Often, marketers who come from an inbound-oriented background tend to approach cold email outreach with similar strategies.
Although they’re both email-based, cold campaigns have a very different set of best practices and technical needs than inbound ones.
Let’s examine how you can write an outreach email that will end up in your contacts’ inboxes, not their spam folder.
How to Write an Outreach Email That Hits the Mark
Understanding the Differences
Inbound and outbound email campaigns are both still email, and you’re still trying to convince your contacts to take some sort of action. Other than that, though, there aren’t too many similarities. Think of them as two sides of the same coin.
One immediate difference is the scope of your campaigns. Inbound email sends are rarely more than a few thousand contacts strong at most. On the other hand, cold outreach campaigns can easily be sent to hundreds of thousands of contacts.
Another fundamental difference is in the benchmarks and expectations of each. Inbound naturally has a much higher rate of engagement overall. Inbound enjoys much higher average open and clickthrough rates, since the contacts already know you.
Cold email is just that – cold. Your contacts don’t know who you are at all, and that means they’re much less likely to open and click your email campaign.
If it’s so much harder, why consider cold email at all? It comes back to that difference in scope. If you send a campaign to 200 contacts, a 50% open rate and 20% CTR means you’ve got 100 opens and 20 clicks.
On the other hand, even at 1/10th of those metrics, cold email delivers better actual volume. If you sent to 80,000 contacts, 5% open rate is still 4000 opens, and 2% of that comes out to 80 clicks. And you can easily send to that many, or far more, contacts.
Choosing the Right List and Platform
Before we discuss email copywriting strategies, it’s important to understand that the best copywriting in the world won’t do you any good if your campaigns aren’t supported by a high-quality contact list and a platform that’s built for cold emailing.
You need a high-quality list of B2B contacts that match your contact audience. There are, unfortunately, many vendors who sell sub-par lists that are composed of data gathered through scraping – basically collecting random publicly-viewable email addresses from around the web.
Those lists are worse than useless – they’re potentially very damaging. They’re often full of data such as spam traps and bad addresses, which means you’re paying for contacts that don’t exist. Even for the real people on the list, there’s no guarantee that they’re in any way close to your target audience.
Ensure you’re buying a list from a reputable provider that doesn’t scrape. If you’re unsure where to find one, drop us a line and we’ll refer you to one of the vendors we partner with.
When it comes to platforms, you need one specialized for cold campaigns. Common email platforms and providers like Outlook, Gmail, HubSpot, Mailchimp and so on don’t allow cold contacts or large lists, which means you won’t be able to use them.
That’s actually a good thing, because they’re also not designed to handle cold email. When you’re sending immense volumes on the regular, it’s absolutely critical to be sending from a platform that’s built for cold email, so your campaigns can reliably hit inboxes.
Creating Effective Campaigns
There are three key things to keep in mind in order to really crush your email lead generation goals:
- Cold contacts have no investment. In other words, they’ve never heard of you, they have no reason to trust you and no reason to open, read or click your campaigns. That means you have to give them those reasons and build that trust very rapidly. They’ll also drop off reading your message more easily.
- Your messages get thoroughly checked by spam filters, and they’re smart. That means if you’ve been sending campaigns to 3000 contacts, say, from a particular IP address or domain and you suddenly start sending 60,000 messages at once, they’ll recognize that as out of the ordinary and you’ll get treated like you’re spamming.
- Remove as much friction as you can. Your goal is to turn a total stranger into a new lead in one go, and that’s ambitious. Make it as easy as possible for them to convert by providing value at every step.
You need to keep your contact’s attention throughout, which can be challenging. When you boil it down, they’re primarily interested in what value they can get from your email. Make that value clear all the way through, from your subject line all the way to your signature.