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What is cold email? (Definitive guide 2022)

20 min read
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Cold email is a popular method for B2B communication. One of the core reasons for this is that 80% of people prefer sales reps to contact them via email.

Cold emails expand the horizon of reaching your potential leads anywhere across the globe. It is a continuous and friendly process of turning your cold leads into potential customers.

One of the hurdles that sales reps and marketers face is getting a good response rate for their campaigns. We at Saleshandy have personally seen some cold email campaigns performing extremely great, and some going downhill. 

A cold email campaign only works if it is conducted correctly and you perfectly understand the nature of cold emails. To help you win with this, we have created a complete guide on cold emailing explaining every aspect in detail.

This guide covers topics like: 

  • What exactly is a cold email?
  • Why is cold emailing important?
  • Is cold email effective in 2022?
  • How to write a cold email?
  • Cold email templates
  • What are cold emailing tools?
  • Cold email in the era of GDPR

What exactly is a cold email?

Cold email meaning:

“A cold email is an initial email that is sent to a receiver in order to gain a benefit in terms of favor, sales, opportunity or any other dual-sided gain.”

In simple words, when you email someone you don’t know for some particular reason is cold emailing. Such emails aim to build a relationship with the prospect (your future customer) and move them forward in the sales funnel.

An easy and quick example of a cold email might be in your inbox right now, where the sales rep might have reached out to you for a product demo or wants to connect with you for a particular reason.  

Sales professionals from advertising, Saas companies, and even the IT sector believe in the power of cold emailing.  Companies like Uber, ProductHunt, Godaddy, and more use cold emailing as a major mode of communication. 

So, now that we have established the basic idea of cold emails let’s unwrap more. 

Why is cold emailing important?

There are countless reasons why cold emailing is important for a business. Here are the four most crucial ones:

Networking

A good sales professional knows how important networking is in today’s time. It might not always be possible to meet professionals face-to-face, but that shouldn’t limit you from connecting.

You can use cold email as a tool to reach out. You can share a short introduction about yourself and your company like you generally would communicate if you met in person. And if the recipient likes your honest effort, they might connect with you and help you expand your network.  

Lead generation

As the name suggests, cold emailing is a process towards lead generation. You start with building a relationship and slowly move towards converting them into valuable customers.

The biggest advantage of cold emailing is that it is highly targeted. That means you’re only focusing on an audience who are interested in your product/service. You can reach out to the prospects and make them aware about your product/service. 

Brand awareness 

Cold emails help build brand awareness because of the nature of the email.

They are generally targeted to prospects who have never interacted with your brand before. But might find value using your product/services.

Using cold email, you can introduce your product to them and improve brand awareness.

Scalability

Cold emails are scalable. You can send emails to multiple prospects and also measure their success. Based on the success, you can plan your next email strategically. A cold email outreach helps you reach thousands of potential prospects in a day. 

Evolution of cold emailing

Cold selling

“Whenever someone tries to connect to a stranger in order to sell something, it comes under cold selling.”

We can categorize the evolution of cold emailing under the umbrella of cold selling.

Before the technological era, people used to randomly connect with any audience and try to sell their product. We didn’t have a term for that at that time, but we can call it traditional or P2P (Person to Person) cold selling.

Direct mail

As the courier service was invented, companies saw a benefit in it. They started sending newsletters and promotional letters as a post to strangers. They saw a massive hike in their sale due to this methodology. This can be called the introduction stage of mass cold selling.

Cold calling

After that, as technology evolved and telephone was invented, sellers were able to sell their product/service by calling strangers and compelling them to buy their product. This is known as cold calling.

Pure cold calling was used by many but misused by some. The development of crime rates due to fraudulent calls had started, due to which there was a need for change.

Cold emailing

In the digital era, it has become annoying when one has to talk to someone in order to buy a product or gain some benefit. This is why cold emailing boomed.

Prospects gets the needed information and has time to think about whether or not to reply or take any action. This feature itself made cold emailing effective and viral.

This was the beginning of an era. Cold emailing had taken the steering for becoming the best and most preferred medium of cold selling, and it is going on till date.

Is cold email effective in 2022?

