Cold Email Campaigns: 7 Rules to Support Lead Generation and Sales

For years, email campaigns have topped the list of many marketing studies. That’s still true today.

When asked which form of marketing provided the most insight into B2B content performance in the last year, 64% of marketers cited email, according to the 2021 B2B Content Marketing report

In fact, email engagement was right up there with website engagement (69%) and website traffic (65%). Not bad for a medium that many declared to be dead!

In the report, one marketer commented: “Before COVID, 50% of our leads came from in-person events. Now we’ve had to double down on focusing on email marketing, SEO and SEM … and the quality of leads is quite high.”

Cold Email Rules, Too!

Clearly, email is still a powerful marketing channel, despite many people believing it’s not as effective today — this includes cold email marketing! In fact, cold email marketing remains especially powerful for lead generation and sales.

To create effective cold email campaigns, you need to follow several email marketing best practices. Here are seven rules to optimize cold email campaigns that can boost lead generation.

Rule 1 — Build the Right Cold Email List

There is a popular saying among marketing professionals: the money is in the list. What they mean is that email marketing is a powerful form of marketing — if you have a high-quality list. The quality of your email list will have a direct and immediate impact on the profitability of your cold email marketing program. 

The biggest benefit a cold email campaign offers is that the leads you have in your subscriber list are already warm. They are already interested in your products and what you have to offer. Unlike leads that are completely cold (like new website visitors), or those who have shown minimal engagement (like those coming from a social media platform), you know where you stand with email subscribers. 

What’s also unique about your email subscribers is that you own the customized list, including coveted email addresses. 

More complex is outbound (or cold) email. There are companies that dedicate themselves to gathering “opt-in” data and will sell it to you for a hefty price, just for you to email people you don’t know. However you may feel about it, there is still a need to reach new targets and cold email is an fficient way to put your brand, product or services in front of a new audience. Trust me, that is what we do!

Acquiring a high-quality outbound email list is the first step in avoiding the spam folder. It need to include these considerations:

  • Understand your audience pain points: Know their demographics, views, needs, and challenges, so you can create personalized cold emails.
  • Mirror your best customers: This provides you with common ground and points of reference.
  • Use a third party: Companies like Acceler8now offer turnkey outbound marketing services, including data. This is cost effective, efficient and enables you to build lists as you need them without a commitment to expensive data contracts. 
  • Have a great website. This is your home base and is a direct reflection of your business.
  • Invest wisely: Use a reputable company that regularly updates their data. No one should pay for outdated data. This is especially relevant due to job changes following the pandemic. 

Rule 2 — Consider the Buyer’s Journey to Avoid the Spam Folder

The buyer’s journey is the process a lead travels when they are considering  a product or service. Customers move through the stages as they educate themselves and move closer to making a final purchasing decision. Here are the four essential stages in the buyer’s journey: 

  • Awareness: At this stage, potential customers realize they have a problem or need and are open to solutions to solve the challenge. Companies with high visibility and a lot of good content tend to stand out. 
  • Consideration: At this stage, buyers have clearly defined their needs and begun researching and considering available options. Companies who provide the most compelling solution tend to win more new customers. 
  • Decision: At this stage, buyers choose which product to purchase. Companies that continue to provide valuable content tend to help buyers confirm the value of their purchases. 
  • Loyalty: At this stage, satisfied customers continue to do business with the organization. Companies support this stage by continuing to deliver high-value content that helps their customers excel.

Rule 3 — Focus on Nurturing to Enhance Lead Generation

Until leads become customers, companies need to engage in nurturing, otherwise it will be a challenge to accomplish effective lead generation. This is the process of developing and reinforcing relationships with qualified leads, and it is primarily centered around email marketing programs. 

Lead nurturing campaigns not only allow you to interact with buyers, but also use the data you collect to gauge their interest and monitor their behavior to optimize future campaigns and increase return on investment (ROI). It creates a pathway through which you not only create relationships with potential customers, but also maintain those relationships while the prospect moves through the buyer’s journey at their own pace.

A successful lead nurturing program that supports lead generation focuses marketing and communication efforts in these areas: 

  • Listening: Hear the needs of your prospects.
  • Response: Provide the information and answers they need to build trust and increase brand awareness.
  • Connection: Maintain a connection until prospects are ready to make a purchase. 
  • Communication: Begin the process of creating lasting relationships with leads who ultimately become customers. 

Rule 4 — Segment Your Lists to Send Personalized Cold Emails

Segmentation is the science of breaking up your contact lists into smaller segments, so that you can target your messages, send personalized emails and boost your results. The more contact information you collect about your email recipients, the more opportunities you have to be successful. 

Contact information lists can be segmented in a variety of ways, including:

  • Demographics: What are the characteristics of the population?
  • Geography: Where are the leads located?
  • Industry: Which business sector do the leads work in? 
  • Business type: Are the leads small businesses, enterprises, non-profits, franchises, or something else?

Rule 5 — Create Personalized Content so They’ll Open Emails

One of the advantages of cold email campaigns is creating customized campaigns with targeted content that helps entice recipients to open the emails. This can be as simple as using a person’s name in the email or creating different campaigns for different target audiences.  

Among the many aspects of email that can be personalized and help ensure people open the emails are:

  • Subject lines
  • Messages
  • Signatures
  • Images and links
  • Offers

Rule 6 — Send Cold Sales Emails at the Right Time to Boost Response Rates

To have a successful marketing campaign that achieves good response rates, you must reach the right customers at the right time. Determining the best days of the week and times of day is based on research.

Study your campaigns to discover what is working best in your unique market. Find the times when people open their emails and respond to messages when they’re most available.

Rule 7 — Track Cold Email Campaign Results

It’s essential to know how your cold email campaigns are performing. Focusing on the right metrics will help you to analyze and improve any of your marketing campaigns over time.

Here are some important metrics you should be measuring on a regular basis to maintain your cold email lists’ health and improve your cold email campaign’s ROI:

  • Open rate: The percentage of your email recipients who opened your emails (email subject lines are massively important for this reason!).
  • Click-through rate: The percentage of your email recipients who clicked on links inside your emails.
  • Response rate: The percent of your email recipients who responded to the cold emails in some way.
  • Reply or Conversion rate: The percentage of your email recipients who completed your desired action, such as responding, clicking a link or purchasing a product.

Ask nearly any marketing expert and they will tell you that email marketing is the backbone of their entire marketing program. However, the devil is in the details — and if you follow these seven rules you’ll set yourself up for a successful cold email marketing campaign.

To learn how we can connect you to an untapped target audience with an optimized cold email campaign, check out our solutions.

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