If your business isn’t sending cold emails, you probably aren’t growing as fast as you should be. 

In the B2B world, relationships drive success. Many of Red Mallard’s clients are proudly old fashioned in their approach to landing new customers. To be honest, so are we. Building trust over lunch or on the golf course will always be important.

But you can’t have lunch with 10,000 people every month. 

Cold email is the confetti cannon of B2B content marketing. Most cold emails are ignored. Badly crafted ones are quite irritating—subject lines like the title of this article use manipulation as a sales tactic, which can undermine the intended authenticity.

Those limitations shouldn’t deter you. Annoying tactics aren’t mandatory. If 80% of your recipients don’t open your emails, that still leaves 20% who do. And those 20% are your opportunities.

Email has always mattered

But why dusty old email instead of sparkly social media? 

The numbers tell the story: 

  • An estimated four billion people use email every day.
  • Global email marketing revenue in 2020 was $7.5 billion. Projections for 2022 are edging toward $10 billion.

Despite the pace of technological change, email has remarkable staying power.

Email is resilient because it is everything an electronic tool should be. It’s useful, fast, and universal. TikTok may be disrupting consumer search practices, but no one says, “I’m not on email, send me a TikTok.” 

I suspect a lot of businesses shy away from email because they don’t want to be associated with scammers and sleaze mongers. But just like riding a Harley-Davidson doesn’t make you into a meth-slinging Hell’s Angel, sending an unsolicited email to someone in your industry doesn’t make you a scammer. 

Send ham, not spam

But what about the spam issue?

Say it out loud: cold email is not spam.

Although the definition of “spam” varies from person to person, it has a pretty clear, if complex, definition in the algorithms of today’s email servers. 

Spam detection algorithms examine every line of an email for clues. Does the message have inconsistent spelling or grammar? Is the message trying to sell something? Does it have suspicious links or attachments? The list of questions goes on.

Effective email marketing works despite the spam blockers, but the sender needs to carefully jump through all the hoops. The penalties for being flagged as spam can be severe. Fortunately, the steps needed to satisfy the spam blockers also establish authenticity in the eyes of recipients. 

And that’s the whole point.

The list is (almost) everything

Authenticity is the beating heart of effective cold emails—and it starts with the content. Every message needs the right balance of personal touch and a clear understanding of your recipient’s business needs. The more directly you’re addressing your audience, the better.

For authenticity to work at a large scale, you need to be targeting the right people. Big Data allows businesses to curate highly customized cold email distribution lists. By getting the message only to the people who are most likely to buy, the risk of being marked as spam goes way down. Even better, the chance of a response goes way up. 

But what’s the goal of email marketing?

Email marketers use a number of tools to gather and then analyze data from their campaigns. Using tracking pixels and other tricks of the trade, marketers measure the rates at which recipients open emails, click links within them, and much more. Engagement can be measured at the individual level, which allows even greater targeting of the people most likely to read the next message.

Responses are the solid gold sought by cold emailers. Only two percent of recipients may hit reply, but two percent of 10,000 is a pretty good return.

Like all content marketing, email marketing is only productive if the sender commits to follow through. Most business-to-business selling opportunities don’t close themselves. Knowing when to switch off automation and pick up the phone is part of being an effective sales pro.

How to get started in email marketing

Email marketing has four components: the platform, the mailing list, the content, and the follow-up. 

Email platforms like ActiveCampaign provide all the tools for customizing and automating email marketing. 

Cold mailing lists can be acquired in a variety of ways, some better than others. Just buying someone else’s list is a shortcut to being flagged as a spammer. Instead, businesses need to create their own lists, using organic connections and deep databases like Apollo.io

The content of an email needs to be simple, which makes it hard to write. Unlike solicited mail, cold emails typically need to forego graphics and attachments, because those elements raise spam alarms. In cold email, the words need to speak for themselves. That’s where a content marketing firm like Red Mallard comes in.

Finally, the sender needs to follow up on the leads that go from cold to warm(ish) by interacting in a meaningful way with a message. Businesses need to strike quickly while their brand is still fresh in the recipient’s mind. Some follow up can be automated within the email platform. The best follow up happens manually, with a personal email or a phone call.

Want to know more about how to get the most from email marketing? Let Red Mallard be your guide. Give us a quack today and we’ll set you on the path to growth.

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