Cold Email Marketing: The Beginner’s Guide to Cold Emailing


Andy Cabasso

December 1st

Are you planning to launch a cold email marketing campaign? Wondering how to do cold emailing well?

Below, you’ll find a beginner’s guide to cold email marketing. The information on this page will help you craft an effective outreach strategy and show you how to drive sales and engagement with cold emailing. 

So, let’s get started.

​​What Is a Cold Email? 

A cold email is an email to someone you do not already have a relationship with. 

The email is “cold,” as in “this relationship is cold.” 

A cold email is meant to start a relationship for business purposes – sales, partnership, collaboration, etc.

What is cold email marketing, then?

The term – cold email marketing – refers to using email outreach to achieve business purposes like the ones I mentioned above. 

So, cold email marketing can help you generate more sales. You can use it to find new partners or collaborators for your business. If you want to promote an event or expand your network, then you should use cold emailing too. 

But how does it work? 

Well, you’ll find all that out from this guide, of course. 

But let me give you a very quick overview of cold email marketing and how it works. 

First of all, with cold emailing, you send many emails. 

This is because cold emails generally have a low response rate. Remember, with cold emails; the recipient does not know you, so they will be less likely to respond than if you are someone they know.

With that being the case, if you are looking to do cold emailing for sales opportunities, link building, content promotion, podcasting, or any sort of collaboration, you will need to send many emails to many different people. 

Cold emailing is a numbers game, pure and simple.  The more people you reach out to, the higher the chances you get a response from them. 

So, you’re not going to be cold emailing just one or two people – you’re going to be cold emailing hundreds of people. But, how do you get the right email addresses from 100 relevant people, and how do you know what to say to all those people? 

What does a typical cold email campaign look like?

The process starts with building a prospect list of different companies you want to connect with.

Next, you find the right people at those companies.

Then, you need to find their email addresses.

As a next step, you write a cold email and its follow-ups. All these messages make your cold email marketing sequence. 

Lastly, you use cold email outreach tools and send those email sequences. 

Shortly, you’ll learn how to implement all of those steps in practice. 

Before we get to that, let me answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cold emailing. These answers will help you understand cold email marketing better and provide you with the knowledge that will help you run better cold emailing campaigns.

Cold Emailing – Common Questions

How does cold emailing help a business?

Cold emailing can help your business in a few different areas:

  • Connect with potential customers who have never heard of your products/services
  • Reach out to bloggers, journalists, and influencers to cover your business
  • Building links from other websites that can help your site rank better in search results
  • Find collaborations and co-marketing partnerships with other companies

Is cold email marketing effective? 

Oh yes. 

Statistics show that 92% of decision-makers notice unsolicited emails the most. As a result, it’s very difficult to reach B2B owners, executives, or influencers – that’s true. 

But once your cold email gets into their inbox, they’ll see it and open it. And that’s because most influential people check their emails a few times a day.

And the great news doesn’t stop here! Cold emailing has the highest return on investment for marketers. 

Can you do cold emailing with tools like Mailchimp?

No, unfortunately, you can’t.

Mailchimp and other similar tools have very strict rules about who you can email. If you read their Terms of Services, Mailchimp stipulates that you must be able to show any type of evidence of consent for any marketing-like email you send to your recipients. 

Cold emailing implies that you’ve never talked with the recipient, which would be an instant breach of their rules. 

Creating personalized outreach email sequences that are more for outreach software like Postaga.

But aren’t cold email and email marketing the same thing? 

No, and here’s why. 

Cold email is the conversation opener, the ice breaker – you’re reaching someone out of the blue. So, blue equals cold. There might be chances that the email address of the recipients you’re trying to contact won’t even be the right one. 

But once they respond to your cold email and become familiar with your brand, that’s where you can transition into “email marketing.”

When you think of “email marketing,” that’s more in the territory of sending emails with something like Mailchimp – newsletters, offers, educational content, and promotional emails to people who are opted-into communications from your company.

Is cold emailing better than cold calling? 

Yes! 

Cold emailing allows you to take your time and choose the right words to craft your emails and, with email outreach software, build a scalable effort to connect with many people.

On the flip side, if you’re cold calling your prospects, you have to spend a lot of time going through phone numbers, having individual conversations with people, evaluating if they would be a good fit, and it’s incredibly time and lab-intensive. And for your cold calls, you must be ready with the right answers for each question your prospect has. 

Is cold email marketing legal? 

Yes. Cold emailing is perfectly legal!

BUT! 

Some laws regulate sending cold emails.

For example, there’s GDPR in the EU, CAN-SPAM Act in the United States.

Generally, they allow for sending cold emails, so long as:

  1. The emails have a relevant business purpose
  2. The emails identify the sender along with a physical address
  3. The emails provide some sort of mechanism for the recipient to opt out of future emails

Is sending cold emails considered spamming? 

Spam is unsolicited, irrelevant mail.

So, can cold emails be considered spam

If you are indiscriminately mass emailing people wholly irrelevant to your business, with an irrelevant pitch that’s just clogging their email inbox, then yes.

