The Art of Going in Cold: How to Warm Up a Cold Email List

Effective cold emailing is tricky, so we've laid out the best ways to warm up a cold email list.

Executive Summary

  • Cold email doesn't mean sending out an unprepared email
  • Reverse engineer your buyer personas
  • Get inside your buyers head to know their pain points
  • Research your competitors well enough so you know how to outpitch them
  • If you understand what you bring to the table, then your buyer will too
  • Follow our 6 Rules of Engagement in Cold Emailing

Warm-up. It’s a common phrasing used from fitness and sports to email campaigning and prospecting. Want to avoid injury? Warm-up. Want to avoid the spam box and close a deal? Warm-up.

But if you’ve been in Sales and Lead Generation long enough, then you know that you don’t always get the opportunity to warm up. Sometimes you’ve got to go in cold.

The notion of cold emailing potential clients is enough to send chills up the spines of most Sales Development Reps, but sending cold emails to your potential Business to Business (B2B) clients can be an extremely effective method to identify and connect with actual prospects.

Sending an effective cold email takes as much talent as it does experience if you want to get results. But, if you don’t know how to effectively send cold emails, it can be a complete waste of time.

Cold emailing is undoubtedly tricky, and we at SalesHive don’t want to see you go in cold, unprepared, and potentially face a season-ending injury -or the spam box.

Sometimes in Lead Generation, you have no choice but to go in cold, and this is the art of doing so.

Cold Email Doesn’t Mean Unprepared

You may be thinking that, once you send out an initial email to a prospect, they will respond and show immediate interest in purchasing your product or service.

The hard truth is, it doesn’t work that way.

Just sending a cold email, without prep or research, is inevitably doomed to fail. You’ll just add yourself to the hundreds of casually disregarded emails that get deleted or chucked into spam.

You need to be sure that, before sending anything, you know your prospect to such a degree that you can make a genuine connection and start a conversation.

You must first develop "buyer personas."

Build Your Buyer Personas

So much of selling is storytelling, and the prospect -your buyer- is the main character in that story.

A character with no details, development, depth, or thought isn't going to bring anything to the story and won't propel the action forward. Before you can write the story, you need to know your character.

In the same manner as a novelist writing a story, you can’t create an effective cold email if you don’t know who you’re writing to. This is where a fleshed out buyer persona comes in.

To create a good buyer persona, you must do your homework on them.

Simply knowing someone's title and email address is nowhere near enough information. You need to gather and organize all the details that can relate to your ideal prospects. Build the character. Build your buyer.

The details needed include things like: Company size - Industry - How your offering brings value - Geographic location - Their current priorities - Their pain points - What experts they follow - What they talk about.

When you have the buyer personas built, you can start organizing your prospect lists by the persona.

It’s almost like reverse engineering the prospects. Don’t look at the prospect and discover their details, build the persona, and see which buyers fit your mold.

Once you’ve done that, you can build a list of contacts that meet the criteria of each persona you've pieced together.

Get Inside Your Buyer's Head

Even though you've got a list put together from your buyer personas, you're not ready to begin emailing.

Creating a buyer persona template is one thing, but you're still not finished developing your characters completely.

After you’ve created and segmented your lists you need to learn more about the prospects, and that takes a bit of additional research.

You need to be able to answer pivotal questions about the buyer - What are their pains? - How do they measure their success? - What are their career ambitions or goals? - What keywords do they use?

How do you actually do this research?

You start by selecting 5-10 names off your list, as randomly as you can, and find their LinkedIn profiles.

Evaluate their backgrounds, their education levels, job experiences, and recommendations. You’ll see certain keywords in common with all or most of them, and you’ll also be able to make note of their career path and trajectories.

Moving beyond LinkedIn you go on to a full-on social media audit. Visit their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other social media profiles you can find.

Skimming a prospect’s social channels will often reveal their interests, challenges and pain points.

It’s an energy consuming and meticulous process, but it’s worth taking the time to scan through online forums that are visited by the prospects on your list.

These forums will glean additional insights into their challenges, goals and measurements of success.

Know Your Competitors

At this point, most SDR’s would think they’re more than ready to dive into crafting the perfect cold email to prospects.

But there’s much more to go through.

You need to know who you’re up against so you know how to stand out from your peers who are pursuing the exact same buyers you are.

