What is a Cold Email?  

Just to clear the air for all our readers, a cold email is an email sent across to prospective customers without any prior knowledge of your organization or your services. Using email communications, you sell your services to the reader.

What is the objective of a cold email?

  • Make the reader acquainted with your brand and services
  • Convince the reader to reach out to you either through an email or a call

Compared to other sales methods, cold email presents various challenges.

  • The reader has never heard of you. The reason reference sale works so well because the person has heard of you from someone else.
  • It’s cold and impersonal. The advantage a cold call has over a cold email is that there is human behind the cold. A cold email most often comes off as impersonal. Humans (like your customers) need to connect to another person.
  • Easy to ignore. So, easy that your customer does not even open it.
  • An email does not pressurize a person to respond. Even if the customer may open it, they might not respond. You can be sure when a cold call is done, the customer clearly communicates that he or she is not interested.

Even so, cold emails are the easiest way to reach out to customers in comparison to other sales methods. Here are 8 best strategies for your cold email campaign to get replies.

Email mistakes your firm or practice is making without even knowing

1. Have Quality Lead Generation

To kick-off your email campaign, you need to have quality leads. Case in point – for anyone who has watched Glengarry Glen Ross – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DO3hk9NR0V8. Good leads gets your campaign a good response rate.

If you operate a mass-consumer business, then your best method is to pay for an email database and receive a bulk of email addresses. However, if you operate a B2B business, then bulk does not work. Here’s how you can generate quality leads (these points apply to both B2B and B2C cold email campaigns).

Treasure Hunt

Using Google or LinkedIn, find prospective businesses. Google and LinkedIn will give you a treasure trove of potential businesses that could use your services. Once you identify a potential customer, you get an email address to send the cold email. Whois allows you to identify the registered owner of the business website and quite often gives you the address of the customer.

Website Lead Form

Overtime, there will be several visitors on your website who come in through a Google search, or Facebook. If that person is interested in your business, having a lead form is the perfect way to get them to leave their email addresses. You can now use their email addresses in the cold email campaign, and to your advantage, they have heard of your business before.

Offer Something in Return

Don’t expect customers to just part with their email addresses. You must offer something in return. This could be special discounts, free consultations, unique research information, etc.

2. The Right Subject Line

Quite simply, your subject line decides whether your email is opened or not. The key is to make an offer that interests the reader. How do you create the right subject line?

  • Don’t beat around the bush. Most subject lines make the mistake of trying to be mysterious to create curiosity. It’s a difficult strategy to pull off.
  • Directly give the offer. A straightforward strategy is to directly tell the reader what the email is about. Simple does work. For example: Get 20% Discount on your next purchase with xx brand.
  • Write a Three Word Subject line. If you don’t have something magnificent to offer, a three word subject line is quick to read and grabs the attention of your reader. For example: Couple Spa Package.
  • Throw in a number. Everyone loves lists. For example: 12 travel destinations just for you.   

When is The Best Time & Day To Send Email Marketing Campaigns


3. Personalize the Email

I mentioned above that one problem of a cold email is that it comes off as cold and impersonal. Your reader needs human connection. Hence, your email needs to speak like a human.

  • Start with a name. Don’t start your email with “Hello”, start with “Hello Natan”.

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  • Let your company’s voice come out. The email does not have to read like it’s written by a robot. Write it in a manner wherein your organization’s voice comes out.

jet blue email amrketing example

4. Craft the Best Email for the Audience

Once the customer opens the email, you can be sure that they are interested in your service. Hence, what you write in the mail is the deciding factor as to whether the reader will respond or not.

  • Short is Good
    People don’t have the patience and don’t have time. Keep the email short and to the point. If the cold email is long, then craft it along with images.
  • Ditch the Introduction
    In the first cold email consider ditching the introduction. People aren’t interested in who your organization is, rather they are interested in what you’re offering.
  • Offer a Solution
    Know the problems of your customers and accordingly offer a solution. It’s vital that you offer the right solution.
  • Call to Action
    Don’t just offer your reader a solution, direct them to a particular action. This could be picking up the phone and calling or replying back to the email.

5. Drip Email Campaign

Chance are that your first cold email is going to perform poorly. Accordingly to MailChimp, the open rate can average around 14-28% and can vary depending on the industry. Even if you get no response in the first email itself, you should not give up. Hence, you plan and execute a drip email campaign.

