As a freelancer, you need all the help you can get when reaching out to clients. Cold email outreach is a critical part of every freelancer’s marketing plan. However, it can be tough to get prospects to respond to you. Response rates of 1-2% are not uncommon, and a lack of responses over time can be demoralizing.
The good news is you can increase your email response rates by tweaking a few aspects of your strategy. Here are 5 tips that will boost your cold email outreach efforts and help you land more clients.
Use the Right Signature
Email signatures aren’t the first thing one thinks of when talking of cold email outreach. However, signatures are a valuable outreach tool since they establish a professional image and help you redirect prospects to your website easily.
Spend some time creating your email signature. Alternatively, you could draw inspiration from the best email signatures and adapt them to suit your needs. Make sure you attach a picture of yourself in your signature. A picture gives your email a human face, and people are less likely to ignore it.
You can also attach a lead magnet or any useful resource to your signature. Link to your website and social media profiles to further establish credibility. Over time, you’ll find that a great email signature will increase your clickthrough rates and boost responses.
Pay Attention to the Subject Line
Email subject lines are the most important part of your outreach campaigns. Your subject line must help you stand out from the crowd in your prospect’s inbox. At the same time, it must deliver value and get your prospect curious enough to open your email.
It’s a tricky balance to get right. Most freelancers resort to asking whether the prospect has any work to offer them, but this isn’t going to land you any gigs soon. Instead, offer your prospects value and show them you’d like to be a part of their team.
This attitude will help you craft subject lines that entice prospects. Instead of “freelance graphic designer looking for work” you can craft subject lines such as “free design templates for your business” or something similar.
Your subject lines don’t need to be quirky or full of “personality“ to increase open rates. Focus on offering value and communicating with your prospect. Open and response rates will take care of themselves.
Leverage Data and Experiments
Every email outreach provider offers insights into your open and click-through rates. Use these datasets to improve your performance. For instance, do certain subjects increase open rates and responses? Did you tweak your email body and see a rise in responses?
The key to increasing open rates is to test everything. Test different subject lines with different portions of your audience. Remember to gather enough data to establish statistical relevance. For instance, if you see a one-time spike in open rates, you cannot conclude that your subject line was great.
Test it at least two more times and look at open rate trends. Similarly, experiment with your writing style and subject matter. Try different lead magnets and see what works best. Experimenting regularly is the key to success. Set up quick experiments, analyze data, and move forward at all times.
Segment Your Audience
Low open rates are often caused by poor audience fit. Your audience might be too diverse for a single subject to appeal to them. In such cases, you must segment your audience and address them differently. For instance, former clients know you and are familiar with your services.
You cannot address them the same way as you would a new prospect. Segment your audience based on your past interactions with them, the role they play in their organizations, and their response rates (assuming you have enough data.) You can get creative with your audience segmentation too.
For instance, you can create a segment of prospects that have opened your emails in the past and work at companies with revenues greater than $10 million. Don’t go wild with segmentation though. Often, freelancers get carried away segmenting their audiences and forget the primary goal is to make a sale.
Segment your audience based on easily detected data, and you’ll be fine. If you’re spending more time segmenting your audience than crafting your emails, you know you’re going down the wrong path.
Get Your Follow Up Frequency Right
Send emails too often, and you’ll risk being marked as spam. Send them too far apart, and your prospect will forget you. Getting follow-up frequency right is challenging, and there’s no way to figure out the ideal frequency without experimenting.
As a rule of thumb, you must follow up at least twice. Your prospect might be busy and forget to respond to your email. Giving them multiple chances is the best way of increasing response rates. When crafting follow-ups, acknowledge that they might be busy. This will preempt any objection that you’re being pushy.
It’s best to give your prospect between 2-3 working days to respond to your emails. If they fail to respond after 4 emails, move on and start targeting someone else.
Tough but Worth the Effort
Cold email outreach is a tough task, and it can become demoralizing in the long run. The best thing to do is to experiment constantly and follow up in a timely fashion. Remember: You never know where your next lead will come from, so keep working on perfecting your emails.