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My First Time Cold-Emailing Web Design Clients. I'd Love a Critique!

ToySoldier

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Hey guys, I've been running my marketing business for a few years now, and have recently started cold-emailing some high-paying niche clients. I put this together earlier today, and would love your opinions on it!


Hi [NAME],

I’m [My Name], a [College Name] student from [City]. In the past three years, I’ve helped my clients generate an additional $250,000 in revenue, and have worked for major brands across Canada and the United States through my web development agency, Toy Soldier Marketing. I came across your [INDUSTRY] site, and it hasn’t been updated since [YEAR]. Here’s a mock-up of what your site could look like:

[Link to Wordpress template in their niche, through a subdomain of mine]

Your new site will be mobile-responsive (it isn’t currently), and indexed correctly for Google search engines, which will improve your search ranking. Everything is completely customizable and will make your site stand out from the competition.

Do you want more customers? If so, I can help. Message me, let’s chat.

-Neal
 
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amp0193

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Hi [NAME],

I’m [My Name], a [College Name] student from [City]. In the past three years, I’ve helped my clients generate an additional $250,000 in revenue, and have worked for major brands across Canada and the United States through my web development agency, Toy Soldier Marketing. I came across your [INDUSTRY] site, and it hasn’t been updated since [YEAR]. Here’s a mock-up of what your site could look like:

[Link to Wordpress template in their niche, through a subdomain of mine]

Your new site will be mobile-responsive (it isn’t currently), and indexed correctly for Google search engines, which will improve your search ranking. Everything is completely customizable and will make your site stand out from the competition.

Do you want more customers? If so, I can help. Message me, let’s chat.

-Neal
Does this actually get you customers?

I get stuff like this every couple of days in my inbox, and it goes to spam as soon as I see the subject line.

Yours is better than most stuff I receive, however.

The only tip I have, is to find a way to make it not sound cookie cutter. Every email I get I can tell has been sent to hundreds of others.
 

Waspy

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This sounds like a Resume. I'm not in the market for an intern.

If someone said:

"Hey Waspy,

You're website is terrible. Your customers need x, y, z, but your website doesn't provide it. Here how it could be..."

I might pay some attention. The idea is to stand out. Not blend into my spam filter.

But whatever works I guess
 

Scot

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Honest breakdown.

If I got this, I'd spam folder it in a heartbeat. It's the most blatant boiler plate pitch ever.

Hi [NAME],

I’m [My Name], a [College Name] student from [City]. In the past three years,
You instantly set yourself up for failure. I don't want a college student responsible for my business I want a professional.

I’ve helped my clients generate an additional $250,000 in revenue, and have worked for major brands across Canada and the United States through my web development agency, Toy Soldier Marketing.
Be specific with their area. If their shop is in Maryland say Maryland. When you lost country makes, multiple, the impression in the States is that you're not inside the country, you're outsourced.

I came across your [INDUSTRY] site, and it hasn’t been updated since [YEAR]. Here’s a mock-up of what your site could look like:

[Link to Wordpress template in their niche, through a subdomain of mine]
Be more relatable. "I've done some work for HVAC businesses in the past, so I am familiar with the needs of your business when it comes to marketing to your customers"

If you've worked with a company locally, list them. It builds credibility.

Your new site will be mobile-responsive (it isn’t currently), and indexed correctly for Google search engines, which will improve your search ranking.
Say I'm a 52 year old carpenter guy who barely graduated high school but I know everything there is about building cabinets. I have a flip phone. I have no clue what mobile responsive means or why I should care. I only have a website because my nephew told me I needed one 10 years ago.

This is going to be a lot of small business owners who needs website remodels.

Features tell. Benefits SELL.

"In the past all you needed was good word of mouth and a solid ad in the yellow pages. Today, [customer for your busuness] are doing more and more on their phones. Did you know google announced 60% of searches were done on phones? Your customer base is going to be searching for air conditioning repair on their iPhone. We can engineer a site that naturally adapts to phones and increases the likelihood they'll hire you. Well also optimize your site so it appears at the top of googles search page, saving you money on costly paid advertising."


