Your Guide to Using Cold Emails for Lead Generation

Your Guide to Using Cold Emails for Lead Generation

What is Cold Email Lead Generation?


Cold email initiatives can be a great way to generate leads for your company, no matter what kind of industry you’re in. However, not many people are familiar with what cold emailing is, and most just assume that it’s similar to cold calling, which has a pretty bad reputation among businesses and consumers alike.

However, cold emailing is used by many reputable companies, and is much less “spammy” than cold calling. Instead of calling up any old number from the phone book, you personally reach out to qualified email addresses in a way that presents you as a fellow business person with an opportunity rather than an overly eager salesman begging for money. While, yes, cold emailing can take more time to see results than cold calling, it’s overall a better, more professional option.

In addition, the results are simply there. Email marketing, according to the statistics, is the most effective online tactic for lead generation, performing more successfully than content marketing, search engine optimization and paid online advertising. It even outperforms social media marketing, as it is 40 times better  for acquiring new customers.

Of course, there are correct and incorrect ways for you to send cold emails, and some methods will result in more leads than others. In this article, we’ll talk about the aspects of your emails that you need to get right in order to improve your open and response rates.  After all, do the wrong thing, and it’s likely your emails will be routed to a spam folder, never to be seen again.

Before you can start sending any cold emails, you need to first figure out who you’re going to be reaching out to. Some companies do this in-house, while others hire freelancers to generate cold email prospects for them. Any freelancers hired for this purpose should be chosen seriously, as good prospects can make or break your initiative.

If you choose to source your email addresses in-house, you can often do this by tracking qualified businesses online and looking for pertinent contact information. These recipients should be qualified potential customers or clients based on a series of qualifications that you determine ahead of time.



Start With a Subject Line


Ideally, you want your subject to check three boxes:  catchy, intriguing, and straightforward.  Most people just drop in some generic text because they think it’s not important.  If you’ve skipped over this part in the past, you probably made a big mistake.

In reality, your subject line is vital, because it’s the first thing that a potential warm lead sees. These warm leads are going to judge whether or not they interact with you and your company all based on that subject line. In fact, your subject line could be what keeps you out of the spam folder, with one report saying that 69 percent of emails reported as spam are reported solely based on the subject line.

If you’re struggling to come up with a subject line that fits the bill, the answer may be more intuitive than you expect.  Sometimes just a simple, “Hello, (recipient’s name)!” can work wonders.  In this case, a lot of people will want to know who you are and how you have their email address.

You could also seek out creative ways to present a value proposition.  Something like “How (Recipient’s Competitor) Saved $300,000 with (Your Company)” is a pretty compelling headline to see in your inbox.  Of course, the facts you present need to be genuine, but moving a value proposition from the email body up to the subject line can increase the likelihood that your email gets read.

When in doubt, it’s best to be straightforward with your subject line.  People hate to be duped into a sales pitch, so don’t bury the lede.  You can use a descriptive statement “Introduction to (Your Company)” – or a question – “Want to grab coffee?”



The Body of Your Email


Keep the body of your emails short, for the most part, and make them as easy to read as possible. This means breaking everything down into one or two lines each, and keeping your entire message to just about five sentences. Remember, though — each of those sentences matters and must have value.

The entire point of the body of your email should be to show the value of whatever you’re offering, whether that’s a personal and professional service, recognition of a problem that directly affects the recipient, or something else. Make this value subtle, though, and avoid seeming overly sales-y.

Within the body, you want to be sure that you’re being both personal and genuine. For one thing, this will ensure that you don’t end up in a spam folder because your email looks too “promotional.”

To seem more personal, include names, business names, individualized issues, etc. It’s also suitable to address current events that are light and fitting for the workplace (so, for example, the election would not be the current event to reference, while the upcoming holiday season or a bad bout of weather is more appropriate).

Instead of aiming to sell your product or service from the beginning, the work of this first email should be in actually getting the potential buyer interested. You want to show what your company can do for them, and “hook” them.

When ending your email, as with all marketing initiatives, give your recipient a call to action. You want them to actually do something after they read your email, not just delete it. Make it as easy as possible for them to respond to you, with a simple question or request.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to ask the recipient for a referral as your ending question. Ask them who you should be speaking to at the company, if not them. This gets your foot in the door, while giving someone a very easy way to reply to you.

Another ending question could just be to ask for a simple phone call or Skype meeting. However, be sure to avoid asking for the meeting in general — instead, ask for a meeting time that would work best for them or suggest a specific time block like “Thursday afternoon.”

Never use your first cold email draft. Always revise, revise, revise. Have your coworkers look at the email and make it the best it can be before sending it out.



Avoiding Spam Folders/Blacklisting


It’s easy to avoid the spam folder when you know how.

First and foremost, don’t add any hyperlinks to the body of your email. That’s one sure way to get thrown to a spam folder.

Then, be positive that if you’re using a scheduling program to send your emails, that they’re being sent at least five minutes apart. If you try to send out too many emails at once, you could be blacklisted.

Of course, make sure that you’re not doing anything dishonest. Don’t misrepresent who you are or start off on the wrong foot with a misleading subject line. Potential customers want to be able to trust you.


Following Up


Your first round of cold emails won’t get a great response. That’s why it’s so important to follow up. In fact, according to some experts, it can take as many as five follow ups to actually get your prospects to do anything, and then turn into leads.

Even a second email can work wonders, with one study showing that 21 percent of people respond to the first follow up after an initial email.

Make sure your follow up emails actually help your prospect, rather than confuse them. Don’t send a simple email saying, “Just following up on the above…” or something similar.

Instead, explain what you said in the prior email succinctly and easily, so that the recipient isn’t forced to go digging through their previous emails to figure out what in the world you’re talking about.

Don’t be too forceful in how often you’re sending follow ups. This may only annoy your recipients and get you permanently landed in the spam folder. It also ruins any good rapport you may already have with this potential client or customer.

Send your follow ups on an extended schedule, so maybe your first follow up would be two or three days after your initial email. Then, your next follow up would be a week later. The third, maybe could be two weeks later.



Trouble Shooting


At the end of the day, there could just be a specific, unknown reason someone isn’t replying to your cold email. Some of these you can fix, others you can’t. They may genuinely not need your product, but if you’ve done a great job getting your cold email contacts, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

One problem affecting your reply rate could simply be that the body of your email is confusing. Are you using the best wording possible?

If you suspect some recipients may think your product or service is too pricey, you can address this issue in a follow up email. Mention that you have some upcoming promotions you’d like to discuss. This may spur them on to reply, just to satisfy their curiosity.





When it comes to cold emailing, you should be seeing a response rate of about 10 percent. Anything below 5 percent, and you’re doing something wrong. Anything above 10 percent, and you’re on the right track.

While 10 percent may seem small to you, consider that your open rate is actually going to be much higher, with the average marketing email open rate at a little over 22 percent. This opens the door for your business to make further connections down the road, even if your cold emailing campaign is over.