Articles on: Sending Tips

Should I include attachments in my cold emails?

This is a question many people starting out with cold email for the first time struggle with. It's very tempting to try and include as much information as possible in our first email to a prospect, this will better help convince them you're a good fit and they can really benefit from working with you. They don't know how great your service is yet, and a nice document with graphics and text would get all that across, right?

Not so fast. For many years now, across companies, anti-virus programs and regular news articles, we have all been told that we shouldn't really open attachments from people we don't know, especially when we aren't expecting them - this is the one of the most common ways that trojans are spread across the internet.

Ask yourself for a moment, if a stranger on the internet sent you an email - would you just go ahead and download and open their files?

From your perspective

Including an attachment is a no brainer, it will allow you to keep your email short and sweet, yet include and allow you to reference a huge amount of additional material, showing them all of the benefits of working with your company, what you have done for others in the past, and that it's not actually so expensive, the ROI is actually great.

From the recipients perspective

I have another email from a stranger, at best they're trying to sell me something, at worst they're trying to scam me or infect my computer to steal my information. Actually, maybe the company that sent me this seem genuine, but do I have time to read through 6 pages of marketing material when I've received 4 other emails proposing the same thing this week alone?

Conversions and Spam

Because so many cold emails with attachments are malware, email providers often place much more scrutiny on these types of emails. If they allow the occasional spam email through to their users, it's not the end of the world, but if Gmail or Outlook allowed tens of thousands of their users to receive a virus infected file, it would hit every news station across the country. If their automated systems are in any doubt whatsoever, it's best just to send your well intentioned cold email directly to the recipients spam box.

It's not personal

None of us like to be sold to or to just be another number. We want services to feel personalized. If you're offering to help me with my marketing and overtake my competition, or help me with the best insurance rates, you should atleast know something about me and my company, right? A generic 6 page PDF document covering all industries across the entire country makes it feel like you're just spamming an email to as many people that will open it and hope for the best. In the recipients eyes, you're not really making any effort other than clicking send and crossing your fingers hoping for a sale.

Best of both

The best approach, both for ensuring the emails land in your recipients inbox and increasing the likelihood of a reply is to keep your messages short. Avoid images, links or anything that makes it look like an automated mass email (even if it is). Keep your email as a friendly introduction highlighting what you can do for them and how they will benefit. Now is not the time to tell them about value or guarantees, that comes later when they've convinced themselves to hear you out and reply.

How I suggest running your campaigns:

Send out automated email campaigns to the types of businesses that you think would benefit from working with you, and that likely have a need for your services. If you choose industries you can't help, you are wasting both your time and theirs. If you sell insurance or marketing, a Dentist or Realtor will likely benefit, but offering your Wholesale Electrical supplies to a plumber? Perhaps 1 or 2 could use something, but overall, they aren't your target market.

Keep your initial emails short, including your name, that you think you could help them achieve X, Y or Z - and if that's something they need, they can get in touch with you. You will never convince every reader of your email to work with you, and by trying, you may come across as desperate or pushy, causing you to almost certainly lose a sale which otherwise may have been interested.

When they reply, it's the time to move away from your generic automated or scripted emails and put 5-10 minutes manual research in. If you try to use a template or automated response at this step, they will see right through it.

I like to look at the social media profiles of the person who replied, look at the businesses website, check if they're running any advertising campaigns, if they sponsor any charities, if have a company soccer team etc etc. Tailor your approach based on the culture within the company. Does Jane prefer you to call him Ms Smith or Jane? Is John extremely busy and bills by the hour, or does he spend hours every day interacting with his customers on social media?

Even though you offer Website Design, Google Ads and Social Media Management - they likely won't need all of those services. if they have a brand new website and have a dedicated person in their office replying to their social media interactions, it's probably worth abandoning these from your pitch and focus on the Google Ads part - the place you can actually help them today.

At this stage you can include a small attachment as they are now expecting a reply from you, they know a little about you and what you're offering.

Updated on: 10/26/2020

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