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Warm Email Prospecting: How to Make More Sales by Writing to an Audience of One

Creating a sense of familiarity goes a long way in email outreach, and warm emailing helps you do that. Once you understand how warm email prospecting works, you’ll be able to generate a steady stream of leads for your business, book more sales calls, and close more deals.

The best sales emails sound like they came from a trusted friend.

That requires the sender to understand who their recipient is and what they want. Otherwise, you’re just another stranger clogging their inbox.

This article explores warm email prospecting, its benefits, and how to craft exceptional warm emails for the best results.

Let’s take it from the top…

What is email prospecting?

Email prospecting is a form of outreach carried out by sales teams and involves sending emails to prospective customers, encouraging them to take a desired action. The goal is to gain the prospect’s interest and response, leading to a possible sales call or meeting appointment.

Your sales team would use these emails to introduce your business to prospects and highlight how your product or service might benefit them. Sales team members use information gathered through initial prospecting research to convince potential customers that meeting with them would be in their best interests.

Teams can employ different prospecting techniques, including cold emails and warm emails. Either way, the idea is to connect via email, leading to a conversation, conversion, and lasting brand-customer relationship.

What is a warm email?

Warm emailing is a targeted, personalized outreach strategy in which each email is handcrafted and written for one person only—as first defined by veteran copywriter and business coach Ed Gandia. Through extensive research, the sender positions themselves as a knowledgeable professional who can solve the recipient’s specific problems.

Just like warm calling, warm emailing efforts might also include a pre-contact touch—such as a targeted ad campaign or an intro email from a mutual contact—to get the recipient more amenable to opening and responding to your message.

Because these emails feel so much more relevant than the average cold email, they can dramatically impact response rates, booked sales calls, and closed deals.

Before we show you what the ideal warm email should look like, here are a few general concepts you should keep in mind to leverage this strategy successfully.

The benefits of email prospecting

Perhaps you’re unsure whether prospecting via email is the best approach for your sales process. Granted, phone calls are quicker and typically offer you an immediate response. However, emails can be incredibly successful for prospect outreach and provide the following benefits:

  • Forecast potential revenue growth: Email prospecting offers a far more reliable channel for consistent lead generation and revenue growth.
  • Target and control your messaging: With ultimate control over who you email and the message you send, email prospecting allows for highly focused targeting.
  • Measure and optimize your emails: Measuring and tracking email performance is easy, giving you insights you can use to adjust and optimize campaigns constantly.
  • Make contact in a less intrusive way: Sending an email vs. a phone call or text message is less invasive and gives the recipient the opportunity to respond in their own time.
  • Add a personal touch: Creating individual prospecting emails allows you to make each message highly personal, delivering an email relevant to your prospect’s particular needs.
  • Enjoy a better ROI: It’s a cost-effective form of outreach that has the potential to reap high returns.

How to craft warm email messages your prospects will open

An effective warm email contains specific elements. Incorporating these elements into your emails will help you secure higher response rates.

1. Understand your email’s purpose

Many sales reps never see success from their email prospecting efforts because they try and do too much in each message. When sending warm emails, you have one purpose and one purpose only: to start a conversation, preferably on the phone, with your prospect. That’s it.

In that sense, warm emails are no different than cold emails: You’re not trying to make a sale. You’re not trying to convince the recipient to start their free trial. You’re not even trying to prove to them that your company’s offerings are better than the competition. You’re simply trying to book a phone call or schedule a meeting with them.

When you understand this, everything becomes much easier.

2. Know who you’re trying to reach

Now that you understand the purpose of your email, it’s time to do research. You need to “know” the person you’ll be contacting: Which company they work for, the position they hold, the problems they have that your company’s product can solve, etc. You can find many of these details via LinkedIn.

Related: 6 tips for writing the perfect LinkedIn cold outreach message

The more you know about your prospects individually before contacting them, the better. Research allows your messages to sound highly relevant and personalized. It’s how you turn traditional cold emails into a strategic warm email prospecting system.

