Cold email allows you to connect with decision-makers, collaborate with like-minded marketers, and open doors to new growth opportunities.

If you’re a marketer who is ready to embrace cold email, this guide is for you.

We’ll look at why you shouldn’t leave cold email to your sales team, explore different use cases, and show you a tried-and-tested process to implement cold email for your marketing needs.

  1. Why Cold Email Isn’t Just for Sales Teams

  2. Marketing Emails vs. Cold Email for Marketing

  3. 6 Ways to Use Cold Email for Marketing

  4. Step-by-Step Process to Hit Your Marketing Goals with Cold Email

Let’s dive in.

Why Cold Email Isn’t Just for Sales Teams

Many marketers prefer to stick to tried and tested marketing tactics:

  • SEO

  • Paid advertising

  • Social media marketing

  • Website conversion rate optimization

However, cold email gives your marketing team a way to start conversations with anyone in the world.

Whether it’s a marketer at another company who you want to partner with or reaching out to the CEO of a multimillion-dollar brand to bring on your company podcast, cold email is the best way to get in touch.

Marketing Emails vs. Cold Email for Marketing

It’s important to clarify that using cold email for marketing differs from your average email marketing campaign, even though the two terms sound similar.

  • Marketing emails: Any email you send to an existing customer or subscriber to your email list for marketing and promotional purposes.

  • Cold email for marketing: Any email you send to someone who hasn’t interacted with you or your company before, to potentially do business together.

For example, an onboarding email campaign to new free trial users would be email marketing.

An email to a CEO of a large company who you’ve never met, inviting them to join your webinar, would be a cold email. 

You can’t send cold emails using email marketing tools like Mailchimp. You need a dedicated cold email tool like QuickMail.

6 Ways to Use Cold Email for Marketing

1. Run SEO Outreach Campaigns

Link building is a key part of effective SEO.

Any marketer in charge of their company’s SEO strategy can use cold email for link building.

First, use tools like Ahrefs and Semrush to identify websites that would be a good fit to link to your resources.

Once you have a list of websites to contact, you can send a personalized cold email to the website owner or a marketer at the company. 

As soon as they reply, all you need to do is continue the conversation and find a way to collaborate in a way that works for all parties.

2. Secure PR For Your Brand

Your brand won’t secure PR opportunities without direct cold email outreach to journalists, content creators, and media outlets.

Sending carefully crafted cold emails with press releases or interesting company news to journalists in your industry is a powerful way to get to know them and ensure you’re on their radar.

3. Prospect for Potential Webinar Guests

Webinars are a powerful tool for B2B companies to grow their authority and generate new leads.

You can run webinars using just your in-house team. But, you can stand out by bringing in external experts. For example, at QuickMail we regularly collaborate with cold email experts to share insider tips and systems that our users can use to improve their results from cold email.

This has two significant benefits: the first is that you don’t have to create the content from scratch. The second is that you can tap into the third party’s own network, which means you can get more eyes on your webinar.

The best way to invite experts to your webinars is to use cold email. A friendly email can be all it takes to strike up a conversation, and if your recipient is interested, you could secure a hugely valuable guest to take your webinar to the next level.

4. Land Podcast Features and Guests

Like webinars, podcasts are a popular B2B channel. A tried-and-tested strategy is to interview well-known guests relevant to your audience.

Typically, the best guests will be experts in their field, so they’re busy and won’t be advertising their availability.

You can send a cold introduction email to start a conversation and invite them to your podcast.

Personalized email works well because it’s highly personal and they’ll know you’ve specifically chosen them.

5. Grow Your Professional Network

Another way you can use cold email for marketing is to grow your personal network.

You can connect with other like-minded marketers or even reach out to people at companies you admire and would consider working at in the future.

Even if you only send a couple of networking emails every week, you can quickly start to make new connections and build a valuable network. In the future, you could reach out to people in your network to invite them on podcasts, webinars, organize co-promotional opportunities, or even simply ask for advice.

This process will be invaluable over the course of your marketing career.

6. Generate New Leads and Customers

At small or growing companies, the marketing and sales teams are closely intertwined.

