Effective Cold Outreach Tips

Text of my newsletter sent on 13th December.

It used to be called cold calling – and it was a job that I hated, so I wasn’t any good at it.

Today it’s called cold outreach, because the range of channels through which you can now cold contact prospects has grown.

Of those channels, email is by far the most profitable. The latest figures from Statista suggest that marketers are getting returns of up to USD40 for every USD1 spent on email marketing.

But, with the amount of email that hits everyone, everyday, you must find ways to stand out from the crowd without becoming spammy.

You must also ensure that your emails are delivered to your prospect’s inbox, not the spam or junk box.

You will see plenty of businesses offering cold contact services, so if you’re thinking of outsourcing your cold outreach campaign, make sure you check them out carefully before you give them the contract.

Things they should and should not be doing:

How not to cold contact prospects

  • Robocalls, or human calls where the caller just launches into their sales spiel
  • Email ‘blasts’
  • Social media ‘blasts’ (especially on LinkedIn)
  • Direct Messages immediately after the prospect accepted your connection request

These approaches irritate the recipient and, in most cases, are deleted without a thought.

If someone cold pitches me immediately after I’ve accepted a connection request, I not only delete the DM, I unfollow/terminate the connection.

There’s been no attempt to establish any kind of personal connection, or to understand what the prospect may be interested in.

A better approach

I received a different type of cold call a couple of days ago, here’s how it went:

  • He addressed me by name (he’d done at least some research)
  • Asked if it was convenient to talk (got permission)
  • Introduced himself and stated the purpose of his call (told me what to expect)
  • Noticed my accent and commented on it (established a more personal connection)
  • Asked his questions
  • Told me what would happen next (I would receive an email)
  • Ended the call

That call lasted about 4 minutes.

A couple of days later the promised email arrived, which I opened and read, because I was expecting it.

It was a good approach that probably made that outreach campaign successful.

They used a phone call and follow-up email, but here’s how you could do it using social media instead of a phone call:

  • Establish a connection with your prospect by replying to, or commenting on, their social media posts. (If they have a blog that would be even better)
  • Analyse their social media posts (or blog posts) to work out their pain points and what may interest them
  • As part of the social media conversations, ask for permission to email them
  • Send a personalised email referring to the social media conversations and mentioning how you may be able to help with whatever they’re struggling with.

It takes longer than simply bashing out a bunch of cold emails, either through an outsource partner or yourself. But those who convert are going to be better quality customers.

The problem with people who sign up in response to a truly cold email blast, is that they are likely to be tire-kickers or bargain-hunters – neither of which make good customers.

This week’s links

This week I’m looking at cold outreach through email marketing as a highly cost-effective channel through which to build your business.

This will avoid the restrictions that the social media platforms are now applying to posts that contain external links, which I covered a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve linked to articles that explore the differences between cold outreach emails and email marketing, email marketing subject lines that get your emails opened, a guide to creating an outreach strategy, and 15 tips for cold outreach success.

The difference between cold email and email marketing

Email marketing and cold email outreach are both powerful and important – but they are different tools for different jobs.

Sushant Shekhar takes us through the important differences between them, and looks at common mistakes made in each:

Cold email vs email marketing

Cold email subject lines that work

The subject line of your emails (both cold outreach and marketing) is probably the most important part of the email. If it doesn’t work, your email will not be opened, and you’ve got nothing.

Sierra Skelly describes what makes a good email subject line – one that will get your cold emails opened:

Powerful cold email subject lines

A guide to effective outreach

Amanda Natividad takes us through her approach to cold outreach, breaks down an example of a good outreach email and gives us a 5-step guide to cold outreach:

A guide to effective outreach

15 tips for cold email outreach success

Justin McGill explains how to ensure that your cold outreach emails are not considered spam, and gives 15 tips and strategies that will help you to increase your conversion rate:

15 cold email outreach tips

Fun flashback

Queen was (still is) one of my favourite bands. Freddie Mercury was an incredible performer, with an incredible voice – what a loss to the music world it was when he died in 1991.

Here they are with ‘I was Born to Love You’:

Join us

Has your business growth stalled?

Every week, I do deep-dive research into the mass of information on how to start and grow a successful one-person business.

Join us, and you will be among the first to receive detailed, practical tips – in your inbox, every Monday:

Get 4 business growth tips, once a week:



Martin Malden

Share the love:

Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.