Plan a cold email strategy

1. Research your audience using surveys and interviews to create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for your cold email campaign.

Go deeper than demographics and look at firmographic data as well. Details like sales team size and structure can help in identifying the higher-value accounts. For example, is the person who uses your product/service the decision-maker, or is there someone higher up? Demographic information such as average age and education level can influence the tone of your content. Your audience of qualified computer scientists may respond positively to technical terms; a conversational tone with that same audience may undermine credibility. Psychographics can provide insight on the why, to what problem consumers need to solve and their concerns or opinions that relate to your product. Those insights help make cold email content more relevant, rather than a vague pitch for your product.

2. Build a list of prospective recipients that will respond well to your cold email.

Use a company database like Crunchbase or social network like LinkedIn. For example, Crunchbase allows you to apply filters like Location, Funding Status, and Number of categories. Monitor industry news outlets. If your ideal customer is in the technology sector, monitor TechCrunch or TechRepublic for headlines on new and growing companies. Alternatively, set up a Google Alert based on your chosen criteria. If a target company has just announced a new initiative, product, or round of funding, referencing these details can help your email stand out.  Attend networking events and conferences to meet people who match your buyer persona face-to-face. For example, by meeting your potential prospects in person you can start a conversation before writing the email, taking the “chill” off the campaign.

3. Use services such as Name2Email or and ContactOut to scrape and find emails.

For example, if you have found an ideal lead but didn’t get their email address, these programs can help you fill in the missing information.

4. Segment your email list as a stand-in for personalization to tailor your email and offer to specific needs.

For example, you might have segments by Location, Team Size, Budget, and Existing Software Solutions.

5. Decide what the purpose of the cold outreach will be for each segment of your audience, and what content you need to create.

For example, if you want to generate leads for an SaaS tool, you can email your target contacts and ask if they’d be interested in a white paper, demo video or webinar. If they show interest, you can follow up with the respective piece of content.

6. Decide what software you’ll use for reaching out and gather data to analyze how your sent emails perform.

Look at metrics like positive reply rates, delivery rates, open rates, and CTR’s.

7. Use templates as a guide, then tailor the template to your audience.

For example, make changes based on your buyer persona, segmentation, A/B/n test results, and previous sent email data. Ensure any template or automated information is personalized as well.

8. Proofread your email campaign to look for spelling and grammar mistakes, to check for issues like incorrect merge tags, and how the message appears in your own inbox.

For example, an automated opening saying “Hi {Firstname}” looks very unprofessional.

9. Perform A/B/n testing on current or potential audiences to determine a potential length and content for the best subject lines, text body, and calls to action.

For example, a clever subject line that involves asking a question might provoke your audience to open cold emails.

10. Send cold emails from a separate domain other than your company’s main domain to avoid unintentionally having your business email blacklisted.