Cold emails with the wrong approach can be spam, but they can also be a proper form of outbound marketing. 

Here are just a few examples of spammy tactics to avoid: 

  • You use clickbaity subject lines to trick people into opening your emails that have irrelevant body content
  • You force your email sending limit
  • You send emails to irrelevant people who are not interested in your brand for your business. 
  • You keep sending them emails every hour or every day
  • Even after they’ve told you they’re not interested in your brand, you keep sending them emails

With all that out of the way, let’s look at how to create your first cold email marketing campaign.

Creating Cold Email Marketing Campaigns

Earlier in this guide, I’ve outlined what goes into a typical email marketing campaign. Let’s go deeper into this now and see the steps you need to take to start cold emailing your prospects.

Step 1. Set Your Goals

Everyone wants more website traffic, a wider audience, or sales – but these are vague goals. When crafting your cold emailing campaign, you have to be very specific about what you want. 

Come up with your goals, and then work backward from there. Here are a few pointers on what your cold email goals should look like.

  • Scheduling A Call
  • Live Product Walk-through
  • Online Video conference
  • In-person meeting
  • Content Collaboration

How many clients do you want to get? 

If your conversion rate from a cold sales opportunity is 25% (just making up a number here), and it takes you 50 emails to get 1 reply, it’s going to take 200 emails to get 1 sale.

So, like this example, work backward so you know what you need to do.

Here are some other ideas:

Once you know your end goal, figure out how many emails you would need to send, on average, to make it happen.

Step 2. Identify Your Potential Customers and Build an Outreach List

Creating your buyer persona will give you a better understanding of your ideal customers – what are their pain points and how you can solve them.

In your ideal customer profile, you can include key factors like: 

  • Job title
  • Background 
  • Pain points & solutions
  • Demographic info 
  • Social status.

Here’s how to do it. 

Building an Outreach List

Prospecting is the first step in identifying your target contacts. 

Every time you plan a cold outreach campaign, this will be your first move – finding new relevant contacts to reach out to. They could be businesses you want to sell to, journalists you want to pitch a story to, or partners you want to work with. 

How to find prospects to email? 

There are many different ways and tools to find the right contact people. You can:

  • Look through online directories
  • Scrape search results
  • Use prospecting software

There are also prospecting tools that can help you find the right businesses. Prospecting tools include options like:

  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator – prospecting for customers
  • Postaga – prospecting for link building, podcasters, journalists, and sales
  • BuiltWith – prospecting by technology (good for sales outreach)
  • LeadFuze – prospecting for sales

Similarly, there are also online directories you can search through on different topics to find businesses in specific industries.

TIP: LinkedIn Sales Navigator Is Outstanding for Prospecting! 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium feature on LinkedIn that can help you target prospects relevant to your niche. 

You can filter your target audience based on features like: 

  • Users featured in the news
  • Title 
  • Company
  • Company size 
  • Physical location 
  • Niche-specific keywords 
  • Seniority level

You can also find prospects in Goole. Everything you need to know is right there, after all so you can start and search for relevant prospects right in the search engine. 

First, open a few Google sheets. Then, search specific keywords related to your business and put in the Google sheet any names, email addresses, and websites relevant to your industry so you can cold email them later. 

Once you’re done with the search results on the first page, start with the second page, and do this until you’re happy with the number of unique cold recipients you’ve found. 

How to Manage Your Prospects? 

Being organized is key in managing your prospects, so find a strategy that fits your style and stick to it. 

You can collect prospects based on their location. Find relevant names for the countries and cities you’re interested in and fill them in a Google sheet or Excel. 

Alternatively, you can do it based on the type of company you’d like to reach out to. 

For example, your Excel sheet can contain relevant information such as: 

  • Website domain 
  • Email address 
  • First and last name 
  • Company name 
  • Domain authority / Domain rating 

Once you’ve done all these, it’s time for a little spring cleaning. Remove for your Excel sheet: 

  • Duplicate emails 
  • Duplicate domains 
  • Invalid or bad emails 

Whatever you do, just make sure you keep track of all these key factors and update your sheet frequently once you’re done. 

The Importance of Email Verification

Email verification is an important step in your outreach campaign. You have to make sure that your messages reach out to a valid email address and a real person.

Anytime you send a message to an invalid email address, it’ll negatively affect your deliverability rate and increase the likelihood your other emails will go to spam.

TIP: Postaga has in-build email verification, which will happen automatically when you upload your prospects. 

Step 3. Write Your Cold Email Copy

I won’t deny it; coming up with a unique email for every cold prospect is time-consuming. Luckily, you can create a balanced template-personalized content ratio to reuse when you find yourself in similar scenarios. 

Overall, your cold email message should include the following elements:

#1. An engaging subject line

The subject line is the first thing your recipients will read, so make it on-point and catchy. 

Here are a few guidelines for crafting an eye-catching subject line: 

  • Make it short
  • Keep it simple
  • Be clear about the email topic
  • Don’t skip the subject line (if this wasn’t obvious already)

#2. An equally engaging opening sentence

The opening line is the conversation icebreaker so play your cards right from the beginning. 

