In a world where an average business person gets roughly 121 emails a day, there are, certainly, a lot of unopened and ignored emails.

If you want your cold emails to not be a part of this sad fact, you need to make sure that you personalise their contents and stand out from the crowd. Today, creativity and high-level personalisation are the only ways to get through to your prospect and turn them into a lead.

In this article, we talk about 11 unconventional ways you can spice up your cold emails to get them noticed and responded to. So, how to personalise a cold email to get your prospect’s attention?

Make use of video

According to stats, video is one of the most effective assets in the world of sales at the moment. It’s a big sales trend and it’s predicted to only get bigger in the future.

For instance, for MediaValet, the introduction of videos into their sales process meant they cut their sales cycle by half!

If you want to follow in their footsteps and get on the same level of success, get your camera out!

Record a personalised video greeting with your face in it

While it might sound somewhat counterintuitive, don’t try and invest in expensive video production when shooting a video for this purpose. It has to come across as informal and laid back as possible. The best solution is to go for a props-free, somewhat nonchalant video shot on the frontal camera of your phone.

Ideally, you should include the prospect's name in the video, but if you’re reaching out to a large number of people at once, you might not have enough free time to record a new video every time.

The good news is that you don’t need to do that! Just record a couple of generic videos that cater to different prospect groups based on their key characteristics and can be reused multiple times. For example, if you’re selling a WordPress plugin, mention that you know that the prospect’s site is hosted on WordPress and that you can help them optimise it.

While a more generic video might not have the same wow effect, it will still get the job done — not many people include videos of themselves in their cold pitches.

To amplify the impact, point out that you’ve recorded the video attached specifically for the recipient somewhere in the body of your email.

Here’s an example of what our Head of Customer Success, Anastasiia Tatsenko, does for all the new subscribers (you can do the same in your cold emails, too!):

Personalised welcome video by NetHunt CRM

Offer a short personalised demo straightaway

One of the key goals of any cold sales email is to entice the prospect to get interested in the product you’re pitching and book a demo where a sales rep would tell them more about how their company could benefit from using the product in question.

This goal must be achieved in just a couple of lines of text. Don’t forget that you’re reaching out to someone who knows nothing about you and your business, and people aren’t too interested in reading paragraphs from perfect strangers.

Unfortunately, if composed incorrectly, cold emails sound pretty unconvincing and often don’t have the desired effect. But what if they did have an opportunity to demonstrate the product before the prospect agrees to book a demo? 😱

While it does come across as a move of an overly self-confident salesperson, upon closer examination, it’s a good tactic — to include a short, personalised demo of your product right in the first email you send to a cold prospect.

Just make sure to make it really personalised — mention the name of the recipient and their company, talk about the benefits they could get from using the product, discuss how your product can help strengthen their business — and really short (no longer than 1 minute). Then, it keeps them engaged and shows them you’re serious about your thing.

Ideally, you should personalise the video thumbnail and add their logo to it so that the video catches your prospect’s attention immediately.

Then, include a straightforward CTA to book a longer, more informational meeting where you’d go over all the functionality and benefits of the product for their business in detail. If they appreciated the first video, they wouldn’t be able to resist the offer.

Offer a personalised feature demo

This is just a variation of the previous method, but you could give it a shot, too. For some companies, presenting a singular star feature and talking about how it differentiates your business from the competition can be a better approach to cold emailing.

Follow the exact same rules as those in the previous section but focus on just one feature: explain why the prospect should be interested in this feature, how they could benefit from using it, and why they need to get the product ASAP.

Personalised demo offer

Besides, justifying the choice of the feature you demonstrate in your video can show your prospect that you have done your homework and researched their company. Often, this is a signal of a serious, trustworthy company, which attracts the attention of prospects straightaway.

Make use of images

Any video is made up of frames — images. So if a video works, so will a singular image; especially if it’s the right one. Let’s talk about which images can make a difference and get you noticed in the inbox.

Find a creative way to “write” your prospect’s name

A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

But since we’re talking cold emails, the sight of their name is the second-best option. Especially when it’s presented in a creative name. For example, Guillaume from lemlist invites his prospects to discuss the product over a cup of coffee that has been conveniently pre-signed:

Personalised image by lemlist

But even if you don’t have any props to take a funky, memorable picture your prospect will save just to send it to their group chat, a simple mention of your prospect’s name on a piece of paper that you’re holding in your hands is equally as effective. At the end of the day, it was once a huge deal online for a reason (do you remember the good old days when people on the Internet were obsessed with collecting pictures of other people holding up signs with their names or is it just me? 😅)

Look at a picture I took specifically for this article. You did stop scrolling for a second to examine it, didn’t you? It means the picture did get the job done and attracted your attention. Et voila!

Personalised image by NetHunt CRM

The only thing is… Ugh, I hate to bring it up in this context. Whether you like it or not, the pretty privilege does exist.

People naturally tend to pay more attention and give the benefit of the doubt to conventionally pretty people and pretty pictures. So, you must ensure you look your best in these shots. This includes:

  • Having nice light
  • Having a nice background
  • Looking fresh and neat
  • A big, sincere smile
  • Wearing professional (or just cool for all it matters) clothes, etc

However, when you have lots of different prospects to reach out to, taking a new picture every time can quickly become a chore. Besides, we, regular humans, are not picture-perfect at all times: bad hair days do happen, unfortunately.

