How To Send Reply-Worthy Cold Messages via Email or Social Media

Never send cringe-inducing messages again with this simple structure and template

Don’t you just get turned off when you get a message that feels copy-pasted? It’s one of those semi-triggering things that make some of us feel like we’re nothing more than just a number to a brand.

According to Markempa, “Empathy-based marketing is about walking in your customer’s shoes to understand their experience and how we can better help them get what they want.” Now, more than ever, empathy-based marketing is a must.

I’ve been getting flooded with LinkedIn connect requests, DMs, and emails that all have one thing in common — lack of research. I know you might hear the word “research” and think that sounds extensive, kind of like an old science project back in high school. But believe me, if you put at least three minutes into looking into who the message’s recipient is, it makes a world of difference. Also, it helps prevent embarrassing and easily avoidable mistakes.

For example, I used to handle marketing for a real estate company. One day, I received a LinkedIn InMail from a CPA specializing in accounting for realtors. Without having even clicked on my profile, he sent me a message pitching me his services assuming I was a realtor too. He was quite embarrassed when I told him I was confused about why he thought I was a realtor since my profile clearly stated I’m not.

Doing your research is always important, but it’s especially important if you’re doing cold messaging where response rates are usually low. For emails, the average cold message response rate is 1%. This means you get one response for every 100 people.

In one particular experience, the agency I was working at had a two-page script that rarely ever garnered a response. Think about it — what would you do if you got two pages worth of writing in an email? I condensed the message into one to two short paragraphs and tested subject lines, and that’s when the responses began to roll in.

So if you never want to send another cringe-worthy message again and instead send attention-worthy messages, follow the structure below.

1. Know Who Will Read Your Message & Understand Their Driving Factors

Whose attention are you trying to get? Here’s where the light research comes in. You want to understand who’s likely going to be the first (or only) person to intercept your initial message. By understanding who might open your message, you can better gauge what to say that will motivate them to respond. People should feel like they just discovered something really cool in their inbox.

If you’re reaching out to bigger brands or public figures, know that your message is likely being read by a team member. If that’s the case, team members want to look good in front of their bosses. What can you offer their boss that will make the team member feel like they’ve discovered a needle in a haystack?

2. Write a Killer Subject Line and First Sentence

If your message takes the form of an email rather than a LinkedIn InMail or Instagram DM, you’ll need to think about subject lines. Your subject line is the first thing people will see when deciding to open your message. The goal? To create urgency and inspire curiosity to explore your offer.

The first sentence in your email is also important, no matter what you use to send your message. Whether it’s through email or social, your first sentence always shows as a preview in the inbox. Lead with a friendly hello addressing the recipient by their name (if possible). Follow this with a brief summary of your offer, and then move into the body of the message.

3. Keep Your Intro Brief

Nobody knows who you are yet, and so they don’t care for your paragraph (or more) intro about who you are and that award you won. Don’t take it personally — it rarely ever is personal. Keep it simple and sum up who you are in one or two sentences. Once you’ve invited the intended recipient onto a more formal conversation, you can elaborate more on these details.

4. Get to the Point

Why should they care to keep reading? After a brief intro, we advise transitioning into the most interesting details about why you’re reaching out. This is where you want to plant the seeds of what’s possible if they were to further explore your offer. Remember, it’s not about what’s in it for you — it’s what you can do for them. Don’t write your messages from a self-serving place.

5. Assume They Say Yes & Give Clear Next Steps

Be confident and assume they’ll move forward. Give the reader clear next steps on what they should do if they want to move forward. You don’t want to promise them a bunch of amazing things and then have them feel confused on how they can proceed. Don’t make your potential customers do all the work. The goal is to make the process seamless for them. The next steps can be anything from just replying to the email or scheduling a call from a Calendly link included in the initial message. Whatever the next steps look like for you, be clear about them and keep them simple.

6. Leave Pleasantries Last

It feels more genuine that way. Rather than leading with, “I hope you’re having a great week” blah blah blah, leave this kind of sentence for a nice and warm wrap-up of the message. Value people’s time — we’re all busy, and we all want to get to the point as quickly as possible, but we still want to be treated with human warmth.

Putting It All Together

Below is a sample message created for a pretend scenario where an agency owner is reaching out to someone interesting to host on their company’s podcast.

Hi John!I’d like to invite you to be a guest on my top-rated podcast, Jane Doe Podcast, with approximately over 500K listeners. My name is Jane Doe and I am the founder of Jane Doe Agency. We’ve worked on campaigns for notable brands such as Disney, Google, & Spotify, just to name a few.We noticed you have some amazing insights regarding the impact of social media on mental health. We’d love to have you on the show to share about this topic. If you’re interested, please let us know by next week to lock in your spot for one of this season’s three remaining episodes. You can schedule a meeting via the Calendly link here when you’re ready. Your content is incredible, we’re major fans of it, so we’re hoping we can help you spread your message! We hope you’re having an amazing start to your week and look forward to hearing from you.Any questions, just reply to this message, and we’re happy to answer them.Looking forward,
Jane Doe

Did you see how we put all the steps together here? We lead with a hook, give some details on who we are, and go back into the offer. Also, note how we created urgency by giving the reader an expiration date to the offer.

So, to recap, here are all six steps in a bullet-pointed list. Feel free to copy and paste this into a note for reference.

  1. Know Who Will Read Your Message & Understand Their Driving Factors
  2. Write a Killer Subject Line or First Sentence
  3. Keep Your Intro Brief
  4. Get to the Point
  5. Assume They Say Yes & Give Clear Next Steps
  6. Leave Pleasantries Last

Next time you do your cold messaging, you can refer to these steps as a template for your message structure. Don’t forget to have a professional email signature with links to your website and social accounts so the reader can learn more about you too.

Now get out there and build some relationships!

Head of content at VEED and social strategist helping people build memorable content experiences online. Find me

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