Do you want more customers? If so, I can help. Message me, let’s chat.

-Neal
How much does their service cost? If we're talking about roofing, a new roof can cost between $2-10,000. Talk about ROI. "how much business would it bring in if your website delivered 3 new customers right to your door?"

Hope this helps. Check out Fox's thread as well, he has a lot of great sales techniques.
 

amp0193

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If someone said:

"Hey Waspy,

You're website is terrible.
haha, you know, I think I'd take the time to read an email that started off with this. It'd get my attention.

Especially if it followed up with specific things that were terrible about my website.
 

JordanK

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I have been sending emails out to prospective clients for the past few weeks. I have had a few positive responses to this pitch but have only called one. Honestly I'm still trying to learn more about sales technique and muster up some more confidence in myself and my ability.

" Hi John,

My name is Jordan, I do web design and work with a lot of similar companies to yours in a number of different fields such as construction, healthcare and gaming.

I came across your business by searching for construction companies and noticed its high up the list for the construction search term in your city. However your website is outdated and not optimized to work with mobile phones so are missing out on turning traffic on your website into sales which is the most important thing for any business. I really think some simple changes in your website would see a huge difference in results.

Here are a few examples of things that I believe can be improved:
  1. Complete revamp and modernizing of the design and look
  2. Dramatically improve the user “flow”
  3. Bring to life your amazing experiences across a number of different projects.
The current website doesn’t do your work justice and it isn’t fully functional on mobile devices which is such an important part of any modern website.

Please take a look at these few images of how your website could potentially look:
http://www.imgur.com/a/UGWs9

Let me know if you are interested and we can discuss it in more detail. Even if you don’t hire me I would enjoy showing you some simple things to get fast results.

- Jordan "
 

Fox

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Be specific.

Imagine if so one came on this thread and said

"wow great post, lets talk by private message! Message me now"

What would you do? Ignore/laugh/delete/block.

Instead everyone comes on here giving great detailed feedback. Emails should be the same. If you do generic emails you get generic results (that means nearly no results).

Breakdown their site, offer them specific advice, give them value. Approach it like you were getting paid to do it for them.

Do this and you only need to send about 10 emails a week. You should get 2-3 calls and one close.
 

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The biggest problem with all these emails is that it sounds corporate. You don't want to sound corporate. You want to sound human.

Type like you talk.

If this were me I'd likely try something that started with this:

Subject: FYI (website issues)
Body:

Hey there,

Not sure if you knew this but your website has some problems that you might want to consider looking into. I spent 2-3 minutes looking around and found:

- It doesn't work well on mobile phones, at all (which is how most people browse the web these days)
- It doesn't adjust properly when you resize the screen
- It's hard to read on new monitors
- It looks really, really dated compared to some of your competitors (check out these guys: www-competitor-com)

I actually do web design as a living so I figured I'd reach out and let you know there's serious room for dead-easy (and affordable) improvement. Take a look at what I threw together quickly for you for free: (photo)

I could do your entire page like that for about $800. That price also includes making it look like this on mobile phones: (photo)

Is that something you'd be interested in?
 

amp0193

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I actually do web design as a living so I figured I'd reach out and let you know there's serious room for dead-easy (and affordable) improvement.
I really liked this sentence. It lowered all of my barriers. Suddenly, you're just a regular guy, and probably one of my customers, to boot.
 

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ToySoldier

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Honest breakdown.

If I got this, I'd spam folder it in a heartbeat. It's the most blatant boiler plate pitch ever.



You instantly set yourself up for failure. I don't want a college student responsible for my business I want a professional.



Be specific with their area. If their shop is in Maryland say Maryland. When you lost country makes, multiple, the impression in the States is that you're not inside the country, you're outsourced.



Be more relatable. "I've done some work for HVAC businesses in the past, so I am familiar with the needs of your business when it comes to marketing to your customers"

If you've worked with a company locally, list them. It builds credibility.