If you’re tasked with bringing in new leads, cold email is one of the best ways to do that.

As a marketer, you will know what your ideal customer profile looks like. You can then identify people similar to your existing customers and reach out with a personalized cold email.

If your recipient understands that you can help solve a pain point for them, they’ll be happy to respond.

From there, you can book a meeting with them to explain how your product or service can help them and move them through your sales process.

Step-by-Step Process to Hit Your Marketing Goals with Cold Email

1. Decide On Your Campaign Purpose

The first step in any cold email marketing campaign is to have a clear goal.

Having a clear strategy is vital. It helps you:

  • Decide who you want to contact

  • Write more personalized and relevant emails

  • Determine your goals to judge success on

We’d recommend focusing on a combination of activity-based and results-based goals when it comes to cold emailing.

Here are some cold email marketing activity-based goal examples:

  • Source a minimum of 50 new relevant prospects per day

  • Send 200 cold emails per week

  • Reply to all interested prospects within 30 minutes

And, here are some results-based goals examples:

  • Secure ten new podcast guests

  • Have an email response rate of 20% or more

  • Have an open rate of 80% or more

These two types of goals mean you’re always focused on the right thing.

For example, there’s no point sending 200 cold emails per week on a regular schedule if you aren’t seeing a high open rate.

By putting these in place up front, your team will know what to focus on.

2. Warm Up Your Cold Email Inbox

Before sending any cold email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to warm up your cold email domain and inbox.

This is a process where you send and receive emails to mimic real activity. Because email service providers (ESPs) see that your emails are getting opened and replied to, they’ll trust you and won’t send your emails to spam.

This process would take weeks if you did it manually.

To automate it, you can use email warm-up software such as Mailflow.

After connecting your inbox to Mailflow, you choose how many emails you want it to send per day for you. Start at a low volume if it’s a new inbox, with around 3-5 emails per day.

Over time, you can ramp this up.

Once you’re in the Mailflow Auto-Warmer group, it will show stats on your email deliverability.

Once you see that your emails are consistently landing in the primary inbox, you’re safe to start sending your campaign. 

We’d recommend warming up your inbox for one to two weeks before starting a campaign, and then, keeping your email warm up-tool running in the background at all times. This is an essential step to improving and maintaining your deliverability.

3. Source Your Cold Prospects and Email Addresses

Next, you need to source your prospects.

Depending on the type of marketing campaign you are running, this process will vary, but here are some options:

  • Use Ahrefs and Semrush to prospect for SEO and link-building opportunities

  • Use Prowly or Meltwater to identify PR opportunities

  • Use SparkToro to identify thought-leaders in your niche to invite on podcasts or webinars

Once you know who you want to contact, you can source their email address, then save them to your prospect list.

If you want to search for people based on factors like their location, job title, the company they work for, and industry, you can use B2B database tools such as ZoomInfo, UpLead, or BuiltWith.

Source: UpLead on SoftwareAdvice

These tools will provide an email address for each prospect, which makes it easy to quickly build a list of contacts.

4. Add an Opening Line for Every Prospect

Once you have a list of people to contact, it’s time to prepare your prospect list for sending.

As part of this process, we’d recommend writing out a unique opening line for every person on your list.

This part is key because it prevents your emails from looking low-effort and stops them from being confused with what we all associate with ‘spam emails’.

An opening line is a unique icebreaker that could only be sent to that individual.

For example, imagine your recipient has just been on a Top 10 podcast in their industry.

Your opening line could read: “Enjoyed listening to you on [podcast name] - the advice you shared on advancing your career as a marketer was invaluable.”

For every recipient, you need to find an angle like this.

Whether it’s making a reference to something you have in common, mentioning a recent win they had, or letting them know you read their latest blog post, the critical part is that it needs to be unique.

Once you’ve done it a few times, this won’t take long – expect two to three minutes per prospect.

You can also use AI email assistants like Quicklines or Lavender to help with this process. These will run a search on each person in your list and generate an opening line or make suggestions based on publicly available information on each person. 

This process is time-consuming and hard to automate completely, but it’s worth your time. It’s what will make your cold email templates stand out compared to every other cold email in your recipient’s inbox.

