I see opportunity everywhere. It comes in the form of strategic partnerships, direct business for my creative digital marketing agency, helping others, new business ventures and collaborations, receiving referrals, simply sharing my story, connecting and networking. More often than not, the opportunity is just an email away.
That’s why I cold email everyone.
For instance, I recently had the pleasure to speak with one of my favorite rappers. The opportunity to chat with him came about from a cold email. It was simple, I guessed his email address (not too hard when finding his website and seeing the format through the contact form), confirmed it with Rapportive, used my personal story as the hook (I’ll show you an example below), and was very direct and concise with what I wanted to accomplish within my email (just a five-minute chat).
Here’s the actual email I used to contact Vin Diesel last night. Although, as a disclaimer, I haven’t heard back from him (yet).
Subject: How My Life As An Entrepreneur Shaped My Time In Prison
Ten years ago, I made one of the biggest mistakes in my life, and got into a fight in a Las Vegas nightclub. It eventually landed me in state prison for two to five years.
As a big mental note: prison totally sucks (just ask Piper Kerman) -- I’d recommend not going if you have the chance (lol).
However, through my experience I have been able to show the world how my experience as an entrepreneur helped me survive and thrive while in prison (I write about my journey and experiences weekly as a contributor for Entrepreneur, and on my personal blog).
My ultimate goal is to help shine light on how other entrepreneurs can use their different entrepreneurial skills to overcome extravagant obstacles, and ultimately accomplish your dreams.
There are few people who have the experience to show the parallels in building startups and going to prison, but I’m here to bridge the gap for everyone. You’re welcome :)
I love and respect your business acumen + acting skills.
Any chance you'd be willing to chat with me for 5 minutes? I'd love to get some advice and share my story.
All my best,
Resilient Entrepreneur & Digital Geek
International CSS Web Design Awards Nominee
Contributing Author: Entrepreneur Magazine
Published Author: Hacking the Valley
(p) 949-233-0205 (e) email@example.com (w) http://andrewmedal.com
My rate is about one to four right now, which is pretty good in my opinion, seeing as how most of these people are high profile, busy and have never heard of me.
If you already practice this approach, or reading this is giving you inspiration to give it a shot, I have some tools I recommend using:
Rapportive. This tool is used to show you information about your contacts. If you have a person’s email address, and it is used in their LinkedIn profile (more often than not, if it’s their primary address), their LinkedIn profile will show up on a right sidebar. This tool is key to making sure you have the right address.
Bananatag. This tool is used to show you who has opened your emails. This tool helps you understand your open rate, and helps you fine tweak your message.
Google Drive. Use spreadsheets to track your work.
The process I follow is simple.
First, you’ll need the above tools.
2. The objective
After getting the tools in place, you need to determine what your overall objective is. Do you want new business, do you want to network, do you want to share your story, etc. Figure out the reason for connecting with people and write it down.
3. Target list
I typically create a list of people I’d be interested in speaking with, depending on what I want to accomplish. For instance, I’m in the process of rolling out a new web platform for CrossFit athletes, and have been looking for the right distribution partners. I created a list of my ideal partners.
4. Email message
Once you determine the reason for your outreach and figure out the right target list, it’s time to create your email message. Sometimes I test out different messages to see which yields a higher open rate. Whatever the case, make it engaging, keep it short and be respectful. Make sure to include one sentence as to what you want to accomplish. This is key.
My example above makes it very simple and clear: "Any chance you'd be willing to chat with me for five minutes?" The five-minute chat was my goal.
5. Guess emails
This is where you’ll need to put on your creativity hat. Explore around that person’s social media profiles or websites. Try to find the format they use for their website through contact forms (for example, if the format for contact is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my target’s name is Andrew, I would try email@example.com).
You’ll compose a new message and guess different variations of their potential email. The cool thing is that when you guess right, their LinkedIn profile will show up in the right sidebar thanks to Rapportive.
6. Track progress
Using Banantag, you’ll be able to see how often your target list is opening emails. Use this data to tweak your message, optimize and try again with new targets.
Cold emailing has afforded me the most random, awesome opportuntities in my career and life. Cold emailing helped me get my first dream job at age 23, my second job at 25, and ultimately helped me secure founding status for a now very large company. I’ve spoken and met with the most random celebrities and business people. I’ve earned actual business for my company. Cold emailing actually afforded me the opportunity to contribute to Entrepreneur.
I incessantly cold email, and am pleasantly surprised at how effective it is. I just wonder why more people don’t do it as frequently? I’d love to hear stories if you have them in the comments section below.