Even companies with established reputations and Fortune 500 clients have to learn the craft of sending a good cold email—and be wary of the bad ones.
Sales engagement platform ClearSlide obviously didn’t get that memo, if its latest message is anything to go by:
I’m a big fan of ClearSlide’s sales automation tools, which is what makes this email so disappointing. Its generic nature leaves a terrible first impression on readers and damages the sender’s reputation in the process. The message is also filled with phrases that mean nothing and offer no value to me. And while many wouldn’t read past the subject line, I delve into the specifics here because, start to finish, this is a great example of how unappealing and forgettable a message can become in such a vague email.
Let’s take a deeper look:
1. The subject line is forgettable.
The subject “ClearSlide and your goals” fails to use basic tactics for subject lines, which is to appeal to people’s wants, needs, or fears about their business. “Your goals” could apply to my business, but it could just as easily go to a software developer or a coffee bean wholesaler. Such a lack of focus makes the subject line far from enticing, and any prospect, regardless of their profession, will likely glaze over this. ClearSlide has plenty of different features that they could easily turn into exciting benefits that would make their subject line pop.
2. The opening line is cryptic.
The opener makes me wonder whether ClearSlide is being intentionally cryptic or if the sender is just plain lazy. “Stay professionally top of mind” isn’t even a cliche; it’s a bunch of words flung together that collectively have no meaning. And “help you in being responsible for all key business initiatives” is also vague and confusing. Key initiatives mean different things to different roles. Mine will not be the same as the coffee bean seller, and it’s a huge turnoff when the email doesn’t make that distinction.
3. The sender didn’t research me or my business.
As far as the rest of this email goes, there’s nothing in here that tells me the problems ClearSlide solves or what benefits the service could give—to me or anyone else getting the message. The email tries, by explaining that ClearSlide helped other companies “engage with the right content at the right time.” That said, the message fails to tell us what the result of that engagement was, which makes the entire sentence pretty pointless. And how does the sender even know if I even care about content? They don’t, and it’s clear they took no time to research me or my company before sending this email.
4. The call to action wants me to do extra work.
This would be a perfectly fine CTA had the sender left out the second sentence. When you aren’t 100 percent sure who the correct person for your pitch is, go back and do more research. Asking me to supply the person feels like extra work. It’s especially discourteous when the email is so vague it’s impossible for the recipient to know who the right person would be.
5. Bonus: The included GIF is distracting and borderline unprofessional.
The animated GIF (you can only see a still here) included in this email is a huge no-no for cold email. It’s distracting, and it immediately indicates a mass-marketing email. I may have taken the time to read through and dissect this email, but that’s part of what we do at SalesFolk. Most recipients would take on look at the GIF and delete the entire message without so much as a second glance.