How to Do A Cold Email Outreach Campaign: A Beginner's Guide

How to Do A Cold Email Outreach Campaign: A Beginner's Guide

Every business wants more customers. More customers means a larger influx of cash and that opens up more opportunities for growth and opportunities for your company. Obtaining more customers however, is a difficult task to overcome for any company in any industry. Thankfully, there are many avenues for companies to pursue in order to increase their exposure to potential customers through various marketing channels. Buying ad space on websites, working to optain partnerships with other companies, or even creating content in the hopes of increasing web traffic to your website are all very worthwhile channels to pursue in order to achieve the same end goal of an increased customer base. However, one of the most effective ways for a company to increase their exposure directly to the right type of audience is to launch  and develop a cold email outreach campaign in order to get your pitch seen directly by the exact type of people you hope to convert into customers.

But what exactly is a cold email outreach campaign? The basic answer for this question is that this phrase refers to the process of sending out a large amount of emails to various individuals who you have not reached out to before in order to pitch them your services. For most people who perform any type of surface level research into successful marketing strategies, this process is commonly referenced as it has been successfully implemented by a large number of companies big and small to increase their customer base. Based on this fantastic resource article by Caroline Forsey on Hubspot, they estimate that at least 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention as well as 59% of marketers at companies say email is their biggest source of a return on investment. A large majority of companies that exist perform some type of cold email outreach where they can directly tie these efforts to an increase in profits and a customer base. In this article we will be going in depth about how to get started with launching a cold email outreach campaign from start to finish. We understand that for many startups or individuals attempting to grow their business, figuring out how to successfully implement this process into your marketing workflow can be very intimidating. It can be even more intimidating as you only have a single opportunity to make a good first impression to a potential customer. We at Companywell want to lift the veil on the process in the hopes that others can learn from our first hand experience performing this type of marketing. Lets explore this further and break down the basics.

What is Cold Email?

To put it bluntly, a cold email  refers to the process of sending out an email to an individual or inbox for whom you have never had any direct contact with prior. An example of this on a small scale would be stumbling upon an email address of someone you wish to reach out too for any reason and reaching out to them to introduce yourself and share whatever it is you wish to share with them. Every potential customer or professional relationship needs to start somewhere, and for many companies this is the quickest way to break the ice with someone and get your point across directly.

Overall, cold email is an extremely effective way to reach out to a wide variety of potential customers, but there are some caveats that prevent this strategy from being an absolutely perfect way to increase your exposure online. Due to the nature of ‘cold’ outreach, performing this type of outreach can be compared to bowling in the dark. You know what your target is and you know what you are trying to achieve but when you are reaching out to an email address you have never had previous contact with, you have no clue if the data you are working with is accurate to who you are attempting to reach out to. Sometimes emails found on a website or social media profile might be out of date and no longer exist, other times an email address that appears to belong to one person actually belongs to someone else entirely. Also the possibility of hitting a large amount of hard bounces on your primary domain exists, which can hurt future cold outreach attempts. These downsides however, can be greatly reduced as long as you take the proper avenues for obtaining the best possible source data for your efforts. But where does one actually obtain this data? While it is possible to gather these email addresses yourself manually, doing so can be seen as time wasted as the time spent gathering is time lost for planning other aspects of your campaign. Luckily there are plenty of services that specialize in making the process of gathering accurate data for your needs (such as Companywell). Let's explore this further.

Where To Find Verified Emails

Sourcing email addresses for your outreach campaign is arguably the most important starting point for launching an outreach campaign. Before you begin dedicating any preparation time to an outreach campaign, you want to ensure that.

  1. You know who your target audience will be.
  2. You know that you can get accurate outreach data based upon your target audience.
  3. You know that the source of your data is reliable and will not harm your domain authority.

This will require some proper planning beforehand, as knowing your target audience is absolutely essential for having a successful outreach campaign. You do not want to waste the time, money, and effort towards an outreach campaign that is purely reaching out to whatever addresses you can muster up.

Thankfully, acquiring this source data has become a much easier process nowadays as demand for accurate email address data is ever increasing as the years go on. We at Companywell understand the importance of having extremely accurate data while also allowing companies and individuals to target the exact type of audience they would have the most success pitching too, so we made the process of acquiring large datasets as quick and painless as possible. As we are constantly combing the internet 24/7 for outreach data and only allowing properly verified information to be entered into our database, any company or individual can easily acquire the exact type of contact data they need within a matter of minutes by simply searching through our indexed database (We maintain more than 55 specific data fields to allow our users to build hyper specific contact lists).

Even though we pride ourselves on our accurate data and extremely easy to use platform to build these outreach lists at extremely low costs to similar services, we are not the only option for those who wish to build up a datalist (Despite us arguably being the quickest manner for gathering these types of lists). Another avenue for companies to acquire a dataset of outreach emails is to simply take advantage of internal databases you may already have in your CRM. If your business maintains a newsletter or has a section on your site for prospects to enter their information. These lists can arguably be considered some of the best contacts to reach out too as they have previously shown interest in your product in the past, so would be worth the effort to reach out too directly to pitch your product or make a proper introduction.

As there are many resources and approaches that exist for companies to acquire these types of datasets for an outreach program, there is not any single approach that would work best for all companies. For those who need accurate data quickly at a low cost, we can easily provide any company with the specific type of data they need so that they can get up and running as quickly as possible.

Once you have secured the dataset you plan on utilizing for your campaign, there are a few steps that you will need to perform in order to ensure optimal results when you finally begin sending out emails. These steps are not ‘technically’ necessary to perform but based on our past experiences alongside our knowledge of how email servers handle and process incoming and outgoing mail, we highly suggest that you perform these next few steps as it will ensure the highest potential for success alongside protecting your domain reputation when potentially sending out thousands of emails a day.

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC: What These Are And Why They Are Important?

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These are acronyms that the average person probably hasn’t heard of but are extremely important for ensuring a successful email outreach campaign.These trio of terms refer to a set of email security protocols that ensure your domain is protected and ensure that emails sent out have a very low likelihood of ending up in the spam folder of the targets inbox. All three of these protocols are inter-related and work together, so it is very important to at least understand what they are, how they work, and how to configure them if you need to. If your company utilizes an IT service,  these protocols are most likely already implemented but it is very important to verify that they are yourself. Let's explore each of these protocols.

SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication technique that is designed to confirm the identity of sender addresses and prevent any forged mail from being sent on behalf of your sender domain. The SPF framework is what allows an organization to publish authorized mail servers for the purpose of further authentifying any incoming mail received by other mail servers.

On a mail server, an SPF Record is simply just a DNS record that is added to your domain. In this record, you simply just specify which IP addresses or hostnames are allowed to send mail under your specific domain.

DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is another email authentication method that is designed to detect email spoofing, which is the process of creating outgoing mail with a forged sender address. DKIM works in tandem with SPF records in that it allows the receiving inbox to check the validity of a piece of mail that comes from a specific domain. This process is done through the process of attaching a digital signature linked to the domain, where the receiving inbox can match this signature with the public signature of the domain DNS. These signatures are not seen by the user but hide in the metadata of each piece of mail as they are only needed on the backend of the server.

In relation to SPF, DKIM essentially provides another level of authentication when sending and receiving mail as it just another security handshake to ensure that the mail that other servers are receiving is real and being sent from validated inboxes.

DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is the final common email authentication protocol that is designed to further verify mail being sent to an external inbox. DMARC acts as an extension to DKIM and SPF authentication protocols as it allows the administrative owner of a domain to enter a DNS record to specify what protocols are in effect on a domain so the server knows what to look for (As in if you have DKIM enabled on your end but not an SPF record, the DMARC DNS entry will specify this so that the receiving server will know to only check the DKIM signature.)

Verifying Your Mail Servers

Now that we have covered what SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are and why they are important for email security and delivery, let's quickly go over some quick and easy ways to ensure that these are set up properly on your domain. As for configuration of these protocols, we can not go into specifics on this as there are many variations of how to add these to your server domains depending on how you are hosting them (and we do not feel that it would be responsible for us to provide inaccurate information on this as this article ages).

There are thankfully many manners of determining how your mail domain is configured. The most straightforward way that we recommend people check their configuration is to utilize one of the many online tools available that can quickly ping a domain and tell you if these protocols are in place. Since these protocols rely on a handshake of sorts, these types of tools can give you an accurate answer on if these services are in place and configured correctly. Below we have linked some of the most handy ones that we have encountered and used first hand.

All of these tools are free to use and can quickly confirm if your domain is ready to go before beginning any type of outreach efforts. The other method that you could utilize to ensure that all your security protocols are set up properly is to simply check your DNS records on your domain. If this is something that you would not feel comfortable performing yourself, then we would recommend just sticking to the tools we have linked above as it is a quick and easy way to ensure you are set up properly.

Creating An Inbox

Once you have ensured that your mail servers are properly configured for the maximum deliverability potential, the next step that you will want to take before starting any type of outreach efforts is to determine where you will be sending these emails from. For a majority of situations, the best way to manage any type of outreach campaign is to simply create a brand new email address under your company's domain. The reason why you would want to do this as opposed to utilizing your own email address or the address of another employee who will be managing this campaign is because when you are sending out potentially thousands of emails a day or week, you will hopefully be getting a large amount of return emails from the contacts you are reaching out too. For the sake of organization and saving yourself from separating every day work related emails from those that are related to your outreach efforts, this will make the process of outreach much easier to organize and track over the course of your campaign. Depending on the situation, it may make more sense to utilize an already established address if they are the individual who will be the main point of contact for this outreach, but as a general rule of thumb it is suggested to create an entirely new inbox to utilize for this effort.

Another aspect of creating a new address for your outreach efforts is choosing the right handle that people will see in their inbox. What you choose should coincide with how you are approaching individuals as a first contact point. If you plan on reaching out as someone who represents the business in some sort of way (Someone who works in a sales department reaching out about a potential meeting, a marketing representative looking to strike up a partnership, and so forth), than it would be a good idea to create this address as if it was an employee at your company (such as giving the account a handle and full name such as John Doe at john.doe@yourdomain.com). Doing this will make your outreach attempts feel less automated and give your emails more of a personal touch. For many situations, this will make the most sense to do but any generic business handle would be effective as well if it makes sense for the type of content you are reaching out to new inboxes with. Examples of generic business handles to use would be something along the lines of teams@yourdomain.com or hello@yourdomain.com, where it is clear to anyone on the receiving end that this is coming from an official representative at the business associated with the domain.

Warming Up Your New Inbox


Whichever way you name the email address created for this outreach effort, the step we will be discussing now is an extremely important step to take to ensure that your campaign runs smoothly throughout the entire lifespan of your efforts. This step is commonly referred to as ‘warming up’ an inbox, which translates to taking a newly created email address and using it for a while before a mass amount of mail begins to be sent from it. The reason why you will need to do this is due to various anti-spam prevention systems that exist within the modern structure of email communication.

Historically, individuals responsible for sending out spam/phishing mail will create an email address, send out as much spam mail as possible before it gets blacklisted/banned/marked as a dangerous mail domain, then move on to create more email addresses and repeat the process. Almost all mail servers utilize some sort of anti-spam system that will refer to existing lists of known dangerous/spam domains and flag any mail that comes from them. These lists are constantly being updated and there are various ways that server hosts or mail servers on the receiving end of your mail can misidentify your efforts as a spam trap.

Thankfully, the process of warming up an inbox will drastically reduce the possibility of your email address or domain from being misclassified as a spam or phishing address or your hosting services delete your inbox for abuse. Below we have outlined the basic steps you will need to take to warm up an inbox.

Send a few emails a day - This will be the main activity that you will need to perform to get your inbox ready to send out a mass amount of emails. Essentially all you need to do is just send out emails to other unique, existing inboxes a few times a day. It is that simple. To what emails you send mail out too does not matter, as long as your emails are successfully delivered, you are good to go. We recommend sending about 5 emails a day at minimum, where you send 1 or so an hour.

Write Like A Human - This is extremely important to do as mail servers do not like it when you create a new email address and send out the same copy and pasted message over and over again. Another thing to note when I say ‘write like a human’, I do not mean that every email you send out needs to be worthy of publication. You just need to write out emails as if you are engaging in a conversation with someone, or that it at least appears from a glance that you are engaging in an actual conversation or sending out content that was written by a person. For sake of simplicity, you can just write out a few sentences or pretend that you are sharing business data with the recipient. The content itself does not matter, but how it is composed matters.

Set Up A ‘From Line’ and a Signature - Taking the time to set these up will make your new email address appear to be more authentic to servers. For those who do not know, the “From Line” of an email address is the text that appears next to your address when it appears in the inbox of a recipient. Think of it as the branding to your online identity. The signature of an email address is the footer that automatically will be attached to any outgoing mail you send out. Typically, the signature of an email address will contain the name, role, and company of the owner of the inbox to give further information to recipients. Setting both of these up can take as little as 5 minutes of your time and will improve the reputation of this new inbox. Another thing to note is that all recipients of your cold emails will see this, so you cannot fill in these sections with garbage text. Think carefully about what you put here and make sure it lines up with the identity you are creating for your outreach efforts.

Perform Step 1 For 2 Weeks - This is the aspect of warming up an inbox that can be frustrating at times. Any mail service needs to see that an inbox is being consistently used for a certain duration of time. The exact amount of activity/use time is not exactly known, but a general rule of thumb to follow is that you should be performing actions within an inbox over the course of around a 2 week period. You may be able to get away with performing these steps in less time, but 2 weeks seems to be the sweet spot as based on our experience, it doesn’t appear to matter if you do this for longer than this amount of time.

Warming up your inbox is a simple process but requires you to stay persistent and patient as you perform the following steps we listed above. There are further steps that you can perform to ensure that your inbox is properly warmed up before a campaign begins, but these are the general steps you should be performing no matter what. For those who want to dig a bit deeper into warming up an inbox, Lemlist has a fantastic resource going very much in depth on the subject and we highly recommend checking it out if you are curious.

Warming up a new inbox can take up a lot of your time, so thankfully there are actually plenty of services available that can automate this process for you. Below we have listed a handful of services that we have reliable knowledge of being great services for this type of need.

Utilizing these types of services is not necessary if you can manage to perform the steps listed above, but it is always good to have some services to lean on if you ever need too. Warming up an inbox can definitely feel like a drag as you are putting effort into a mundane task that doesn’t feel like it matters, but be rest assured that performing these steps will drastically reduce the likelihood of an outreach attempt being cut short due to an email address getting blacklisted or potentially harming your domain reputation.

Your Pitch/Opener

The success of an outreach campaign is almost completely dependent on how well you can pitch your product or get your message across to someone who most likely has no idea what your business does or who you are. It’s arguably the single most important factor that determines if you get a return on the investment you put into launching a cold email campaign. Especially in the business to business space, time is money. No one wants to waste their time reading a random email they receive in their inbox unless you can capture their attention right away.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you thoroughly spend the time and attention towards ensuring that your first initial email to a potential new client is precise, informative, and includes a call to action and gives a reason as to why you specifically chose to reach out to them. Most people who have worked in any professional industry know what cold emailing is. They will most likely have first hand experience from other cold outreach emails they have received and will pick up on that quickly. You need to differentiate yourself from the crowd and sell your pitch and reason for communication to the best of your ability. Below are some of the most important things to think about when crafting your initial message to potential new customers.


Introduce Yourself - As you would do in real life when meeting new people, it is important to introduce who you are and who you represent. Something as simple as the following example found below is enough as long as it makes sense to what you aim to accomplish.

Hi {First Name}

My name is {Identity of Email Address} and I am the {Role this email address represents within your company} at {your company}.

Explain What You Do - Never assume the person on the receiving end of your email knows who you are and what your company does. You never want to rely on a recipient having to google your name or the name of your business just to find out who you are and why they are reaching out to you (As most likely they will not attempt to do this). Try to keep this as straight to the point as possible but be sure not to leave out any important details.

Push Your Selling Point - There are a lot of businesses out there, and most likely your business shares similarities with others. You need to do your best to explain why your company is different from the competition that they might be familiar with. Try to highlight one aspect of your company that stands out from the rest, and sell this as a reason why you stand above the competition.

Initiate A Call To Action - What is the purpose of you emailing this contact out of the blue. Do you want them to sign up to your service or do you want them to know you exist? If you are performing any type of cold outreach, you should clearly establish a reason why you are reaching out to this specific person and convince them that it is worth their time to reciprocate back with your outreach attempts. Including a link to your product page or a section of your sight that goes into more detail on your services can do wonders as if you managed to keep them hooked with your email, they potentially will want to find out more for themselves.

You only have once chance at making a good first impression. When launching a cold email campaign, that phrase applies even more so since you are potentially making a thousand or more first impressions all in a short period of time. Crafting your initial message can be a challenge as it can be difficult to summarize everything that is great about your pitch and business in a short and precise email, but the effort you put into this can potentially make a world of difference for the long term of your efforts.

To end this section I wanted to link a few helpful resources I have utilized over the years that have helped me craft my own email pitches.

I want to stress another aspect of linking these templates, in that I do not suggest just taking what is provided in these articles and just retrofitting your own needs into them. The use that I have gained from these specific articles is primarily inspiration and helping me form my own thoughts based upon seeing how others have done their own pitches. You do not want to merely copy someone else's words and hope that it’s just as effective for you, you want to see why these have succeeded and incorporate those ideas into your own attempts. However you choose to pursue creating the perfect pitch, it is a very important aspect of an effective campaign and it is extremely worth the time to make sure that you perfect it.

Automating Your Outreach Campaign

At this point you should have your contacts ready to go, your inbox warmed up, and your responses prepared to send out. For all intensive purposes you are ready to go, but in order to effectively manage this outreach effort, you are going to either need to utilize an existing service such as Mailchimp or Mailshake to effectively manage sending out emails to a large audience or figure out a schedule in which you manually email out these contacts. Manually doing this is a potential option for those trying to minimize their investment into a campaign, but if you are planning on reaching out to more than a hundred people throughout the campaign, we highly suggest that you utilize one of these existing outreach management services as it will ensure mail gets set out on a routine basis and that you don’t mistakenly call someone by the wrong name or make any mistakes with your pitch.

For the most part, getting set up with these services is very straight forward. Generally they will ask you to just name your campaign, upload a .csv list of your contacts, write in your initial and follow up emails and configure when they get sent out. With many of these services, you can get up and running within around 15 minutes or so. Below we have linked a few services that we have tried in the past have had a positive experience with.

There are dozens upon dozens of other services that exist that will assist you with managing your cold outreach campaign, but based upon our experiences of performing cold outreach in the past, we would highly recommend checking out these services as they have provided us with fantastic results and made the process incredibly easy.

Once you have begun sending out emails to your contacts, it will be incredibly important going forward to ensure that you are staying on top of your inbox and keeping your eyes peeled for any type of positive engagement replies to your inbox. Seeing as any responses you get back could potentially turn into a new customer, you will want to make sure you have a workflow in place in order to either hand these customers off to other staff within your business who can follow up and attempt to close it, or you yourself handle it from there. Considering you could potentially have multiple positive replies every hour depending on the amount of contacts you are reaching out too. It would be a good idea to utilize a scheduling service such as Calendly or similar to streamline the process of getting a call or meeting scheduled, or alternatively if the reason for your outreach doesn’t require any type of meeting it would be a good idea to have a prepared 1 pager or information resource to pass along to them.

To Conclude

Cold email outreach is one of the most effective strategies for businesses of any size to boost their customer base and increase their overall exposure to their desired target audience. As technology advances and more services are created to assist with the logistics of getting a campaign up and running, this approach towards growing your audience has become an effective and efficient method to incorporate into any marketing strategy. With a little preparation and research, a cold email outreach campaign can provide any company with a worthwhile return on their investment.







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