The Life-Changing Tools That Save Me HOURS
So I had something mind-boggling happen to me literally the day before posting this blog. This mind-boggling discovery is what led to this unexpected blog to be written and posted in the first place.
If you follow my Instagram account, then you’ll probably notice I post a LOT of memes about how much I hate cold emailing, but I also post those memes because I know I’m not the only one.
In my experience, cold emailing is the least fun aspect of running a business. And up until yesterday, it was a chore that I absolutely dreaded and often put off (even though I knew I shouldn’t). I found it (weirdly) very emotionally exhausting.
Maybe it’s actually not that weird now that I think about it, since cold emailing literally stepping out of your comfort zone, reaching out to strangers, and trying to build a connection that ultimately leads to monetary gains.
It’s Imposter Syndrome Playground
Problem is, Cold-emailing is CRITICAL for service-based businesses like mine, but the frustration of trying to devote HOURS and HOURS to write even a small-ish handful of cold emails was a crazy hurdle for me (especially while taking care of my 1-year-old and juggling client work).
But that’s changed as of yesterday, and in a crazy huge way. In less than 2 hours, I wrote as many (personalized) cold emails that would’ve taken me 4 to 5.
And I didn’t hate every minute of it either.
I wanted to write this post because in all of my internet, FB group, and YouTube browsing… I’ve never heard of the tools I’m about to share mentioned by anyone else. I figure I’m not the only one, and this is too important and helpful not to discuss as loudly as I can.
I’ll also share a quick cold emailing tutorial on my new way of sending personalized cold emails quicker and easier than ever before.
(as well as making it way EASIER to error-proof your emails too)
And speaking of super helpful: here’s my All-In-One Blog Writing Template you can download FOR FREE, so grab a copy if you’re looking to up your business blog without stressing yourself out)
Alright, let’s get started! There’s not much time left before the ball drops on 2020, and I KNOW you guys will want this info to start off your first batch of 2021 emails!
My Favorite Tools For Cold Email In 2021
I’m going to go over the apps, scripts, and extensions that are now integral to my cold emailing strategy in 2021. They’re all completely free, and mind-numbingly easy to install and use.
How To Find Email Addresses: Apps & Extensions
I’m not going to go in-depth about all of the ways to look up someone’s email address, but I’ll give you a brief list of the FREE apps and extensions that I use that do a great job about 80% of the time.
All of these apps, but for LimeLeads (as far as I know), are all Chrome Extensions/Plugins, which makes them really awesome when you use LinkedIn for building your cold email list.
FYI: all of these tools have a limit on how many emails you can lookup per month (without paying for a subscription)- and some will find emails where others won’t. I use all of these extensions together, so I can usually get through my monthly cold emailing lists with little issue. I’ve yet to need to pay for ANY of these.
- LimeLeads (I just started using LimeLeads a couple of days ago, so if I like it maybe I’ll do a follow-up to let you know. However, I’ve heard their name come up from several reputable sources, so I’m sure they’re great)
How To Send Cold Emails Easily
So, maybe I’m dumb, and you guys already know about the tools/process I’m about to walk you through… but being that I’ve LITERALLY heard NO ONE talk about this I really was mind-blown. And the fact that it was so easy once I finally just figured out WHAT to Google.
Google Sheets Add-On: Autocrat
So I use Google Sheets to organize and store my list of cold email leads, and while I was staring bitterly at the list yesterday, I remembered ‘Mail Merge’ from my long-ago days working in Microsoft Word.
Even though we all write carefully crafted templates, I noticed that it really doesn’t eliminate that much effort (or error) when it comes to inserting all of the personalization aspects- especially after the 12 (or 50th) email that day:
Deep down I knew there had to be a better way, and so even though I thought it was a long-shot, I decided to look into whether Google offered a “mail merge” feature.
Lo and behold, I learned about the Autocrat Add-on (script) through a video tutorial which I will link below.
