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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Cold Email Outreach: The Ultimate Guide

CSS Cold email

Sales professionals know that cold email outreach is one of the most effective ways to land new clients. But, despite its effectiveness, many people are hesitant to try it because they don't know how to do it properly.

If you're one of those people, don't worry. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about cold emailing.

We'll cover the basics of creating a great cold email campaign, as well as some tips and tricks for increasing your chances of success.

What is a Cold Email?

A cold email is simply an email sent to someone who you have no previous relationship with.

This can be someone who you think would be interested in your product or service, but who you have no way of contacting through personal (or previous) relationships.

Cold emailing can be an extremely effective way to reach new customers, but it's also one of the most challenging types of sales outreach.

That's because people are generally more suspicious of cold emails than other types of sales communication. After all, we've all been on the receiving end of a spammy cold email at some point in our lives.

Talking about spam, how is a cold email different from spam messages?

Email Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid When Sending Cold Emails

What's the Difference Between a Cold Email and a Spam Message?

The main difference between a cold email and a spam message is that spam messages are sent to large groups of people without any personalization. 

They're also usually sent with the sole purpose of selling a product or service, without any regard for whether the recipient is actually interested in what's being offered.

In other words, spam messages don't offer any value to the recipient — they're just a sales pitch.

Cold emails, on the other hand, are sent to individuals with the goal of starting a conversation. They offer value to the recipient by providing helpful information, answering a question, or addressing a pain point.

Is It Legal for Businesses to Use Cold Emails for Communication?

Yes, it's legal for businesses to send cold emails as long as they follow certain guidelines, which vary by location.

In the United States, cold emails are legal as long as you have:

  • a clear sender identification
  • an unsubscribe option
  • and a valid physical address

In some other countries like Canada, the main guideline is that businesses must have explicit permission from the recipient before they can add them to their email list. This permission can be in the form of an opt-in on a website or a sign-up form.

Make sure to read your country’s guidelines on cold emailing before starting a campaign.

Email Tone: It Can Be Louder Than Words

How Effective Are Cold Emails?

When done correctly, cold emails can be an extremely effective way to reach new customers. In fact, according to data from Statista, 53% of marketers say that cold email is the most effective B2B marketing tactic.

In addition, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $32.

Not too shabby!

Of course, not all cold emails are created equal. In order for your cold email outreach to be successful, you need to make sure that you're sending high-quality messages that are relevant and personalized to your recipients.

We'll talk more about how to do that later on in this guide. For now, let's take a look at some of the benefits of cold emailing.

What are the Benefits of Sending Cold Emails?

There are a number of benefits that your business can experience by incorporating cold email into your sales outreach strategy. But the top four include:

1. Increased reach: Cold emailing gives you the ability to reach a larger audience than you would be able to through personal relationships alone.

2. Cost-effective: Email is a very cost-effective way to reach new customers. It's much cheaper than other marketing channels yet is super-effective. For example, data from McKinsey and Company shows email is 40 times more effective at reaching your target customer than Facebook or Twitter.  

3. Time-saving: Cold emailing can save you a lot of time compared to other sales outreach methods, like making phone calls or scheduling in-person meetings.

4. Measurable: With cold emailing, you can easily track metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. This allows you to optimize your outreach strategy to get the best results constantly.

Email Statistics To Help Guide Your Sales Email Strategy

How to Set Up a Cold Email Campaign

There are 7 major steps for executing a successful cold email campaign.

1. Researching Your Prospects 

Before you start sending out cold emails, it's important that you take the time to research your potential customers. This way, you can be sure that you're only reaching out to people who are likely to be interested in what you have to say.

There are a number of ways to go about this research. But for B2B marketing, your best option is LinkedIn, where you can look up potential customers in your target market.

When you find someone that looks like a good fit, take a look at their profile to see if you have any mutual connections. If you do, that's great! You can use that connection as a way to warm up your cold email.

Even if you don't have any mutual connections, LinkedIn is still a valuable research tool. You can use it to learn more about your potential customers' work history, interests, and current positions. This will help you personalize your email, as we'll see later.

2. Finding, Verifying, and Enriching Email Addresses 

Once you have found the right prospects, it's time to find their email address. Here, an email finder tool like Voila Norbert is super-useful. You just have to enter the name and company of your prospect, and the tool will find you their email address.

If you already have a list of email addresses, you might want to verify them. Most email finder tools also offer email verification, which ensures that your list contains valid addresses. This improves your campaign's open rate.

