Getting a business off the ground is hard work. You need to create a top-notch product or service, set up a website, write a bunch of relevant, valuable content, create enticing offers, and set up a well-oiled marketing machine. Even then, it’s difficult to stand out from everyone else in the same niche.
In the digital era, where virtually no market isn’t oversaturated, getting leads and converting them into customers is anything but easy. If you just wait for people to discover your business on their own and come to you, it’ll take a while before you start seeing any sales.
The much better approach is to get your offers in front of your target audience. There are a dozen different ways to do this — from SEO to paid advertising. One marketing method that often gets overlooked or is, at best, heavily underutilized is cold email marketing.
Cold emailing refers to the practice of contacting prospects who have never heard of you, your company, or your products/services, via email. The term “cold” is a reference to the fact that you’re initiating a conversation with people who haven’t previously shown any interest in your business and haven’t had the chance to “warm up” to your offers.
That doesn’t necessarily mean these prospects aren’t open to hearing about your products and services. It simply highlights the fact that you need to take a unique approach to contacting cold leads. Unlike with warm leads, cold emailing implies that you need to introduce both yourself and your business before trying to pitch them anything.
Most people find this counterintuitive. Why would you “harass” random people who might not even be interested in what you have to sell? That’s the biggest misconception regarding cold email marketing.
You’re not just sending out emails to whoever and hoping one in a thousand people finds your offers enticing. Technically, you could, but that’s not the idea behind cold emailing.
Although there are several key differences between outreach and follow-up email campaigns, the principle is the same — you’re introducing your offers to people who are likely to take you up on them. You’re still sending the marketing messages to your target audience. It’s just that you’re using different parameters to determine who those people are.
With follow-up campaigns, the process is rather straightforward. The leads have given you their email addresses, so you know for sure that they’re interested. With cold email, you have to do a bit more digging and include multiple variables to find prospects who will be receptive to your marketing messages.
When determining who to send cold emails to, you should consider the following parameters:
What niche are they in?
What problems are they facing?
How can your product/service help them solve those problems?
What role do they have in the company they work in?
Are they in a buying position?
When executed properly, cold email campaigns work. Admittedly, sending out promotional emails to people who haven’t agreed to receive them beforehand doesn’t sound like the best possible marketing strategy. Most people who are relatively new to the world of online marketing might even view cold outreach as the worst possible approach.
Yet, the stats don’t lie:
The open rate of cold emails ranges from 15% to 28%, depending on the industry
This goes to show you that whether or not someone’s expecting an email from your business isn’t as big of a factor as you might think.
That said, it’s vital to understand that cold email marketing works infinitely better for B2B clients. A business typically publicly displays their email address and is aware of the fact that they might receive business inquiries and offers via email. A typical customer — an individual — doesn’t really expect (or appreciate) random people bombarding them with “buy my stuff” emails.
Let us give you an example to illustrate the point. Say you were approached by a business, telling you they have an incredible tool that could facilitate your organization’s project management and help you optimize your workflows. There’s no harm in checking it out, right?
Now imagine an e-commerce store sent you a cold email promoting their new sock collection. Your first thought would probably be: “Who are these creeps, how do they have my email address, and how do they know I need socks?!”
An individual email address is something quite personal. Getting an email from someone out of the blue would raise the alarm. With a business email address, the situation’s a bit different. You won’t freak out by the fact that random companies have your email — you’d know they found it on your LinkedIn profile or your company’s website.
In any case, to answer the question posed in this section — you shouldn’t send cold emails to consumers. It’s creepy, unsolicited, and likely won’t even work. That said, there’s no reason to shy away from sending cold emails to other businesses if you’re offering something they might need.
Even with B2B cold emails, there are quite a few rules, tips, and tricks to keep in mind, if you want your outreach campaigns to be successful.
Even though other businesses won’t be outraged by the fact that someone’s contacting them out of the blue, you’re still a complete stranger trying to sell them something. The advantage is that you’re not a shady superfruit salesman who’s trying to scam them into buying stuff they don’t need. You’re a business owner entering their inbox with a business proposal.
Regardless of the fact that B2B cold emailing can be viewed as business interaction, you mustn’t forget that your outreach emails are the first point of contact. This implies that it’s necessary to adjust your tone, angle, and marketing message accordingly.
You can’t hard-sell your product or service in an outreach campaign — you need to introduce your business and offers and give the prospect an opportunity to get in touch with you if they are interested.
Successful outreach campaigns “ride” on a fine line. Yes, you’re introducing your product, but you can’t exactly shove it down cold leads’ throats. The goal is to make the prospects want to learn more about your offers without being too pushy.
How do you find that perfect balance?