That was just the beginning, but testing it out for the first time started getting my mind racing with excitement, and soon I figured out that not only could I automatically import first names and company names into my cold emailing template, I could also insert personalized suggestions and compliments, too!
How Does This Save Time?
Aside from the obvious, while all of these things still required me to research and compose the personalized text: now I type out all of my personalization text into Google Sheet cells, proofread them all (without having to scroll between a bunch of different documents), and I don’t even have to worry about copy and pasting them correctly into their designated spots in the template.
To Download Autocrat: just click on the “Add-Ons” menu, select “Get New Add-ons” and search for Autocrat (it’ll have insanely high reviews so it’ll be easy to find).
After that… just watch this tutorial (the one I mentioned earlier) that walks you through exactly how to use the Autocrat Add-On.
Google Chrome Extension: CloudHQ
Now spurred with the hope that further optimization and efficiency was possible without sacrificing quality, there was another part to the cold emailing puzzle that I wanted to solve.
Basically, my goal was to avoid as much copy and pasting as possible and here’s why:
- Even though copy and pasting IS easier than entering text manually, that still eats up a LOT of time (especially when you have to go back and forth between multiple documents
- More importantly, even copy and pasting can lead to silly errors after you’ve been neck-deep in spreadsheets and templates. Automatic importing practically eliminates data continuity errors (as long as you focus on making sure your Google Sheets doc is entered correctly)
So, after a bit more research, I came across a Chrome Extension called “CloudHQ” (I’ve also heard the can help with finding cold email addresses, but I haven’t tried it so I don’t have any idea how it works)
What CloudHQ does is really awesome. After installing it, a little button on the top of your Google DOCS menu will appear saying “Open In Gmail”. When you click that button, Google automatically imports your Google Doc text into EMAIL BODY TEXT.
That’s right, Google doesn’t ATTACH your doc TO an email…
It turns the text INTO an actual email that maintains all of your formatting.
THAT was big.
That meant all I had to do was open up my freshly merged Google Doc, click that little button at the top of my ribbon, and BAM, my cold email opened up in an email draft!
Gmail: Scheduled Send
The (currently) last tool I use to send cold emails is: Gmail’s “Schedule Send” option.
I learned about this from another blogger who wrote this guest post on the Writing Revolt website (run by the amazing Jorden Makelle). If you want to learn more about sending Cold Emails in-depth, I strongly recommend her Killer Cold Emailing Course (not sponsored- I wish).
Anyway, Scheduled Send is a really awesome feature for Gmail, and all you have to do is hit the little “Down arrow” right next to the “Send” button, and you’ll see it. It has quick schedule options, as well as customizable schedule options.
(now that I think about it, I wonder if there’s a script that’ll let you set a specific time without having to manually enter it each time- I’ll get on that)
Using Schedule Send is a good idea because even with all of our measures set in place, it’s good to have a little wiggle room. There’s nothing worse than hitting send, our blinders suddenly falling away, and we notice a silly error that we can’t fix!
That can cost us clients- and that’s pretty much the worst thing ever.
Okay, onto my actual tutorial about how I put all of this into action.
How To Send Cold Email Tutorial (Kinda)
Now I’ll walk you through my exact process of how I use all of these tools together, and save myself hours of frustration, eye-strain, and carpal tunnel.
Step 1: Creating Customizable Cold Email Templates In Google Docs
I write everything in Google Docs, including my Cold Emails, and as you can see below, here’s roughly what my cold email template looks like (it’s still being refined)
You’ll immediately notice the text I’ve highlighted in neon teal, lol.
You’ll also notice the brackets “<< >>” that surround those highlighted words. Those brackets are used to help the Autocrat Script recognize the text that will be customized.
Again, I’m not going to tell you how to write cold emails in this post, but I wrote another blog about it here that you can check out if you like!
Step 2: How I Prepare My Google Sheets File
As you can see below, the header text in Google Sheets corresponds to the bracketed text in my Google Doc template.
