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Cold Email Stats & Tips to Improve Success Rates

Some helpful tips and insights to consider when evaluating a cold email strategy.

With over 7 billion email accounts and 4 billion users worldwide, there are a variety of reasons to use cold emailing as an additional tool in your outbound prospecting efforts. Often cheaper and easier to implement than other forms of marketing, when crafted correctly, cold emails can offer a multitude of benefits for B2B companies looking for help increasing their sales pipeline. 

Table of Contents

What is Cold Emailing?

Cold emailing is an initial email based on a specific strategy, sent to a prospect to determine interest in a particular offering. The message is considered to be “cold” in sales terms because this person has never met you and is most likely not aware of your brand. You are sending the email as an introduction to you, your company, and your offering. 

When used effectively, cold emailing can help scale your reach, increase brand awareness, educate your prospects, and move them down the funnel at a faster rate than most other forms of cold outreach. 

The Benefits of Cold Emailing

The more you can balance your outbound marketing strategy with different tools and techniques, the more prospects you will be able to contact. Utilizing cold emailing in your prospecting efforts can be especially beneficial to your bottom line.

1. Helps You Reach a Larger Number of Prospects at Once

There are simply no other forms of direct contact that can start as many conversations at once. With a simple click of a button, your message can be distributed far and wide amongst a list of prospects. 

Using cold emails can also help you test what type of statement or message resonates best with your ideal client profile. This can help you improve your sales messaging in all aspects of your outbound prospecting.

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2. Allows the Prospect to Read / Respond on Their Own Time 

Emails are great because not everyone has the time, ability, or likes to talk on the phone. Sending cold emails can help give an alternative to cold calling, so you get the conversation started on a channel that works best for them. 

Selling to Millennials? According to Forbes, Millennials would rather get an email for work purposes than get a phone call. However, that same study also shows that 

34% of millennials get annoyed when they are sent an email promoting a product they are not interested in. So your message better be good! 

3. Can Be Easily Scaled 

Other forms of outbound communications would require internal hiring or sales outsourcing to increase outreach. With cold emailing you have the ability to easily scale up or down with no additional time or costs. This means you can consistently meet the needs of your internal sales team without overwhelming them. 

It is important to note that when scaling, you need to make sure you are hitting your open rate goals and reporting the metrics so you can know what needs to be improved in your overall strategy. 

4. Helps Reduce Costs 

One reason why so many companies choose to focus on cold emailing is because the return on investment is higher. You can craft a well put together message and have it sent to your list in almost no time spent.

Plus, outbound funnels tend to be shorter than inbound, sending an email is practically free in most cases, and accessibility is high, making cold emailing ideal for cost-effective growth. 

5. Works as a Tool with Cold Calling 

Get better response rates when pairing cold emails with your cold calling efforts. You can try sending an email before, after, or during a B2B cold call (or a voicemail) to solidify that connection, share your message, and create a deeper connection with your prospect. It also gives you another opportunity to connect with them on another channel (as long as you aren’t bombarding them with messages.)

There are many different types of sales and marketing emails out there and it is easy to get them confused. To choose the right email strategy, you must define your overall goals and make sure each goal aligns with your email message. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of sales and marketing emails. 

Cold Emailing vs Email Marketing

While these types of emails can have similarities, the goals of each are drastically different. Cold emailing, a form of outbound marketing, is done by the sales department with the goal of booking a meeting or creating interest. Email marketing, a form of inbound marketing, is done through marketing functions with the goal of moving the prospect to the sales department.

Email marketing is an umbrella term that covers several different forms of sending an online message to target specific audiences that have engaged with your company or brand. In most cases, these viewers have signed up or opted in to receive emails from you, starting the communication process. These are typically considered warm leads because they have shown an interest in learning more about you. 

Types of Email Marketing Campaigns:

  • Weekly or monthly newsletters 
  • Content or event promotion
  • Automated drip sequences explaining a specific offering 
  • Special offers or discounts 

While cold emailing has seen dramatic growth over the past 10 years, the top 2 technologies B2B organizations used in 2020 to assist with their marketing efforts were analytics tools (86%) and email marketing software (85%). 

Even with different goals, cold emailing and email marketing can work together to create and build trust with your prospects. It is possible for your company to engage in both forms of communication. 

