When done right, cold email marketing can boost sales and grow business networks at a fraction of the cost of other traditional marketing routes.

But just like how there’s a lot that can go right with an effective cold email outreach campaign, without a proper setup, a lot can go wrong as well.

In this guide, we’ll cover the techniques on how to set up an email campaign for success long before hitting send.

  • Cold Email Marketing Explained
  • Cold Email Statistics
  • Setting Up Your Email for Cold Outreach
  • How to Write Cold Emails

Let’s dive in!

What Is A Cold Email?

A cold email is an initial email sent to a prospect without prior contact. Similar to cold calling, a cold email is less intrusive and, when properly prepared, a great way to initiate a conversation.

But since cold emails are unsolicited emails, how do they differ from spam?

Unlike bulk spam, cold emails target a relevant audience, are more personalized, and don’t include fake or deceiving content. The primary goal of a cold email is to start a conversation and ultimately exchange value.

What Is Cold Email Marketing?

Cold email marketing is a marketing strategy that uses cold emails as the first step of communication with a list of prospects.

Sales and marketing teams in many industries use cold email marketing as their primary outreach method. Sending cold emails can help expand networks, get calls booked, and create partnerships between brands.

Cold Email Statistics

So by now, you may be wondering, how effective is cold email outreach?

Studies show that:

Cold Email Marketing Strategy

cold email strategy

Without further ado, let’s go over strategies you can use to maximize the results of your cold email outreach campaign.

Setting Up Your Cold Outreach Strategy

Before going all in, we want to make sure our emails look professional and don’t end up in the spam folder. We can do this by:

  • Choosing the right email service provider.
  • Having an authentic email profile.
  • Adding an email signature.

Choosing the Right Email Service Provider

Email services can be either paid (e.g. [email protected]) or free, like a free Gmail account.

Going the paid route is always recommended for an email campaign.

That’s because paid domain emails:

  • Look more professional.
  • Have higher daily sending limits.
  • Are more trusted by humans and email spam filters.

Having an Authentic Email Profile

Having a welcoming email profile picture will put a face to your name and make your outreach more professional by adding that extra layer of authenticity.

Adding an Email Signature

Like most aspects of email outreach, keeping things simple is the way to go, and that includes signatures.

But unknown to many, a signature is a great place to get more value out of your outreach.

Apart from your name, professional title, contact information, and social media links, you can also maximize your signature by adding a call to action or booking links.

Avoiding The Spam Folder

Now that you have a professional email account set up, the primary goal is reaching prospects without landing in the spam folder.

1. Setting Up Email Authentication

Email providers verify where and who emails are coming from through SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols.

Before we get too tangled up in the technicals, you can check your SPF and DKIM status with these tools:

If the results come back in the red, you can check this guide on how to set up each one with your email provider.

2. Setting Up a Custom Tracking Domain

Having a custom tracking domain allows you to track open rates for your emails using your own exclusive tracker.

If you’re looking to track open rates without a custom tracking domain, then you’ll have to use a shared tracking domain.

While unlikely, a spammer may also be using the same shared tracking domain, which can put your sender reputation at risk.

Learn how to set up your custom tracking domain with Instantly.

3. Email Account Warm Up

A brand new email account will have sending limitations and will need warming up to prove it’s being used by a real person before it can send cold emails in bulk quantities.

Warming up an email can be done manually or automatically (recommended), and ideally should be done 2 weeks before a cold email campaign.

To manually warm up an email, you’ll need to send daily emails, subscribe to newsletters, and maintain conversations with recipients so that it’s obvious the email is in use by a real person.

With Instantly, you can easily automate your email warm up process to save time and fully optimize email deliverability.

4. Verifying Emails Before Sending

Before starting a large-scale cold email outreach campaign, it’s important to know if the email addresses in your list are valid.

That’s because sending cold emails to addresses that don’t exist will cause them to “bounce,” and negatively affect your sender reputation.

There are plenty of free online tools to verify emails. When in a hurry though, we like to use the Bulk Email Checker.

Collecting An Email List

You don’t want to send a cold email to just anyone, but rather to a relevant target audience.

When it comes to building an email list, it can be done through opt-in lead generation or by going out and manually looking for emails. Be sure to:

  • Save your email list as a CSV file.
  • Use trusted sources to collect emails (LinkedIn, Facebook, business websites, etc.)

Once your email list is ready in CSV format, it’s time to prepare the heart of your email campaign, the email itself.

Writing Cold Emails That Get Replies

Writing a targeted cold email using tried and tested methods will make your email stand out and shine. And it starts with…

1. The Subject Line

We mentioned earlier that short and catchy subject lines have a higher open rate than longer detailed ones, but open rates are not the end goal of a cold email.

When writing a subject line, the following mistakes can have a high open rate, but will likely result in zero responses:

  • Using provocative or misleading subject lines to trick someone into opening an email.
  • Choosing overused subject lines found on outdated lists.
  • Using emotionally manipulative/passive aggressive subject lines i.e. “I’m only trying to help you…”
  • Using ALL CAPS.

Here are ways to make your subject line stand out:

  • Personalization.

Mentioning the prospect’s name, industry, or anything that’s relevant to them will greatly increase open rates.

  • Being straightforward.

For example: when sending an invitation to a webinar, just write “Invitation for (prospect name)”

  • Building intrigue.

Unlike a misleading subject line, a catchy or intriguing title piques interest to learn more, and most importantly, the contents of the email should deliver on that curiosity.

Be sure to check out our examples of cold email subject lines that get replies for more inspiration.

2. The Introduction

Similar to the subject line, your opening must be attention-grabbing because this is where most people will decide whether to keep reading or delete an email.

Based on your research you can start by mentioning shared interests, targeting a pain point, or giving a genuine compliment.

3. Compelling Email Body

The body of your email should be clear and straightforward. Your prospects are busy people, so a long-winded email will likely go unread.

Without beating around the bush, focus on what pain point you can solve, the value in your offer, or exactly why you’re reaching out.

4. Call-To-Action

A call-to-action (CTA) can be anything like a simple invitation to book a call or even to buy a product. At the end of your email, you want your prospect to take action by using a CTA that guides them to the next step.

Sending Cold Emails In Bulk

Even with an old warmed-up email, there’s a limit to how many emails you can send in a day before your sender reputation takes a hit.

So how much is too much?

The answer depends on the email provider.

Below are some examples of daily limits for popular email service providers:

  • Free Gmail account: up to 500 messages per day.
  • Google Workspace (formerly G Suite): 2000 messages per day.
  • Office365: 1000 messages per day for non-relationship recipients (i.e. cold emails).
  • GoDaddy Workspace Email: 500 messages per day, max 300 per hour.

It’s important to note that these daily limits will require email warmup for you to get to them. When you start a new email address (especially from a new domain), you will be severely limited since your email doesn’t have much of a sender reputation yet.

Key Takeaways

A successful cold email campaign can yield some of the best ROI for your business. Using these strategies and keeping track of metrics will help you understand what’s working and what needs tweaking to get the most out of your cold outreach campaign.

As part of your cold email marketing strategy, remember to:

  • Use a professional paid domain email.
  • Boost your sender reputation by warming up your email address before a campaign.
  • Use personalization to increase engagement.
  • Keep track of metrics to gauge your campaign’s success.