Say I'm a 52 year old carpenter guy who barely graduated high school but I know everything there is about building cabinets. I have a flip phone. I have no clue what mobile responsive means or why I should care. I only have a website because my nephew told me I needed one 10 years ago.

This is going to be a lot of small business owners who needs website remodels.

Features tell. Benefits SELL.

"In the past all you needed was good word of mouth and a solid ad in the yellow pages. Today, [customer for your busuness] are doing more and more on their phones. Did you know google announced 60% of searches were done on phones? Your customer base is going to be searching for air conditioning repair on their iPhone. We can engineer a site that naturally adapts to phones and increases the likelihood they'll hire you. Well also optimize your site so it appears at the top of googles search page, saving you money on costly paid advertising."




How much does their service cost? If we're talking about roofing, a new roof can cost between $2-10,000. Talk about ROI. "how much business would it bring in if your website delivered 3 new customers right to your door?"

Hope this helps. Check out Fox's thread as well, he has a lot of great sales techniques.
This is my first attempt an a cold email pitch. I really appreciate the teardown, man! I'll be sure to head back to the drawing board, and come up with something fresh soon.
 

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This is my first attempt an a cold email pitch. I really appreciate the teardown, man! I'll be sure to head back to the drawing board, and come up with something fresh soon.
I didn't take the time to do a line by line analysis, but @Scot pretty much nailed it. I ditto everything he says.
 

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Hey guys, I've been running my marketing business for a few years now, and have recently started cold-emailing some high-paying niche clients. I put this together earlier today, and would love your opinions on it!


Hi [NAME],

I’m [My Name], a [College Name] student from [City]. In the past three years, I’ve helped my clients generate an additional $250,000 in revenue, and have worked for major brands across Canada and the United States through my web development agency, Toy Soldier Marketing. I came across your [INDUSTRY] site, and it hasn’t been updated since [YEAR]. Here’s a mock-up of what your site could look like:

[Link to Wordpress template in their niche, through a subdomain of mine]

Your new site will be mobile-responsive (it isn’t currently), and indexed correctly for Google search engines, which will improve your search ranking. Everything is completely customizable and will make your site stand out from the competition.

Do you want more customers? If so, I can help. Message me, let’s chat.

-Neal
Only reason you want to do this is because you're scared to pick up the phone. ROI on cold emails is so small it's not even worth it, not to mention illegal.
 
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ToySoldier

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Only reason you want to do this is because you're scared to pick up the phone. ROI on cold emails is so small it's not even worth it, not to mention illegal.
Not quite.

I only cold email possible clients who don't publicly list their numbers. Appreciate the concern, but I'm not too worried about the legality behind an email.
 

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Not quite.

I only cold email possible clients who don't publicly list their numbers. Appreciate the concern, but I'm not too worried about the legality behind an email.
It's called the FTC hunny bunny. Your host will black list you way before you ever turn a dollar.
 

458

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I've been doing this for almost half a decade with no issues. I appreciate the concern, but I don't think it's something most small businesses need to worry about.
Half decade?! Great! Stats? Gross revenue? ROI? Whoop it out brah
 

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Only reason you want to do this is because you're scared to pick up the phone. ROI on cold emails is so small it's not even worth it, not to mention illegal.
Not illegal at all. Maybe in Canada.

In the U.S. you're allowed to email people until they tell you to stop. You do have to follow some rules (CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 - Wikipedia), but those aren't that difficult to follow.