For companies to successfully implement cold emails and email marketing, the two departments must work together, coordinate customer journeys, and be on the same page, to not overwhelm the prospect. 

Cold Email Compliance

It is important to recognize the difference between sending a valuable message to your prospect’s inbox and sending them a bunch of spam. Back in 2003, there was an influx in SPAM messages due to electronic mail being new so the U.S. government decided regulation was necessary for commercial messages. 

The act covers all commercial emails that aren’t transactional or relationship messages and cold emails are to people who aren’t aware of you or expecting your message.

According to the FCC, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 “prohibits the inclusion of deceptive or misleading information and subject headings, requires identifying information such as a return address in email messages, and prohibits sending emails to a recipient after an explicit response that the recipient does not want to continue receiving messages.”

If you are thinking about using cold email as a piece of your outbound marketing strategy, you need to address two specific challenges:

  1. Cold emails that are defined as spam 
  2. Cold emails that are perceived as spam

 

How to avoid emails going to spam?

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are technical ways in which an email provider checks whether the email is actually coming from you and not somebody else.

There are two ways to set up email authentication: SPF and DKIM.

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is an email validation system designed to prevent spam by verifying the sender’s IP address
  • DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) indicates ownership of the email message by a particular organization

What can you do to stay compliant? 

  • Avoid misleading subject lines
  • Send a relevant message
  • Send from your name 
  • Make it easy to opt-out 
  • Include your company contact information

Staying compliant in your outbound prospecting should always be at the forefront of all business decisions. Risking your business, fines, and reputation is not worth losing over cold emails. Below, we share some more pointers for getting started with your B2B cold emailing strategy. 

How to Start Cold Emailing

Like cold calling, cold emailing results start at the top of your sales funnel helping you generate a stronger pipeline and more revenue. If you are thinking about starting to implement more cold emails in your B2B prospecting strategy, you aren’t alone.

According to GlobalNewswire, since the start of the pandemic and the shift to remote work, the volume of email grew 7%, with the highest increases reported in March and July of 2020. 

Stastica predicts the number of emails sent in the next few years is just going to multiply itself and by the year 2022, it might reach 333 billion emails per day. That’s why only 24% of cold sales emails ever get opened in the first place. As more emails are sent, the chances of yours being opened diminish. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done successfully, it just means you need to be more prepared. 

Focus on the following points for the best cold emailing success rates: 

  1. Deliverability & Domain Reputation 

Your cold email isn’t going to work if your intended recipient never sees it. Deliverability can affect your email going into SPAM or the wrong email address altogether. There are a bunch of tools out there that can help you test your email deliverability.

So, before sending your cold email, make sure you aren’t landing in SPAM filters and be sure to have the most accurate contact information for your prospects. 

Some companies choose to buy and use a separate domain with other email addresses for their cold emails in case something happens with deliverability issues, like a high bounce rate, which can negatively impact your domain reputation. Domain reputation is earned over a length of time and can impact deliverability on your cold emails. Sending emails that are marked as SPAM could cause your entire company to have issues sending cold emails. 

Buying a new domain specifically for this purpose helps diminish the risk and liability involved with sending a large number of cold emails.  However, it should be noted that domains are given an impact score, which is graded on several points, one being “Age of domain” since spammers are known for continuously buying new ones, using them until they are blacklisted, and then moving on to another. Choose one domain for sending emails, something close to your current one, spend time “warming” it up, build out your signature and profile, and be careful about the messages you are sending. 

You should also be aware of your sending limits. Depending on your email service provider, you’re going to be limited to the number of emails you can send per day. For example, with Google Workspace, you can send up to 2000 emails once every 24 hours. With Gmass from Google, you can send up to 10,000 emails and they distribute them automatically over a couple of days. 

  1. Targeting Your Ideal Client Profiles

Targeting is the most important aspect of any prospecting strategy. You could have the best messaging or offering around, but if you aren’t talking to the right people, it won’t be very useful. You also shouldn’t be selling to “everyone.” It is extremely important for you to understand your market and plan your sales strategy accordingly. 