A drip email campaign is a series of emails sent across to your customers, and due to its gradual frequency, it’s done in a drip format. You need to create a basic lifecycle for your drip email campaign. Here’s a basic framework:

What’s the biggest advantage of a drip email campaign? If your customer does not open the first cold email, you have 4 more chances to make that happen. If your customer does open the second cold email, but does not respond – you have 3 more chances to make that happen.

A drip email campaign also has a powerful psychological effect on your customers. By the 3rd or 4th email, even if they haven’t opened your email, your brand name would have become familiar. Hopefully, the email that gives them an attractive offer will create sufficient curiosity to open the email. With the constant recurrence of your cold email, it is just a matter of time that they open it.

What I have suggested is a basic framework, it is vital that you constantly try different drip email campaigns to find the right formula that works.  

6. Automate your Cold Emails

Automation can be the single biggest strategy which would help your cold email campaign achieve success. With cold emails, having an open rate as low as 14% and clickthrough rates of 1%, you are playing a game of numbers. The more people you send cold emails to, the higher the chance of more emails being opened. Automation allows you to craft the cold email campaign. You create a standardized set of emails so there isn’t a drop in quality. You streamline the process and this makes your job easier. More importantly, automation enables you to collect data on the campaign which can be vital to improving the email campaign.

Which automation tools should you consider using?

  • Prospect.io
    This handy tool completely manages your email campaign. The tool allows you to find email addresses from social media profiles of prospective customers. Then, it allows you to plan out a whole drip email campaign. It also offers various email templates to make your job easier. The application integrates with any CRM software such as Salesforce. Finally, the tool does an excellent job of tracking and collecting data on the emails.
  • Woodpecker
    Woodpecker is an application created specifically for cold emails. The interface is quite easy to use and it would be the right pick if you’ve never used an email automation tool before. It integrates with the email platform of choice like Gmail or Outlook. You craft several emails for your campaign or pick from suggested templates. You, then, set the email schedule. The tool also makes personalization of emails easy.


email leads

With SalesHandy you can do: mail Tracking, Document Tracking or Mail Merge Campaign? SalesHandy DOES ALL! With SalesHandy you can engage smartly with prospects & close more deals.

These are just three options, there are many more tools available online.

7. Learn from Others

The 10 Commandments for Cold Emails does not exist. Everything you learn about cold emails and how to run a successful campaign is subjected to circumstance. Hence, a good strategy to run an effective cold email campaign is to learn from others. Here are two examples.

Shane Snow

Shane Snow, a journalist, author, and co-founder of Contently, ran a cold email campaign to find out the perception of cold emails with business executives. This is the template he used:

Hi [Exec’s First Name],

I’m doing a study on cold emails and want to ask if you could share some thoughts on what differentiates an effective cold email from a bad one?

Your insight will contribute to research I’m conducting to help a lot of people get better at email, which will make the world a little better for us all.



The result?

  • An open rate of 45.5%
  • He tried two subject lines  – Quick Question” and “15 Second Question for Research on Annoying Emails”. Quick Question had a higher open rate and a higher response rate
  • Emails that were personalized had a higher response rate

You can read more on it here – What We Learned From Sending 1,000 Cold Emails

Kyle Gawley

Kyle Gawley, a designer and an entrepreneur, took 9 steps to get 29% response rate from his cold emails. This includes personalization and using a particular email format.

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Source: http://blog.kylegawley.com

You can read up more on his email experiment on his blog – How I’m Getting a 29% Response Rate from Cold Emailing.

Constantly there are stories being shared by marketers and entrepreneurs on their cold emailing experience. Make sure that you find them and learn from there.

There is always something new you can try in your email campaign.

8. Conduct A/B Testing

This brings us to the last strategy in this article. You have to constantly try variations of your cold email to find the one that works. There is no way around this. If you fail to understand this, your cold email campaign will fail.

A/B testing allows you to send out two variations of an email, using data gathered, you discover which cold email works better. What elements can you test in an A/B variation?

  • Subject line
  • Email Content
  • Sender name
  • Images
  • Time and date

You can also use A/B testing to try variations of your drip email campaign.

Finally, the last piece of advice is to set your expectations. Running a cold email campaign will not be successful immediately. Aim to run your campaign for at least 3 months before expecting good success. There is going to be plenty of hits and misses, however, if you stick to it working on the campaign, it can lead to a good success rate.

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