Larry Kim, the founder of WordStream, wrote a blog titled “This Is Why Cold Emails Are the Best Business Practice for Entrepreneurs.” The title says it all.

If cold emailing is done correctly, you can get a higher response rate and close more deals. 

Below are three reasons that make cold emails effective in 2022

1. Email usage is still on a growth trajectory

As shown in the graph, it has been predicted that the number of emails sent in the next few years will multiply itself, and in 2025, it might reach 376 Billion emails per day.

2. Millennials and B2B business decision makers are obsessed with email

Millennials are obsessed with emails. They would rather get an email for work purposes than get a phone call.

Reports suggest that 59% of millennials use their smartphone to check emails. That means there are high chances of your email being noticed and opened if it interests them. 

3. Cold emails boost your productivity 

This point makes cold email an imperative part of your journey. Cold emails boost your productivity as they can be tracked and measured.

Using a cold emailing tool, you can measure the performance of the emails and make necessary changes in the follow-up (step) based on your prospect’s behavior.  

Now that you have understood the effectiveness of cold emailing and its evolution over time.

Let’s move to the most important aspect of writing a cold email. A good cold email campaign (sequence) can have an open rate of 15%-25%. Follow along to know how. 

How to write a cold email?

How you write your cold email will determine how successful your email campaign will be.

You have to keep a few pointers in mind while drafting and creating your email. Make sure to add the following points while writing your cold email.

1. Subject lines are super important

It is the factor that will decide whether the prospect will open your email or not. It is the first contact with the receiver and should be written very strategically.

E.g., If two marketers email you for a product demo, which email are you more likely to open?

Marketer 1 – Product demo
or
Market 2 – Hey, John, you’re invited! 

The first seems like a regular promotional email, while the second builds curiosity. So, always add a catchy subject line. If your subject line catches your recipient’s attention, it will move them to open it.

Learn here: how to write a killer subject line.

2. Email body should be slim

The human attention span is decreasing as fast as developing technologies have changed our daily consumption habits. Some research has suggested that humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. Keep your email body as short as possible.

There are three parts of a cold email body:

  • Introduction– A section where you introduce yourself
  • Purpose– The reason to contact the prospect
  • Salutation – A greeting to thank them for their time

Add these three points to make your email prospect-friendly and to stay within the context of your approach.

Here is an example of a cold email –

Hey, John, 

Greetings for the day. 

I am Mark for Apptech, and I noticed you’re looking for a way to manage your daily schedules. You will be glad to know Apptech helps professionals to achieve this goal.

I would love to offer you a product demo and explore our app. Will this week be a good time to connect with you?
 
Thanks, 
Mark

3. Personalizing emails calls for extra points

When someone you have met after a long time remembers your name, you get a good feeling. The same psychology works with emails as well.

John won’t like to talk to someone who calls them “Hey Prospect” instead of “Hey John.”

Therefore always remember to personalize your cold emails before sending them. It matters more than you could imagine.

4. Follow-up (step) is inevitable

“80% of sales require at least 5 follow-ups (steps) after the meeting.” As per Saleshandy whitepaper

It is inevitable to get the deal closed with just one email. Prospects consume so much content these days that they have a short memory span for all the content they see online. Emails are no exception. That is the reason we need follow-ups (steps).

Thanks to modern-day cold emailing tools, one can add follow-ups (steps) with conditions and closely analyze the success.

5. Best time to send email

There are two different aspects you have to take care of when you’re deciding on when to send an email that will get you a positive response.

The time of day – After a study conducted on over billions of email addresses, the results showed the best time to send your emails out is just at around 10 AM. That’s when most emails are opened anyways, so the chances of your being opened grow dramatically.

If you don’t have a good reason for doing so, avoid sending your email before this hour of the morning. Never send emails at 3 or 4 AM, as those will look weird in the prospect’s inbox.

The day of the week – If you’re trying to reach business executives, Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually seen as the best response days in a week. Marketers say these are the best days for B2B emailing.

6. Find the right target audience and connect with them 

Your product is designed for an audience that can enjoy your product. In your cold email outreach, target the most likely audience to show interest and take action.

