- What is a cold email campaign ?
- Step by step guide
- 1. Know why you want to send
- 2. Find you audience
- 3. Collect emails
- 4. Check your emails
- 5. Choose your cold email tool
- 6. Warm your email adresses
- 7. Write your cold email (A/B test)
- Create your follow up
- Send a test email
- Send you campaign smoothly
- Analyze your statistics
- Enroll emails
- Use an professional emailing solution for your next campaign
- As a conclusion
- Frequently asked questions
What is a cold email campaign ?
A cold email campaign is a prospecting technique that consists of sending an unsolicited email to a person. The relevance of a cold email campaign depends on your activity. For B to C, it is not relevant and not compliant with the GDRP, but for B to B (contacting professionals), it can be very effective.
– Direct to the email box
– Very high ROI potential
|– Difficult to implement|
– Long-term results
Step by step guide
To set up a cold email campaign there are several steps to follow. If you skip any of these steps, you have a very high chance of being punished by recipients and email providers. To get the best results, you should pay particular attention to the content and the method of sending. So don’t be in a hurry and weigh up every word.
1. Know why you want to send
As the term ‘cold email marketing’ becomes more and more common in the web marketing industry, before you start, consider why you want to send this type of campaign. Will you find enough prospects? What could you offer them? What would they gain from reading your email?
If you think this prospecting channel makes sense for your business, then you can keep on reading each of the steps below:
2. Find you audience
Who will you send your emails to? This is usually your customers and more specifically, the people who can appreciate your request, decide or forward your email.
Exemple 1 :
- Your business: You are launching a brand of connected bike lock
- Your target: cycle professionals who could distribute your lock
Exemple 2 :
- Your activity: You market a booking tool for hairdressers
- Your target: Hairdressers
In these two examples, we are talking about B to B. Knowing that it is an unsolicited email campaign, it is better to have a large target audience to have sufficient results. Indeed, even if some cold emailing tools promise you 80% opening rates and very high conversion rates, the reality is quite different.
3. Collect emails
Methods for finding emails
The manual method: You look for the emails yourself by browsing the contact sections of your prospects: This is long (too long for me)
The browser extension method: You can use the Hunter.io extension for example and find emails from any site. You can also check profiles on social networks and find emails via the Wiza extension for example.
Mass search via dedicated tools: Here too Hunter or Wiza, allow you to find emails from a list of urls. You upload a file and get the leads back after a few minutes. Interestingly, these tools give you a score, the source, and sometimes the department involved. There are other tools such as Leadfeeder or Leadgorilla but I haven’t tested them yet. For more details about email finder tools, have a look at this post about the best email finder tools.
Mass search via a freelancer: On Fiverr or Upwork, you will find a large number of freelancers able to find you emails. Some use dedicated tools (as above). Others use programming languages like Python to retrieve emails. Using a freelancer has the advantage of saving you time. You also don’t need to provide a list of websites or company names.
Personally, I rely on freelancers. I also have a hunter.io account that I use a bit to search, check emails and send campaigns.
4. Check your emails
This is a crucial step to ensure a good delivery rate! When you have an email list, it is imperative to check it and remove all the emails that are not valid. SaaS tools such as Hunter and Wiza offer this functionality as standard. When you retrieve an email list, you have the possibility to filter only the verified addresses.
If you don’t use one of these tools and you already have a large list of emails to check, you can use a tool dedicated to bulk email validation. I have personally tested Emaillistvalidation and it works very well.
On the lists of emails that I got, this tool only produced 74,9% of deliverable emails. You understand that in this case, it is imperative to use this type of tool. Otherwise, you are potentially sending 1 in 3 emails to an invalid email address, which is a strong signal to webmails that will end up sending you junk mail.
Do not try to send to “Accept all” emails, only send to “Deliverable” email addresses.
5. Choose your cold email tool
There are many tools, Hunter.io and Wiza mentioned above, that also allow you to send campaigns. They are very effective all-in-one tools.
However, I prefer to use a dedicated tool because the features are more advanced (A/B testing, automation, and especially email warming). I recommend Woodpecker. You can also consider Instantly and Lemlist, but the last one is very expensive because it charges by email account used. I have used the first 2 but all 3 tools have the particularity of offering an email warming feature which we will talk about next.
As a reminder, cold email campaigns should not be sent from a professional email router. These are designed to send a large number of solicited emails in a very short period of time. A cold email campaign requires to send the campaign from personal mailboxes such as Gmail, Outllook, Zohomail or from the smtp of your web server. The integration between your personal mailboxes and the cold email campaign creation tools is very easy.
So create some email addresses you will use for your campaign and fulfill all the steps to correctly add your email addresses in preferred cold emailing tool.
