The most cumbersome type of email marketing is going to be cold emailing a list. I always advise agains cold emails, even if it is a hand picked list of targeted prospect. It will always be better to start building a list through sign up forms, social media, and other opt ins, than just getting emails and start hitting the send button. That being said, if you absolutely must put a list together to start cold emailing you are going to want to try and make it as successful as possible by following a few steps to take a little “chill” off the emails.
I get that there may always be times when you will have to use a list of prospects and try to beak through into their inboxes without them opting in on some sort of form for reaching out to you first. I am not talking about “mass emails” or just putting them into a subscription on one of your email lists, I am talking about sending a personal emails to leads you have picked asking them to connect, visit your website, look at a product or services, or actually subscribe to a newsletter. Most of the prospects on lists like these will ignore the emails no matter how good your subject line and offer are. They send your email into the deleted folder, or even worse the junk mail folder. They ignore you emails because of a missing piece to your email campaign, having some sort of familiarity to the prospect.
Familiarity will give you a shot at the target opening your email and reading it.
Do they know who you or your brand is? Most likely not. There are thousands if not millions of companies that do what you do. Many of them are targeting the same kinds of individuals you are, trying to break through everyday. This is one of the main reasons why people don’t respond to most marketing emails, or even read the subject line. If the sending in unfamiliar the most likely reaction will be to move on. The inbox can be a hectic place. This is a big reason you will see email campaigns that end up with 3-12% open rate and zero clicks, zero replies.
While you cannot guarantee success of any email campaign, you will always have better results when the customer first asks to be a part of your email campaigns. If you are going to try and reach them before they even know who you are, you are most likely going to fail. Here are 5 steps I advise you take to try and warm up these leads and at least get a chance that they recognize you and your company when you make the first outreach.
1-Create Small Batches
Instead of the big list I would create smaller batches of no more than 25-50 targeted prospects at a time. Smaller batches mean you can take more care and time with each step. Don’t overwhelm yourself. This is what also allows you to fully develop some sort of familiarity with the prospect. Larger lists will lead to being careless and not follow through with the steps needed to increase opens.
2-Connect on social media
LinkedIn is the easiest one to use, but find these prospects on twitter, Facebook, anywhere you can and try to connect with them. And do not just start messaging them. Take time to find where your leads are active and do not just pick the first one you find. Also do not follow all of their accounts, this will come across negatively if they see you popping up all over the place.
For at least a week or two fond ways to comment and like their posts/work. You need to add to their posts by contributing additional info, or ask questions relevant to their content. It is easier to get someone to talk about themselves than to get them to listen to you talk about you. Contribute in a meaningful way so they notice and interact with you. You want them to see you as a someone who adds value and as a collaborative person.
You should always have good copy for your email campaigns, but I’ve worked at places that don’t want to invest in good copy on cold emails (Because it’s low success). But with thoughtful copy and if possible reference to some of their post topics you can prove familiarity and instill some trust. And you need to open with this, don’t let it get lost if the reader loses interest.
5- Have a clear and friendly CTA
Extend the feeling of familiarity with kindness. This is a top of funnel CTA and should be for something like feedback, trial, invitation for an event, some sort of PDF/One Sheet/White Paper or just to visit your website.
I will always believe that a warm list is the best possible investment in email marketing. The big ROI numbers that are shown everywhere are due in large part from having warm lists that are subscribed to by prospects that already have the familiarity with you and your company.
I do understand that there are times you will be asked to try and maximize a cold email campaign, I’ve been asked many times when I was working under the direction of other agencies. This is the best way I’ve come up with to improve the Open and Click rates and I encourage you to give it a try next time you are tasked with any cold email campaign towards targeted leads