The Quick Guide to Cold Email Outreach

By Tyler Dahl

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Cold Email Outreach GuideWhether you’re in marketing, sales, or run an agency, you’ve undoubtedly been on the receiving end of some pretty cringe-worthy cold outreach emails.

You know, those emails that read like they were written by a robot that doesn’t care:

Subject: Can I be on your podcast?

Hi, {name spelled wrong}

I LOVE [insert website] here.

Would you be interested in having me on your podcast? I think I would be an amazing fit!

Sigh.

While cold email outreach often gets a bad rap because of emails like the example above, the truth is, when done effectively, cold outreach is one of the best ways to drive business results.

Cold email outreach can lead to more sales, partnerships, and even guest post opportunities in your industry.

Having learned what works and what doesn’t from sending thousands of cold emails here’s a quick guide into getting cold email right!

Have a goal in mind

Before implementing any cold email outreach strategy, it’s vital that you have a clear goal in mind.

Are you trying to improve your professional network? Are you looking to land guest opportunities for more exposure for your brand? Are you trying to find new customers for your recently released web app or just increase the traffic to your blog?

What you’re hoping to accomplish with your emails will play a large part in how you craft your email and who you reach out to. It will also help you better understand how to add value to those you email which can improve your chances of success.

Do your research

Once you’ve established what you’re hoping to accomplish with your emails, it’s time to do some research. The most basic way to start is to use Google to find a large list of relevant websites that accept guest posts.

For example, if you are looking to write guest posts for health-related websites, you can type in:

Health blogs “write for us”

Do your research Google Search

Which will return a list of websites that currently accept guest posts (indicated by them using the exact phrase “write for us” on their website).

Editors Note: Using Google search operators will help you refine your results. This guide from our friends at DigitalOlympus is also very insightful on how to use search operators.

At that point, you can then find the contact information of the sites you think fit and work to reach out to them.

Of course, Google isn’t the only place you can find contact information, be sure to leverage popular social media sites such as Linkedin, Twitter, Reddit and research tools like Ahrefs.

While the research phase may take some time, it will make the outreach process much easier if you have a comprehensive list of places and people you want to connect with.

Keep your information organized

During your initial research, it’s crucial that you keep everything in one place for easy reference.

There’s nothing worse than spending hours collecting contact information if you are unable to find an important email when needed later.

Whether you create a Google Sheets spreadsheet or use another platform or app such as Airtable or Asana, create a very basic process to log all your research information before outreach.

For example, if you’re looking to find guest post opportunities, you can set up your excel sheet to look something like this.

Email Outreach Spreadsheet

  • Website
  • Niche
  • Contact Info
  • Guest post guidelines
  • Emailed editor (Y/N)

You get the idea.

Trust us when we say, having a way to organize your research will save you a lot of time throughout your cold email outreach process.

Pro Tip

For other tips and tricks to stay organized and productive check out our guide on Productivity Tools and Productivity Tips.

Write The Email

Once you’ve collected the contact information of those who you would like to reach out to, the next step is to write the email.

While what you write in the email will depend on your overall goal of cold email outreach, here are a few pointers to increase the effectiveness of your outreach campaign.

Be Concise and Straight To The Point

When writing your email, be sure to keep it short and to the point.

Because you have not yet built a relationship with the individual you’re trying to reach, it’s unlikely they will spend 10-15 minutes of their day reading through your entire story or business pitch.

One study suggests the optimal length of an email is in the 50 to 150-word range. Sending 5 or 6 paragraph emails is almost guaranteed to land you in the receivers trash.

Offer just enough information in the email to make it clear what you’re trying to accomplish as well as what value you intend on providing to them.

Subject Lines Matter

Choosing the right subject lines for your emails can make a big difference in both the open rate and response rate of your outreach.

While you don’t want to use an overly dramatic or “clickbait” style subject line, you do want your subject line to stand out in your recipient’s inbox.

Here are a few of the top subject lines for sales according to Hubspot.

“Hoping to help”
“Hi [name], quick question”
“A few ideas to improve your blog…”
“John Q suggested we talk”

According to Marketing Drive, personalized subject lines can increase open rates by up to 50%.