Here's a quick summary of those rules:
  1. Don’t use false or misleading contact information. The ‘From’, ’To’, ‘Reply-To’ and domains referencing your company, product or service should all be accurate and identify who you are.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. A shady subject line may get an open but chances are your click-throughs will be weak. Subject lines are the gatekeepers to your email content and you should get creative in writing and testing copy that gets opens. Be truthful.
  3. If your email is an advertisement, then label it as such. The best cold emailers know not to take their pants off on the first date. The goal of any cold email is to get a response not to seal the deal. If you are trying to sell something in your first outreach email, you are doing it wrong.
  4. Tell the recipient where you are located. Your physical address doesn’t need to live in the footer of the email which could impact your deliverability since spam filters look here. Instead, consider including the address in your signature.
  5. Give recipients a way to opt out of future emails. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to put an unsubscribe link in the footer of your emails. What’s more ‘clear and conspicuous’ than just writing something like, ‘if you don’t want me to email you, just reply to this message and let me know.’
  6. Honor opt-outs. Replying to angry people for sending emails after they unsubscribed is equally as frustrating as receiving emails you unsubscribed from. Try not to take it personally, respect their decision and move on to more important things (like finding more prospects).
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. Just because you hired someone to handle your email outreach doesn’t indemnify you from their actions. Make sure they comply with the same regulations set forth by your governing body.
 
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ToySoldier

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Half decade?! Great! Stats? Gross revenue? ROI? Whoop it out brah
While you'll have to respect my decision not to share my financial details in an open forum, I've made enough to comfortably make it through college without the need of a traditional job. The way things are headed, my business should be able to sustain me full-time post-graduation, assuming this year goes well!

Sorry for the lack of information. I just don't feel comfortable sharing info past what I charge to the world.
 

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The biggest problem with all these emails is that it sounds corporate. You don't want to sound corporate. You want to sound human.

Type like you talk.

If this were me I'd likely try something that started with this:

Subject: FYI (website issues)
Body:

Hey there,

Not sure if you knew this but your website has some problems that you might want to consider looking into. I spent 2-3 minutes looking around and found:

- It doesn't work well on mobile phones, at all (which is how most people browse the web these days)
- It doesn't adjust properly when you resize the screen
- It's hard to read on new monitors
- It looks really, really dated compared to some of your competitors (check out these guys: www-competitor-com)

I actually do web design as a living so I figured I'd reach out and let you know there's serious room for dead-easy (and affordable) improvement. Take a look at what I threw together quickly for you for free: (photo)

I could do your entire page like that for about $800. That price also includes making it look like this on mobile phones: (photo)

Is that something you'd be interested in?
This is an awesome letter; the only thing I'd add to this is some bold statements about conversions. Add why it's terrible that they don't work on mobiles; connect the issues mentioned above with poor conversions. Tell them you are going to increase those conversions and therefore sales. That's what I want to hear about my site, because ultimately, that's why it exists, to make me money.
 

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Not illegal at all. Maybe in Canada.

In the U.S. you're allowed to email people until they tell you to stop. You do have to follow some rules (CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 - Wikipedia), but those aren't that difficult to follow.

Here's a quick summary of those rules:
  1. Don’t use false or misleading contact information. The ‘From’, ’To’, ‘Reply-To’ and domains referencing your company, product or service should all be accurate and identify who you are.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. A shady subject line may get an open but chances are your click-throughs will be weak. Subject lines are the gatekeepers to your email content and you should get creative in writing and testing copy that gets opens. Be truthful.
  3. If your email is an advertisement, then label it as such. The best cold emailers know not to take their pants off on the first date. The goal of any cold email is to get a response not to seal the deal. If you are trying to sell something in your first outreach email, you are doing it wrong.
  4. Tell the recipient where you are located. Your physical address doesn’t need to live in the footer of the email which could impact your deliverability since spam filters look here. Instead, consider including the address in your signature.
  5. Give recipients a way to opt out of future emails. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to put an unsubscribe link in the footer of your emails. What’s more ‘clear and conspicuous’ than just writing something like, ‘if you don’t want me to email you, just reply to this message and let me know.’
  6. Honor opt-outs. Replying to angry people for sending emails after they unsubscribed is equally as frustrating as receiving emails you unsubscribed from. Try not to take it personally, respect their decision and move on to more important things (like finding more prospects).
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. Just because you hired someone to handle your email outreach doesn’t indemnify you from their actions. Make sure they comply with the same regulations set forth by your governing body.
This is an INCREDIBLE post.
Thanks for taking the time to type it up and share it.