Add a CNAME entry in your DNS zone in order to track items with your own domain (custom tracking domain). This enhances deliverability. It is not mandatory but useful if you track clicks for example. Be careful on this last point, it is not recommended to track clicks. It is perceived as a commercial approach and therefore does not help your deliverability.
Don’t send from your own personal mailbox, because if your message ends up in spam, your friends might not receive your emails either. Create other boxes instead.
6. Warm your email adresses
You have created email boxes? You still need to “warm up” your boxes. Indeed, so that the webmails do not consider your mailbox as an outbox only, it is necessary to give it some content and seniority. If you don’t pre-warm your emails, you risk ending up in spam.
This is why it is highly recommended to use the few tools that offer this warming feature. In a few clicks, you delegate the management of your mailboxes and the tool takes care of sending emails from and to your new mailboxes. As you can see, it’s very powerful.
7. Write your cold email (A/B test)
Arrived here you have now :
- Your email deliverables only
- A cold email campaign management tool (if possible with email warming functionality)
- Personal boxes dedicated to your campaign, integrated into your tool
- You can now proceed with the creation of your campaign
The choice of subject is very important as it determines to a large extent the opening rate. The subject should be short, clear and attractive. Give preference to questions, personalized subjects, words that speak. Some examples (I have not tested these subjects):
Here is a great time saver for #COMPANY
Do you want to rocket your sales ?
Sender and reply-to
It is also important that the recipient understands that you are a real person and that you work for a company. Example: Bertrand Bestforblogger
You can specify a reply address different from the sending address. This is optional and allows you, for example, to centralise all return messages in one box. I advise against the “no-reply” option, which sends the wrong signal.
For good content, you can opt for the following structure:
- Who I am
- Reason for contact
- Presentation of the offer
- Incentive to act (click or respond)
There are some excellent email writing tools, such as Rytr. You can generate both email subject lines and content. There are many AI writing tools, if you want an overview of the best AI writers tools we consider, you can read this post. You can also hire a freelancer if you are not comfortable.
Tips : Do not overload your email (2-3 links maximum), and adding emoji can useful to increase your open rate.
Add a signature at the bottom of your email so that people can clearly identify you. This gives your email a more professional feel.Think of the unsubscribe link. This allows you to stop follow-ups and helps to improve your deliverability.
Create your follow up
You can add a follow up to your campaign. For example, you send the same content with a different subject line 1 week later, unless the recipient opened the first email. There are several scenarios, this allows you to automate the follow up.
Send a test email
Testing is not doubting. So when everything is ok, test your campaign with a test email list (your personal email for example). This allows you to get a real feel for the email your prospects will receive.
Send you campaign smoothly
There’s no need to send your emails quickly. The slower the better. I recommend sending 100 emails per week, per mailbox. If you synchronise 3 mailboxes with your tool, you can send up to 300 mails per week, which is already good.
If your tool allows it, start by sending few emails in the first few days, then increase the volume in the following weeks.
You can also outsource the email routing. You will have to send the content and your list of prospects. However, I don’t recommend this method because it is not easy to find a reliable person in this field. Note that you will also have to integrate trap emails to check that the campaign is correctly sent.
Analyze your statistics
It is important to regularly check the statistics of your campaigns. This allows you to intervene quickly if the opening rate starts to drop, or if some emails are going to spam. If this is your case, change your subject line, the content of the email or reduce the frequency of sending.
Below my results of a cold email campaign. At the beginning I reached around 35% open rate but it started to decrease a bit till 28%. My aim was to get people to click. As response rate is an important factor, get your contacts to respond to you to increase the likelihood of reaching the inbox.
Once your cold email campaign is complete, you can extract the data and qualify your prospect base:
- Not interested
This allows you to focus on the prospects interested in your business and archive the others.
Use an professional emailing solution for your next campaign
Once you have done all these steps, you can switch to a professional email router and industrialize your campaigns. If you use WordPress, we recommend 3 tools on this page. Otherwise, Sendinblue offers an affordable price for small volumes.
As a conclusion
Launching a cold email campaign is not easy. But if you execute each of the steps below correctly, the results can be excellent! Be thorough, choose your words carefully and don’t be in a hurry.
Well orchestrated cold email campaigns can become your most profitable acquisition channel.
Sum up of the tools I recommend to achieve your cold email campaign
- Leadfeeder : To find prospects
- Hunter : to find and verify emails
- Rytr : To give you content ideas and write great content
- Woodpecker : All in one tool to launch your cold email campaign
Frequently asked questions
I hope this experience sharing on how to set up a cold email campaign was useful for you. If you have any questions or remarks on the subject, please leave them in the comments.