Lead generation isn’t fun, but it must be part of a Freight Agent’s daily routine. If you want to diversify your book of business, cold emails can be one way to start the conversation with prospects. Keep reading to discover our best cold email tips and an unconventional – but effective – template you probably haven’t seen before.
What is a Cold Email?
A cold email is your initial contact with a potential customer. Often agents try to close the sale in their first cold email, but that is not wise. Think of it as a way to capture a shipper’s attention, introduce yourself, and offer them a solution to a problem they may have.
Shippers are busy. Some are more likely to read an email at their convenience rather than answer a cold call at an inconvenient time. However, most shippers actually prefer the person-to-person contact of a cold call. So, it is best to include both in your strategy.
How to Get Your Email Opened
Now that the decision has been made to write a cold email, you might not think your subject line is very important. But, your subject line is critical! It doesn’t matter how much time you spend writing your email if it isn’t opened.
A good subject line needs to be compelling, relevant, or provide a clear benefit so the prospect will open it. Keep the following best practices in mind.
- Keep it short. The best subject lines are 40-50 characters or about 7-9 words.
- Personalize it. Try using the shipper’s name, commodity or specific needs. Example: Chris, Guaranteed Bulk Transport Available from Atlanta to Chicago.
- Use numbers. Provide numerical details to make the headline more intriguing. Example: [Client] saved 25% on shipments in just 2 months!
- Use emotional words. Emotion drives action. Search “emotional words for email subject lines” and you’ll find a list of ideas such as: helpful, value, satisfy, quality, guaranteed, etc.
- Make it urgent. Use words like now, today, right now, etc.
- Ask a question. Build curiosity by framing your subject as a question. Example: Stressful problem lanes? Let me tackle them right now!
- Use how. Turn your subject into a “how to.” Example: How to save money on your next shipment.
While you shouldn’t use every strategy in one headline, experiment to find what is most effective for you.
How to Write a Cold Email That Stands Out
After you’ve captured the shipper’s attention and they’ve opened your email, your content needs to stand out. How? Use these tips.
As with the best cold call script, you must do your research. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile and website. Know their first name, what commodity they ship, and potential problems they might have that you could solve. You can even reference something they recently said on social media.
Keep it conversational.
Write like you are having a conversation with your prospect. Don’t worry about being formal. Speak in first person as if you are actually talking to them. If you are being human, you will stand out.
Focus on one main idea.
Email marketers focus on the rule of one. Write as if you are speaking to one person about one idea with one call to action. Yes, there is a lot you want to say, but make sure you focus on one big idea. This should be the value you provide for them. This is what makes you unique.
Keep it short.
Your prospect is going to want to see exactly what the email is about without having to read every word. They do not want to see huge paragraphs or a long email. Otherwise, they’ll likely close out because they might not have the time to keep reading. So, use short sentences and short paragraphs.
Make it easy to read.
Don’t write a corporate style email. Yes, be grammatically correct, but you don’t need to be concerned about traditional paragraph structure. In fact, a paragraph can even be one sentence long. Other ways to make it easy to read is using bold text, bullet points, or numbered lists.
End with a clear call to action.
What do you want them to do after reading your email? You could let them know you’ll be calling later this week, request they add you to their load list email, or ask them to reply back with “tell me more.”
If you are looking for a template you can use to just copy and paste, please reconsider. We guarantee a formal, generic, impersonal email is not effective. Put in the work! One of our agents recently shared a response he received after sending a standard email using a professional template.
“I get 100 of these a day. It’s just a canned speech about your brokerage. I could care less about the brokerage. You’re my agent. What are you going to do for me? Why should I choose you over the other 150 that called me this week? Just be real. Be honest.”
The agent responded back authentically.
“Hey look, help a brother out. I have experience and work for a great company. I’d love to have the opportunity to show you what I can do. I’m getting back in the industry, I have two kids and I need the business. I will work my tail off for you. I’m trying to get going and I need someone to give me a break.”
Surprisingly, it worked. This is because people want to work with real people. Make sure to show how you are different and the value you will provide. Try a template like this.
Hello [prospect name]! I am [your name] and I would love to move your freight. Let me tell you why I’m different.
[Insert a numbered or bulleted list with specifics of how you’ll be different or ways you can provide value such as: I will answer the phone 24/7, I will treat your freight as if I owned it, etc.]
I know your product is not sitting in a warehouse unmoved, and I know you get lots of calls from agents wanting to move it. But I also know you probably have difficult lanes you could use help with. Let me work those lanes for you. Let me do it once to show you what I can do. I’ll take your difficult lanes and prove myself.
[Insert call to action such as: I’ll follow up with a phone call later this week.]
Use this template to get started, but make it your own.
What to Do After Sending Your Email
Most Freight Agents fail to follow up after making cold calls and sending cold emails. Create a system so you have an automated alert to send follow up emails to shippers who do not respond. It is helpful to have at least two follow up email templates drafted so you can easily copy, paste, and personalize your note.
Another good idea is to reach out by phone. Email and phone work well together. Sometimes shippers may block email addresses if they think your email is spam, so if you send a follow up email and still do not hear back, make sure to call.
Lastly, be prepared for rejection. Stay motivated and keep going!
Prospecting takes time and is often stressful, but that isn’t a reason not to do it. If you want to target the most profitable industries, you’ll need to fill your sales pipeline by using a good lead generation strategy that includes a variety of methods. Cold emails can be one way to start an initial conversation with a shipper. Use the tips above to craft a compelling subject line and write a short, personalized, easy to read email that stands out and opens the door.
Ready to feel supported and given the tools you need to succeed? If you have a book of business, become an Independent Freight Agent for Kopf. With 24/7 office support and generous commission splits, you’ll have the tools you need to succeed.