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Hoping for a little feedback on my cold email to potential customers. Any thoughts on what is good/bad/whatever would help me a lot.

Hi Name,

I have a startup just launching and I am looking for pilot customers to use the service. It's called, 'my company', and is for tracking your competitor's marketing. It's just me and my other co-founder right now and we've got our noses to the grindstone making 'my company' a solid product. If you would like to try it or want to know more let me know.

Take care,
'my company'

  • KV

    Kyle Van Pelt

    over 5 years ago #


    You've received some great responses here. I especially love Al's. I write over 100 cold e-mails a week in my role at Voxa and I'm pretty good at it. I want to give you five commandments of every cold email, regardless of the content as a guideline for you in the future.

    1. Thou shall keep all cold emails short.
    No more than 3-6 sentences! The goal in a cold e-mail is not to sell, it's to get a response. In your case, you want a "Yes, I'll be a beta customer."

    2. Thou shall make sure all cold e-mails are personalized.
    PG's theory of do things that don't scale really applies here. NO TEMPLATES! People's BS meter's are at an all time high, they smell templates from a mile away. If they are in marketing, they write a blog- read it and mention something relevant and tie it back to their competitors.

    3. Thou shall be 100% customer focused.
    As Al said, what's in it for them? That is literally all they care about. It's harsh but they don't care who you are or what your companies name is until they are convinced you can help them. Read your e-mail as if you were receiving it 3 times before sending it, would you respond?

    4. Thou shall make all cold e-mails as human as possible.
    Images, GIFs and humor increase my response rate by 30-40%. People are bored at work, make them laugh and you'll be memorable. I have an e-mail with Jack Bauer in it that lights up my inbox with replies.

    5. Thou shall follow up professionally.
    The key, most of the time, to getting responses is to make sure you follow up. Be professionally persistent. You'd be amazed at how many people psyche themselves out creating an invisible script in their mind saying "Oh, they just don't want what I have. Maybe what I'm building isn't that good." When in reality, they get 200 emails a day and may have just missed it. I can't recall how many times I get a response saying "thanks for following up, I mean to respond but got buried. blah blah blah."

    There you have it. Here is the e-mail I would write:

    Hey Name,

    I just read and shared your (latest blog post) about X. That is something that we are working on here at 'my company' so it was just what I needed!

    After I read it, I was curious if you'd like to know which posts and other marketing efforts your competitors are using with the most success? My company can tell you their exact marketing plan.

    We're like a shortcut in Mario Kart, get yourself way ahead of the pack by using exactly what works on the marketing front.

    We're accepting (limited number) of thought leaders, like you, to be beta testers as of today. Let me know if you'd like an invitation.

    Take care,
    'my company'

    Hope this helps!

    Few other examples and helpful articles:

    Also, shameless plug: If you want a better way to turn your e-mails into actions check out www.voxa.com

  • ND

    Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

    over 5 years ago #

    Hi Daniel, you should address the benefits of the ideal customer trying out your product, and your e-mail should be more specific. Right now it's so generic that I have no idea what you do. The only thing I know is that I can track my competitors' marketing, but what does that really mean? I'm not sold because I don't have enough details.

    Hope that helps! :)

    • DM

      Daniel Marlin

      over 5 years ago #

      That is helpful to hear. And I agree with you that I was pretty vague. I'll add in more details and see if my response rate increases.

      How did the 'we're a small company...' strike you?

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 5 years ago #

        Agreed with @nichole. Also
        a) Use the AIDA format when writing emails: http://www.growthhackers.com/the-lizard-brain-and-email/

        b) Pay a lot of attention to the headline (which is the "A" part of the AIDA format above).

        • AM

          Al Mukmin

          over 5 years ago #


          Put yourself in the customers shoe. Think about what's in it for them, not you.

          "I have a startup just launching and I am looking for pilot customers to use the service"

          "It's just me and my other co-founder right now and we've got our noses to the grindstone making 'my company' a solid product. "

          Sorry if I sound too honest but who cares? I would've written it like this:

          Hey [name],

          [short intro] My name is Dan and I'm the founder of XXX.

