, we want to personalize wherever possible, so here’s what some of those subject lines would look like if we added some personalization:
Peter — introduction
Can you help me, Peter?
quick question re: your webinar
You should always try and come up with custom subject line for each individual outreach campaign following the best practices I listed above, but I’ll give you a template that you can use as a starting point:
[Tangible thing] for FIRSTNAME ([curiosity generator])
Using that template, you might come up with subject lines that look like…
Invitation for Peter (big online event)
Intel for Peter (machine learning breakthrough)
Question for Peter (hiring sucks)
Audit for Peter (conversion optimization)
(The first one is a real subject line that I used to great success.)
Make sense? No need to stress over your subject line. It’s only a couple words!
Also, the ordering here in this course is not by mistake — I recommend writing your email first, then your subject line after.
- Basic Technical Fundamentals
Nothing super fancy or long here, but there are some technical tips that will make you look more legit that you should get straightened out before you send. These will help you avoid looking like a “princely scammer” or a “guaranteed page one Google ranking weirdo”.
Pretty simple one, but I only recommend using Gmail to send your email outreach. Why? Well, many other people use Gmail (this actually matters — see the next tip), they have the best threaded reply system, they have the most integrations (see the Tools for Success section this course), and I just find it to be the easiest to use!
Set Your Gmail Photo
In Gmail, go to your settings by clicking the Gear icon at the top right and clicking “Settings”, then scroll down to the “My Picture” section. Upload a good headshot, and make sure “Visible to everyone” is checked.
This will add your headshot as a nice thumbnail image to everyone who uses Gmail — making your email more personal and more likely to get a response.
Don’t use formatting — only plain text
Don’t use fancy fonts or formatting. Just use the standard font, font size, color, etc. Approach it like an email to a friend or colleague.
Your Checklist For Success
At this point, we’ve run through a TON of ideas, tips, strategies, and everything else for your email outreach campaign and your head might be spinning. So, here’s a checklist that you can use each time you create an email outreach campaign to make sure that you’re following all of the best practices.
|[ ]||Do you know exactly who your target audience will be?|
|[ ]||Do you have a list of at least 50 target prospects with their name and email address?|
|[ ]||Have you decided on the Call To Action that you’ll build your email around?|
|[ ]||(Bonus) Have you picked out two (or more) different Calls To Action to test against each other?|
|[ ]||Is your Intro free of “explaining your presence”?|
|[ ]||Does your Intro contain either a quick personal introduction or a brief, genuine compliment (and nothing else)?|
|[ ]||Is your Overview brief (2-3 sentences max)?|
|[ ]||Is EVERYTHING in your Overview 100% essential for the first email, and not a detail that can wait until after you get a reply?|
|[ ]||Is your Overview as relevant as possible to the recipient?|
|[ ]||Is your Overview compelling but vague?|
|[ ]||Does your Overview contain Social Proof (without relying on certifications, unless they are truly noteworthy)?|
|Call To Action|
|[ ]||Is your Call To Action clear and concise?|
|[ ]||Have you made your Call To Action as easy to say Yes to as possible? (is it a small ask or a large ask?)|
|[ ]||Have you figured out a good PS line to use? (optional)|
|Personalized Bonus Extra|
|[ ]||Do you have a way to illustrate a preview of your Call To Action in your initial email (image, etc)?
Or, do you have another type of bonus extra to send over (intro video, etc)?
|[ ]||Have you come up with a way to quickly and easily make a Personalized Bonus Extra for each recipient? Eg, a Google Slides template for a personalized image, etc.|
|[ ]||Do you have the text you will use to introduce your Personalized Bonus Extra in your email?
Here’s a quick preview of the report I have for you:
|[ ]||Have you figured out where you will insert the Personalized Bonus Extra? (PS line, etc)|
|[ ]||(Only if applicable) Have you added a line to your email that addresses the most common objections you tend to receive?|
|[ ]||Is your subject line quick and to the point?|
|[ ]||Does your subject line build curiosity?|
|[ ]||Have you included the recipient’s first name in the subject line?|
|Basic Technical Fundamentals
(You only need to run through these the first time.)
|[ ]||Have you created a Gmail account?|
|[ ]||Have you setup your Gmail photo?|
|[ ]||Is your email free of all formatting?|