Especially since the guy above you got the laws wrong and freaked me out that I've been breaking the law with my cold emails (when I really haven't).

BTW folks, if you DON'T know the laws, please don't pretend you do. Could have been a huge issue for me if I hadn't keep reading.

EDIT: Futhermore, Cold Emails absolutely *CAN* get you business results, depending on your purpose and your approach.
Trust me, from experience I know they can work.
Doesn't make them the BEST option always, but they *definitely* can work. I've done it.
 

FastNAwesome

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Your new site will be mobile-responsive (it isn’t currently
So much great feedback in this thread. I just want to +1 on this potentially not making any sense to the client.

You're website is terrible.
Now that's an opener that would stand out:) I like it, curious if it would be seen as rude by most people:)

Personally, it would get me to read on no doubt:)

If for no other reason, then for curiosity of who is this and how dare they:)
 

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Pick up the phone and close out of your email.

have recently started cold-emailing some high-paying niche clients
If I could say nothing else, high paying, "preferred" customers deserve to be talked to on the phone. They are someone you work with, develop a relationship with, and typically might not close on the first conversation.

From my personal experience, I used to call over a hundred people per day and I even followed up many of them with emails. Funny thing is, if I couldn't close the sale on the phone or set up a time to call back, email never worked. Email is great for sending quotes or more information before your next call back (which should be you closing the sale and asking for visa/mastercard). So I ask you...

Is your time valuable? Do you actually want to get in touch with key decision makers? Don't spend your time on people who can't spend their time with you. There are unlimited websites that need help with design, modernization, SEO, etc. You could take an hour researching your specific niche to come up with 10-20 phone numbers and emails in order to generate new business. But why would you only email them, when:

- That email could end up in the spam box, never to be seen in the first place
- They have no idea who is emailing them so they instantly delete it anyways
- They are old school and prefer to do everything via phone where they can feel out and emotionally connect with who they are talking with
- They probably get emailed by 5 other "web designer guys" per month but can't see the value in it because they don't have a person they have emotionally connected with and trust explain the benefits
- Your email might go to somebody in the business who has no say over the website and doesn't really care either, they just want their paycheck and are there to deal with existing customers only
So would I still cold email people if I was in your shoes? Sure, I might send out 1-2 well-crafted, benefits oriented, customer specific emails per day (but not to my high value business), writing how I felt in the moment (no templates). Why wouldn't I do it more than that? Because you're risking wasting your own time using a medium that doesn't work with a lot of people due to a plethora of reasons including the ones above. And you potentially ignore the biggest problem faced when generating new business or closing sales: objections.

The problems with emails is you never see or sense the objections your customer has about working with you. Objections lead to sales, it is your duty to pull the objections out of your customer and overcome them, early and often. How many of your high value customers are really going to email you back listing their objections they have? If I have qualms about working with someone I don't know or is from another state, or I'm not sure if they can really provide me value, it will be easier to ignore the email completely or lie and say I already have someone working on it but I appreciate you reaching out to me.

Even if it doesn't work out, you can always follow up a phone call with an email giving them your contact information and letting them know it was a pleasure talking to them, they are welcome to get back to you in the future, and if they know a friend they can refer you to, that they can: because you created that human connection over the phone in the first place and left a good impression. (oh and p.s. here is my website and a few examples of my work should you change your mind. Have a great afternoon!)
 

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What a great thread,


For someone like myself, it’s challenging to depend on others to cold call or even try and set up a phone call to a potential client. So I depend on a lot of cold emails to hope and land a client. And as of the past few weeks I have not been sending as much cold emails as I was in January. But I’ve turned up the heat again in the past few weeks.

I’ve adjusted and tweaked my emails so many times that I’ve lost count, but any time people post their cold emails that works. I get insights of how I can improve my own emails. This is the one I sent out recently.

Hey Buckaroo,



Good Morning, I happened to see your website on google. I looked around your website and I see many different things that can be worked on to get more attention from clients.



