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Cold Email Outreach: Should You Do It?

Contents
Yes.

You should try doing cold email outreach.

But you are probably not here for a yes or no answer. You are here for the full journey.

So let the ride begin!

What is Could Email Outreach?

A cold email is the type of email you send to someone with whom you have no previous interaction. It is a type of outbound marketing, meaning that you reach out to a target to make them interested in buying what you offer, instead of letting them come to you.

Cold email outreach is usually a 3-step process. These steps involve:

  1. Build a list of potential clients
  2. Create the template of the email (copy & design)
  3. Communicate with the prospector to secure the deal

Is Cold Email Outreach Legal?

Digital marketing is not what it used to be. If anything, it’s gotten more difficult. Not only have many marketing channels been saturated but it’s also more difficult to use those that do work due to data privacy policies.

Such data privacy policies don’t include only the notorious General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, the Digital Services Act, the General Personal Data Protection Law – there are many other acts and laws that make marketing harder.

With that said, what’s the current state of cold outreach? Is it legal?

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The short answer is “Yes, cold email outreach is legal”. On the other hand, spam emails are not legal everywhere.

Which brings us to the question: how is spam different from cold outreach?

Cold email vs Spam email

What’s considered cold email is different from spam, not only in its essence but also in the eyes of the law. Each country has different spam laws but many of them differentiate cold email from spam email.

For example, in the EU and the UK, cold email is legal as long as it’s GDPR-compliant. In the US, email outreach should comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

But how is cold email different from spam email in nature? And how can you avoid spam filters? Cold email, spam email, and their differences can be summed up like this:

Cold email is:

  • Targeted
  • Personalized
  • Relevant 
  • User-centric
  • Legal

Spam email is:

  • Generic
  • Massive
  • Irrelevant
  • Product-centric
  • Illegal (in many countries)

Therefore, if your email outreach campaigns abide by the laws and regulations of your prospectors’ country, it’s a safe tactic.

💡 Read: Email Deliverability: Addressing the Elephant in the Room

Advantages of Cold Outreach

So, cold outreach is legal. That means you can do it! But should you do it?

Here are a few advantages of cold outreach that explain why it’s still a valid and relevant marketing strategy even after all those years.

Speed 

As with most outbound marketing campaigns, cold outreach is characterized by speed. While creating an email list and finding and crafting the right copy for your email won’t happen in a couple of days, it’s one of the faster strategies to implement.

How much faster? Think of other marketing campaigns such as word-of-mouth, community building, and content creation. Or SEO. All of them can work great but you need to be patient before you bear the fruits of your labor. And, sometimes, those campaigns -like any campaign- can be hit-and-miss. Cold outreach may as well be but you won’t have wasted much of your precious time on something that in the end didn’t work.

Cost

Fact: email outreach would have been dead long ago if it weren’t effective. Or cost-effective, to be precise. But email outreach is not just cost-effective- it’s the king of ROI. A cold email outreach campaign can be performed by just one marketer, from start to finish. And, as we said, email marketing campaigns take shorter to finish than most other types of campaigns.

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Although you will find similar charts on the web with different results like the above, almost all of them place email marketing and content marketing in the first two positions. Not only that but ROI for email marketing is easier to track than any other channel.

B2B

Cold email outreach is a great way to find B2B prospects. Whereas standard B2C marketing practices utilize social media to distribute entertaining content, this is harder to pull off for B2B marketing. 

Cold email outreach provides an opportunity to build a unique channel for more specialized prospects. Through that channel, you can tailor your message according to your B2B audience that otherwise wouldn’t be easy to find. Having said that, you need to keep in mind that B2B messaging doesn’t have to be boring or formal. Business2Business is still Human2Human.

💡 Read: The Beginner’s Guide to SaaS Email Marketing + 6 Examples

5 Cold Email Outreach Dos & Don’ts 

Are you convinced that cold email outreach can be a part of one of your next campaigns in the future? If so, here are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1. Differentiate your cold email from a spam email

Remember that we said that cold emails are different from spam emails? It’s your job to make a cold email not look like a spam email.
Here’s how:

Include accurate header information: The From, To, and Reply to fields should contain real names and email addresses

Write honest subject lines: The subject line shouldn’t mislead the recipient about what the message contains.