Write your opening line based on different situations like: 

  • Common ground with the recipient (mutual connection, alumni, and so on)
  • An interesting statistic 
  • A special event
  • A compliment related to a recent accomplishment

#3. Your company’s unique selling proposition (USP)

The prospect needs to know why you deserve their attention. Support your claims with testimonials, statistics, and case studies. Add a quick video on how your product works to build a better connection with your audience.

Highlight the brand’s USP by focusing on the value you offer and less on the value you want. 

Your email body contains your USP. While pitching your offer, you must maintain proper email etiquette.

#4. A compelling CTA 

The CTA (call to action) is one of the key elements in cold emailing. It removes confusion and guides your customer on what they should do next.  A call to action is the request you are asking of your recipient. What action do you want them to take next?

However, don’t encourage your cold prospects to buy something right from the first email. You’ll come off as salesy or aggressive, and people will bounce off your email. 

Include an invitation to a meeting and a calendar link, or simply insert an interesting line that will provoke them to respond.

#5. Personalization

Remember that your cold prospects don’t know who you are – yet! So give them as much information as possible about your company. 

Include tags like: 

  • Name 
  • Company name 
  • Location 

Personalize your emails to a T, and don’t forget to use some humor too! Being professional is important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t crack a joke or two. 

Creating the Perfect Set-Up for Cold Email Marketing

Step #1. Set Up Email Provider – GSuite or Hosted

To send outreach emails, you need an email address.

So, you’ll need a domain to send from. Some people like to buy a separate domain rather than send it from their main domain to protect it just in case they get marked as spam. This way, their regular emails don’t end up in spam folders.

Step 2. Set Up Your Outreach Email

As mentioned above, you need to set a sending email from your domain. It can be either at a separate domain or a subdomain on your main domain (so instead of sending an email from “@yourwebsite.com,” it could be “@m.yourwebsite.com”). 

If you happen to be flagged as spam too often or too many emails bounce back, your main domain won’t be compromised.

Step 3. Set Up Your Profile

Your email profile consists of personal technical information like: 

  • User name (e.g., {your-name}@yourdomain.com)
  • Display name 

Step 4. Set Up Email Signature 

The email signature speaks volumes about your professionalism. It makes you look trustworthy and makes it easier for prospects to contact you. 

Here’s what you can include in your emails signature

  • Your picture 
  • Brand’s name 
  • Brand’s logo 
  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Social media handles
  • Social proof

TIP: Warming Before Launch

Warm-up each email address by understanding the sending limits your email provider sets. 

Postaga’s warm-up feature prevents your domain from being flagged as spam by sending just a few emails per day, increasing over 20 days to ramp up to 100 emails per day.

How to Schedule Your Cold Email?

Timezone and office hours are 2 different factors that are worth considering. Your emails must be among the first things your prospects see when they open their inbox. 

Statistics show that the best time to send emails is in the early morning or at lunch. 

Don’t send cold emails on weekends. People don’t check their inbox so often in their free time, and your messages will pile up with dozens of other unread emails. 

The Importance of Follow-up Email

Recent data shows that a follow-up email gets a better response rate than the first email. 

So just because you didn’t get a response, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow up!

In my experience, sending 2-3 follow-up emails with a 3 or 4-day gap proved the most effective approach. 

How to Fine-Tune Your Cold Email Outreach

Make sure that everything just works perfectly. 

Once you send your emails, there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s why testing cold emails are important before pressing that Send button. 

A/B Test Your Emails

Everyone is different, and that’s true when it comes to your prospects as well. Not everyone will like the same jokes, and not everyone responds the same to your CTAs. 

A/B testing will play a great role in the process of choosing the most attention-grabbing cold email. 

How to Keep Your Email Deliverability High

Constantly update your outreach list and delete email addresses that increase your bounce rate.

Likewise, use strong email authentication protocols to increase your email reputation like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

Besides, keep your email body short, concise, and honest. Don’t promise something that you can’t keep, and don’t be too pushy! 

Always Keep Track of the Results

Analyzing and evaluating outreach strategies are 2 essential steps to improve your cold email outreach results. 

This way, you’ll come up with better strategies and eliminate ineffective techniques. 

Discover Top Performing Emails and Campaigns

Once you find out what works best for your cold email outreach campaign, there is only one thing left to do – do more of it! 

Cold Email Marketing – Common Mistakes

  1. They forget to use a CTA. 
  2. They include too many links in their email body. 
  3. They are either too pushy or too unclear about what they are looking for. 
  4. They use generic cold email templates, and their message sounds too robotic. 
  5. They are not personalizing their cold sales emails enough. 
  6. They don’t do their research, so they end up sending sales emails to irrelevant people. 

That’s it…

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of the article! 

I know that’s a lot of information, but don’t worry – once you get started, everything will make sense. 

Postaga is a pretty intuitive tool to use for cold email outreach. Even if you’re at your first outreach campaign, it’ll take approximately 15 minutes to set it, and you’re good to go. 

But if you have any questions, don’t forget that you can always check our Learning Center section or – even faster, ask me directly!

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