For lead and demand generation campaigns, few strategies are more impactful than the right cold email marketing campaign. With cold email marketing, you expand awareness of your brand, product, or service, connect with new customers, and increase your opportunities for sales.
On average, opening rates for cold emails range between 15.22% and 28.46%. However, by carefully creating the perfect, personalized emails for your target audience, you can easily transform your results. Over 45% of people open cold emails with tailored subject lines.
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Learning how to leverage cold email marketing correctly gives you an incredible way of growing your business rapidly with minimal initial investment.
What Is A Cold Email?
Let’s start simple: What is cold email marketing?
Simply put, cold email involves sending messages to a prospect with the hopes of launching a conversation. You reach out to someone you don’t know to make them aware of something valuable. Notably, this isn’t the same as spam emailing.
Cold email is targeted towards people you genuinely believe will have an interest in your product, service, or what you have to say, while spam emailing targets anyone and everyone. Cold emails also follow ethical practices. The best cold emails don’t bombard their contacts with endless messages, but instead target them with relevant, valuable campaigns.
Used correctly, cold email:
· Boosts brand reach: Cold email allows you to reach out to potential customers who might not be fully familiar with your brand yet. This opens the door to new client relationships.
· Is less intrusive than cold calling: Most people will feel more comfortable receiving a cold email than picking up the phone for someone they don’t know.
· Scales with your business: It costs very little to establish a cold emailing strategy, and your campaign can scale with your business. You can contact thousands of people this way.
Cold Email Marketing Tips
Now you know what cold email is and why it is beneficial, let’s dive into the top tips you can use for your cold email marketing strategy. Remember, while cold email isn’t the same as spam, it can be annoying and frustrating for audiences when you don’t follow the right steps. The following tips will ensure you can connect with your audience as effectively as possible.
1. Choose the Right Email Service Provider
The first thing you’re going to need for a cold email strategy is an “ESP”, or email service provider. There are essentially two options you can consider here. The first is to use a free email solution like Gmail, or Hotmail. The alternative is to pick a paid email provider, like G-Suite.
Ideally, you’ll want a paid solution, as this will allow you to create emails with a corporate domain. A corporate domain generally leads to more trust than a random @hotmail.com email. The deliverability is also much better. Because there are a lot of spammers with free accounts out there, most ESPs are less likely to trust emails from common free emails.
You can also use your corporate email to leverage email automation tools like MailChimp, Drip, Twilio, and HubSpot. These tools allow you to send messages automatically to contacts in a range of template designs to make your emails look more appealing.
When choosing an ESP, look for:
· Capacity: Your ESP should be able to handle a large number of email contact addresses, as well as store your return emails for as long as possible.
· Integrations: A good ESP will work alongside the tools you’re going to use for marketing, like automation services and CRM software.
· Deliverability: A good ESP will have a strong deliverability rate so you can improve your chances of reaching your audience’s inbox.
2. Set up your email profile and signature
Once you have your email service provider, you can start setting up your email profile. This is essentially the extra information included in your “sender details” when you contact someone over email. If you’re using the professional version of Gmail, you can add a number of useful things to your profile to make yourself appear more credible.
In the settings section of Gmail, within “General”, set up a “Signature”. This is the information that appears at the bottom of your emails. It might include your name, title, and links to your online resources like your LinkedIn account.
You can also add a picture to your signature which is helpful for giving your messages a human touch. Your profile photo should generally be a professional headshot to give the right impression to your audience.
Completing your “email profile” will mean visiting the “Personal Info” section of your email account and filling out your name, your information (such as where you are in the world), and adding a photo.
3. Avoid the Spam Folder
While cold email isn’t the same as spam, ESPs sometimes fail to differentiate the two. This means you need to work hard to avoid the spam filters when sending your emails.
The best way to avoid having your email go to spam is to set up DKIM and SPF. These are forms of email authentication that help to demonstrate you’re a real person sending a message, rather than just another bot. The two options include:
· SPF: Sender Policy Framework: An email validation system that prevents spam by verifying your sender IP address.
· DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail: A system that indicates the ownership of an email message by a specific organization.
There’s a handy guide available from Google on how to set up your SPF and DKIM. Generally, you’ll need to get a DKIM key from your email admin console and add it to your domain provider ecosystem. You’ll also need to turn DKIM on in your admin console.
You’ll need some basic information for all of this, such as the sign-in info for your domain provider, your outbound gateway settings, and any existing DKIM keys you might have.
You can learn how to set up your SPF here.
4. Warm Up your Email Account
Warming up your email account is another good way to reduce your risk of hitting the spam folder. Email service providers often look at your domain age and the age of the email account itself to determine whether the account is legitimate.
If your domain has been up and running for a while, you can check its age with a site like Whois. If your domain and email address are brand-new, you’re going to need to warm it up. This proves to the email overlords that you’re a real person.
There are a few outreach tools that can help with the warmup process. Lemlist offers a service called “Lemwarm” which makes the steps extremely simple. You just click on “email warmup”, and the system will automatically warm your domain without you doing anything.
The service basically works by sending and replying to emails using genuine human language to make everything look natural and legitimate. If you don’t want to use a service, you can simply send emails to friends and colleagues every day and ask them to respond to you for a while.
Generally, you’ll need at least 12 weeks of back-and-forth conversations before you can start some genuine cold email marketing. Some people suggest you won’t need quite as long, but it all depends on how legitimate your email address looks.
