There is no shortage of tactics to deploy in marketing today. Some tactics obviously work better than others, and their success is largely determined by the audience you are trying to reach. But if there’s one tactic, or one channel, that gives you the best shot at opening up a direct line of communication with a prospect that you don’t know, it’s email.
Many companies still focus heavily on crafting targeted email campaigns, and have great success, but designing your first cold email outreach campaign can be a daunting prospect. Where do you even start? How should your campaign and the individual emails be structured? What are the best practices that you should follow?
These are all questions explored in this article, but first, let’s start at the beginning.
What is cold email outreach?
Cold email outreach is a marketing technique that has been around for decades. While some would say that email marketing is dead, in favor of social media or paid advertising, they couldn’t be more wrong. A successful cold email outreach campaign can connect you with new prospects, build relationships, and drive revenue or leads to your sales team.
By definition, cold outreach means the recipients have yet to hear of or engage with your business whatsoever. They are a completely cold prospect or lead. These people aren’t necessarily expecting to hear from you, so it’s your opportunity to get your name and brand on their radar and make a good first impression.
Cold Email Best Practices
As with any marketing campaign, defining goals is a necessary part of the process. You need to understand your expected outcomes so that you’re able to measure your success. The first step in setting a goal is to simply consider where you’d like to be at the end of a campaign. Do you want to simply increase revenue? Do you want people to register for an event? Do you want more visitors to a particular part of your website? Whatever the outcome, set it as a measurable goal and work towards it from there.
The list that follows are typical goals that you might consider. It’s by no means exhaustive, but covers various goals that many businesses choose:
- Thought leadership: Your goal might be as simple as positioning yourself as an authority. You don’t necessarily want your recipients to complete a particular action (i.e. make a purchase) but you do want them to hold you in high regard. To achieve this, your emails need to be full of top-quality information that the reader finds valuable.
- Generate leads: Bringing new customers to the doors of your business is probably the most selected goal for cold email campaigns. Success tends to stem from the ability to leverage email as a personal connective tool. Strong personalization means that prospects build a genuine connection with you and are likely to engage accordingly.
- Build brand awareness: Getting the word out about your brand is another popular goal. As mentioned above, the recipients of a cold email outreach campaign don’t know or haven’t engaged with your brand. It stands to reason that the more people who have heard about you and your business, the more people are likely to become your customers.
- Traffic: By selecting a pool of prospects that you know will be interested in your products or services and adding them to an email list, you’re likely to see many of them clicking through to your website. The key is making sure that you’re sharing something that they would genuinely want to engage with.
It’s very tempting to plan out your campaign and get it sent as soon as possible. The very real issue with this is that your hard work is likely to end up in the spam folder. If an email account is seen to be suddenly sending large volumes of emails (when previously it hadn’t been), spam filters can be triggered. This is where email warmup becomes a necessity. By slowly warming up your account, and by sending a slowly increasing number of emails over a few weeks, you’ll show that you’re a legitimate account and will avoid your emails getting caught by spam filters.
Email verification is a relatively simple process but absolutely necessary to ensure that as many of your emails are delivered as possible. Email verification checks that all of the email addresses on your list are real. There are a lot of reasons your list might include incorrect emails; people could have incorrectly entered them or used false emails. Whatever the reason, getting them verified massively reduces your bounce rate and improves deliverability.
Identifying Ideal Prospects
Take the time to ensure that your audience is precisely who you want them to be. Part of your overall marketing strategy should be to identify your ideal prospect, the people most likely to engage with your services. Once you’ve done that, apply the knowledge to your email list. You might end up removing people or, better yet, creating audience segments that allow you to tailor your message accordingly.
Writing Effective Cold Emails
There are multiple ways to ensure that your cold emails are effective. To start, you should be sure to consider these elements when crafting your campaigns:
- A compelling offer: Is your email going to look exactly the same as your competitors’ emails? Or are you being thoughtful and creative with how your product or service is positioned and sold? An offer that is unique and specifically tailored to your target audience gives you a much better shot at gaining attention.
- Subject lines: This is your opportunity to make a great first impression. It’s what your recipient sees before they have even opened your email. It will entice them, put them off, or render them ambivalent. A great subject line should grab their attention and make them open the email. The best way of finding perfect subject lines is to run AB tests with small segments of your audience and see which works effectively.
- Personalization: People like to feel that they’re being contacted by humans and that they’re not just part of yet another massive mail merge. Adding personalization, including the prospect’s name, a bit of humor, and simply sounding human makes a massive difference in the effectiveness of a campaign.
- Get specific: If you’ve properly identified your prospects as being interested in what you have to offer you should be able to get hyper-specific on what they want to hear about. You might even segment to a point where you talk about a specific product or service that they should be interested in. Getting specific ensures that relevance is high and engagement is improved too.
Designing and launching your first cold email campaign can feel like something of a mammoth task. It will take time and effort, that’s for sure. But by setting goals, employing the tactics above, and picking the right tools to help you, you can be sure that success is just around the corner.
Need a great tool for planning and creating email campaigns? Look no further than DivvyHQ. Schedule a demo today to see it in action.