A Go-Getter’s Guide to Effective Cold Messaging
Judith Martinez '14
Let’s be honest. As much as social media has made it “easier” for us to connect, we are faced with fewer and fewer chances to make an outstanding first impression in the cyber world. When cold messaging—basically the email or social media equivalent of sales cold calling to introduce your company, product, or service—the very first thing you say must deliver value and be a warm-up for why the receiver should care to hear you out (aka WIIFM).
Here are three easy steps for being intentional when cold messaging anyone and for helping you make a great first impression.
- Be Strategic: Know Thy Audience and Know Thyself
A few months ago I sat on a panel talking about ways to network your way toward what you want. An audience member shared that he was sending out more than 100 email messages a day and was lucky if he heard back from even one person over the course of three weeks. I asked him: “Who are you trying to reach and for what?” He was looking to connect with a LinkedIn thought leader widely known in the edtech space. I recommended that he switch his approach to sharing, commenting, tagging, and even writing a response piece to one of his favorite articles by this thought leader and posting it. Within 48 hours of his posting, not only did he get a response from the thought leader, but gained new connections, feedback, and chatter around who he is and what he’s up to.
Takeaway: Email is no longer the only way to do business. Do your due diligence, know where the people you are trying to connect with spend most of their time, and connect with them in that space.
- Be Specific: Do Judge a Message by Its Subject Line and Header
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is unfortunately not a phrase that applies in the world of networking, first impressions, and overwhelming data. Carefully crafted subject lines are especially important if whom you are reaching out to won’t recognize your name. The three most effective types of subject lines when cold messaging are
- Mentioning something specific the individual/organization has created or done
- Name-dropping a mutual connection
- Mentioning something you both have in common
Sales productivity leader Yesware did a recent study of more than 115 million emails over an entire year and found one of the biggest patterns of successful opened emails are when subject lines use title case (where all major words are capitalized) versus lowercase.
Takeaway: Keep your subject line simple and relevant, and use title case.
- Be Concise: Focus on Being Interested, Not Interesting
When I first began InHerShoes, I remember thinking I had no chance of getting anywhere with
anyone that didn’t involve a face-to-face interaction. Now, three years later, I’ve connected with thought leaders ranging from those on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, former CIA officials, and global entrepreneurs to the very people I used to only swoon over from my Instagram feed. As I gain more experience (and failed attempts), I find most of my success when I am more interested in what I could do to support the other person versus making sure they thought I was interesting enough to work with or even respond to. Imagine receiving a message from someone listing everything amazing about themselves then asking you for an introduction, a job, or a recommendation. If you are anything like me, you’d probably wonder: “Good for you! And, what’s in it for me?” Before sending a cold message, make sure you are clear on how you add value to others and why that matters.
Takeaway: Focus on adding value and you will see the returns.
Try these three steps and let me know how things turned out!