Companies employ many strategies for lead generation, but cold email outreach is rarely a favorite among marketers. As most people will associate cold emails with spam, the practice of cold emailing is often frowned upon.
Most companies know about the power of inbound marketing. It generates higher ROI as you send emails to prospects who have already shown interest in your products or services by leaving their email address to be contacted by you.
Cold email outreach is a different beast. It is an outbound marketing strategy where you reach out to people who know nothing of you or what products or services you are offering. This makes cold email outreach the perfect candidate for most spam folders.
However, cold email outreach can be an exceptionally successful strategy for generating new leads if done right.
Additionally, cold email automation software allows you to automate your campaigns, saving you precious time and resources.
- The average cold email open rate in 2021 was around 18%
- The average click-through rate had risen significantly in 2021 to 10.3%, compared to 3.4% in 2020
- The average cold email conversion rate is 15.11%
So, if you are interested in running your first cold outreach campaign, you are in the right place. We’ll share six actionable tips to help you generate plenty of leads using cold email outreach in this post.
How to set up your first cold email outreach campaign?
- Determine your ideal customer profile (ICP).
- Perform initial prospecting.
- Find the contact information of key decision-makers.
- Make sure to verify all the contact information.
- Write engaging email copy.
- Automate a follow-up email sequence.
1. Determine your ideal customer profile (ICP)
Knowing your audience is one of the cornerstones of every successful marketing effort.
An ICP is, in essence, a description of a hypothetical business (or person, if you sell in B2C) that would benefit most from purchasing your products or services. Companies that closely fit this description will make the most loyal customers with the greatest retention rates, lowest churn rates, and the quickest sales cycle.
The simplest way to create your ICP is to base it on your existing customers. The exact information you should gather will depend on the nature of your business. However, generally speaking, your ICP should contain the following:
- The number of employees.
- Their geographic location.
- Their revenue and how much they can spend on your product or service.
- Their pain points – i.e., the problems they face while conducting their business and how your product or service might help solve these problems.
- The company’s short-term and long-term goals and how your solutions might help them achieve these goals.
You can expand this list by adding industry-specific information such as integration with existing software solutions, the company’s position in the marketplace, brand ambassadors they are working with, and other data that might help you customize your outreach campaign.
2. Perform initial prospecting
Once you’ve determined your ideal customer profile, it’s time to find the right companies for your outreach campaign. Luckily, with a well-defined ICP, you precisely know who you’re looking for. The more closely a company fits the description of your ICP, the more likely it is to respond to your outreach campaign and, eventually, become a loyal customer.
The most straightforward way to find prospects is to use your preferred search engine.
For example, if you were looking to market a video editing software, you would search for “video production companies”. The search will likely yield several directories with a lot of potential customers. Copy the company name and web address into a spreadsheet.
The next step is to dig and add more information to the sheet. If your ICP is a company of, for example, 10-50 employees, you would want to note the size of the companies on your list.
You can find information about the companies on their websites, LinkedIn pages, Facebook pages, and other social media. The information you are looking for is essentially the same information you outlined in your ideal customer profile.
While compiling your outreach list, you should also take the opportunity to remove the companies that have strayed too far from your ICP definition.
3. Find the contact information of key decision-makers
Now that you have a list of prospects, it’s time to dig a little deeper and find the contact information of key decision-makers in those companies. You are looking for people who are most likely to have the authority to decide whether to buy your product or not.
You can use LinkedIn to find people who work for a particular company or simply look at the company’s website. Enter the first and last names of relevant people in a spreadsheet and add their roles and the company’s website URL.
Depending on the company’s size, you will be targeting the CEO, a VP, a product manager, a regional manager, or even an outside consultant. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to contact:
- The CEO for companies with 10 employees or less
- Director of the product value (marketing, sales, R&D, etc., depending on your product or service) for companies with 10-50 employees
- Product manager for companies with 50-500 employees
- Regional manager for companies with more than 500 employees
The simplest way to find emails of relevant people in the company is to use automated web scraping and email finder tools. These will allow you to enter the person’s name and the company’s website URL, and the software will scrape the internet to find the email you are looking for. You can also enter the website URL alone, and the software will return any email address it has for that website.
Alternatively, you can plug their name into a search engine to see if their email pops up on some of their social media profiles or other websites.
You can also try to guess the email outright. Many companies use the email format “[email protected],” so there is a chance you might guess correctly.
Another option is to buy email lists, although this practice is generally frowned upon and comes with its own host of problems.
In any case, your next step will be to verify the emails you’ve obtained and make sure they are active.
4. Make sure to verify all the contact information
Now that your list of email addresses is compiled, it is crucial to verify them. If your list contains non-existent email addresses, emails sent to these addresses will bounce back to your inbox, increasing the bounce rate.
Furthermore, unverified email recipients might mark your cold emails as spam. This can lead to your email address being blacklisted and prevent your emails from being accepted.
