Cold emails have always been an integral part of any successful lead generation strategy. Whenever lead generation is discussed, cold emails are always brought up. Despite their popularity as a lead generation tool, cold emails are far from perfect.
Over the years, the open rates of cold emails and their overall effectiveness have decreased significantly, especially for B2B buyers. When cold emails became mainstream, they were the best thing that technology had to offer. Compared to something like cold calls, cold emails were much more time-efficient and provide an excellent return on marketing investment.
You also don’t need a large sales team with many sales reps cold calling people all day. You just need a good copywriter to write you the perfect sales pitch, then you can send it to thousands of people with the click of a button. Nowadays though, things have changed. Social networks are here and the old sales techniques have are now obsolete.
Email is no longer “the” digital marketing medium as it once was. With the rise of social networks, there are better -and warmer- alternatives to cold emails. Since LinkedIn is considered a professional network, LinkedIn marketing keeps getting more popular. It's hard to find a successful social selling strategy by a professional brand that doesn't include it.
Compared to cold emails, social selling tools in general and LinkedIn messages, in particular, have much better stats. The acceptance rate of LinkedIn connection requests and the response rate of LinkedIn messages are much higher than the open rates of cold emails.
The following are the four main reasons why.
People HATE Cold Emails
Nobody likes getting messages from complete strangers, especially if they’re trying to sell them something. When you’re using cold emails, this is the type of impression you leave on your clients: we hate you! Which is -needless to say- a bad start.
IF they notice your email -which is less likely- and remember who you are -even less likely, they’ll just hate you for it. You’re one of the cold emails that are spamming their inboxes every day with different types of things they don’t want to know about. And if they want to know about them, it’s not this way.
The result of perceiving cold emails this way is that they have a very low open rate. A staggering 86% of cold emails aren’t even opened. And we’re not even talking about generating a lead or leaving a good impression. We’re talking about emails that aren’t even read, to begin with.
People don’t want to know what these messages are saying, so they’ll just delete them as soon as they get to their inboxes. If you’re a customer-driven business and want to approach your leads in a way they like, you need to avoid cold emails as much as possible.
On the other hand, LinkedIn users love to connect with new people/businesses. LinkedIn messages have an excellent open rate of 45%, and that’s for SPONSORED LinkedIn InMail messages. When you send messages to your target audience on LinkedIn, they're three times as likely to be opened.
They’re Less Likely to End Up in the Spam Folder
Since commercial emails in general and cold emails, in particular, are generally perceived as spam, no wonder plenty of them end up in the spam folder. According to a recent study, 20% of commercial emails end up in the junk folder or are blocked entirely.
Email providers want to provide their users with the best possible experience. If these emails are perceived as spam, there is no wonder they’re blocked that often. In fact, even when you get explicit permission to email a person, there is a good chance they’ll forget about it and report your emails as spam.
Asides from people not remembering opting in to receive emails from you, there is a ton of technical reasons for why this could happen. The result is an overly complicated process that makes one in five emails not seen at all, let alone read.
The cold messaging people on LinkedIn is way more simple. You don’t need people’s consent to message them and unless you go crazy with it, your messages won’t end up being marked as spam. With the right LinkedIn automation tool, you can achieve incredible results with minimal effort.
Linkedin Messages are More Targeted
A major advantage that LinkedIn messages have over the traditional cold emails is that they often reach the right people. When you’re sending out cold emails -especially if you’re a B2B company, they probably end up in the inboxes of the wrong people.
Even if you managed to send your email to someone in the right company, they might not be the decision maker. An email that targets high-level managers is useless when it ends up in the inbox of junior employees who can't make the purchasing decisions you're after.
Achieving this level of targeting is difficult with cold emails. Getting such a specific emails list requires an insane amount of work to obtain legitimately. The alternative would be buying an email, which is unreliable, illegal and can get you in all kinds of trouble.
In the case of LinkedIn messages, you know EXACTLY who you’re talking to. Information such as their job title and the company they work isn’t exactly being subtle on their profile. When you send the right message to the right people, it has a higher chance of getting read and most importantly, generating leads. With the right automation software, you can automate discovering new sales opportunities on LinkedIn without being spammy.
Messages Get More Attention than Emails
People receive LOTS of emails every day. Most of this email barrage is spam or people trying to sell them things they don’t want to buy. If people open every email they receive, they won’t have time to do anything else.
That’s why a good chunk of “cold emails” *cough* SPAM *cough* ends up deleted without being read. It’s noise that people don’t want to hear. And it has nothing to do with your business in particular. Most people just don’t open emails from people/businesses they don’t know. It’s that simple.
While this is the case with cold emails, LinkedIn messages are perceived differently. People don’t receive as many of them and when they do, it’s probably important. It could be a valuable new connection, a new job or some other awesome opportunity. So yeah, that helps them have a higher open rate than their notorious counterparts.
They Aren’t Perceived as a Security Risk
It’s not easy to mention computer viruses that spread through email. It’s easier to mention the ones that DON’T, since almost all types of computer viruses/malware spread through emails. That’s something that most people know and fear.
While it’s true that it’s almost impossible to get a virus/malware your computer just by opening an email, most people don’t know this. All they know is that emails from strangers are a potential security risk that they better avoid. On one side, they have their valuable data and sensitive information. On the other side, they have another stupid email that’s trying to sell them something. Not really a difficult choice.
That’s another solid reason for your potential customers NOT to open your cold emails. Since LinkedIn messages aren’t associated with such threats, they’re more likely to be opened. As a result, LinkedIn lead generation is relatively easy.
Linkedin Messages are More Personal
Cold emails are great for scaring off new leads. They're creepy and won't help you in building relationships with the right prospects. It’s difficult to authenticate these emails or even know if the people emailing you are who they claim to be. There is no “face” behind cold emails.
LinkedIn messages are the complete opposite. come from a LinkedIn profile that people can view. They can see that they’re talking to a real, business/individual who connects and interacts with other people. Personalized invitations and messages on the LinkedIn network are much better for relationship building than cold emails.
Humanizing this digital interaction makes it much less intimidating and easier to trust. With a quick LinkedIn search, your target audience can find your LinkedIn account, check mutual connections, and know everything about your business. This includes everything from your email address to your physical address and phone number.
That's the power that social media and social selling bring to the existing set of digital marketing tools.
If you want to create a meaningful dialogue with your potential clients and approach them in a decent and conversational way, LinkedIn messaging is the way to go. Using the right LinkedIn tools and best practices recommended by industry experts will help you achieve better sales results compared to traditional sales methods.