You can bifurcate your target audience in different segments as well. E.g.-

  • Companies-  IT companies, SAAS based companies, etc
  • Position – CEO, Vice president, Board member, Program Leader, Programmer, etc

Similarly, you can also bifurcate them in terms of the number of team members, organization size, etc. It completely depends upon you and your product how you want to do it.

After bifurcation of these segments, make sure you write a customized cold email copy for every single segment accordingly. The tone, structure, format, etc., should be tailor-made for the audience in that segment.

This will make you more relatable and increase the chances of them following your call to action.

Cold email templates

Getting started can be a little overwhelming, but you got our back. Now that you have a good understanding of cold emailing, you can start sending your cold email to your prospects.

Below are cold email templates to help you break the ice with your prospects. You can use them and make tweaks as you like.

Cold email templates to get started

Template 1- Simple and straightforward 

Hey {Name},

I am the at {Company}. I have reached out to you in order to tell you about this interesting app that we have launched. Being tech savvy, I think you might like it. We call it.

Do tell me if you want to learn what it is and how it works.

Thanks,
{Your signature}

Template 2- Connect over blog

Hi {Name},

I read your blog regarding {Topic of the blog} . It was an amazing read. The content spoke for itself and the tone was very well defined. 

Also, I feel like our tool can help you with the . We can also customize our tool for you as a thank you gift for writing such an awesome blog. 

Let me know if you are up for a chat or call anytime soon. I’ll be happy to hear from you.

Thanks,
{Your signature}
Get here: 50 Best Sales Email Templates That Will Get the Deal Closed.

Follow-up (step)email templates to maximize your readership

Template 1- Directly address the Elephant

Hey {Name},

It’s me, again. This is just a follow-up email in order to remind you that the offer we were talking is still on.

Thanks,
{Your signature} 

Template 2- Re-Connecting

Hey {Name},

Last time we talked you wanted to get in touch at around November. Since we are really close to the end of October, this is the reminder to the same.

Thanks,
{Your signature} 

You can use any email template to get started and if you want more email templates get them here: 100 cold email templates.

Things you need to do before sending a cold email

This brings us to the part where we talk about things to make sure before sending an email.

VESC is important to ensure your cold email campaign (sequence) has a high deliverability rate helping you reach your recipient’s inbox rather than their spam folder.

VESC – It is the acronym for the checklist that you will follow before hitting the send button. It stands for

  • Validate prospect list
  • Ensure clear CTA
  • Set follow-ups (steps)
  • Check email spam score

Let’s dive into these in detail:

1. Validate prospect list

Start with the validation of your email list. The prospects you are emailing should have some similarities. As mentioned earlier, you need to ensure that all these prospects are right.

So the first thing that you need to do while sending a cold email campaign (sequence) is to validate those email ids. Otherwise, you might not get effective results and get into trouble by sending the wrong email to the wrong person.

2. Ensure clear CTA

Here are the examples of CTA (Call To Action) that are popularly used:

  • Download the app now.
  • Get on the call now.
  • Subscribe to us.
  • Sign yourself up.

When sending an email, you need to make sure that you make only one clear CTA. Your reader should not get confused. E.g. –

Hey T’Challa,

It has been observed that users from your area are technologically advanced and sound. In order to give the most to you, we have also come up with the app. It is freely available on the app store.

Get the app for free here: <Link>

Thanks,

M’baku

3. Set follow-ups (steps)

Adding a follow-up (step) in your campaign is a smart move. It not only saves time but also boosts your efforts. How? When you set an auto-follow-up (step), there are different sets of conditions. Conditions like:

Not Opened – If you activate this condition, your email will be sent to all those who have not opened your email.

No condition – If you activate this condition, your email is sent anyway

Based on these conditions, you can filter out prospects who are genuinely interested in your product/service and chase them.

4. Check email spam score

Your email can be three things:

  • Awesome 
  • Okayish
  • Spammy

Which category does your emails lie in? Can you know it? Yes, you can. Thanks to mail-tester. It will spam score your email from 1-10 (10 being the best) and suggest changes accordingly.

