What is cold email marketing and how is it different from regular email marketing?

The phrase “cold email marketing” is actually pretty self explanatory. It is email marketing where you send cold emails to people who have never heard from you before.

Cold sales emails

You usually send cold emails to new prospects who have never heard from you before. Typically you send cold emails to a handful of new prospects that you have discovered.

Most cold emails make a direct sales pitch to the new prospect by sending them product brochure, pricing list, customer testimonials etc.

But when you send a cold sales email pitching your product, you are making an assumption that your prospect already knows the value of your products and services. You assume they already know how valuable your product is, before jumping into features and pricing details.

cold sales emails only effective for warm leads

But is that really the case? How often do you run into prospects that are completely aware of the use cases, benefits and value of your product?

Sometimes it can be true for commodity products. But most other products are more complex and require a marketing approach before a sales pitch can be made.

Marketing for new prospects

Before anyone decides to buy from you, you must answer their following questions –

  1. Do I really need this?
  2. Is this a proven product with good quality? (OR does anyone else use this?)
  3. Can I afford this?
  4. Does this offer me the best value for money, compared to other products?

These questions need to be answered serially. If there is no need, the next questions don’t really matter.

Most commonly, a cold sales email answers questions 2, 3 and 4 without even speaking about the need.

That’s where marketing comes into picture. It’s commonly the job of marketers to create a need in the target customer base and to make them aware of this need.

marketing emails warm up your leads

When prospects learn why and how they need your products, they become warm leads.

Cold Emails + Marketing = Warm Leads

Most cold sales emails jump straight to product brochures, pricing lists etc. and then they get ignored by the prospects who are not aware of any need.

But the same cold emails can be significantly more successful if you follow a marketing approach instead of making a sales pitch.

Long haul marketing approach

Depending on the complexity of your products and services, it will take a chain of multiple marketing emails (plus maybe a few phone calls) for them to finally realize why they need what you’re selling.

So instead of sending a hit or miss cold sales email, plan for a cold marketing email campaign. Plan for a sequence of marketing emails aimed at educating the customer about the use cases, benefits, pitfalls and even risks associated with your products.

Educate and build trust

When you make a genuine effort to educate your audience, rather than making a sales pitch, they will trust you more for it. This marketing approach will help not only to create a need but also to create trust around your brand. This trust is absolutely necessary when they make a buying decision.

cold email plus marketing material gives you warm leads

Putting it into practice

Here are some pointers to help you add the power of marketing to your cold email campaigns.

  • Create a strategy / plan for educating your prospects
  • Break it down into smaller pieces that can be consumed in a single email
  • Create a chain of marketing emails
  • Send a new email every 1-2 weeks
  • Regularly track the email opening and click rates to understand who is engaging with your email content
  • If someone does not open your first 2-3 emails, remove them from your prospects list.. They are clearly not interested.
  • If someone shows interest by either regularly opening, clicking or replying to your cold marketing emails, call them. They might be ready for your sales pitch.

How it differs from regular email marketing

Typically, marketing emails are sent to people who have explicitly given you consent to send them marketing material by signing up for your newsletter.

Sending cold emails without consent

That’s not the case with cold email marketing. Here you are approaching prospects who have not given you any such permissions.

That’s why you need to be extra careful. If your emails start to get annoying or seem irrelevant, your audience can flag them as ‘SPAM’ content. It will hurt your sender reputation score. If enough people do that, you risk your domain getting blacklisted. This kind of damage is almost irreversible.

So keep a close watch on how your prospects are engaging with your emails. If anyone does not open more than 2-3 of your consecutive emails, stop sending them any more cold emails in future. Most likely they would not be interested.

You don’t usually need to worry about this with your regular email marketing newsletters, because your audience has knowingly opted in to receive them.

Scaling up marketing emails

If thousands of people have explicitly given you permissions to send them marketing emails, you can email them on regular basis without having to worry about getting reported as SPAM.

So you can even send thousands of emails in a single day to your newsletter mailing list, without worrying about damage to your sender reputation.

But that’s not the case with cold emails. If you send a few thousand cold emails and some of your recipients report it as spam, your sender score will be deeply damaged.

Moreover, if you start sending more than a hundred cold emails on daily basis, after just a few days most of those emails will be blocked by spam filters.

To get around this problem you can do two things –

  1. Restrict your daily email volume to less than 100 cold emails per sender account per day
  2. Send each cold email after 1-2 minutes of the last email

You can manually do this for 10-20 emails. But if you have more recipients in your database, it is better to use a cold email automation tool. It will help you to mimic human like email sending behavior and avoid the spam filters.

To summarize, you can significantly improve the effectiveness and productivity of your cold emails by using a cold email marketing strategy. You can experiment with this in the beginning. Once you start seeing any success, scale it up using a cold email automation or mail merge tool.

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