I later learned that you DO NOT have to name your header row text the way I have, but I actually think it helps Autocrat recognize the appropriate column automatically, so I choose to do it to save me just a few extra seconds.
Here’s a screenshot of how I layout my cold emailing MAIL MERGE sheet (I keep a second sheet for initial cold email research so I can store important extra data (but that’s just a preference, you can do whatever you like).
As you can see, it’s super simple, and you can customize it however you want.
Once I’ve researched and entered all of the corresponding data, it’s time to use Autocrat to import the personalization into the template.
(Here’s that video tutorial one more time showing you how to do that)
Side Note Of Awesome: once you create one “project”, it’ll be saved, so you can just hit the little “play” icon and it’ll run the script automatically without having to set up the process again!
Step 3: How To Import Google Doc Text Into Email Body Text
So what you’ll notice is that all of your templates are saved as individual Google Doc files, this is important when it comes to Doc-To-Email conversation.
I’m going to direct your attention once more to my template screenshot, because I want you to notice the two lines of text at the very top of the document.
The first line is obvious, the second line is my EMAIL SUBJECT LINE (again, still in refinement lol).
I haven’t (yet) found a way to automatically plug in the corresponding email address, so this was the solution I came up with.
In this step, all you’re going to do is look over your (now) personalized cold email for any errors or edits you’d like to make last minute.
And then just click the “Open In Gmail” Button at the top-right of your window. Your text will automatically start to import and open your new email as a draft.
Step Four: Finalizing Your Cold Emails & Scheduling Them To Send
Now to the final step of my cold email tutorial/process. This is really the most copy and pasting you’re going to do today, and now it’ll become clear why I’ve laid things out in my last screenshot.
See below how, by including my Subject line and the “email address” at the top of the doc, I was able to quickly copy and paste them into their corresponding fields.
At the bottom of the screenshot, you’ll also see how I’ve clicked the little arrow beside the “Send” button to show the “Schedule Send” option.
All you do is select your preferred schedule time and date… and you’re done, my friend! Easy-peasy!
Cold Emailing Sucks Way Less Now
So, if you’re like me and had no idea that these tools/extensions/scripts existed, I hope this post was exactly the thing to help make your 2021 even more awesome and stress-free.
I’ve got a whole new outlook now, and even if I feel a little silly for not googling these solutions before, being “Today-Years-Old” beats “Never-Figuring-It-Out-At-All-Years-Old” any day.
If this post did help you, PLEASE SHARE IT with your fellow entrepreneurs. Seriously, I really feel like this is something that really needs more attention.
Also, if YOU have any solution suggestions when it comes to automatically importing email addresses and Subject lines into their proper fields, PLEASE SHARE IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW lol.
I’m really motivated to build on this post and my cold-emailing strategy in general, so I (and I’m sure many others) would love to hear YOUR TIPS AND TRICKS.
Happy HAPPY New Year!
It’s been wonderful sharing 2020 with you, but I think we’re all more than happy to say Buh-Fucking-BYE to 2020, and hopefully enter a fresh start that’s way more positive and way less stressful.
Remember, continue to stay safe and protect those you love with social distancing until we’re all vaccinated and the experts give us the OK.
And, well… I mean I’m a fan of observing people’s personal bubbles anyway, so I’m totally cool if you wanna stay 6-feet-apart most of the time anyway, lol.
No, but in all seriousness, 2020 was a painful year, but I just want to say I am SO HONORED to witness and support the incredible people who’ve come together and stood up for change.
We’re nowhere close to where we need to be, and we have A LOT of work TO DO.
It sucks that it’s taken this long (and with this much pain, death, and suffering) to even get the attention it always deserved… but I’m so glad for all of the education I’ve been able to absorb and learn from, and immensely grateful to all of the people WILLING to educate.
Here’s to a better future for all of our children.
I love you all.
Happy New Year,