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Cold Email Marketing 101: Guide to Effective Cold Email Campaigns

9 min read
Updated Nov. 3, 2023
Published Jul. 22, 2022

Why You Need Cold Email Marketing

Cold email marketing is used to reach out to potential customers who don’t know you yet. 

As with cold calling, the intention of cold emailing isn’t to email your entire target audience about your products or services (if it was, it would be called spam). Instead, a good cold email should introduce legitimate solutions to customers who are likely to benefit. 

You and your team can use a sales technology like Salesloft to scale parts of your cold email marketing campaign. In doing so, your reps can learn more about hot leads and build stronger relationships.

Below, we’ll discuss the finer points of a good cold email. We’ll also go over tips for cold email lead generation, including how to boost conversion rates for your cold email campaign.

Building the Best Cold Email for Marketing

To build the best cold email for your target audience, research your prospects’ pain points. Address their needs quickly and effectively while introducing the value of your email message. 

For example, if your prospect is content with their current processes, your email won’t have much of an impact. However, if you draw their attention to an unrealized need, you have the opportunity to educate them about the solutions. 

Try to be as concise as possible. Your email copy should ideally be no more than 50 words. Salesloft data shows that sales emails should avoid bullet points.

Finally, include a relevant call-to-action (CTA). Your future customer may not be open to setting up a meeting, but they may be interested in learning more about your services through a demo or case study.

8 Tips for Converting Leads from Cold Email Marketing

In the age of social media, email—and especially cold emails—may seem like yesterday’s news. However, according to McKinsey, email is nearly 40x more effective than social media for customer acquisition.

In short, email isn’t dead. To launch an effective cold email outreach campaign, check out these 8 tips for converting leads.

1. Nail the Email Subject Line & Close

Your subject line can influence whether a prospect opens your first email and every subsequent email thereafter.

Cold email subject lines will vary according to your message and your recipient. That said, we’ve found that there’s an 87% higher reply rate when you use just one word in your subject line. 

Salesloft data also shows higher response rates when all words in the subject line are in lowercase. Interestingly, including a number in the subject can also boost response rates!

Overall, your email body should be simple, warm, and empathetic. When it comes to the closing line, “Best” checks all of our boxes for increased response rates. More formal sign-offs like “Sincerely” and “Regards” aren’t performing well anymore, whereas “Cheers” is adequate but not the best.

Lastly, keep in mind that one size doesn’t fit all. Choose technology that tracks which subjects are boosting open rates and which email messages are securing replies.

2. Move Email Leads from Marketing to Sales  

For cold email marketing to be effective, the sales hand-off must be seamless. All emailed communication between a sales development rep (SDR) and a lead should be available to the account executive (AE). 

With the help of a sales engagement platform, all activity logged to the contact survives the hand-off. 

AEs can then quickly reference past correspondence and learn everything they need to know about a prospect’s pain points. Additional notes, such as existing concerns or time between replies, will also be preserved.

Furthermore, if the cold email evolved into a sales call, a sales engagement platform that includes call recording software will automatically log the activity and transcribe the call for reference at any point in the sales cycle. In addition to an SDR’s notes, recordings offer personal insights on prospects for the AE to use.

By logging and centralizing key information, your team can set a solid framework for future accounts.

3. Personalize the Message

A good cold email strategy includes personalization. Try to define a starter conversation based on their pain points, the company’s goals, or mutual interests. 

Although every email recipient is different, personalization can make all the difference between landing a new customer and landing in the spam folder. 

We’ve found that senders who increase their “Day 1” email personalization from 0% to 25% skyrocket their reply rate by up to 300%.

Likewise, positive reply rates increase 4x when going from 0% to 20% personalization. We’ve also seen similar increases in positive sentiment with 30% personalization. 

To ensure personalization isn’t a monumental task for your sales team, you can scale your email campaign with cold email templates.

Platforms like Salesloft allow sales reps to create and implement personal or team-wide templates with customizable variables. Not only does this save time, but it ensures that your most effective messages are easy to replicate for your newest leads. 

4. Time Your Email Outreach

With the right technology, you can narrow down when your target audience is most likely to check their email.

The best time will vary depending on your prospect’s habits, location, and industry. Salesloft data reveals that any day except for Friday afternoon and Saturday can work well!

Mailchimp similarly found that no particular weekday stands out. However, when it comes to the best time of day, Mailchimp’s research shows that 10 a.m. (in the recipient’s local time zone) is the most optimal. 

As always, experimentation is key. Our all-in-one sales engagement platform uses timezone detection and email automation to ensure salespeople hit their best windows.

5. Rely on the Data

One of the greatest advantages of a sales engagement platform is real-time analytics. Through analytics, sales teams gain relevant, reliable data to help optimize their cold email tactics and email sequences. 

For example, step analytics will pinpoint the best (and worst) performing steps in your multi-channel messaging. You’ll know how many opportunities are created per step, plus when and where people are leaving the cadence. 

Is there one step in your process that is deterring prospects from talking to you? Which cadence is converting leads in the shortest amount of email touches? Which isn’t?

With analytics, your team can answer questions like these and much more. 

You can also utilize A/B testing and other cadence analytics to improve your cold email messaging. You might evaluate subject lines, formatting, content changes, and other conditions to narrow down your most effective message.

6. Give Prospects Time to Get to Know You

According to research, the majority of sales reps stop contacting prospects after three to four touches, but it’s been proven that emailing the same contact at least six times leads to 2x more responses.

With this in mind, remember that prospects are still getting to know you, so don’t waste too much time with personalization. Keep contact simple during the first four steps of your multi-channel messaging so they start to recognize you as a sender. 

Then during touches five through six, you can utilize sales technology to quickly add personalization and other time-consuming tasks, like phone calls. 

You should also choose a sales engagement platform that allows in-thread replies. Not only will this save you time in your day-to-day, but it allows you to bump messages back to the top of your workload and stay engaged with your list of prospects. 

The same platform should provide reporting software so you can track touches and monitor performance metrics. 

7. Use What You Learn Over Email

If that initial email doesn’t stick, you and your team can still learn from the recipient’s response.

For example, if routed to a different team member, your seller has a new contact within the account and an opportunity to learn from the point of contact. This new POC may have more questions than the previous contact, but they may also be more willing to schedule a call.

Alternatively, you might learn that a prospect is already using a competitor. Rather than dropping the lead, this could be the perfect segway to discuss what your solutions achieve that your competitor doesn’t. 

As we’ve said, every recipient is different. Use the intel you’ve gained to produce more personalized communications in the future.

8. Send One Last Message

In your final follow-up email, thank them for their time and acknowledge their refusal of your product or service. 

Next, tell the prospect about the ways you’ve tried to reach out to them and ask which is their preferred method of communication (email, text, phone, and so on).

Although they’re not interested, you’ve learned how this company or POC likes to be approached. This may be used for future opportunities, such as contacting other decision-makers at a later date. 

Either way, you’ve gained vital intel!

Track & Automate Cold Email Campaigns with Salesloft

A successful cold email strategy can kickstart a long and fruitful customer relationship—but without a way to scale your approach, you’ll end up spending more time on admin than selling.

With Salesloft’s sales engagement platform, teams gain the tools to track, scale, and learn from their cold email marketing campaign. 

Boost email deliverability and craft high-quality, personalized sales emails. Integrate with your email marketing tools and chosen email service providers like Gmail or Outlook in-app. Sync to Salesforce and Hubspot CRM and learn more about your sales funnel after every touchpoint.

Reach out today and schedule a demo to learn more.