The article ‘Creating Cold Email That Convert: The Complete Guide’ was originally published in 2019. It has been reworked and modernized for 2021.
If you’re having trouble creating cold emails that convert, don’t worry. You’re about to learn everything you need to know to make sure your cold campaigns get the results you’re looking for.
In this article we’ll cover everything – from sourcing cold contacts and cleansing your list, through creating email content and landing pages that resonate with your contacts, all the way to the moment they enter your funnel and you can push them into your marketing automation or CRM software.
And we’ll do it without getting lost in the weeds. Everything here is easily, immediately actionable!
Creating Cold Emails That Convert: The Complete Guide
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Where to find cold contacts
- Cleansing your list before sending
- Maintaining your IP’s sender reputation
- Creating effective cold email content (and landing pages)
- Nurturing unconverted contacts
Part 1: Where to Find Cold Contacts
We’re addressing this first because everything, including getting conversions, depends on your contact list.
If you’re sending to the wrong audience, you won’t get any kind of positive result, so it pays to pay attention here.
Your first step towards acquiring a contact list should be to figure out what kind of contacts you need. That means identifying your target audience – you can read more about that here.
Once you have a clear idea of what sort of contacts you need, it’s time to go get them. This is critical: ensure you purchase contacts from a reputable data provider. If you’re unsure where to find one, get in touch with us. We partner with a number of excellent data vendors we can direct you to.
Why is this so important? Because if you get your list from a provider that collects data the wrong way, you’re wasting money and hampering your future cold campaigns.
Lists vendors who gather data by scraping it instead of aggregating will be full of bad addresses. Not only is that useless to you, sending to a pile of bad addresses can hurt your sender reputation, which impacts future campaigns. We’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Assuming you’ve got your hands on a list from a good vendor, the bigger that list is, the better your results will be. The most impactful email lead generation happens when you’ve got a large list.
Summary: Make sure you have a well-targeted contact list sourced from a reputable data provider. The bigger it is, the better your results will be.
Part 2: Cleansing Your List
Even if you got your list from a top-notch provider, you still need to clean it up. Any email list will naturally decay over time, as people abandon email addresses, switch jobs, and so on.
Sometimes, previously-valid emails are repurposed as spam traps, and you need these gone before you send as well.
Generally speaking, contact list verification and cleansing is a service you’ll need to pay a third party for. If you’re using Clickback, however, your lists are automatically put through a series of best-in-class, rigorous verification and cleansing processes and hygiene checks as soon as you upload them.
The purpose of this is to strip out any addresses that you don’t want to send to before you send. This preserves your deliverability and sender reputation, and it’s a critical step.
Summary: Ensure your lists are clean before you send to them. If you’re using Clickback, this is a built-in feature, otherwise you’ll need to pay for a third party service.
Part 3: Maintaining Your Sender Reputation
This is actually a fairly in-depth and technical topic, but here’s a simplified explanation: spam filters give your IP address a sender score, also known as sender reputation score.
This is a number from 1-100 that indicates how trustworthy you are, and tells the spam filter how hard it needs to clamp down on your emails.
Email has been around a long time, and spammers have been around just as long. As time goes on, spammers come up with new ways to trick the filters, and in response the filters become more advanced to foil them.
Nowadays, spam filters are very clever, and it’s all too easy to shred your reputation. Anything from using “typical spammer” words and phrases to sending to hard-bounced email addresses too much can damage your reputation.
Here’s a more detailed look at how to avoid spam filters. If you’re using Clickback, the platform handles a lot of this for you with an advanced real-time spam checker that audits your emails as you write them, and warns you when you’ve included anything that could reduce your deliverability.
On top of that, the Clickback platform sends your campaigns using a pool of its own IP addresses dedicated specifically to you, so your own IP and domain reputations remain untouched.
Summary: It’s very easy to scare spam filters. Be careful what sort of content you include. If you’re using Clickback, your sender score is automatically safeguarded, and it helps you write content that doesn’t look like spam.
Part 4: Creating Effective Email Content (and Landing Pages)
So far, a lot of what we’ve discussed has been about actually getting your emails into the right audience’s inboxes. In addition to all the technical stuff, you’re still marketing to real people.
That means following email content best practices. Here’s a quick list to get you started:
- People want benefits, not features. Don’t talk about how awesome your product is. Talk about the awesome results the reader will get from it.
- Don’t waste their time. With cold email, you’re fighting for every moment of their attention, so make sure every single bit of your content adds value.
- Include a clear non-generic call to action. A great email that doesn’t ask the reader to do anything won’t get you any results. Put a button or link with text that isn’t “Click Here” in your email. Make your CTA text specific: “Get a Trial”, “Read the Article”, and so on are more likely to drive an action.
The best cold content doesn’t feel cold. Check out this deep dive into cold email copywriting for a more exhaustive look at writing awesome emails.
You also need to create a landing page for each campaign. Yep – every campaign gets a dedicated page. The reason for this is so that you can match the page’s content exactly to what’s in the associated email.
The idea is that your email gets someone’s attention and gives them enough information to click on your CTA. The landing page they reach provides a way for them to convert – generally a form they can fill out – and reinforces and enhances the email’s message.
When it comes to landing pages, ensure your form is above the fold (meaning it’s immediately visible on page load without having to scroll). Check this on desktop and mobile.
Speaking of mobile, do make sure your landing pages are mobile-friendly and look beautiful there, because the majority of people check their email on their smartphone. If your landing page looks terrible and loads slowly on mobile, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Summary: Write cohesive, articulate content that provides real value. Do use dedicated landing pages for each campaign, and don’t skimp on mobile optimization.
Part 5: Nurturing Unconverted Contacts
What about contacts that get your emails but don’t convert? Do you just keep sending to them?
If you’re using Clickback, the answer is “yes, but”. Meaning yes, you should keep sending to them, but you also have the incredible power of Website Visitor Intelligence™ (WVI) at your disposal.
Here’s an example: let’s say you send an email campaign to 90,000 contacts, and you end up with 2000 that clicked through to your landing page. Of those 2000, 150 converted on your form.
That’s 150 new leads, but what about the other 1850 people who were interested enough to click but not enough to convert?
With WVI™, you can target those contacts specifically with nurturing campaigns designed to coax them closer to converting, instead of just adding them back into your pool to send to and hoping you get them next time.