There are no certainties when it comes to cold emailing, or any other form of online marketing, for that matter. Still, that doesn’t mean you need to try a hundred different approaches to figure out what works. People have been sending cold emails for decades now.
There are proven formulas for sending cold emails that work. All of them have consistently delivered remarkable results for countless marketers in the past — you just have to test out a few different approaches to see what works best for your target audience.
Here are five proven formulas you can utilize to send cold emails that get responses:
Before and after
Aggravating the problem
AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)
ACCA (Awareness, Comprehension, Conviction, Action)
The before & after strategy is pretty straightforward. You open with a common problem that most organizations in the industry face, that’s relevant to your prospect. After highlighting the current situation, you move on to describe a world in which that problem doesn’t exist.
How do they get from where they are now to that ideal, problem-free world? You guessed it — with the help of the solution you’re offering! You don’t need to hard-sell your solution here, but it helps if you can share some stats and explain the business impact your product/services will have on their organization.
This formula is quite similar to the before & after, with one key difference. Rather than trying to paint the picture of how an ideal situation would look like, the focus of this method is on the problem itself.
Here, you’re playing on the prospect’s fear. Instead of getting them to imagine a problem-free world, you’ll be describing the worst-case scenario that’ll likely occur in the near future if they fail to solve the problem now.
Of course, you want to avoid phrases like “your business is doomed” or some such nonsense, but you do want to highlight the time, money, and effort they’ll waste if they continue sweeping the problem under the rug.
It goes without saying that you should introduce your product or service as a permanent solution to that problem.
When you’re introducing yourself to a prospect online, the first thing you should ask yourself is — why would they trust you? Everyone’s gonna tell you that their product is amazing and that it can solve all of your problems. Persuasive copy won’t help you here.
The fastest and easiest way to gain someone’s trust is to show them the results other people are getting by utilizing your solution. Just be careful not to boast too much and come off as an arrogant prick.
Here, you can link to a few relevant case studies, share graphs and charts, or feature testimonials from some of your biggest clients. As a CTA (call-to-action), you can offer an eBook, whitepaper, PDF report, a free trial, or a free consultation call.
The AIDA formula is simple, yet surprisingly effective. The subject line and the opening sentence of the email should grab the reader’s attention by asking a relevant question or sharing an interesting piece of information.
Once you get their attention, you need to pique their interest. You can do this either by flexing or name-dropping — sharing results and/or mentioning some of your clients who are giants in the industry.
To spark their desire for your solution, you can share stats that showcase your results or highlight the benefits of implementing your solution into their business.
Finally, you want to close with a strong CTA that prompts them to take immediate action — get in touch with you, start a free trial, or something along those lines.
Just remember not to be too pushy. Don’t expect the reader to go to your product page and click the “buy now” button after reading a single email.
The AIDA formula
Ask a question, make a controversial statement, or share interesting information
Flex or name-drop; show them why you’re a big deal
Show & tell the reader what kind of results they can achieve with your solution
Tell them what they should do next
The ACCA formula is a refined version of aggravating the problem. It’s less salesy and more oriented towards compassion, in a way.
Rather than implying that they have a huge problem that needs to be solved ASAP, this formula simply presents and describes a situation that the reader is likely in. We say “likely” because you’re essentially making an assumption, which is all you can do with cold leads.
In the email body, you should dedicate a few sentences to explaining the negative impact of said situation or problem. Then, you can move on to explaining how your solution solves the problem in detail.
Don’t simply go full-on sales copy and say that your solution will “triple their revenue” or something equally unlikely. For instance, if you’re selling a software subscription, tell the reader how its features can help them optimize their workflow, increase productivity, save time, and generate more sales.
The ACCA approach is all about the angle. You don’t want to come off as a salesperson, but rather as a business owner, just like them, who understands the struggles your prospects are going through and wants to help them by offering the perfect solution.
That’s why the action part of the formula isn’t a hard pitch. Instead, you should either ask them for a response if they’re interested to learn more or offer them an opportunity to schedule a free call or a demo of the software, for instance.
Now that we’ve covered the five most popular formulas for writing cold emails, it’s time to move on to tips and tricks that will help you maximize open rates and generate responses.
Regardless of which approach you opt for, there are a few “rules” for writing engaging cold emails. By applying cold email marketing best practices, you ensure that your outreach efforts will bear fruit — you’ll boost engagement, get responses, and fast-track the conversion from cold leads to customers.
Here are the proven tips & tricks for writing engaging cold emails.
This applies to all emails — the subject line is what will make the prospect click on your email in an overcrowded inbox. It can’t be bland, vague, or abstract.