You can increase your score by making small changes like setting up DKIM, SPF records, and Custom Domain Tracking. Always test your spam score before you get ahead with it.

What are cold emailing tools?

A cold emailing tool helps you in your outreach campaign. You can draft, create, and send your cold email campaign using the cold emailing tool.

Sending a cold email manually is a time-consuming task and it also limits you from explore features that can help you to send an effective campaign.

That’s why it is recommended to use a cold emailing tool.

There are plenty of tools out there. Here are some features you should look for while picking a cold emailing tool: 

  1. Email list and contact management – It is not enough just to find the right people to outreach to, you also need to manage and categorize it. Exactly what people to send the email, at what time, with what salutation, all these questions are answered with a good email list and contact management.
  2. Email deliverability- The tool must have maximum features to ensure your email lands in the primary inbox. If your emails land in the spam folder, you might not be able to achieve your desired goal.
  3. Adding follow-ups (steps) – Follow-up steps can play a big role in cold emailing. The tool should give you the ease of sending a timely follow-up. Your prospect will rarely respond to your first email.
  4. Recipient engagement Data – To understand how effective your cold email campaign (sequence) is, you need to have the engagement data. A good tool must provide you with this information. Information like:
    • Open rate – Total number of recipients who opened the email 
    • Response rate– Total number of recipients who responded 
    • Bounced rate- Total number of emails bounced 

The best cold emailing tools

Here is the list of cold emailing tools that we find works great and will work for you:

Saleshandy

Saleshandy is a cold email outreach tool that helps you send highly-personalized sequences to close more leads and improve your email productivity. 

It offers a good mix of cold emailing and email deliverability features like email sequences, follow-up steps, sequence analytics, email ramp-up, real-time writing assistance, and more.  

The platform is used by sales reps from different sectors (SaaS, IT, and agencies) and HR professionals. They offer one plan for cold emailing that prices at 25$. 

Woodpecker

Woodpecker is another cold email tool that provides you with personalization and campaign analysis features. You can integrate it with other tools like Zapier and PieSync. The Basic pricing starts at 39$.

Yesware

Yesware is another email productivity software that gives the feature of email tracking, email campaigns, and mail merge, making it a cold emailing tool. Yesware integrates with the salesforce and syncs user data directly there so that a user need not keep track of his logs in different systems.

The Basic pricing starts at 15$ if paid annually and 19$ if paid monthly.

Infographic

Cold emailing in the era of GDPR

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the revolutionary regulation by the European Union that made sure that the data and privacy of an internet user stay intact. This has a lot to do with a few data leaks that lead to people’s security issues.

In hindsight, this keeps the data of European Union citizens safe. Other countries have also started preparing these kinds of laws and made it loud and clear to the companies that when the privacy of their citizen is at stake, they will not take a back step.

So, how legal cold emailing is in this era of GDPR?

In short – If you are not doing anything wrong, not stealing their data, and cold emailing people after their consent has been given, you are pretty safe.

How are GDPR and cold emails related?

Because consent is important. As a cold email sender, you should stay aware of other people’s right to privacy. The user must be well aware of the fact that the information that you have has been provided by him.

You should be the one who makes sure that the users know it. After you’ve asked for consent from the individual to process his personal data, the latter must give it back to you freely, in the shape of a clearly stated “affirmative action,” as stipulated in the law.

After the GDPR, you are responsible for showing the proof that the client or the prospect that you have been cold emailing has affirmatively shown interest in opting-in to your mailing list and thus sharing their personal information with you.

If you are not found with legal legitimate proof, the punishment that a business could suffer from is pretty high. That’s why it is advisable to maintain the GDPR standards.

Sounds interesting enough to you? You can read the complete guide to email marketing after GDPR for more information.

Conclusion 

We hope you must have got a clear idea about cold email and the topics around it. 

Cold emailing is still a relevant and powerful tool to connect with leads, close deals, and build healthy work relationships. The only place where you can go wrong in your cold emailing journey is by not including the best practices in your email campaign.

Make sure you don’t miss out on the points mentioned in this guide. They will definitely bring in results as you keep progressing. 



Skyrocket your conversion rates with cold emailing

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