An ideal customer profile (ICP) is a description of the company, not the individual buyer or end user, that’s a perfect fit for your offering. You use this as a guide on how to find your most perfect leads at other companies. Conduct research through every possible avenue to learn more about how you can help identify and solve their business issues with your offering. The more details you can learn about your ICP, the more you can speak directly to their wants and needs in your messaging. 

Your ICP should focus on relevant characteristics of your target accounts, such as:

 

  • Company / Industry / Vertical
  • Employee headcount within key departments 
  • Annual revenue
  • Company Growth 
  • Budget
  • Geography
  • Technology they use
  • Size of their customer base

The ideal customer profile influences the following aspects of your sales development activities: 

  • Number of leads: Target more, higher ticket leads, find better clients
  • KPIs: The conversion, open, response, and appointment rates heavily depend on the industry and your target titles

Once you have your ICP’s listed and organized, you can further break them down into buyer personas, which will tell you how to better speak and help them. 

  1. Defining Your Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a guide that helps your sales team understand your potential buyers better and effectively engage with them at any point during their customer journey. Your buyer personas should be based on a comprehensive analysis of all your customers, interviews with the sales team, and an audit of your sales pipeline. 

This is not a real customer, but a fictional person who best embodies the characteristics of your target potential customers. Having well-defined buyer personas helps you create content to better target your ideal customer. 

This means defining:

  • Name and Job Title: 
    • Persona name: Give your persona a name and specify their title. Stick to unisex names if you’re not creating separate buyer personas for males and females.
    • Title: If you work predominantly with people who have an academic degree (Ph.D.) or medical doctors, consider using Ph.D. or MD after the name

       

  • Personality
    • Psychological traits: Since the BP is not meant for counseling purposes, there’s no need to go too deep into the psychological analysis of your persona. Include the traits that make a person excel in their position or that people of particular roles usually exhibit.

       

  • Professional Background
    • Include education, years in the position, certificates and courses, professional competencies, and possible weaknesses. You’ll need this information to craft your content based on the knowledge levels of your potential buyer.

       

  • Estimated Awareness of your Services: 
    • Use a 1 to 10 scale, where one is complete ignorance about your product, and ten is an expert level of knowledge.

       

  • Sources of Information: 
    • Where do your buyers learn new things related to their job? It may be from magazines, articles, influencers, books, events, etc.

       

  • Attitudes and Beliefs: 
    • What do your buyers like/dislike about their jobs? Do they tend to have any common prejudices, preconceptions or conflicting attitudes toward certain services or professions?

       

  • Demographics:
    Include age or age group (millennials, generation Z, etc.) and gender. Besides those two, you may include any demographics essential in the buying process (religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc.).

Your buyer persona should guide your brand through everything from product development to your brand voice to the social channels you use, so it is important to take the time to analyze and understand your audience before starting your cold emailing. 

  1. Building Your Cold Email List 

You can’t send cold messages to emails that don’t exist. If you keep on sending to invalid emails, you will keep getting hard bounces. Every time you receive a hard bounce, your domain reputation takes a hit, so it is extremely important during the prospecting process to make sure you have accurate and precise data. 

Working with an expert to create your email list is one of the best ways to make sure you have accurate and complete data for harder-to-find B2B contacts. They have access to a variety of prospecting tools, sources, databases, and researchers that are able to generate a custom leads list faster and cheaper than other list building alternatives. 

Lead generation experts can even work with you and your sales team to better establish your ideal client profiles and customer personas if you are having trouble with that part of the process. 

If you have the time and resources to dedicate to building your own prospecting list, there are Chrome extensions, databases, and other trustworthy sources you can use to make sure you have accurate data. Some of these email address validation tools offer a free trial period where you can validate a decent number of email addresses for free. After your trial, they generally cost a fraction of a penny per email address. 

When using these sources, it is important to follow compliance rules and guidelines, for example, you shouldn’t be scraping personal email addresses off the web. Most lead generation companies also have the ability to data cleanse and enrich your prospecting list, removing any inaccurate information and providing the correct data or further information in its place. 

Whether you choose to partner with a prospecting firm or build your own cold emailing list, it is important to make sure you have the highest quality leads possible, or you could end up wasting a large amount of time and resources for no ROI. 

