At this point in my career I’ve created several businesses.
- A freelance career
- Information products
- A subscription offer
And I’ve also helped plenty of SaaS brands grow their revenue.
Most of the successes I’ve had with the above models can be traced back to one action. Cold email outreach.
Sounds crazy, but the initial traction and some of the biggest partnership campaigns I’ve had were all thanks to a few well placed emails.
Here’s why I still recommend cold email for business owners and marketers, and the process I use to get results.
Why cold email marketing?
Cold email is an action you, as a business owner, can fully control.
You can’t control the response or how it’s received.
But you can control what is sent, when it hits their inbox, and the volume of messages you send.
All of which can be tracked and improved based on success rates.
If you compare it to something like Social Media, where you have limiting elements that are out of your control like…
- Algorithms destroying your reach
- Group moderators banning your posts
- Difficulty in targeting specific people who have the ability to hire/buy
And so much more, direct outreach is an easier to refine approach.
Yes, social is great for promotion and getting the word out.
However, cold email outreach is a much better way at building true 1-2-1 connections in a short period of time.
Why cold email marketing doesn’t work for so many
Whether you’re sending outreach messages to open dialogues with…
- Potential customers
- Future clients
There are a few golden rules you need to follow to see real success.
Rule #1 - Don’t rely wholly on a template
Templates are easy to spot and easier to ignore. Take a look at the below for an example of an easy to ignore template.
There’s nothing in the message that makes me think this was specifically for me.
It is a 100% template that can be used across multiple businesses in various industries. It’s only purpose, to benefit the brand sending it.
As a recipient, there’s no benefit for me.
And if someone can’t take 5 minutes to write something for me, then I’m not going to waste 5 minutes considering their offer.
Sounds harsh, but when you get dozens of these emails per day you have to make snap decisions to save your own time and sanit.
Rule #2 - Offer some real personalisation
This is the difference between effective and ineffective message outreach.
A lot of marketers rely on really generic personalisation. Things that could apply to a hundred or more people.
We’re talking things like…
- “You’re killing it at [BRAND]”
- “How is sales treating you?”
- “I love what [BRAND] is doing”
These are too generic.
You've got to dig into the recipient and find something that helps your message stand out to them. It has to be something unique and genuinely personal to them.
There’s a great book on this by Ed Gandia of B2BLauncher on this.
The book, and the process, he’s called “Warm Email Prospecting” because you’re coming in with something relevant to the recipient.
Each message is handcrafted for the recipient, and so you’re more likely to get a response.
I’d recommend you pick up a copy of the book here.
But if you want a short primer, keep reading.
The golden rules for effective cold outreach
When you’re reaching out to potential customers or clients you have to remember that they’re busy.
They don’t want to spend time trying to understand the purpose of your message, what’s in it for them, or what they need to do to progress things.
Below I’ve listed my golden rules for effective cold outreach emails and messages. These should be followed regardless of the platform you use.
- Offer value
- Know when to quit
- The colder the email, the shorter the length
- 20/80 split of personalisation to templated message (more on this below)
- Quality > quantity is good, focus on highly qualified leads over sheer volume. But if you can hit quality + quantity you’re golden.
With those golden rules out of the way, let’s move onto the process and template I’ve used for multiple successes.
The basic process for cold outreach success
The format here is surprisingly simple and, when maintained, can be incredibly effective.
This is a snapshot of a recent cold outreach campaign’s results from my Lemlist account.
A 90% open rate and a 9% response rate. Much higher than most averages.
According to Woodpecker.co, the best response rate they’ve seen from “advanced personalisation” emails was 7%.
I’ve also written about the process in detail in the below piece.
But let’s break it down to an easy to understand model.
A visualisation of the model would look something like the below.