Now, there are several tricks that can make your life significantly easier (and minimise the weight of the photos folder you’ll amass at some point if you take a new picture for every new prospect):

  • Look up a list of common names in the area you target and take a photo with a photo with a sign with each of these names
  • Reuse images for new prospects
  • Use software to generate new photos (but make sure it looks real)

And as for the photos themselves… Your goal is to make it believable that you’ve taken it specifically for the person you’re talking to, so avoid any staged pictures and, preferably, use your frontal camera. It adds charm :)

You may find here some firsthand tips on how to make your cold emails replied from the sales experts.

Use your prospect’s logo in the images you enclose

Any business owner treats their business as their baby. So seeing their beloved logo can have amazing effects on the reply rate of your cold emails!

There are numerous ways in which you can incorporate your prospect’s logo into the images you use in your cold emails. For example:

  • Slap it on your website screenshot
  • Add it to the corner of your product interface screenshot
  • Add it next to your own company’s logo

Or you could get creative and tap into popular culture. For example, if you believe that it was written in the stars that your prospect should invest in your product, show it in the most trivial way — with a “horoscope app” screenshot.

Personalised image with prospect's logo

Use screenshots of their website or an image of their product

You can even take it a step further and go from using just their logo to using a screenshot of their website or an image of their product or service.

Start providing value from the first cold email that reaches your prospect’s inbox; let them know you have the expertise and have already given their business a good thought.

For instance, if your company provides services that have anything to do with website hosting, business coaching, sales audit, etc., include a screenshot of the prospect’s website and share your thoughts on how you could help them improve their current situation:

Personalised email with prospect's website image

Then, offer them to book a short call to go over the things you’ve pointed out.

Similarly, if you don’t have anything to offer that would improve the quality of your prospect’s website, share images of their product glorified with your product or service.

Don’t shy away from using GIFs

Finally, if you want to mix it up a little all while applying minimal effort, you can always make your cold emails catch more eyes and stand out from the crowd by using GIFs.

At the end of the day, the secret to successful sales is evoking emotions in your prospects and establishing a connection with them. GIFs can make your prospect smile, feel agitated, or even drop a tear (if that’s what you’re after).

Here’s an example of a salesperson using GIFs in their cold emails to evoke an emotion in the prospect from Crunchbase:

Personalised email with GIF

However, you must remember that using GIFs in emails is on the same level as using emojis.

They’re controversial and, in certain cases, cause mixed reactions. So don’t do anything too risky, or you’ll have to suffer the consequences of your own actions:

  • Don’t use GIFs you can’t interpret or the ones that can have several interpretations
  • Don’t use GIFs that feature content that some may deem offensive or inappropriate
  • Stay on brand and take your brand’s tone of voice into account
  • Include ALT-text for those who can’t access your GIFs (in fact, this one applies to all visual content in cold emails)

Personalise the text of your prospecting message

Text-based tricks might not be as unconventional and creative as video and image ones, but they still play an important role in glamming up your cold emails and making them attractive to your prospects.

It’s likely that you already know about the power of customising and personalising the subject line and using the prospect’s name in the greeting, so we decided to leave those pieces of advice out of this article and focus on the more creative ways to attract a prospect instead. Enjoy!

Reference your prospect’s LinkedIn bio

Want to catch your prospect’s attention and show them that you’ve really learned something about them before reaching out? Reference their LinkedIn!

Just make sure you do it in a non-creepy way. While it’s essential to show that you’ve studied their company and know they’d be a good fit for your product, you don’t want to come across as a stalker. So don’t dive too deep into their LinkedIn — mentioning something from their bio is just the right level of “research”.

Alternatively, you can reference a recent post they’ve published. Ideally, it should be a publication that discusses something you have expertise in and relates to the product you’re pitching.

Here are some of the prospecting messages templates you may use on LinkedIn.

A little flattery goes a long way

If you want to get on the right side of your prospect, the easiest way to do so is through a couple of compliments.

There are different types of compliments you can give to a person you don’t know very well:

  • Make a compliment to their LinkedIn bio, their profile picture, etc.
  • Celebrate their recent business achievements.
  • Reference their personal achievements or simply congratulate them on a recent accomplishment.

Just make sure you don’t go overboard with flattery — cajole isn’t a good look.

Point out the things you have in common with your prospect

The best way to build rapport with a prospect is to show that you’re not so different from each other at your core. You need to come across as someone who they can relate to, someone they could trust, and someone who they could take business advice (or a pitch) from.

This can be easily achieved by pointing out something the two of you share: communities both of you are members of, mutual connections, past workplace, events you’ve attended, etc.

Please, don’t think going to the same school is a certain ace up your cold emailing sleeve. It’s not. There’s virtually no way you could turn tables and avoid getting into the cold emailing friendzone after you claim that the thing that connects the two of you is a shared alma mater.

The only response a claim like that would get you is a “So what?!”

Reference a real problem your prospect might be facing

An obvious but, still, extremely effective thing to centre your cold email around so that it gets read and responded to, is mentioning a real problem your prospect might be facing.

This will show them that you are an expert and know what you’re talking about. Besides, it will also make them feel like you understand their struggle and can help them.

Important tip: Don’t just reference the problem; offer a solution (your product or service), too!

There’s nothing impossible when you approach the task with creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Just treat your prospects as humans not just as tickets and sales opportunities, and you’ll quickly see a return on your investment.

To manage your email marketing more effectively, give NetHunt CRM a try — it can provide you with an invaluable insight into how your email campaigns perform so that you can mix and match cold emailing strategies before your find the one that works for you.

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