Finally, it's a good idea to enrich your list. This is when you use an enrichment tool to find additional data points about an email address, such as associated social media profiles. And this can help you improve the personalization of your emails. 

3. Setting Up an Optimized Email Account for Cold Emails

Now that you have a list of email addresses, it's time to set up an account which you'll be sending your emails from. This account should be separate from your personal or work email. In addition, it should be optimized for cold emails.

This means that you should use an email address in a simple, straightforward format. For example, something like info@yourcompany.com or sales@yourcompany.com. 

It’s even better if you can create an alias, which is different from your primary email address. You can use your name in your alias — such as abraham@yourcompany.com — to “humanize” your emails and make them more effective. 

You should also use a professional-looking signature that includes your name, title, and company website. This will help your email recipients know who they're talking to and where they can learn more about your company.

Finally, you'll have to warm up your email address, so it doesn't get marked as spam by email service providers.

To do this, make sure you don't engage your entire list at once. Instead, start small by sending a few emails to people who you think might open them (for example, people who have mutual connections with you on LinkedIn). Then, gradually increase the number of people you're emailing until you reach your full list.

Assuming you’re doing this in bulk, many people think that they should sign up for an email marketing service to help facilitate the outreach.  

Generally speaking, this is a bad idea because these platforms may suspend your account if you’re uploading large lists with prospects who’ve never opted-in to your email list(s).   

You’re better off doing outreach manually from your email inbox or using one of the cold email outreach platforms out there like Pitchbox or Mailshake. 

4. Crafting the Right Cold Email

This is the most important step in this guide. And although it would take a blog post of its own, there are three major things you need to keep in mind when writing a cold email:

1. Personalization: As we mentioned earlier, it's important to do your research on potential customers before you start emailing them. This way, you can craft a personalized message that resonates with them. For example, if you know that your prospect is interested in hiking, you could mention that in your email. This can boost your open rate from 13% to 18%.

2. Value proposition: In order for someone to want to read your email, they need to see that it's valuable to them. What are you offering them? Why should they care? Be clear and concise in your email so that your value proposition is immediately apparent. 

Here, keep in mind that people like associating with power. This means that if you’re in a powerful position, it’s a good idea to clarify your position early on in the email because it's one way to provide value.

3. Call to action: What do you want your prospect to do after reading your email? Make it easy and super-clear for them by including a call to action, such as setting up a call or meeting.

Of course, there are many other aspects to consider when crafting a cold email. But if you keep these 3 things in mind, you'll be well on your way to writing an effective cold email.

5. Sending Emails on the Right Day, at the Right Time

According to data, the best day to send emails is Tuesday. If you have to send two emails in a week, choose Thursday as the second day.

In addition, make sure to time your emails right. Ideally, you want to ensure your email reaches your prospect right before they begin their day and get to work. 

But if you don't know the exact schedules of your prospects, send your emails at 11 a.m.

6. Perfecting Follow-Ups

It takes around 16 touchpoints to close a deal. So if you don't get a response to your first email, it's important to follow up. 

But you can't just send the exact same email again. Instead, you should try to add more value to your follow-up email.

One way to do this is by including additional information, such as a case study or data points. You could also mention that you'll be in the prospect's city for a certain period of time and ask if they'd like to meet up for coffee.

Another effective follow-up method is to ask a question. This could be something like, "I noticed you didn't respond to my previous email. Is there a certain aspect of our product you're not interested in? I'd be happy to clarify." Asking a question shows that you're truly interested in helping your prospect and not just trying to make a sale.

Track, Measure, and Improve Cold Email Prospecting

7. Measuring and Analyzing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Once you begin your campaign, it's important to track your emails and measure KPIs. After all, how else will you know what's working and what's not working?

There are several KPIs you can track, but you should focus on open rates when starting out. This way, you can see how many people are actually opening and reading your emails.

To calculate your open rate, simply take the number of people who opened your email and divide it by the total number of emails you sent. For example, if 100 people received your email but only 50 people opened it, your open rate would be 50%.

Now, open rates vary by industry, so it's important to look up your industry average online and benchmark your open rate against it. If it's significantly lower than your industry's average, then you might want to consult with a digital marketing expert to see what's going on.


Cold email outreach can be a great way to reach new prospects and customers. But it's important to do it the right way. By following the tips in this guide, you'll be well on your way to writing effective cold emails that will get results.

Do you have any other tips for writing cold emails? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Topics: email sales strategy