You receive [read: are annoyed by] a lot of emails offering you lots of different services. And for some reason, you receive a lot of emails offering SEO services, despite the fact that you provide SEO services yourself. (We know, we receive those emails too. We don’t get it either…)
Yet you send a lot of cold emails yourself. You know it can be an effective client acquisition tool. How can you ensure that you stand out from the crowd and make people pay attention to your email?
Of course your emails are better than 90% of the ones you receive. Yours are written in fluent English and don’t use comic sans. But a quick Google search shows an almost infinite number of resources helping anyone who clicks on them to craft “the perfect email to generate a cold lead.”
Your real competitors are competent email writers too.
So how do you craft the email that breaks through the noise and turns a potential lead into a customer?
Do Your Homework
The first thing you must do is your homework in order to target the right leads. Research your specialty. If you don’t think you have a specialty, take a look at your clientele and find out who the majority of your clients are:
- An industry such as plumbers or dentists?
- A business size such as those with less than $10 million in turnover?
- A certain number of locations such as 2-5 in neighboring cities?
- A type of offering such as professional services or contracting?
- In a specific city/area?
Understanding your specialty will help you know who to target and how to highlight your strengths.
Make some relevant searches and find out who is on page two in a variety of Google searches within your specialty. Find out who isn’t featured in Google’s local packs. See who doesn’t show up quickly in the major business directory listings such as Yelp, AngiesList, YP, or TripAdvisor.
Figure out why these businesses aren’t listed first and foremost. You don’t have to spend hours and hours figuring out the reasons, nor can you know exactly why, but you can get a good idea. Perhaps they don’t have enough reviews or their reviews are very poor. Perhaps they have duplicate content on their website or little content at all. Perhaps their inbound links are all spammy. These are all quick temperature gauges that will help you open a dialogue with your lead.
Then look at who advertises, yet isn’t on page one. Who has the biggest yellow page ads? Who pops up in the PPC ads? Who is in the sidebar ads and banners of the local publications? And, after you spend some time searching the industry, who pops up in your Facebook ads?
These clients are prime since they obviously have money to spend on digital marketing–they just aren’t spending their money wisely. You can help them get their website in order and SEO on track to boost them in the search engine results pages.
Develop Relevant Case Studies
You have the clients you’re focusing on. Now you need to find and develop relevant case studies that will help them see what you are able to do for them.
Choose success stories of clients with similar situations to your targets, but which are in different industries or in non-competing geographical locations. (You want to avoid sharing with an real estate agent how you helped their direct competitor down the street.)
Develop a full case study complete with stats and current results. However, make a short version that can easily fit in a brief email that serves as a primer for a future conversation. Another strategy is to link to the case study in your email so that you don’t waste valuable words as a potential client skims your message.
Write the Email
Again, you’re not worried about writing a better email than your offshore, comic sans competitors (although your subject line must be catchy enough to get someone to click on your email.) But you do need to be professional yet casual and stand out from your real competitors.
Open with a snappy statistic that compares their company with the industry or with some of their top competitors. This stat could be something non-abrasive such as the percent of traffic that goes to the top spots and how much the potential client is missing by being on page two (or ten).
Then show that you’ve done your homework. Offer a quick assessment of one aspect of their SEO, such as light content or lack of reviews. Make them feel like you know them and that this isn’t just a canned email. And illustrate how fixing the situation will benefit them greatly.
Focus on them and not you. You might even offer them a quick win that they can implement on their own. Helping someone without a blatant “BUY THIS” is an excellent way to win their trust.
The individual nature of such an email shows that you care and that you know your stuff. But don’t overdo it. Share just one or two points. They won’t read a full assessment of everything you think they’re doing wrong.
Finally, leave them with a non-committal call to action, such as a free website score valuation. This allows them to take the next steps and, since it’s a link and a signup on your website, you know if they’re interested. You can see if they choose the CTA and can then follow up with them.
Wrapping It Up
With the right preparation and pitch, you can stand out in a saturated industry bombarded by “get results fast.” Do your homework, get a solid lead list, prepare relevant case studies, and craft a short and casual email. Be helpful, focus on them, and implement an easy and enticing CTA. Good luck!