Your subject line needs to:
Ask a relevant question
Make the prospect eager to open the email and see what it’s all about
You can view a subject line like a headline of an article. It needs to be short, sweet, and to the point. It also has to insinuate what the topic of the email is, without telling the reader everything upfront.
Example: You’re promoting project management software for agile organizations. The biggest pain point of your target audience is miscommunication and the fact that they’re wasting a ton of time on useless daily meetings.
[Name], don’t you just hate daily standups?
[Name], what are your thoughts on this?
The subject line should give your prospect a reason to open the email. Following the logic that a good number of email marketers know and apply this, it better be a damn good reason.
There’s no need for lengthy introductions in cold emails. Cold leads don’t know who you are, and frankly, they don’t care. The only thing they might care about is what you can do for them.
So, skip talking about yourself and get straight to the point. You can introduce your company but only do so through sharing relevant information — stats that showcase your results or big names you’ve worked with.
Tell the reader what the problem is, what it will be like if they solved it, and how your solution can help them overcome the obstacles they’re currently facing and achieve their business goals.
Regardless of the fact that your outreach email campaigns are going out to people you’ve never talked to before, you’ll still be communicating with people. Sure, you’ll be approaching them from a business perspective, but that doesn’t mean you should sound like a corporate robot.
Your emails should be conversational and engaging. Although the idea is: “You have this problem, I have this solution,” the emails shouldn’t sound like an exchange between two AIs.
You can use business vocabulary, but you should be friendly.
Don’t make your emails sound like you’re talking to an abstract entity
Understand that you are talking to a person at a specific position within a company, not to the company itself
You should also personalize your emails as much as possible. Here, we don’t simply refer to addressing the prospect by their first name. Every autoresponder has that capability, and that’s pretty much the standard nowadays. You need to go above and beyond!
Thanks to enrichment data software, you can extract much more information beyond just the person’s email address.
If you include other relevant information in the email, like their company name and job title, for instance, your cold emails will look more like personalized outreach efforts and less like dull mass spam that you’re sending out to thousands of people.
Hard pitches don’t work with cold emails. You can’t realistically expect someone to buy a product or service after reading a five-sentence email. Instead, you should approach CTAs in your outreach campaigns as opportunities to “enlighten” the prospect regarding the existence of your business.
What’s proven to generate the most clicks are case studies, PRD reports/eBooks, and free trials. If you have neither, you can always invite the prospect to schedule a free consultation call or tell them to reply to the email if they want to get in touch with you.
Regardless of what you choose for your CTA, you should always provide your contact information in the signature. Apart from your name, email, and company, you should also leave links to your social media profiles — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. You can always hyperlink your company’s name and leave a link to your blog.
Unless you’re experienced with writing promotional emails, you’ll most likely be tempted to go on a rant when explaining the problem or when talking about how awesome your product/service is.
The best piece of advice we can give you in this regard is — don’t. Nobody wants to spend 10 minutes reading an email. If they can’t skim it in 15 seconds, you can bet they’re not going to read it.
Keep your emails short, sweet, and to the point. The goal of cold emails isn’t to persuade cold leads to make a buying decision; it’s to pique their interest and get them to interact with your business.
Don’t just send a single cold email. Even if it manages to grab the lead’s attention, chances are they’re not going to respond right away. It might be an inopportune time, or they might simply miss the email, or put off responding to it and then forget.
What you should do instead is:
Create a sequence of three to five emails
Mix up the approaches and CTAs
Give your cold leads multiple opportunities to engage with your business
Keep in mind that you want to avoid being perceived as a spammer. Send an email once every few days and end the sequence at ten emails maximum. If someone doesn’t respond in a month, it’s safe to say they’re not interested in your business and your offers.
Now that you have a better idea of how to send cold emails, only one question remains — where are you going to find cold leads to send the emails to?
There are plenty of email lookup tools out there that can help you find thousands of email addresses in seconds. Different platforms offer varying degrees of accuracy, and some of them only provide the most basic information, while others gather all the relevant data on your prospects.
We offer a variety of outreach solutions that you can leverage to generate thousands of cold leads and streamline your cold email marketing efforts:
The best thing about our software solutions is that you can both use and resell them! All of our SaaS is fully white-label. All you need to do is slap your own logo, brand name, and colors on the software, and you can resell it under your own brand, at whatever price you want.
You can focus on selling, while we handle all the rest — from setting everything up to customer support. For every sale you make, you get to keep between 60% and 80% in commissions, depending on your partner status.Launch your own wildly profitable SaaS business, grow your brand, and skyrocket your revenue — sign up today!
Become CEO of your own lead generation software company, just follow our battle-tested guidelines and rake in the profits.