This guide has been designed to help you get the most out of your cold email campaigns.
Set Your Goals
Before you setup your cold email campaign you will need to think about your goal, this will help you target the right people with the right message.
Here are some example goals for your cold email campaigns.
B2B Lead Generation (Prospecting)
Generate hot B2B leads by sending cold emails with automated follow-ups to prospects, asking for referrals, booking demos or anything to move the prospect to the next step.
You have a number of lost opportunities, that you want to hit again, but this time using an automated approach to drive sales.
Target your existing customer base get new business, or up-sell and even cross-sell.
Make sure your customers are not neglected, set up clever and informative email drip campaigns and make them happy.
Outreach – Connect with People
Maybe you want to connect with people, such as influencers, find business partners, candidates in a target market or even potential investors for your startup.
Outreach – Content Promotion
You are reaching out to websites or other publishers to promote content such as blog articles or as part of a SEO strategy for link building.
Email Lists & Data
Now you have established what is that you want to achieve, you can now plan who you should target for your outbound email campaigns.
If you are going to target existing customers or prospects then you probably already have an email list, however if you are going to target fresh prospects, investors, suppliers you will need a new an email list.
You will need to come up with a profile to help you build your email list for cold email campaign.
If your goal is to generate B2B leads, then you should look at your existing customer base and determine what your ideal customer profile is. Anything else you will need to come up with a profile that is relevant to your cold campaign objectives.
- Company Size (Employees)
- Job title or function
There are three main ways that you can get data
Use Existing Data
If you are targeting customers or existing prospects, then you should be able to export and segment your data from your CRM. Some of the existing records might not have email address, if that is the case then you can use an email finder software to find missing email addresses.
You can buy existing data, making sure that the provider’s B2B data is fresh and accurate.
Some B2B email data providers are:
Obviously stay away from huge email databases offered online and buy small sets to start for testing, for example 250 contacts to test is a good starting point.
Before sending out any cold email campaigns go through the email list and randomly check out the contacts, visit the company website or LinkedIn profiles. Check that their job position is correct and current, this will tell you a lot about the data provider. Some data providers might lump directors in other management positions, e.g. sales manager or marketing manager, which may or may not be relevant in your email campaigns.
Don’t buy contacts which include generic email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or info@example.
Building Your Own Email Lists
This is the best option when sending cold email campaigns, but it also very time consuming.
You will need to identify where you will get the initial data from and come up with a process for building your email list, and decide who will do this. You can easily find a virtual assistant online who can do this for you for a very reasonable cost and in some cases, it might work out the same amount as buying an existing prospect list or even less.
At the very minimum you should collect the first name, last name, email, company, position data in your spreadsheet. This will come in handy later even if you don’t use this to personalise your outreach emails.
Here are some example processes for building a prospect email list for your outbound email campaigns:
- Search Crunchbase companies that fit the profile (depending on what your objective is)
- Visit the company website and see that they are good fit
- Go to the about us or team pages and find the name of the contact that you want to target. Copy their email address (if none then use an email finder tool)
- Add the prospect to a spreadsheet
- Search for prospects on LinkedIn (if you don’t have LinkedIn premium then signup for a trial or use a free tool like LiSearcher to search LinkedIn profiles on Google.
- Find the contact details for the prospect on the LinkedIn profile or the company website pages such as about us, team etc, if not then use an email finder tool.
- Add the prospect to a spreadsheet
Before sending out your cold email campaigns you will need to clean the data, especially if you plan to use it to merge into an email template, check that the capitalisation is correct and clean up company names. For example. remove (UK), Limited, Ltd, Branch, dot com or any other data that might look funny in your outbound email.
You might end up with multiple contacts at the same company, and unless want to specifically target multiple contacts at the same business, then you should remove these, an easy way to do this sort the data by and deduplicate the website column, we published an article on how to deduplicate in Excel.
Sending Cold Emails
Keeping it Real
For cold emails to work they need to look like you sent the message only to them, so that it is personalised.
Using an email marketing software for newsletters such as Mailchimp is not going to cut it. Hopefully you will use Lead Demon for sending your cold emails campaigns.
Obviously if you send outreach emails to somebody at 5am or on the weekend, this effect is lost, and the email starts to look like it is from a bulk mailing.
Also, there is a myth that sending emails on a Saturday gives you the higher open rate. Common sense tells us if you are sending a newsletter to customers on the weekend they are more likely to open it because they are not working, and they open all emails rather than it getting lost in the inbox. That said if you are sending cold emails on the weekend to higher level executive who doesn’t know you, then it is not going to look like you have composed the email just for them and it will have that automated bulk feeling, and you are less likely to get a response.