This is what we do, we overhaul websites similar to yours to make it attractive and educate your web visitors by making an experience that also saves you and your client’s time.



Another thing I noticed that you offer several other services other than drywall work that gets drowned into the other pages. One suggestion is that you could do is to have a slideshow in the front page displaying with pictures what you really have to offer.



If you want to chat more about how your website can be improved let me know.



Thank you



Jason,


I’m sure there’s tons of room for improvement here too.
 

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One thing I'd like to add to the conversation that is important whether you choose to email or cold-call is that if one strategy is not working on a prospect, try doing the other one.

If you've tried cold-calling a potential client with no answer a couple times or a prospect is not returning your voicemail, try sending an email. I've sold online advertising to dentists that have strictly communicated via email and text because they are unable to get to the phone during their working day.

Likewise, if you are not getting any traction sending introductory emails to a client try picking up the phone and having a conversation with them. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the wrong email listed on an industry directory and have found outdated emails on a company's own website.

I think you should remember that there is a whole suite of tools you can use to get your services in front of a potential client and you can and should explore them all.
 

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Also worth noting that a rookie mistake when sending emails or any slow form of communication is waiting for a response before getting back to work because you're afraid of being overwhelmed if they all say yes.

Most cold emails (and let's be honest - most warm ones) don't get responded to.

If you found a perfect client, don't just send that email and go "oh man, if this works out this will be awesome".

Fire, fire, fire, fire, fire. In the very unlikely event that you do get a slew of "yes" responses that you can't keep up with, that should tell you that finding more clients is easier than you thought and annoying the ones in front of you with longer lead times than they expected isn't that big of a deal.
 

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The biggest problem with all these emails is that it sounds corporate. You don't want to sound corporate. You want to sound human.

Type like you talk.
Please don't take this personally, but I strongly disagree with this suggestion.

IMO, the only time you should "type like you talk" is if you are a consummate professional with a strong grasp of the language. It's quite common to judge & disregard someone that uses slang, excessive informality, texting shortcuts, or any other unprofessional communication techniques. I know its common because I've had this very same discussion in business several times over the years.

The last thing you want is for the prospective customer to think you're an inexperienced noob because you can't communicate professionally. You want the customer to believe that you are the absolute BEST person in the world to solve their problem!
 
Last edited:

AdamMaxum

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Here's my experience with cold emails...concerning website pitches and seeing them come in all the time to all my clients.

1. The foreigners have ruined it...everyday someone from India emails saying something so everyone has gotten numb to them all.

2. The only type of email pitch they ever tell me about are ones that tell them specific things wrong with their website...however this may only be because I'm the one responsible for that part of their business so idk how well it works for people with no one helping them.

3. Keep the pitch short and specific. Taking the time to customize the email works better.

4. Use a branded domain email ...sending from a random gmail no good...establish credibility...setup a pic and signature

5. Attach a screenshot of an issue and use scare tactics to get their attention. Aka you're losing this or that.

6. Always try to set up a call. No one EVER closes a deal over email. If you can get them on the phone you're in a good spot.
 

james dixon

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Mar 26, 2017
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Here's my experience with cold emails...concerning website pitches and seeing them come in all the time to all my clients.

1. The foreigners have ruined it...everyday someone from India emails saying something so everyone has gotten numb to them all.

2. The only type of email pitch they ever tell me about are ones that tell them specific things wrong with their website...however this may only be because I'm the one responsible for that part of their business so idk how well it works for people with no one helping them.

3. Keep the pitch short and specific. Taking the time to customize the email works better.

4. Use a branded domain email ...sending from a random gmail no good...establish credibility...setup a pic and signature

5. Attach a screenshot of an issue and use scare tactics to get their attention. Aka you're losing this or that.

6. Always try to set up a call. No one EVER closes a deal over email. If you can get them on the phone you're in a good spot.
All these tips work really good. But I guess if a person needs such kind of services he/she will find it without cold mailing.. I would recommend to participate in different meetinings and conferences and to give business cards personaly and later on send follow-up emails.
 

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