5. Keep Your Email List Clean
Once your email domain is nice and warm, you can begin to send emails. However, you’re going to need to make sure you’re actually sending messages to addresses that exist. If you send cold messages to too many fake emails, you’re going to end up looking like a spammer.
Hard bounces (emails failed to deliver to other accounts) harm your sender reputation. With that in mind, before you start sending messages anywhere, clean and validate your email list to ensure you’re only ever reaching real people. There are tools to help with this, such as:
Some of these services have free trials, while others will cost a small amount to check every email address. The bigger your email list, the more you’ll need to pay. However, if you’re cautious about building your email addresses in the first place, you shouldn’t have to spend too much.
You can search through social profiles like LinkedIn to find emails of relevant people you might want to contact or use email-finding tools to track down potential addresses from websites.
6. Write an Amazing Cold Email
When you’ve finally got your email account set up and you’re sure you’re sending messages to the right people, it’s time to get writing. Sending cold emails which actually generate responses and interest takes some work.
With your email service provider and automation tools, you can create an attractive template for your email which makes it look fantastic. This is a good way to appear more professional.
Outside of using templates, you can improve the quality of your cold emails by:
· Tailoring the message: Personalized emails relevant to the recipient will always get more clicks and responses. Make it clear why you’re contacting this person, and how your product or service can benefit them.
· Validate yourself: Try not to come across as a complete stranger. Validate who you are by referencing your background, your company, the blogs you’ve posted, and the other people or companies you’ve worked with in the past.
· Focus on value: Value is crucial when writing a cold email. Make sure you’re solving a specific problem for your target audience with your email, or you’re offering them something you know they need.
· Keep it short: Short, simple, and actionable emails often get the best responses. Most people don’t have a lot of time to read complex emails in today’s fast-paced world. Get to the point quickly.
· Be appreciative: Saying you appreciate someone’s time or thanking them for reading your email can be enough to double your response rates. Showing humility and appreciation with your email will make you seem more vulnerable and human.
7. Create a Killer CTA
Your CTA, or “Call To Action” is the tool that ensures you can push your reader to do something when they’re done interacting with your email. Your CTA should be direct, easy to action, and focused on value for your customer.
You could use a question, like this cold email, to facilitate a conversation through a quick response:
Another option is to request a specific time and day to follow up with a meeting. “Does 3pm on Wednesday work for you?”. Some great examples of good CTAs might include:
· Are you the right person to discuss this with? If not, who do you recommend?
· So, are you looking to generate more leads?
· What challenges are you facing in this area?
· If you can get back to me before (date), we can get started
· Give me a shout if you want to take advantage of this offer
Try to make the CTA feel personal and engaging. It’s more likely to generate results if it feels like a request made by a human being.
8. Master your Subject Lines
Few things are more important in cold email marketing than a great subject line. After all, your customer or lead can’t read your awesome email if they’re not convinced to first click on your email and open it. Everything ties back to that crucial subject line.
The first thing you should keep in mind is you should never try to trick someone with your subject lines. Using the phrase “Very disappointed…” might get you a lot of clicks, but you won’t get any responses if your audience feels tricks.
Try to avoid overused subject lines too, like “Quick Question…” and stay away from caps-lock, as this will often look spammy. Instead, to write a great subject line:
· Be direct: Keep your subject line as brief and direct as possible. Most mobile devices will only display up to 40 characters, so you’ll need to get your message across fast.
· Personalize it: Make sure your subject line is personal to the customer. You can add their names using some email automation tools to help with this.
· Be relevant: Focus on the topic you know is important to your audience, such as “These SEO tips boost growth”.
According to this report, certain subject lines have better response rates than others:
9. Make it Personal
If you’re sending a lot of messages as part of your cold email marketing strategy, you won’t have time to sit down and write something unique for every contact. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t add some personalization to the experience.
Most email marketing solutions come with “merge tags” which allow you to add dynamic content to the emails you send. For instance, you can put the tag *|Email|* in Mailchimp to add an email address to a message when you want to confirm their contact details.
Depending on the information you have about your audience, you can also add details like their first name, their birthday, their location, or job title.
You’ll also be able to create specific merge tags for different types of content. For instance, you could add different “examples” to your emails based on the group of people you’re sending your message to. You might have one example showcasing your knowledge of social media as a marketing company and another highlighting your experience with SEO.
10. Follow Up
Finally, you need to actually follow up with your customers sometimes to convince them to connect with your brand. If you don’t get an immediate response from your target audience, you’ll need to decide exactly how long you’re going to wait to send another email.
You’ll need to do some A/B testing at this stage because different people will find different follow-up frequencies more annoying than others. For some customers, you might find it’s best to leave 2 days between email one and two, while others need a little longer, like 3 or 4 days.
It’s also worth knowing how often to follow up. A sales-oriented campaign might have 4 or 5 messages connected to it in total, while a partnership-oriented campaign only includes 3 emails.
When you come to your last email before cleaning your contact off your list, remind them this will be the last time you’re reaching out. This could be a good way to push them to actually pay attention and send a message back if they’ve just been distracted up until now.
Getting To Grips With Cold Email
Cold email marketing might not be the newest strategy on the block when it comes to collecting leads and expanding brand awareness, but it still has a lot of value to offer. A good cold email marketing campaign will help you to find more of the prospects you need for crucial sales.
Just keep in mind that the best campaigns follow a consistent strategy. Follow the tips above, and you should be on your way to warm leads with cold emails in no time.