4 things I learned about cold email

Last week, I started cold emailing. The result was 20% visits, without any paying convert. Here are 4 things I learned:

1. Filter contacts

  • I started by collecting a big list of contacts. Then learn about them online, looking for people that might need your product. Each contact I spend about 15-25 mins (should be less). Skip if the contact doesn't fit. Then groups them (i.e by careers) for different email content.
  • Useful places to learn about your contact are their social media (.ie Instagram, Behance, personal website) and blog.

2. Use mail merge

  • Google Sheets and AppsScripts is great. In the sheets, I have a column called "opener", which is 1-2 sentences talked about something I find interesting about their works. The batches that I spent way more time researching have ~40% more clicks through.
  • Write short emails. Because it's much easier to read. I followed the below template. I made several templates based on the contact group (in #1). I found emails with a straightforward tone have more clicks vs funny, salesy, or encouraging emails
  • Warm-up email to avoid being blacklisted. It means sending less than 40 emails in the first few days. Since I spent way too much time research, it wasn't a problem anyway.

P/s: I rebuilt the AppsScripts, adding some more features (i.e check sending quota, better message template), let me know if you need.

Email template that I followed (I can't the original post anymore)

3. Track Open?

  • I'm not so sure if a track for open was necessary. I enable for half of the batches I send, but not showing much difference.
  • Besides, I used AppsScripts for tracking. Somehow it only works for Gmail contacts

4. Hit send

  • Most of us hate being spammed, and that made me hesitate to send sometimes. So when filter contacts, I did my best to make sure it's somewhat relevant

I didn't expect much. Except to learn about more cold emailing. Most emails won't get a reply. Sometimes, you'll get a convert. Sometimes, you might get an intro.

This post was originally posted on my blog

Next time, I might try different and better landing page for each contact group

Any advice?

  1. 2

    I like your process - I think it's very rational! :) When it comes to cold emails, I can only help with copy suggestions. Could you share some of the emails you've sent, or templates you've used?

    I can definitely agree with keeping it straightforward - too many salesy, overly warm emails here. But it's still good to try and be moderately casual.

    What do you think was the problem with your landing page, mind sharing a link? I'd be happy to help!

    1. 1

      Hey Lana,

      About the landing page, I've been using the homepage for all emails. As mention in the other answer, when research about the contacts, (in my case as a website builder) I thought about create more relevant template to contact.

      Below are 2 example I used (out of 7)

      Template 1

      Hi {name},
      {opener}(i.e a nice photo I saw on his Instagram)
      I've also noticed you're using WordPress for {his} site,
      I've been working on a WordPress alternative (but with drop & drag
      editor) for some time now and if you got a minute, I'd appreciate your
      opinion. Here is the link https://inverr.com
      If there anything I could do in return, please let me know
      Thanks for your time, cheers, Hieu.


      Template 2

      Hi Jakub
      What do you call a big pile of kittens? A meowntain ^^.
      I'm Hieu. I've been working on Inverr with a friend. We helps individual launch and manage sites a bit easier. I saw your portfolio on {xxx website} and though having a website would help your online branding, receive booking, and more.
      Might be interested? It's https://inverr.com (free for personal)
      AMA. Thanks, Hieu.

      Thanks for your time, Lana.

      1. 2

        Hi Hieu, thanks for sending those over! :) Here's what I think:

        Template 1:

        • Don't be so shy about presenting your product, especially if it can make your potential client's life easier.

        • Instead of saying you'd appreciate their opinion, invite them to create a test page on Inverr and see how powerful (and easy) it is.

        • Close with a CTA. This ties into what I said above - invite them to try out Inverr, either for a mini landing page, or an email subscription collection page. Ask them about their current tool stack, or ask them: "What's the one page on your website that you wish you could optimize?"

        • In that case, you can even try doing things that don't scale - i.e. actually offering to create a page for them.

        In general, I'd be more enthusiastic and a little pushier when it comes to offering your product - it's really useful. It might be also good to check for typos and grammatical errors with a tool like Grammarly.


        • Love the intro, but unfortunately it's not exactly connected to your industry. An industry-related pun might work better. But, in my experience, I've found that it works best to start with a problem your client might have.

        • Don't mention you've been working on Inverr with a friend. While that might be the truth and it's certainly nothing to be ashamed of, in a cold email it makes you sound not very professional.

        • Rephrase: "I checked out your portfolio on [xxx website]. It's a great website, but having your own website that's visually appealing would help you build a brand, increase bookings, and more!"

        • Rephrase the close: "Try creating your portfolio on Inverr. It's free for a limited time, and it'll only take you a few minutes to create a portfolio that showcases your skills."

        • Remove 'AMA' and 'Cheers' and that kind of casual talk. It just rubs prospects wrong; like you're doing this half-heartedly, which I'm presuming you're not, or you wouldn't be cold-emailing them.

        You mention you spend a lot of time researching contacts online and making sure your product meets their needs but unfortunately that's not visible from your template. Don't be afraid to empathize with them, either. If you've been a freelancer struggling to create a visually appealing portfolio, show that in your email.

        And don't be shy about your product. It's great, it's free! :)

        If you have any other questions, let me know.

        1. 2

          It's great how you spend time check out and give out thorough feedbacks (also check your feedbacks from other posts)

          Thank you and I can't wait to try it out

          1. 2

            I'm happy to help! :) Whatever you need, let me know, and I wish you lots of luck!

  2. 2

    thank you for sharing! I share a few things on my blog if you're interested in the subject https://www.makesales.io/blog

    1. 1

      Sweet Victor. I'll checkout a few posts this morning.

  3. 1

    Cold email combined with tracking? Come on! I would mark you as spam without thinking. Have some respect for people you write to.

    1. 1

      I think your point of view is correct (which I mention in 4. Hit send).

      When filtering contacts, I'll find ones that might benefit from my tools. Those are just assumption. I thought track open would correct the assumption, and something I'll filter out next time.

  4. 1

    Thanks for sharing your process.
    I have a few questions if you don't mind, I've never done any cold emailing before and I'm just skeptical about the effectiveness of the method.

    How do you explain the 0 convert ? I see that you think that the landing is the culprit.
    How many emails did you send ?
    Also, pretty interesting that you did no use a photo of you but instead a photo of an owl ? haha

    1. 1

      Hey Abdellah,

      • How do you explain the 0 convert? It might be because the landing page has no clue about how to get started. When research about the contacts, (in my case as a website builder) I thought about create more relevant template. Or it could be they don't need it yet

      • How many emails did you send? I send about 300 emails in 5 days. I spend way too much time research about the contact. Johnathan Bishop recommended to use 3x3 (or 5x5) technique, spend 3 minutes to find 3 unique things.

      About the photo. In the first few days, I used my Twitter photo. Then I switched to an owl photo to see any different. I saw the number of click through dropped. Though it might have been about the template and the contact groups

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