While your marketing campaigns and website help to draw customers in, these aren’t the only methods you should be using to draw attention to your brand or products. Email is a great tool to use for cold leads who may not know about your company yet or for lukewarm leads who may know your company but who haven’t reached out to you yet. Contacting these types of leads is what’s referred to as cold email outreach: emailing companies or individual who you haven’t had prior contact with. The purpose in reaching out to them is to target high value leads and get them into the sales funnel.

Cold email outreach can boost your sales significantly and buttress your existing marketing and website efforts. But it also needs to be done right. After all, you are reaching out to somebody who may not know your company at all. Below are a few tips on what to do and what not to do for your cold email outreach.

10 Tips for Cold Email Outreach Done Right

Do: Prospect according to your ideal customer type

Don’t: Send emails to huge lists

When prospecting, figure out your ideal lead or customer and avoid email bombing a huge list. There are two main reasons to avoid huge lists:

1) enormous lists are not CASL compliant;

2) they aren’t very effective, as they are generic and often include people or organizations that don’t fit your client profile.

You can use prospecting software (like ZoomInfo) or do your own research for companies that seem like a good fit for your product or service. This may be determined by company size, annual revenue, location, or any number of different characteristics that you determine. Once you have these parameters set, do your research to find a suitable person to contact at the company. By nailing down a list of leads who fit your ideal client characteristics and finding the appropriate people within the company to contact, you can put your energy into contacting higher-value, more efficient email outreach.

Do: Have a goal in mind and offer a clear call to action

Don’t: Be vague

Developing leads involves getting them into the sales funnel. Your first contact is unlikely to start off at the bottom of the funnel. More likely, you’re trying to get them into the top of the funnel. Be clear as to why are you reaching out to this person and include a specific call to action in your email that will get them into your sales funnel. What do you want to accomplish in contacting them and what action do you want them to take? Maybe you want them to sign up for a webinar or setup a demo call. Ensure you are going into sales outreach with a clear goal and put a simple call to action in your email for the lead to take. Sending a vague email is like not putting bait on a fishing hook – there’s nothing for the fish to bite!

Do: Provide value or helpful information

Don’t: Be overly sales-focused

There’s nothing worse than getting an email that’s just pure sales pitch and all about the company or product. It’s heavy handed and often a turn off with cold email outreach. Try to provide value to the recipient by including some background information or helpful articles about the topic. A great way to approach this is providing links to blog posts from your own company that might offer a solution to problems this customer is facing. The point in prospecting is to get to know the client, so that your cold email outreach offers them something.

Do: Personalize automation and be careful with templates

Don’t: Send the exact same message to everyone

You want to show that you’re reaching out to leads for a reason and know about their company and its needs. Sending out the exact same message to everyone on a huge list fails to show how your company offers a solution to a problem they will be facing and pins its hopes on some generic messaging that isn’t likely to grab the reader’s attention. Use a one-on-one approach while also utilizing templates. Creating automated templates within a CRM is a great way to be able to automate certain pieces of lead information – first name, company name, industry, etc. – by using merge fields, while also allowing customization for each person. Using templates also saves the time of having to retype each email, allowing you to use a few small tweaks to personalize things. But be sure to watch for formatting issues with CRM templates. You will want to test your template a few times before sending to make sure there are no issues that would be off-putting to a cold lead. This could be font discrepancies, both in size and style, or anything else that looks obviously pasted in.

Do: Have a good subject line

Don’t: Use catchy slogans or obvious click-bait subject lines

The subject line is the first thing a person is going to see. It’s also what might lead them to immediately put your email into their trash or spam folder. Avoid generic, catchy slogans or obvious click-bait. Your subject line should be personalized to show them that the email is coming from an actual person, who is contacting them for a specific reason that is of value to them. Ensure you have a subject line that grabs attention and is relevant to the topic. Including “you” or “your” performs well in subject lines because it addresses their company and needs directly.

Don’t: Make the email too long

With cold email outreach, you’re contacting someone who doesn’t know you and possibly doesn’t even know your business. If your subject line gets them to open the email, you don’t want to lose them with a long, rambling email. You don’t have to say everything about your business or product with the first message. It’s the opening to a conversation – it’s not a monologue where you should be talking at someone. Keep your email short and to the point and try to maintain their interest, which lies in the value that you can provide to their company.

Do: Include a personalized signature

Because cold email outreach is the point of first contact with people you don’t know, you need to give them all of the necessary information about yourself. Always make sure you have your name, title, and company information at the bottom of the email. If they don’t know who is contacting them, it’s unlikely that they will respond.

Do: Test timing and work with time zones

You can send an email any time of the day and it will get to someone’s email inbox. But that doesn’t mean you should. You want to maximize the effect of the delivery time. Try to schedule your emails to go out in the morning when people are feeling fresh and have a bit more time to check their inbox. You will want to ensure that you are scheduling this based on each individual lead’s specific time zone so that your emails are not landing in the middle of the night.

Do: Have a cold outreach strategy

Strategy is something we often see as the missing piece in a company’s outreach. Cold emailing is about more than just sending one email to a prospect. You need to create a strategy for the sales team to follow and that starts with the first email contact. That could look like making one email and one phone call per week for two weeks and if there is still no contact made you can kick them to a nurture track.

Do: Track and evaluate performance

Keeping track of your cold outreach emails is vital for performance and evaluation. Always provide UTM tracking on links and emails. Seeing the open and click rates for your emails will help you to refine your approach and subject lines in the future to keep improving those rates. Also, seeing interaction data and the volume of emails sent will help to gauge the effort the team is putting in vs. your results. Analytics will also allow you to attribute sales to those efforts. Tracking and evaluating performance is key to understanding customer journeys and refining all of your outreach efforts, including cold email outreach.

RFDM and Cold Email Outreach

Cold email outreach isn’t a science. You’ll need to tweak your email outreach campaign and continually harmonize that with your marketing efforts. But these are some basic rules to follow. For more cold email outreach tips or for help with developing a campaign, contact us for a free consultation.

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