Cold Emails: spam or secret weapon?

Will I be a spammer if I send unsolicited emails?

So you want to send some unsolicited emails…. But wait! Doesn’t that mean that you want to spam people? And surely that is illegal?

Well, let’s hope that you don’t decide to collect a bunch of old contacts & start firing off a series of marketing emails to them. That would definitely be considered spam! And illegal…

On the other hand, if you get yourself a carefully targeted list of professional emails and you have a legitimate reason to believe that they may be interested in your products, then this is outbound or cold email marketing. This is allowable under the current GDPR laws and can be a valuable tool in your lead generation efforts.

Success Factors

Let’s look at what factors can increase your chances of success and turn your cold emails into a secret weapon!

Don’t buy low cost contact lists

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again – don’t buy low cost lists! This really is a situation where you get what you pay for. If something seems to good to be true, it generally is. Low cost lists can contain outdated and inaccurate information. Trying to send to these contacts can not only annoy people, it could also leave you unable to prove your grounds for legitimate interest. Furthermore, it could ruin your sender and domain reputation.

How clean is your list?

The first thing to think about with your own data is how clean it is likely to be. Have you been practising good data hygiene or is your data dirty? Do you have a dedicated person or team who is responsible for the quality of the data you hold? If your data is not as clean as you’d like then you need to make the effort to clean it before you can even think about using it. A good first step is to run your contacts through an email verification solution. This will allow you to get rid of any bounces and leave you with a shorter but more relevant list.

Target very carefully

Less is more – don’t send to everyone and their dog – this makes you a spammer. A well thought out marketing campaign will target contacts based on strict criteria. For cold email campaigns to professionals to be successful you will need a sound knowledge of who your target market is. What is the ideal job title you need to target? It’s better to send to 100 highly relevant people than to 100,000 dubious contacts. Flinging mud and hoping some sticks is a spammer move, so don’t do it.

Avoiding spam filters

So you have your carefully targeted list, but the fact still remains that you are emailing people who have never been in contact with you before. You need to make sure that you maximise your chances of passing through spam filters. You can do this by applying best practices, including the following:

Don’t use spam words.

Even if your email passes through an email filter, using some of these words or expressions will make your emails less credible. For a non-exhaustive list and more information about this, you can read more here.

Technical email deliverability

It always sounds more complicated than it really is. If you switch off at the thought of SPF records then take a look at our detailed post which will give you plenty of practical advice.

Reputation of the sending IP address & domain

Put simply, if you’re sending from an IP address that has been known to send spam previously, then you will most likely be marked as a spammer. Likewise, if your domain has been sending emails that are typically deleted without being opened then you could also be marked as a spammer. (In DEVEO we always send emails using a subdomain to protect the main domain, which is a very useful best practice!)

Will I see results?

But the million dollar question is, will I get results if I send a cold email campaign?

As long as you have clean, relevant data and a carefully targeted audience then the answer is absolutely yes! In DEVEO we have been cold emailing since 2005 and have perfected our technique over the last 17 years.

In brief, use a high quality carefully targeted list, write a short relevant email, and make sure you have considered technical email deliverability, and you should see good results.

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