While researching, you’ll also want to look for what Ed Gandia calls a “meaningful connection.” (We’ll cover this in more detail later.)

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3. Keep an eye on email length

Brevity is essential when conducting warm email prospecting. In general, try to keep your warm emails short and sweet—around the 125-word mark, give or take.

Remember, your prospect didn’t ask you to contact them. They’re probably busy, and if they open up your message and see a giant wall of text, they’ll delete it without reading anything. 125 words should be enough to state the value your company brings to the table, establish some credibility, and make an ask to connect on the phone.

4. Get on your contacts’ radars

As we mentioned earlier, a pre-contact touch makes your recipients more familiar with you and more willing to open your initial email. That can take several forms:

  • Use your recipients’ email addresses to create a custom ad audience on Facebook or LinkedIn, and run an ad for your company targeting all the people you plan on contacting the following week.
  • Send connection requests to your recipients on LinkedIn before emailing them. Simply viewing their profiles without making a connection request could get them curious about who you are so that they look at your profile.
  • Ask a mutual connection to send out an introduction email.
  • If your company uses direct mail assets such as postcards or catalogs, make sure to send something to your upcoming recipients before you reach out to them personally.

5. Establish a meaningful connection

Each of your emails should start with a meaningful connection—something relatable that ties you to the prospect. For example, perhaps you discovered via LinkedIn research that your prospect is frustrated by the HR software her company is currently using. Since you sell HR software, you’ve just uncovered a meaningful connection that directly bridges the gap between what you have to offer and your prospect’s pain point.

Not every meaningful connection needs to be so direct, though. For instance, maybe you discover that your prospect’s company just received a new round of funding. You could email your prospect, congratulate them, and tastefully mention that they could spend a portion of their new funds on your company’s products.

A meaningful connection can even be something unrelated to business. As a freelance copywriter, it’s my job to sell my writing services. I once secured a long-standing client due to a mutual love of cheese. That’s right, cheese.

After researching the company in question, I discovered that the marketing director was a bit of a cheese connoisseur. I happen to be, as well. In fact, my wife buys me a wheel of cheese for Christmas every year. It’s a quirky tradition that I love, and I decided to share the anecdote with my prospect in my warm email. It worked, we hit it off, and I wrote content for that client for a long time.

A meaningful connection is simply a bridge that connects you to your prospect. It can be business-related or completely personal, but whatever it is, your prospect must find it relatable.

6. Craft an engaging subject line

An eye-catching subject line can be the difference between a prospect opening your email and ignoring it altogether. One of the most successful approaches reported by marketers is to personalize the subject line, including your recipient’s first name.

For the best results, try to keep your subject line below 50 characters and steer clear of using overly “salesy” language that could be mistaken for spam, like “Buy this now!” or “Hurry before this limited offer expires!”

Sales teams can utilize free, AI-powered subject line testing software to see the potential open rates of their emails.

7. Include your value statement

Your value statement is all about explaining what your company does, who your company creates products for, and why your products are better than the competition’s.

It can be easy to lay it on too thick here. Shouldn’t your prospect know from the very beginning about each of the 16 features that your product has, and all 10 reasons why it’s a better option than competitors A, B, and C? Definitely not.

You want to keep this section brief—Just a sentence or two that quickly and succinctly explains what you’re offering and why it’s worth your prospect’s consideration. Remember, you aren’t trying to actually sell anything at this point. You’re just trying to share enough information to pique their interest and schedule a phone call.

8. Build trust through credibility

Next, you must include what Ed calls a “credibility-building URL.” This title is slightly misleading. You don’t necessarily need a link, but you need to share some credibility boosters. A link is just the easiest way to do it in most circumstances.

What kinds of things build credibility? It depends on what you’re selling, but you can never go wrong with customer testimonials or case studies. If your company has a section on its website that contains these materials, share it. (At Nutshell, we like to share our #madprops tweet collection to give prospects a bunch of bite-sized testimonials to browse through.)

When sharing case studies, share the stories that will be most relatable to your prospect. For example, if your prospect works in the health care industry, send them case studies featuring your other customers in that field.

