My cold emails are being opened but no responses. What should I do?

It’s a great sign that your emails are being opened. It means your subject lines work! But what happens next that breaks off the initial interest?

Wrong or too broad target?

Something triggered my attention in your description: “I am attempting customer interviews with potential clients to see if there is any merit to the problem we are solving.” In fact, your target companies need to have some merit to the problem to agree to discuss it further. And this is something you must be more-or-less sure about before you start contacting somebody. 
If you are on the stage of validating the problem and the solution you have, it’s better to start conducting interviews with “warm” contacts from your network: friends, colleagues, partners, people you know. It’s more likely they agree to talk to you. Just find people related to the problem you’re solving. If there’s nobody there interested in that problem/solution directly — ask for introductions or referrals. 
Quite often these “warm” interviews turn into deals. But more important — they give you a clear idea what kind of companies want to buy from you. Use it for building well-targeted contact lists, send out cold emails and start selling, not just interviewing.

Email content

If you’re sure your target is fine, then something is wrong with the email itself.
Try to compare the subject line with the content inside. Maybe the subject promises too much and then the email doesn’t match the promise. Here are some tips to keep your email content as great as its subject line:
1. Make it easy to read and understand

  • break sentences into shorter ones
  • use simple words: utilize → use, initiate → begin, terminate → end, transmit → send
  • avoid passive voice while writing
  • focus on your main idea and don’t let it be lost in the text
  • don’t put all cards on the table: leave information for follow-ups

2. Provide value

  • use facts you know about your potential clients
  • express your appreciation
  • ask more: find out what are the problems, then tell how you can help
  • if possible, find and use common friends/partners/acquaintances to refer to
  • be honest
  • don’t try to sell — offer mutual benefits
  • avoid the salesy and spammy words

3. Call-to-Action

  • suggest next step: ask for a reply, offer a call etc.
  • don’t beat around the bush here: the clearer you are about your expectations, the subtler you sound: “Let’s have a 5 min call tomorrow afternoon! Will you have time?”

For more details read how to write a powerful email here.

Follow up

People rarely answer the first email. Send organic updates, something you forgot to mention the first time, polite reminders to increase your chances for success. Check out more ideas how to follow up but avoid being annoying here.
We follow these tips when conduct cold emailing campaigns with our clients and they prove to bring good response rate (you can check out our cases and response rates here). So I truly hope they’ll work for you too.

This is a Quora answer by our Content Specialist — Dasha Oliinyk

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I’m a Founder & CEO of a Polish B2B sales startup RightHello. We help businesses to boost and scale up their B2B sales by delivering contacts to decision makers of companies they want to reach, then outreach each of them with custom pitch via email and social media.