Cold Email Templates
I would not use cold email templates that you can find on the internet for your actual outbound campaigns, but you can read through them for inspiration.
If you are sending your email campaigns to competitive industries they probably have already seen your template in use before, and it makes you look lazy.
At the end of the day you will need to (and should) write your own cold emails.
Keep Your Cold Emails Short
When writing your cold emails keep them to maximum of a few sentences at the most, the longer your email is the less likely somebody that doesn’t know you, will actually read it.
Call To action
Only include one call to action in your cold emails e.g. hit reply, call me, send me an email. This is the same for all marketing channels, and also applies to sending cold emails.
Understand Thy Cold Email
Your outbound cold email campaigns are not there to sell your product or service, they are to help you close the prospect on next step, which could be booking a demo, arranging a telephone call or even sending more information.
If you are sending emails to customers for a promotion to sell a product, then this can be an exception and you will have to test to find out what is better.
Use a Separate Domain
You should buy a separate domain for your cold email campaigns, this to protect your existing domain and keep your emails separate. If your domain is example.com then you buy example.net or example.co.uk and use this for your outbound email campaigns.
If your domain ever gets a low sender reputation or blacklisted then you can dispose of it and start again, this should not happen if you send out your cold email campaigns properly using the right software.
Don’t Upset your Prospects
If you upset the people you are sending an email outreach too then they will most likely mark your message as spam and eventually this will hurt you.
Make sure your cold emails are relevant and honest and that they don’t look like they are part of a bulk email campaign.
If they ask to opt-out of future emails then don’t send them any more emails, if you continue to send emails to them then you are probably breaking the law and you are also going to infuriate them even more.
Don’t send your outreach emails to generic email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, if you can’t find the email address of the prospect then just skip them or give them a cold call instead.
Always include your contact information in your email signature, if not it will look like spam to your prospects.
Don’t Get Blacklisted
Many businesses use G Suite or Office 365 for email, so you can probably expect at least 50% of all your outbound emails to go through those servers, if you send too many emails, many emails quickly or emails with the same content then your emails will probably end up in the spam folder or even damage your sender reputation and get your domain blacklisted.
Send out emails at different times, and space them out or if not they will end up in the either the promotions folder or spam folder. If this happens to much then all your emails could be blocked by G Suite, and your emails bounce with the following error:
Our system has detected that this message 550-5.7.1 is likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of spam sent to 550-5.7.1 Gmail, this message has been blocked. Please visit 550-5.7.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=188131 for 550 5.7.1 more information. ho13si622251wib.49 - gsmtp (in reply to end of DATA command)
Cold Email Rules
- Personalise your cold emails so they look like they are composed by you and only sent to the prospect, no fancy HTML, and it should not look like a newsletter
- Send targeted outbound emails to the right people
- Don’t mislead prospects through tricky subject lines (re: your email), whilst this might increase the open rates it will lead to an increased in opt-outs, complaints and it will damage any potential business relationship before you get started
- Send out your emails in human like manner, at random times throughout the workday. Only a good cold email software will do this 😉, general email automation software won’t
- Don’t send too many emails and respect your providers limits. A typical cold email campaign might be sending the initial 250 outreach emails each week, plus the follow-ups which are being dripped out from all your email campaigns
- Keep sending emails on regular intervals, rather sending out a large amount of emails then nothing for a few weeks and so on.
- Don’t use email marketing software such as for sending newsletters or any other mass sending tool
Setup your email domain properly
If you are user of Lead Demon, contact support and we can assist you setting up your SPF and DKIM records.
Avoid the Spam Filters
Be careful not use spammy words or ALL CAPS in your email. Spammy words include promotion, special offer, free, hot etc. Once you have written your cold email template then run it through anti-spam checks, Lead Demon users click test and we will do this for you.
Personalise your email messages, if not the message will look identical to other messages and as a result some ant-spam servers will mark the message as spam.
Don’t add a company logo image to your email signature, why? Because of something called the image to text ratio. Sure the company logo looks nice, but the message might not get delivered to the inbox because the anti-spam server will think your email is a spam because it contains more images than actual text.
Don’t add lots of links in the email campaigns and certainly do not use URL shortners since they are almost guaranteed to trigger anti-spam filters. URL shortners turn long URLs into short ones, for example https://bit.ly/2HLpvzK. The problem is spammers use these to disguise links to trick users, so when somebody clicks on the link they will be redirect to different web page.
Any link that redirects the user to a different page or domain can potentially trigger anti-spam filters because you are sending an email with a link that sends somebody somewhere else (redirects) and when sending email to somebody there is no genuine reason to hide the URL.
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