Take some time to scour competitor websites; What do they emphasize in their messaging? What are their key selling points? What are the primary services and experiences being offered to potential clients?

Keeping your enemies close is a colloquialism for a reason.

Do as much reconnaissance work as you can, and take the information you gather from these sites to start to figure out what makes your company different.

Determine the most succinct way to articulate why you are the better choice.

By knowing your competitors, you can determine what makes you a better pick for your prospect.

With this knowledge you can effectively differentiate your offering from that of other companies within the marketplace.

Know Your Benefits

Once you possess an idea of how to rise above your competitors, you must identify all of the benefits of your product or service. You need to bring your benefit to the forefront if you want to make headway with your buyers.

It’s key to focus on benefits. Nobody buys features, they buy benefits. The solutions to their problems.

By knowing your benefit you know what pain points and problems you can solve for your potential buyers. If you can't easily list, expand on, or sell the benefits and unique aspects of your business, you're not ready to start making cold email contact.

Know what you bring to the table. If you know it, then eventually, your buyers will know it too.

6 Rules Of Engagement of Cold Email

Finally. You've done the homework, you're self-aware and self-assured in what you can offer - It's time to start building the framework of your B2B cold emails.

Below are some rules that we at SalesHive strongly recommend you keep in mind when starting to craft your copy:

  1. Keep your email short and to the point. No more than 4-5 sentences, otherwise you risk losing people. Too much text gives the immediate impression that your email is just going to take too long to read, and no one hangs around to read novel-length emails.
  1. Make it personal. The more personalized your copy, the better. That being said, when sending to higher volumes of potentials, this becomes more difficult. If you're sending out dozens upon dozens of emails each day, it's going to be next to impossible to customize and personalize each and every one.
  1. Address their name. At the bare minimum try to personalize the recipient’s name or their company name. It doesn’t seem like much, but being able to have the recipient see their name pays huge dividends in increasing read and response rates.
  1. Don’t overwhelm the copy. One topic per email is the hard rule. Don’t talk about pricing, their pain points, and your value prop all in the same email. Honing in on a specific focus and sticking with it helps to avoid confusion or losing the readers interest.
  1. Talk about them. NOT YOU. Your prospects don’t want to read about you, they want to know what you can do for them. It’s all about the buyer.
  1. Be conversational. Don't try to showcase your “profound and ostentatiously garnished vocabulary.” The more you throw in fancy words or corporate-jargon, the colder your cold email will get.

Offer a Call to Action (CTA)

Your prospects are just as busy as you, so you want to make it easy for them to respond.

One trick to do this is ask a targeted question that has a one-word or very short answer; “yes or no”, “always or never”, “I would or I wouldn't”.

Don't force them to pore over your email to formulate an answer. Make it something they can answer immediately.

An added tip to the CTA is to include a link they can click at the bottom of your cold email leading to your website or a specific page that will act as a follow-up and lead them to respond.

The Aesthetic of Your Cold Email

The copy you use in your cold emails is incredibly important, but the way your email looks -the aesthetic- is quite often overlooked and equally as important.

It’s the first impression your cold email makes. Even before reading the copy, your potential buyer begins making a judgement based on how the email looks.

Don't send cold emails out from platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact; they use HTML which gives the feel of bulk email, and that destroys all your efforts to create personalized content.

Be sure to use plain black sans serif text with a well-formatted email signature, and, as a general rule, you should never use more than six sentences in your email.

Remember - Decision-makers receive hundreds of solicitations per week and read a lot of it on their phones while on the go. 

Cold emails are also not the time to use bullet points.

You may think they will give your buyer a more organized and concise read of the copy, but they’ve actually been proven to result in lower response rates. They give the impression of bulk email.

Furthermore, links outside of a simple signature have also been proven to distract readers from your call to action (CTA) by taking them away from your email instead of encouraging them to stay and respond.

Take care of how your cold email looks, and you just might get your potential buyer to actually read it.

The Art of Cold Email

Sales and Lead Generation sometimes forces you to go into prospecting with cold emails, but effective cold email, when done right, is anything but a waste of time.

We at SalesHive have mastered the Art of Going in Cold, and we don’t want to see you go in cold without the tools to succeed.

Follow these guidelines in the Art of Cold Email, and you’ll start to see your cold emails generate warm contact with your potential buyers.

Sometimes in Lead Generation you have no choice but to go in cold, and now you know how to do it.

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