5. Write Your Email Templates

Next, you need to write your whole email marketing template.

If you haven’t written a cold email template before, don’t worry. You only need to include a few key ingredients for it to be effective:

  • Your personalized opening line

  • One to two sentences explaining why you’re contacting them

  • Social proof or relevant success stories to build trust

  • A simple call-to-action to move the conversation forwards

For example, here’s a cold email template to ask someone to collaborate on content:

The email is personalized, as the opening line couldn’t be sent to anyone else.

The next paragraph adds value by offering ideas for the article ideas up front, which makes it a simple process for the recipient.

There’s social proof, which will help the recipient trust that the content you want to send them is high-quality.

Finally, there’s a simple call-to-action (CTA). This CTA makes it easy for the recipient to respond and continue the conversation.

You’ll also notice that the template includes attributes like:

  • {{prospect.first_name

  • {{}}

  • {{}}

These can be added to your email templates in QuickMail, a cold email platform made to help you start conversations at scale.

Whenever you send an email, your template automatically replaces your attributes with real data from your prospect list, so every email is personalized to the recipient.

You can also run A/B tests on your email templates in QuickMail, so you can identify which templates are performing best and double down on those.

6. Schedule Multiple Follow-Up Emails

Like your regular email marketing campaigns, you’ll need to schedule multiple emails if you want to see the best results.

Not every recipient will respond to your first cold email in a sequence.

In fact, 55% of replies to cold email marketing campaigns come from a follow-up email step.

These act as reminders to your recipients, and if there’s value to your follow-up, a large number of people will be happy to reply.

To add a follow-up email to your campaign, add a delay after your first email.

For most campaigns, a wait of three to five days is enough.

After that, add a new email step.

In this, write out your follow-up email template, and save it.

You can add as many follow-up emails as you need to. Although you do hear success stories of people getting replies after ten or more follow-ups, we’d recommend stopping at five or six. If someone hasn’t replied at this stage, it’s unlikely they will, so you don’t want to risk harming your email deliverability or having the person start associating your name with spam.

7. Track Your Results

As your campaign progresses, you’ll need a clear overview of your performance.

This will help you assess whether it’s worth investing in cold email marketing, just like you would do with any other marketing initiative or growth experiment.

To do this, go back to the campaign goals you set at the beginning of this section.

  • Are you getting the reply rate that you hoped for?

  • Are you sending enough emails?

  • Are you generating new opportunities?

If so, then you’re on the right track.

You can see a granular overview of your most important metrics in QuickMail’s campaign dashboard:

As you can see in the image above, we generated a 95% open rate and a 69% reply rate to our podcast outreach. There was a 1.39% unsubscribe rate, which is to be expected.

Having your key metrics in one place makes it easy to understand performance and assess how you measure up against your goals.

8. Keep The Conversation Going

Once your recipients have replied, you need to continue the conversation.

Whether you’re inviting people to your podcast or running a link-building campaign, you’ll get the best results if you always reply promptly and make it clear that there is value in it for your recipient.

You need a system to manage your conversations.

The go-to method for this is to use a CRM, such as Pipedrive, Close, or HubSpot.

CRM tools connect with your inbox – QuickMail has native two-way synchronization with Pipedrive and HubSpot – and anyone who replies to your email marketing campaign will be logged in the CRM.

You and your team can track who has replied and see the details of the conversations. 

Most CRMs even let you reply directly from the platform, saving you from switching between your CRM and your inbox all day. 

In Summary: Cold Email for Marketing

Cold email is a fantastic channel for marketers to master.

If you can, you’ll have a way to start conversations with anyone at other companies and be able to organize co-promotion campaigns, invite people to join your webinars, or pitch your company for media coverage.

The cold email process is fundamentally simple, but you need to pay attention to the details.

From setting up your inbox to ensuring good deliverability rates, building a highly targeted list, and writing unique and personalized templates, each step plays a major role in the success of your growth experiment.

If you follow the steps we’ve laid out, you’ll be on your way to getting results.

When you’re ready to get started, make sure to start your 14-day free trial of QuickMail to start sending cold emails that get replies.