A great marketing tactic that still works very well in many B2B industries today is cold email.

What is cold email?

Cold Email sends relevant offers to target people via email, usually without you having established a relationship with the recipient.

Be careful, as missteps can classify you as SPAM and move your communications straight to the Spam folder.

When cold emails are carried out correctly and with empathy, it is very possible to start conversations that will lead to sales.

It can make sense for you or your customers to start a slow email campaign at any time. A few targeted outbound emails sent to a handpicked list of destinations each day are a great addition to attracting potential customers for B2B sales.

You need a few things to be successful on cold email:

  • Qualified leads
  • Smart, relevant email
  • The right technology
  • A reasonable expectation of the results
  • Patience

Let’s get into that …

Lead identification

If you’re wondering who would be a good email prospect, one of the best approaches I’ve found is to use Apollo.io (free for ~ 15 leads / month with paid plans) to help businesses similar to you or yours Find customers who have waited before. For example, if your customer sells machines to process metal, they may have sold to Marmetal Industries, LLC. a metals company north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I can look for Marmetal in Apollo. On the right side I see the industry, the keywords and the annual sales of Marmetal:

With that information, I can click on the industry (Mining & Metals) and then add relevant keywords, e.g. B. “Cast forgings”.

My results now show 4 more companies that are similar to Marmetal:

As soon as I click on a company like “ALSTO”, I can see the employees listed.

The title of your ideal contact person (e.g. “Operations Manager” or “Purchasing Manager”) may or may not be listed. Don’t worry if they aren’t, you can still find their name and contact information!

Check their website. Check out LinkedIn. Even call the number listed on the website and ask for the name and email address of the destination you are looking for.

Pro tip: Once you know their name, you can determine the destination’s email address by figuring out the email naming convention used on the website. For example, you can use:

Apollo.io allows you to “reveal” some of the employee’s email addresses and safely guess the email for your destination.

Other tools you can use to find similar companies and employees:

Seamless.ai – It’s similar to Apollo.io.

Hunter.io – A great tool for finding email addresses

AnyMailFinder.com – Similar to Hunter.io

You can also just search for LinkedIn. Under “Contact Information,” check the target’s LinkedIn profile:

As you identify your destination list, create a table with the following elements:

  • First name
  • Surname, surname
  • Name of the company
  • city
  • Industry

I recommend a Google Sheet because it’s easy to interact with your team when multiple people are looking for contact information.

After you have a target list of 10, 100, or even thousands of targets, let’s write the emails to start a conversation.

write e-mails

Before you start writing your email, consider the goal.

They don’t know you

You are busy.

So you need to make your emails clear, specific, and actionable. If you miss any of these three components, your open and response rates will suffer!

Let’s get to the rules for writing emails:

Rule # 1 of cold emailing: Do not be misleading.

You’re cold by email. Your prospect should know.

I’ve seen people use “tricks” to start conversations, such as suggesting that “a mutual friend mentioned your name”. This is downright misleading and will only damage your relationships.

You should never use subject lines like “re: your account will be closed”. Yes, this will get a very high open rate and you will get spam complaints. Do not do that. Be a good person!

Rule # 2 of cold emailing: Honor the prospect’s time

Short, clear emails honor the prospect’s time. Just have them removed from email tracking. You want prospects to say “hell yes” or “no”.

Rule # 3 of cold emailing: Give a clear call to action

Again, keep it simple. What should the prospect do? Usually I want them to answer me just so we can talk. You may want them to share the name and email address of the right person in the organization to talk to. Whatever it is, give them a quick way to “finish” the email.

Cold email rule # 4: Relax your desire to pursue everything!

When you email your mom or best friend, do you add pixels to get a read receipt as soon as they open the email? Is there an unsubscribe button? Are you littering your email with free reports? NO! So don’t do that once you start out with cold emailing.

Treat your email like you’re sending your best friend.

Rule # 5 of cold emailing: Be talkative.

You want your email to be read, right? Sounds like a real person! Don’t use overly technical language or be overly formal. Be talkative. Write to your best friend again.

Likewise, you should speak in your subject lines.

A great way to shorten cold email writing time is to swipe and rewrite successful cold emails. Check out Good Sales Emails to see what the “big dogs” like Adroll, Gusto, Zenefits and Callrail are sending. You can rewrite these sequences for each branch.

How to send cold emails

There are two ways to send cold emails: manually and with an automated tool. Depending on your market size, you may not need to use an automated tool.

If you just use a google sheet of your goals mixed in with Gmail and another mail merge, you can have great success sending emails. Sending the emails through your Gmail or G Suite account is a good approach if you are sending targeted emails to fewer than 100 new destinations per week. As you send more email, there is an increased risk of spam complaints and your Gmail account being locked.

The best solution is to send targeted messages via email letting you know exactly what you want. Do not try to outsmart the spam filters. They either send cold, targeted emails or they spam. Don’t spam!

If you feel safe from your domain, we recommend buying a domain that is similar to your primary domain and is used solely for cold email. For example, AcmeProducts.com might buy AcmeMail.com for cold email.

If you go this route, you will need to set up a new G Suite account. Start slowly and send 5 new outbounds every day. Then after a week increase to 10, then to 20, then to 30, then to 50 … Your domain is building a good reputation as your recipient’s inboxes let your email through. If you try to send 500 cold emails with a new domain on the first day, the majority will likely not even reach the destination’s inbox.

For information on automated tools, see:

Reply.io – Both a platform for automatically sending emails and a lead platform. You can import leads from Apollo.io, Seamless.ai or a past trade fair or purchase of leads from Reply’s partners.

Autoclosses – Reply to competitors

Mailshake – An industry leader

There are many, many more automated cold email tools out there. If necessary, choose the one that best integrates with your tech stack.

bonus: Reply.io, Autoklose, and other platforms have email templates that you can import and rewrite.

Expected results from cold emails

Recently I was part of a cold email project that sold a lot of tickets.

11,817 goals were achieved, 125 answered. That’s a 1% response rate.

Mind you, the offer wasn’t as relevant as it could have been.

The 1% response rate was reasonable for the campaign and the sales were high. Note that of the 125 responses, 99 were interested. That’s 79% of the answers.

Ask the sales team you work with if they’d be interested in seeing two additional qualified leads fall on their laps every week. I am sure you would get an excited response!


Remember, the goal of cold emailing is to start a conversation, not close a sale.

When you factor in the cost of paid advertising or attending a live network event to generate leads, cold email can be very inexpensive! Adding cold emails as a way to keep track of a list of attendees at an event can help your customers get more sales with very little additional expense.

As long as you stay connected to your heart and strive to provide the best experience possible for those you email, you can build real relationships that can turn into quality long-term customers. If you try to cut corners, post misleading headlines, or get aggressive in your email CTAs, expect these relationships to go away along with your profits!

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