          Do you know xyz company? What if I told you your competitor's exact online marketing plan, would that help your business?

          Our service is currently in Beta but if you can't wait to outsmart and outgrow your competitor, please reply with an email titled "Beta Request" and I'll give you one of our 1000 beta accounts.

          Hope to hear from you soon.

          XXX Marketing

          Do you want to get more customers? We help businesses just

          • DM

            Daniel Marlin

            over 5 years ago #

            Thanks for the response! No sorry needed for constructive criticism. I really appreciate you writing out an email. And truth be told - I'm going to shamelessly take this and give it a try.

        • DM

          Daniel Marlin

          over 5 years ago #

          Thanks for pointing me in a direction. I checked out that post on customer.io and it was pretty helpful.

      • ND

        Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

        over 5 years ago #

        To be honest I didn't even notice that.

  • SH

    Seiji Hennelly

    over 5 years ago #

    I would have a few links in there they can click on so you can track them. As Kyle Van Pelt's excellent post mentioned, the goal is to start a conversation. Interest in your email doesn't have to have binary results in terms of reply or no-reply, as people may be interested enough to click on your link and poke around your site but be too busy to actually write an email back. You can segment out intermediate level interest (multiple opens, clicks, and multiple clicks from different devices, and use geolocation to try and figure out forwarded emails) and target them with higher quality followups than people who never opened or clicked.

    • SW

      Sriteja Reddy Wudaru

      over 5 years ago #

      Hi Seiji

      That is interesting. In fact I'm also thinking of such a tool. Do you have any in mind? It'd be really awesome for a lot like me.

      Hope you've a great day.

  • DJ

    divya jain

    over 5 years ago #

    Daniel I know I am little off the topic, but do give enough thought on the subject line of your email as well. Subject line is the one which will make the very first strike.

  • BA

    Bushra Azhar

    over 5 years ago #

    There are some great responses in here. I can only suggest a playful opening (if that's in line with your brand) that almost always gets the email opened and I have had an 80% response rate.

    Please don't be afraid of using a little bit of flattery, we all think it seems skeezy but it works wonders, especially when genuine (although it works even when it is blatantly insincere). See this article for the science behind flattery:


    I have used a variation of this as an opener and get exceptional response, especially because I have taken the time to read up on the person im reaching out to.

    Subject: A Gushing Torrent of Admiration...and a Request

    Hey there (name)

    I’m writing today to send an avalanche of appreciation in your direction. I freaking LOVE what you are doing over at ******* (warning: gushing school-girl crush story, straight ahead…don’t mind if I step over my own toes) I love you mission, your language, you brand voice, everything! and if that wasn't enough, I also happen to (lovingly) stalk you over at Twitter"

    Good luck!

  • DH

    Daniel Honigman

    over 5 years ago #

    Some quick thoughts:

    1) Shorten the paragraphs to make the email more scannable.
    2) Include a link
    3) Kill the fluff (e.g. they don't care that your nose is to the grindstone). One possibility: say any feedback is helpful, since you're an early-stage startup.

    Hope this helps!

  • BF

    Brooke Freedman

    over 5 years ago #

    - Try to always start with THEM not you
    "You wrote a really terrific blog post about XYZ and I can tell that you are a great thought leader in XYZ".
    - Show that you know something about him and his company
    - Check linkedin and look to see if you have a common connection- if so... mention that. Show some kind of commonality.
    - Tell him why HE is someone that you would like to try your product
    - How exactly will he benefit from trying it
    - Don't be wishy-washy in the end ..." If you would like to try it or want to know more let me know" ... is pretty wishy washy
    how about "do you have 10 minutes open tomorrow morning to connect directly?"
    - I love that it is short and to the point- don't change that!
    - Include your twitter, linkedin and phone
    - Link in with him right after you send this
    - If he doesn't respond... try again.. he is probably very busy