In the last few months, I've sent out over 1 million cold emails. And I would like to share with you my biggest learnings. But before I do that, I think it's good to define what is a cold email.
Cold email = a short engaging message targeted towards the ideal prospect(s)
When I say short, I really mean short. None of my emails is longer than 3 paragraphs, each consisting of 2–3 sentences. And that's really the absolute maximum. The reason being is that nobody has time to read an entire sales pitch or your beautifully crafted PDF explaining all the benefits of your product.
LESSON #1: The more time you spend on lead generation, the better
We are a lead generation company. So for us it's fairly easy to generate a big amount of high-quality contacts in a very short period of time. However, it's not the quantity that counts, it's the quality. Sometimes we get more results from emailing 20 people than from reaching out to thousands.
We also never send emails to generic email addresses like info@ or sales@, for 99% of companies, it's a complete waste of time. You need to reach the decision maker(s).
LESSON #2: Make it freaking personal
We sometimes use up to 7 different placeholders (incl. Name, Company, Last Tweet, etc.) It's not about using as many as possible, but rather — using them smartly. At the end of the day, the aim is to start a conversation and the data you've gathered should help you to do that..
LESSON #3: Bad subject line = wasted lead
We've tested hundreds of subject lines, using all sorts of placeholders, incentives and messages. The best subject line we use includes the first name and a name of a common LinkedIn connection. The second best one includes the person's name (or a company name) and an offer of a free sample. Also asking a question usually works pretty well.
LESSON #4: Some people will really hate you
This is probably my least favourite topic, but it's important to be open and transparent about it. Sometimes people call me a SPAMMER or tell me to “f**-off”, no matter how nice and personalised I make the email. (I also include 'unsubscribe' link in every single email I send out)
In the past, I used to be really upset and angry when somebody got pissed at me just because I sent them a short email. But the truth is — there is no successful company that was built without sending out a cold email. Same as there is no successful company that was built on SPAM. So my rule #1 is to always apologise and let it go, no matter how angry it makes me.
To sum up..
No matter what people tell you, SEND OUT COLD EMAILS. There is nothing wrong about it, as long as you follow the basic principles (such as reaching out to your target audience, providing opt-out option, etc.).
Please share with me your opinion on this. Would be super happy to discuss it with you ;)