Preferably, you’ll want to use an email verification tool. You can verify emails in bulk by uploading a list. The software will then return either a “Valid”, “Invalid”, or “Accept all” status, the latter one designating that the validity of the email cannot be confirmed.
Generally speaking, verifying emails:
- Reduces bounce rate.
- Increases email deliverability.
- Improves your reputation score.
- Prevents your email address from being blacklisted.
- Improves your overall email campaign results.
Before starting your cold emailing campaign, confirm that there is a real person behind each of the emails you’ve collected.
5. Write engaging email copy
The goal of your cold email is to entice the reader to perform a particular action. Even when offering business solutions to a business representative, you communicate with a real person and not a robot. Therefore, giving your emails a personal touch will significantly reduce the chance of them ending up in the spam folder.
Most cold outreach emails are either templates or generic pieces of email copy. To stand out from the crowd, you need to focus your cold outreach emails on the customers.
Show them that you understand their pains and offer a solution. Explain how your product or service can bring value to them. Make sure to mention how contacting you can benefit their company.
Engaging subject lines
Invesp reports that 47% of recipients would open an email based only on the subject line, while 69% of recipients would report an email as spam based only on the subject line.
In light of these numbers, it’s safe to say that crafting a compelling subject line is a necessary component of a successful cold outreach email.
The goal of a subject line is to entice curiosity and grab attention, not to share all the information contained within your email. Keep them short, under 60 characters, especially if you are targeting mobile device users.
Furthermore, add a personalization element to the subject line, such as the recipient’s name, job role, or company name.
Here are a few examples of subject lines that will grab attention and increase your open rate:
- “Can I help you with
- “Resources to help with
[prospect's pain point]“
[prospect's name], have you seen this?”
- “Can I make your life 20% easier?”
- “Ideas for
If you want to get more creative ideas for your subject lines, try our free AI-subject line generator.
Personalized email body
Adding a personal touch to your cold outreach readers is a great way to engage your prospect and keep them reading.
You can check their LinkedIn account or other social media accounts to see if they posted industry-related questions or business developments. Open your email by mentioning their apparent pain points or congratulating them on their recent achievements. Show your prospect that you’ve taken the time to learn more about them and their company.
The email apps and desktop mail clients your customers are using usually show the first sentence of the message. You can also leverage this fact to grab your prospect’s attention.
When writing email copy, also keep in mind the following:
- Keep your copy short – preferably under 200 words
- Pain points – mention your customer’s problems and offer solutions.
- CTA – include a single, clear, and straightforward call to action, such as filling out an application form, setting up an appointment, asking for a guest post, or giving them another reason to respond to your email.
- Email signature – include your contact information at the bottom of every email.
- Edit and proofread your email before sending it
- Write like you talk and avoid complicated words and phrases.
You can also leverage these AI writers to bulk create hyper-personalized cold emails in a few seconds to save time. When creating content with AI, keep in mind that it is far from automation. Ensure that you check your AI-generated content before sending it out.
6. Create a follow-up sequence
Cold outreach means you are trying to connect with a complete stranger. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too pushy and try to close a deal in your first email. Your first message aims to introduce yourself to your prospect and start building a relationship.
To close the deal, you will need to send follow-up emails.
According to a study by Propeller, 80% of sales require five follow-ups after the initial contact to make the sale.
You will need to follow up consistently, but don’t overdo it. Although there is no universally agreed-upon timeframe, three to four days between follow-up emails is a good rule of thumb. Try to find an event that might serve as an excuse to send another email, such as a development within the industry, a blog post, a conference, or something similar.
Craft each follow-up email according to our previously covered points (engaging, personalized, short, address pain points, include a CTA, etc.). Make sure your emails aren’t repetitive, and try to add more value for the prospect with each of them. Don’t send new emails just for the sake of sending them.
If your prospect fails to respond after eight emails, you can try to kick start a conversation by informing them that you won’t be sending any more emails. It is possible that they haven’t found the time to respond or have simply forgotten.
Setting up outreach campaigns and follow-up campaigns can be automated using automation software built for cold email outreach. It will save you a lot of time while allowing for personalization. Note that tools for cold email outreach work very differently from your standard ESP (email service providers) for inbound/solicited emails like Encharge, which do not allow cold emails.
With the tools for cold outreach, the platform connects directly to your Gsuite, Outlook, or other email app and sends emails through your own email and IP. This means you are in charge of your own email deliverability and reputation, and you have to comply with the email sending limitations set by Gsuite or Outlook.
Cold email outreach has great potential for finding quality leads. Although producing a quality campaign requires considerable time and effort, automation software can help you in nearly every step of the process. The average ROI is very likely to make it worth your while.
Therefore, if you want to expand your lead generation efforts in 2022, cold email outreach should be an avenue to try out.