Thursday, February 22, 2018

10 Tips for Writing Cold Emails That Will Land Your Next Big Job

Despite the rise of a variety of new communication methods, such as Instagram direct messages, virtual reality meeting spaces and Slack, email remains a central part of business communication. In fact, the average professional will send or receive 86 work emails each day.

For those hoping to land a great new job, email is still an excellent way to connect with recruiters, hiring managers and influencers. But, because people are bombarded from all angles, including the new messaging platforms mentioned above, getting the attention of an influential businessperson can be challenging.

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Here are 10 strategies that will enable job seekers to land an exciting new gig through unorthodox email outreach strategies.

1. Embed a personal video in emails.

Both consumers and B2B buyers prefer video content to written content when shopping for a product or service. The same is likely true for professionals searching for talented people to join their team.

Free or inexpensive video-production platforms like Wistia and Vidyard make it easy for anyone to record a high-quality personalized video using only the camera embedded in a computer.

Adding a personalized video will help to set your cold emails apart, and will provide you with helpful analytics that make it easy to know how many times your video was viewed, as well as how much of the video was viewed on each visit. Armed with this information, you can create a follow-up email that outlines only the points the viewer missed.

2. Track email delivery and open rates.

Email extensions like Mailtrack and MixMax track email open rates. This allows senders to time follow-up emails based on the level of engagement from the recipient. A recipient who opens your email multiple times is probably more engaged than someone who totally ignored your first email.

Tracking open rates can also help you to understand if your email subject line is effective. Ambitious job hunters can even devise tests to determine what subject lines work best.

3. Use tracking links to determine recipient engagement.

If your email was opened, did the recipient click on a link included within the email? The only way to know the answer is if you use a tracking link. Platforms like Google URL Shortener and help senders see if a link shared within an email was clicked.

Senders can experiment with the call to action, or link anchor text to see if presenting the link in a different light drives better click-through rate (i.e., the percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link in the email).

4. Sprinkle in outreach via unorthodox channels.

Simply hammering away at recruiters and hiring managers via email may not get the job done. Instead, you'll need to think like a marketer developing a multi-channel marketing strategy. Make a list of the channels members of your target audience use on a regular basis, and target those.

Certainly, email is a popular channel for most audiences. But, SMS messages, phone calls and even snail mail can be effective ways of engaging otherwise hard-to-reach professionals.

5. Take the time to offer overwhelming value early on.

Whenever asking for help from a professional you don't know, it's best to offer value upfront to prove your worth. A good way to do this as a job applicant is by suggesting a fix to a small but meaningful problem.

For software engineers, that could mean emailing the hiring manager with a fix for a bug you found in their project. For a marketer, it could involve analyzing the website's SEO performance to identify new areas of opportunity.

Offering value will take different shapes for different professionals and seniority levels. The point is, offering value before receiving value can be an effective way to motivate recipients to reply to a cold email.

6. A/B test cold outreach to identify the most effective tactics.

The best digital marketers use A/B testing to perfect various channels, including email. While the average professional will not have access to sophisticated A/B testing tools, a similar effect can be achieved using some of the platforms mentioned above.

The key to conducting the "poor person's" version of A/B tests is to carefully change one independent variable at a time while measuring a single dependent variable. Slowly, you'll begin to identify the ideal combination of subject line, call to action and email content to motivate recipients to get in touch with you.

7. Include a clear call to action.

A good call to action should provide the email recipient with a clear next step. In some cases, your call to action may be a request that the recipient click on a link in the email. In other cases, you may simply want the recipient to reply.

Whatever you may want to motivate, finding the right call to action can dramatically improve performance. Be specific with your ask, and be sure to place it in a prominent location so that the call to action will not be easily overlooked.

8. Create a professional email signature.

The average person forms a first impression in just seven seconds. That means everything about your cold email must be highly professional. A simple way to add another layer of professionalism to a cold email is by including a well-designed call to action.

Using a tool like Wise Stamp, email senders can provide forms of social proof like links to social media accounts or testimonials from colleagues to encourage recipients to take a minute to reply to your message.

9. Reply quickly to those who responde to your email.

Slow response time is the bane of business success. This is true when it comes to inbound marketing, and it is also true when communicating with business leaders through cold email. If a professional takes the time to reply to a cold email, by all means, get back to them as soon as possible.

By replying quickly, you show that you are excited about building a relationship with them and help to keep the forward momentum of the conversation.

10. Move the conversation to the phone or an in-person meeting.

Conversations should never end with email. The email should be a means of achieving a phone call or, preferably, an in-person meeting. This is because it is difficult to build meaningful rapport over email, and it is easy for messages to get lost in the shuffle.

Once the recipient has engaged over email, ask for a short phone call or, better yet, ask if you can meet them near their office for a coffee.

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As the famous proverb goes, success is about who you know, not what you know. One report estimated that 70 percent of open job positions are filled through networking rather than through online applications.

Readers who are interested in landing their next great job should experiment with cold email outreach to connect with hiring managers and recruiters. Persistence, creativity and analysis will inevitably help job seekers to connect with business leaders who can advance their careers.

Image Credit: Caiaimage | Paul Bradbury | Getty Images

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