Disclose your physical address: At the end of the email let your recipients where you are psychically located, including the street address or post office box of your HQ.

Easy opt-out process: Add a clearly visible opt-out link to allow users to unsubscribe from future emails or entirely from your list. Make sure that you don’t make them jump through many hoops and that the process is fast and easy to complete.

Enable email security protocols: For a secure email experience you must be aware of what is DMARC and enable it. DMARC will enhance your email credibility and deliverability rate.

2. Use a specific contact person as the sender

Personalization goes both ways. You need not only to address the recipient in a personalized way but also you should present yourself likewise. This is why using a specific contact person as the sender is highly recommended.

Most people like talking to people, not companies, or any other “thing”. As with many newsletters, most outreach campaigns see better results if a specific contact person is used, instead of a general address such as [email protected] or [email protected], etc.

What’s more, keep in mind that the messenger needs to be as relevant as possible to the recipient and imply that they are in a position to understand their pain points and the way they think. For example, if your email list is full of CEOs, then the center of the email may as well be the CEO.

3. A/B test your subject lines

There is no such thing as “the perfect subject line”. The best subject line is going to be the one that performs the best for your particular email list. To know that, you will have to experiment with some A/B testing on your subject lines.

A good subject line combines most of these elements:

  • Short
  • Specific
  • Personalized
  • Peaks interest
  • Creates urgency

Here are some subject lines to get you started. The ones with bold are those that we like the most:

  • Let’s talk about [topic/idea]
  • A [better/smarter/faster] way to [reach a specific goal]
  • Can I help you with [reaching a specific goal]
  • Quick question regarding [project]
  • Hey [name], check this out
  • [Name], looking forward to seeing you at [event]!
  • Where do I even start?
  • [Name], I need your advice
  • Have you been to [local establishment]?
  • Request to connect
  • Goodbye, [Name]
  • You missed it
  • Essential resources to help with [challenge]
  • Free to talk at [date]?
  • [Name] said we should connect
  • Let’s cut to the chase
  • Have you solved your [challenge] yet?
  • You’ll love this article, [name]!
  • I am the walrus!

 

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4. Be down to earth

Promising the stars is not a good marketing tactic and it won’t help you in your cold email outreach either. A hyperbolic or grandiose copy in your email may come out as salesy and/ or insincere and will most likely end up in the trash bin in no time, with your email address being blocked. 

Try using simple language and make it sound natural. To build rapport, try referencing something you saw on their website or know about them. Be friendly and respectful – you know- like you probably already are. Also, remember the golden rule of email copy: keep it short and sweet.

5. Give before you ask

Do you know that friend that remembers your existence only when they need a favor? Well, don’t be that friend. Especially with strangers! “Asking” something from someone whom you don’t even know is not just unprofessional, it’s plain bad manners. 

Ask yourself: what kind of value can you provide? Here’s an example. How many link-building campaigns have landed in your Inbox recently? If your Inbox looks anything like mine, then the number is pretty big. But the thing is that 80% of those link builders just ask for a link. They don’t give any value. 

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But what if they were trying to do a broken link-building campaign? Broken link building is the tactic through which you find broken (404) links on the web, contact the domains that have those in their content and ask to replace them with one of your links. Of course, the content from the link you want to provide is similar to the content of the link that used to be active. In this case, the value you’ve provided before asking for anything is the information that something on the website of the recipient is broken – and you give them a solution at once!

Cold Email Outreach: Conclusion

Like with any marketing campaign, you will have to try it to see if cold email outreach works for you. The best part about it is that since this is an email campaign, it’s cheaper and faster to test than most other marketing campaigns.

So, build your email list, craft your email copy, install the necessary email marketing tools, start sending your campaign, make any optimizations along the way, and see for yourself what cold email outreach has to offer to you.

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