  1. Performing Research for Your Cold Email 

Use the data you’ve gathered from your ICP and buyer personas to craft a message that is relevant and specific to their needs or wants and show how your offering is the perfect solution for them. 

Are you sending an introductory email? A follow-up email? Your opening line needs to be well thought out and clearly presented. Start with something specific to your prospect’s work or company and then go into more detail about why you contacted them in the first place.

Focus on the customer and what you can do for them, rather than focusing on you and your features. Remember to create a different email for every audience segment and have that message directly align with their wants or needs. Tell the story of how your solution can help them better reach their goals or solve their problems. Try using LinkedIn or Google for your research and be sure to take note of any information that may show on their website about how they prefer people to reach out.

Templates can be great, but there are a lot of bad ones out there. Be sure to research the method that should work best for your target audience. The better you can personalize your offer, the better the chances of getting a response. Keep your cold email message short and sweet!

10 Tips for Better Cold Emails

Almost 320 million emails are sent every second so if you’re sending B2B cold emails, you need to make sure you are sending valuable messages that your prospects actually want to open. Otherwise, you’re likely to get lost in their inbox. 

Don’t Send the Same Message to Your Entire Audience 

Just like in cold calling, you need to work to improve your messaging and targeting. Try segmenting your cold email list by niche so you can better personalize your message, giving you the best opportunity for success. This will allow you to craft more personalized messages in mass form. 

Only Use One Call-to-Action

Know the purpose of your message before writing. What is the first and only action you want them to take? Cold emails that have a clear and precise message with only one call-to-action have better results than other emails. You should be telling your prospect what action you want them to take next, and make it as easy as possible for them to move forward to the next step. 

Use Relevant Subject Lines 

Use short and relevant subject lines to grab their attention, but avoid spammy, misleading, or overly emotional grabbing phrases. It should be interesting and informative enough for the prospect to keep reading your message. Also, try not to copy and paste generic subject lines that you might find online as this could come across as  inauthentic. 

A value prop in the subject line of your cold email can help the person reading your email understand what you intend to offer them. This can either prompt or dissuade them from opening your cold email. 

Don’t Use Long Subject Lines 

AWeber analyzed 1,000 emails from 100 top marketers to determine how experts send emails. The research found that 82% of experts send emails with subject lines of 60 characters or less. That’s not surprising since many email service providers don’t show full subject lines longer than that. The survey also concluded that, on average, subject lines are 43.85 characters long, which means it may be worthwhile to send emails with subject lines significantly shorter than 60 characters. 

Bonus Tip: Address them by their name.

Don’t Just Write Anything 

Don’t just write the first thing that comes to your mind. Focus on your prospect. Be sure to do your research before writing your cold email. Don’t overload the message – keep it short! 

Giving away too much information about your product or service in the email will make it seem like you are just trying to get them on board. This can come across as too pushy and result in a negative response from the reader. Instead, give just enough information to spark their interest without adding useless information.  

Don’t Use ROI in Your Cold Emails 

Data from Gong shows using ROI in emails led to a 15% decrease in success rates. They reported that buyers make decisions based on emotions first, then justify their decision with data like ROI. Instead of using ROI, the experts at Gong suggest focusing on their business, their goals, and the challenges preventing them from reaching those goals. 

Don’t Ask for the Demo

Studies show that asking for the meeting or demo is no longer working in B2B cold emails. Instead, try selling the conversation using the Interest CTA, which Gong reports as the highest performing call to action for cold emails.

Don’t Be Boring 

There is no secret formula for putting together a great cold email copy. That’s why knowing your audience is so important. The better you know them, the more crisp and compelling copy you can write. Creative emails that show personality with a touch of “cheeky humor” have a higher chance of success than long boring emails.
 

Make Sure It Comes from a Direct Name

Sending messages under a company name won’t work. It is seen as impersonal, spammy, and robotic. You need to make sure your cold emails are coming from a direct company representative for the best success rates. 

A/B Test Your Emails
You need to be measuring your cold email results so you can better improve upon them. If you don’t know the starting line, you’ll never know when you reach your goals. Tracking and testing will help you keep track of what messages resonate the best with your ideal client profiles.

 Use this information to consistently learn more and improve your overall messaging. Use A/B testing to change one piece of your cold email at once, like your subject line, and compare results. 

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