As you continue with your cold outreach, take note of which subject lines appear to be working best and experiment with new variations and add this information to your spreadsheet.

Side note: Please don’t ever put “Re:” at the start of an email. This is a trend that gets a higher open-rate but invariably makes the person on the receiving end feel manipulated as they’ve been lead to believe you’re replying to them and not cold-emailing them.

Personalize Your Email

Taking the extra time to personalize your email will go a long way in building trust with prospects and other business relationships you develop through cold outreach.

Most of us today can spot a generic or superficial email a mile away.

Before you send a cold email, spend a few minutes doing research on the person you’re sending to.

Browse their Linkedin, check out their blog. Scan a few of their tweets.

Noting the fact that both of you attended Stanford after seeing their publicly available Linkedin profile is a great way to build rapport right off the bat.

Sharing what you liked about their most recent blog post is another way to establish trust.

Of course, when personalizing your email, you want to avoid going too far in one direction, when crafting your personalized email only reference information that would be considered public knowledge to avoid coming off as unprofessional or stalkerish.

Now, is a lot of this personalization and research going to be wasted? Absolutely. But if you’re pursuing anybody worth reaching out to (like your top 100 dream clients), you’ll stand out.

Trust me.

Add Value In Your Emails

Whether you’re looking for places to guest post, or just trying to strengthen your professional network, every email you send should be providing some value to the recipient.

As most marketers and business people will tell you, we care far more about ourselves than other people.

The more value you can provide in the email the better chance they will respond and connect with you further. You want it to be clear what’s in it for them.

If you’re looking to provide content for a guest post on their website, for example, highlighting that your content is both high quality and widely shared is a great way to demonstrate value.

Additionally, if you’re trying to get someone to test your new app, for example, show them how your current app users save up to 10 hours a week on admin business tasks.

Whether it be offering a few nuggets of actionable advice, or showing how your product or service can help, be sure to convey the value you can provide in your emails.

Have A Clear Call To Action

To get the most from your cold outreach emails, it’s also important to also have a call to action.

What are you asking them to do at the end of the email? Do you want them to respond to your email? Do you want to set up a time for a 20-minute call?

The more clear you are in what you want from them in the email, the more likely they are to take action.

For example, if you want them to jump on a call you can end your email with something like this:

Does Tuesday or Thursday at 1 PM EST work for you for a quick Skype call? Additionally, we can continue talking here via email if that works best.

Be as specific as possible with your call to action and again demonstrate why you believe building a business relationship can be valuable to them.

Review these best practices in conversion copywriting as they can also be extremely helpful here.

Followup

In an ideal world, every email you send would receive a reply with an enthusiastic yes!

However, when it comes to cold outreach, you should anticipate a large majority of your emails going unread or not receiving a response.

Which is why mastering the art of the follow-up is so important!

According to a recent statistic shared by Yesware, 70% of salespeople give up if they don’t receive a reply to their first email.

Following up just a single time gives you a competitive advantage over those who don’t.

Of course, you certainly don’t want to be pushy when doing cold outreach. Following up 35 times is not only unprofessional it’s borderline creepy.

But not following up once or twice is leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

Maybe their inbox was full, and they didn’t see your email. Perhaps they are taking a few days off from work.

Following up helps you get your message in front of the right people and improves the chances they will see it.

I recommend following up 2-3 times and moving on if you don’t hear back.

Continue The Relationship

Once you’ve been able to connect with a prospect through cold outreach, it’s time to continue building the relationship!

Offer to jump on a call to learn more about what they do and how you can help.

Show how you would like to continue offering them high-quality content in exchange for a guest post.

Use a CRM tool such as Hubspot to maintain your professional relationships over time. Even using tools like Hunter.io can help find new email addresses.

Find Peoples Email Addresses with Hunter.io

The reputation of you and your business is what matters most. By using cold outreach to strategically grow and scale your brand and add value to your community you can establish yourself as a trusted professional.

While cold outreach isn’t the most exciting marketing strategy, it is without a doubt one of the most effective ways to generate business results. We hope this brief guide helps you get better results.

While you are here you might find the following related guides useful:

Cold Email Outreach Guide

This page may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link on this page.

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Tyler Dahl

Tyler Dahl

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