October 14, 2020
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Cold Emails

In theory, email outreach is so simple that a lot of small businesses assume there’s some sort of catch.

Like, it’ll never work. I’ll never get any responses.

And even if I do manage to convert a prospect, it’ll only be a small deal anyway.

But that’s just not true. Cold email outreach is still a super effective tactic that can help small businesses win big contracts.

B2B buyers prefer to be contacted by email. And that shouldn’t be surprising – after all, email allows them to respond at a time that suits them, share information with other internal decision-makers, and re-read specific details at a later point.

However, crafting an effective email campaign takes planning. You can’t just expect to fire off 1,000 generic emails and earn a ton of cash. It takes a little expertise to develop a cold email strategy that delivers real results for your business.

Cold Emails for Sales

Use these tips to generate great leads from your cold email outreach:

1. Define Your Ideal Persona

Many small businesses see their email outreach strategy fail because they’re not 100% clear on who they’re trying to reach.

If you don’t fully understand the type of business – and the person within the business – that you’re selling to, you’re just not going to see the best results.

Sales prospecting is all about finding potential buyers or clients, but to do it successfully, you need a clearly defined buyer persona. Without it, you’re operating on gut feel alone.

The best buyer personas are backed up by data and research, such as interviews with your existing clients, or surveys of decision-makers within the industry you’re targeting.

Use this information to build a persona that helps you answer a bunch of questions about your target prospects, such as:

  • Where are they based?
  • What is their job title?
  • What are their immediate business goals?
  • What challenges are stopping them from achieving those goals?
  • What is the implication of failing to hit those targets?
  • How much (if anything) do they know about your product?
  • Have they worked with your competitors before?

2. Generate a List of Prospects

Now that you clearly understand the people you want to reach, you can start building up a list of prospects who match your ideal persona.

During the initial research phase, you might have identified multiple personas. Let’s say you sell a marketing SaaS product; you’re predominantly trying to reach marketing leaders (like VPs of marketing, marketing directors and CMOs).

But a marketing director at a small business will likely have very different priorities and motivations than the CMO of a multinational enterprise.

To make matters more complicated, personalization is super important. Buyers are savvy, so don’t expect them to respond to a generic email that’s clearly been sent to thousands of other people.

That’s why effective segmentation is crucial to building prospect lists. Create multiple lists for the specific persona you’re targeting and the type of message you’re sending.

3. Quality Over Quantity

No doubt you’ve got a lot to say about your product and all the ways it can help your prospects save time and money.

But you don’t need to say it all at once.

Nothing puts off a prospect like opening an email to see huge chunks of copy. If you can’t communicate your message in three or four short sentences, it’s too complicated. No one’s going to read it, let alone respond. You got to add something that looks appealing and resonates with them.

For example, in restaurant marketing, owners should pull a report from your point-of-sale system (POS) and figure out what your top-selling items are. Then, take that list and start promoting them in your email outreach, adding pictures to grab their attention.

As well as keeping your copy concise, there are a few other best practices to bear in mind when it comes to cold email outreach:

  • Create an eye-catching subject line, aiming for around seven words/41 characters
  • Make it scannable by using short paragraphs, bullet points and numbered lists. According to studies, the ideal email length is about 100 words if you want to maximize CTR and response rate.
  • Add real value that highlights your knowledge of the market and compels your prospect to learn more
  • Demonstrate your credibility by providing social proof
  • Write personalized copy that clearly speaks to the needs of your prospect
  • Include a clear CTA that makes it obvious what you want the prospect to do next. Should they download your pdf? Email you back? Book a meeting via Calendly?

4. Invest in Tools

Sure, anyone can send a few emails.

If you’re only sending a dozen a day, you can probably handle most or all of the work yourself.

But if you actually want to send emails at scale – which you’ll likely need to do if you’re going to bring in enough leads and grow your business – then you need a little help.

In other words, you need a tool or software stack that allows you to send thousands of highly effective, personalized emails a month, without requiring you to spend all day, every day typing them out and sending them yourself.

Fortunately, there are a bunch of fantastic tools that automate huge chunks of the cold email process, such as:

  • Mailshake: A sales engagement platform that enables salespeople to craft super personalized outreach campaigns via email, social and phone. Upload a list of prospects incorporating personalization fields like name, phone number and links to social profiles, and even add fully personalized sentences and paragraphs.
  • Right Inbox: Add your highest-performing emails with a single click and schedule automated follow-ups if contacts don’t respond within a specified window.
  • Voila Norbert: Find new email addresses and verify the ones you have for target prospects, helping to reduce bounce rate from your email outreach.

5. Follow-Ups

You’ve crafted the perfect introductory email and sent it to a prospect, but they haven’t replied.

At this point, a lot of salespeople give up and move on. But if you do that, you’re potentially missing out on a ton of deals.

Sometimes, prospects just need a bit of prompting. They’re busy, and replying to your first message likely isn’t their biggest priority, so if you follow up multiple times, you’ll increase your chances of getting a response.

When it comes to crafting quality follow-up emails, there are a couple rules to bear in mind:

  • Keep on personalizing: Don’t get lazy and send the same generic follow-up to everyone. Keep on referencing your prospect’s pain points and reinforce how your product offers a solution to the specific problems they’re facing.
  • Have a reason for following up: It’s tempting to send a “just chasing you up” message as a follow-up, but emails like that just don’t add any value. There needs to be a genuine reason for you to send this message in the first place – like, maybe your prospect has just got a promotion. Or maybe you’ve just launched a special offer, like a free trial. Or maybe you’ve published an explainer video or carried out some unique research that would be useful to your prospect. If you don’t have a reason for following up, you’ll just get a ton of unsubscribes.

6. Record Your Success

Always track what works well and what doesn’t, and use the information you’ve learned to improve the performance of your cold outreach going forward.

With sales emails, there are so many metrics you can track and elements you can test. For instance:

  • Which subject line generated the most opens?
  • Which CTA resulted in the highest number of responses?
  • Which variant of your sales pitch led to the most product demos?
  • Which blog or case study received the most link clicks?
  • Which email format produced the most sales?


The best way to get started with cold email? Just do it.

Find a bunch of prospects who match your ideal persona. Make use of the tools at your disposal that makes it simple for you to send cold emails at scale. Then just get on with testing different approaches – different elevator pitches, different introductions, different closers.

And when you start to see results, do more of what works.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “How to Use Cold Emails to Grow Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends