Cold Emailing: The Must Do’s and The Absolute Don’ts

An image illustrating a mail next to the headine, 'Cold Emailing: The Must Do's & The Absolute Don'ts'

Pain (/peɪn/) (noun) – When you pour your heart and soul into your cold emailing endeavors for a prospect and get the silent treatment.

Cold emailing can be notoriously difficult when it comes to eliciting responses. In fact, the average response rate for cold emails is…*drumroll*1%. 

The average ex is more likely to respond to you😭

However, cold emails (when crafted correctly) can effectively build valuable relationships and convert leads to customers. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of cold emailing.

Examples of Bad Cold Emails

Take a look at this cold email from a particularly careless sender:

An example of bad cold emailing showing a poorly written cold email with a weak subject line.

The subject line in itself is a huge giveaway. The capitalization style is off and it isn’t noticeably attention-grabbing, but most importantly, it doesn’t even make sense.

Moreover, the body copy is lengthy and unfocused. The worst part—the entire thing looks like it was written by AI.

Now here’s another cold email that a well-known CRM provider received from a creative, but confused sender:

An example of bad cold emailing showing a poorly written cold email that fails to provide value to the reader.

Though it certainly catches your attention and is witty, the sender fails to provide more value and context to the reader, other than assistance in case of a zombie outbreak.

Poor quality isn’t the only reason your cold email could meet its doom. There are several other technical elements that influence the success of your cold emails that have nothing to do with quality. For example:

  • The number of emails you send per day from a server
  • The cadence of your follow-ups
  • Unsubscribe and opt-out options
  • The information in your email signature

This blog covers all of these and more in detail. We’ve come up with a list of do’s and don’ts you need to incorporate into your cold emailing strategy. Let’s start with the Do’s first.

The Must Do’s of Cold Emailing

#1 Practise IP warm-ups

IP warm-up is the process of gradually increasing the number of emails sent under an IP address rather than sending out emails in bulk right from the get-go.

Why is IP warm-up such a big deal in email prospecting?

Because you don’t want your email to end up in the spam folder. 

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) need time to evaluate the legitimacy of an IP address by assessing how your recipients engage with your emails. Email volume is one of the key factors an ISP uses to detect spam.

If you send out emails in bulk from a new IP address or one that hasn’t been used in a month or more, you run the risk of ending up with a bad sender reputation.

Start slow. Gradually, you can start sending more and more emails in bulk. 

Vaishnavi Balachandran, Email Marketing Ninja at Slintel, emphasizes the importance of IP warm-up and explains how to apply it to cold emails in her recent webinar on the subject.

#2 Beware of the laws of cold emailing

Not knowing the rules and regulations of the law like the CAN-SPAM act, the GDPR, and the CCPA before sending cold emails could end up earning you a painful lawsuit. 

While sending cold emails itself does not break any laws, the content of the email certainly has the potential to.

Firstly, avoid doing things that beat the very purpose of email prospecting such as sending irrelevant emails with misleading subject lines just to get them to click. In fact, there are specific spam trigger words that you should avoid using in your emails.

Secondly, remember to add basic details about your company including your company’s address in your signature. Your prospects need a way to trace the source of the email.

Thirdly, provide a valid opt-out option to your recipients. It’s against the law to not give your recipients the choice to stop receiving emails from you.

In short, your email must be relevant to the recipient and should allow them to manage preferences. These rules can not only help you avoid a lawsuit, but also increase the credibility of your email to the reader. 

#3 Converse before you coerce

So far, we covered ways to make sure you’re getting your email read without breaking any laws in your email prospecting ventures. We’ll move on to discuss a much more important aspect of cold emails—your content.

If your content isn’t worthwhile, your efforts will not bring you any RoI. Make sure that you’re providing value or some form of help in your cold email.

Here is an example:

An example of good cold emailing showing a cold email that is personalized and gets straight to the point.

To start off, it is personalized and gets straight to the point. It gives value to the reader and shows genuine interest.

The content of any cold email should be relevant and personalized to the recipient. It should address them personally, and shouldn’t immediately set out to sell something.

Like in the example above, it should be aimed at building a relationship with the recipient. 

#4 Use Cold Emailing Templates

If you’re concerned about having to start from scratch, don’t worry. There are several cold email templates that you can use to start out.

In fact, we already have eight cold emailing templates ready-made for you to start using right away.

Writing out each cold email individually is simply not the best use of your time. So check out these cold email templates that can save you time without sacrificing quality.

Having said that, no matter what template you use, make sure it doesn’t kill your authenticity. Avoid sounding robotic and keep your cold emails personalized.

The Absolute Don’ts of Cold Emailing

#1 Using Spammy Tactics

In her webinar on cold emailing, Vaishnavi differentiates between the terms unsolicited email and bulk email. These are the two types of spam emails.

Unsolicited emails are emails in which the recipient has not granted any verifiable permission to be sent the email.

Bulk emails are large collections of emails with similar content that are sent out to a large list of recipients together.

While cold emails have the potential to fit both these criteria, simply adhering to the rules can help you avoid getting your email sent to the spam folder.

Bulk emailing is fine as long as you conduct a proper IP warm-up by gradually increasing the number of emails over time rather than sending out thousands of emails right from the start.

Unsolicited emails are fine as long as they’re relevant and non-misleading to the reader. The sender’s name should be clear and legitimate, and the receiver should be provided with a valid opt-out option.

#2 Overdoing It

Since cold emails require you to grab attention as quickly as possible, it can be rather tempting to cross the line. Be it in the subject line or the body copy—taking too much liberty isn’t advisable.

Avoid using emojis and other informal accessories in cold emails. They not only make your email come across as unprofessional but may also irritate a reader who has no idea who you are.

However, this doesn’t mean your email should sound lifeless. 

Cold emails should certainly feel friendly and inviting to the reader. The answer to sounding pleasant is in personalization, not emojis.

Segment your readers based on their industry, job role, and other relevant factors to personalize your emails just right.

#3 Using Your Primary Domain

Although it’s not absolutely against the rules to use your primary domain name in cold emails, it may have dire consequences.

Your reputation is associated with your domain name and IP address.

Since cold emails run the risk of damaging the sender’s reputation in the eyes of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it is almost always advisable to avoid using your primary domain name or its subdomains.

A damaged domain reputation can be incredibly difficult to reverse.

Always use a separate domain name whenever you send an email that runs the risk of damaging your reputation.

#4 Having Lengthy Email Copy

Nobody likes reading long, chunky, and boring copies. In most cases, even if a content piece isn’t that long, it’s still likely to be skimmed through.

Your email is one among the hundreds of other emails in an inbox. Say, the reader does find your subject line attractive enough to open your email. If your body copy is too long, they won’t think twice before sending it to the trash folder.

Here’s an example of a poorly written email that comes across as appalling in more ways than one:

An example of bad cold emailing showing a cold email with a lengthy body copy.

Keep in mind that this is a cold email and that the reader doesn’t even know the sender. 

People don’t even read messages from their next-of-kin if they’re more than a couple of sentences long. Needless to say, this email didn’t do anything for anybody. 

Keep your cold emails short and to the point. Make them easy to read by avoiding lengthy paragraphs and sticking to bullet points

Before You Hit Send

Remember, not getting a reply on your first try doesn’t mean it’s the end of the conversation. It might take several follow-ups before you get a response. 

So keep practicing and eventually, you’ll see your cold emails begin to work their magic.

Roshan Nair

Roshan Nair

Content Marketing today, caffeine relapse tomorrow. Hopes to tell a great story one day. I consume satire and horror in the meantime... Say, would you watch it if I made a satirical horror movie one day?

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