By adding a credibility element to your warm email prospecting efforts, you’ll convince your prospects that a phone call with you is worth their time.

9. Add a clear call to action

Finally, you need to end your warm email with a strong call to action (CTA). Fortunately, this step is quite simple. You don’t need to concoct some elaborate CTA or rack your brain trying to come up with the most enticing phrase.

Instead, keep it simple and end your warm email with an invitation to connect. This is best done in the form of a question. For example, “Does it make sense to connect on this?” or “Would you be interested in scheduling a 15-minute call soon?”

I always recommend ending your email with a question. Why? Because, as humans, we’ve been trained our entire lives to answer the questions asked of us. Ending your message with a quick query is a small psychological trick to boost your response rate.

10. Time your email prospecting well

A well-timed email will likely see more opens and responses, and understanding your audience is the first step to timing your email prospecting well.

Your email service provider should provide basic email tracking tools that help you determine what days of the week and times of the day prospects most interacted with your emails.

Use this information to adjust your strategy and send emails at times you think will offer the highest open and response rates.

11. Remember to follow up

One of the primary reasons for a failed email prospecting campaign is that sales team members often fail to follow up on the emails they’ve sent. The reality is that follow-up emails often receive a higher response rate than the initial warm email.

Make sure you have a structured follow-up strategy in place to send subsequent emails to your prospects after the first email. While you’ll want to avoid harassing your prospect, it’s also important not to give up and to persevere for as long as possible.

12. Optimize using A/B testing

Industry benchmarks are a great way to gauge your email campaign’s performance. However, you can take things a step further by using A/B testing to optimize your email outreach for your specific target audience.

To test and enhance your emails, create two versions where you change only one element, such as your CTA button placement or the email subject line. Select two small portions of your target audience segment to receive each email version, and use your email tracking metrics to determine which of the two performs better.

Then, send the most successful email variant to the remaining prospects on your email list to ensure optimal results. Continual testing in this way will offer deeper insight into what works and what doesn’t, helping you improve your prospecting emails and response rate over time.

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The perfect warm email prospecting template example

Warm email prospecting is an excellent strategy for sales reps because it allows personal connections with prospects while remaining scalable.

The key to making your warm email prospecting efforts scalable is to build a winning email template—a customizable outline that does 80% of the work for you so that you can send more emails faster. Here’s a good warm email example to get you started:

Dear [NAME],

I recently read in the Sacramento Bee about BBM’s incredible growth—from 0 to 500 employees in just two years. That’s an amazing accomplishment. Congrats!

I’m writing because I may be able to help you better manage all of your new workers. At HR Elite, we create award-winning software that allows HR managers like yourself to better onboard, track, and reward their employees with our innovative suite of HR tools.

Our product is consistently rated as a top performer on both Capterra[LINK] and G2 Crowd[LINK], and we’ve served thousands of happy customers over the past five years. You can read a few in-depth customer stories here:

[LINK TO CASE STUDIES PAGE]

Would you be interested in scheduling a 15-minute call this week to learn more about how our software can help?

Thanks,

[YOUR NAME]

As you can see, this warm email template example has each of the four essential elements we discussed. It can also be easily tweaked for each individual prospect.

Related: 16 B2B Cold Email Templates Experts Swear By

Make warm email prospecting part of your sales process

Warm email prospecting is a fantastic tool every sales rep should use. I encourage you to take what I’ve shared in this article and test it out “in the wild.” See if it works as well for you as it has for me and thousands of other sales professionals.

Remember, it all comes down to the four-part structure. Start with a meaningful connection, then state your value proposition, include a credibility builder, and end with a compelling CTA in the form of a question. It doesn’t sound too hard, right?

Take your email prospecting to the next level with Nutshell Campaigns, providing first-class email marketing tools and templates linked to your CRM. Manage, nurture, and communicate with your prospects directly from Nutshell by syncing your business email. 

Speak to our team to learn more about Nutshell Campaigns and how we can help you elevate your email prospecting efforts.

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