42
33 Comments

Considering Cold Mailing? Here's My Personal Experience! 📧

Disclaimer - I don't like cold mails personally.

Before someone jumps at me, yes I know that cold mails work but is it really worth the efforts? That's the biggest thought that I'm trying to question through this post.

If you're wondering that I'm just going on a rant, then let me share with you 👇

My experience with cold mails

In the inital phase of user acquisition for both my products- Brutask and Ruttl, my team and I did all the hustle most email marketers talk about. We did market research, found companies that would be suitable for our products, collected mails and made a mailing schedule.

We must've sent out cold mails to 700+ B2B decision makers over the course of 1.5 months. Out of those, we got around 10-12 respones. In those leads, few booked demo calls and never showed up. P.S Yes, we did all the A/B testing, even followed amazing conversion principles for cold mailing like first para personalization, follow ups, etc.

So what went wrong? It's simple. This is not the "ideal way" to sell anything.

Here are few reasons why I DISLIKE the method -
❌ No phase of building relationship with the person you are reaching out to
❌ One mistake and the person might get wrong impression about you
❌ High probablity that you will have 5-10% positive response rates
❌ Jumps directly into selling mode and that's what humans hate
❌ Risk of getting domain blacklisted
❌ Even if you're skilled, the person might consider you spammy/scammy

Not trying to black list this method at all. Sure there are hundreds of people I've seen on twitter who are making big bucks using this method but you need to also understand that in order for this to work, a lot of effort needs to go into prospecting and understanding the person you are mailing.

Thinking what I would rather recommend? Try putting out organic, valuable content. It's slow but gets you much higher quality results. Create a blog, put out social media posts, start a podcasts. Those are all great ways to build the first stage of relationship with potential buyers. And then you guide them down your sales funnel.

What your thoughts on cold mailing? Have you ever tried or considered doing it? If yes, how has your experience been? If no, why not? 🤔

Love,
Siddhita ❤️

  1. 6

    Your mileage may vary, learned a lot from cold emailing and have made progress with it via old projects. I usually get roughly 10% in response rate. You just have to be aware of the above drawbacks. Email to learn, never to pitch.

    Here are my tips:

    • Don't ever pitch in email, that first email should have the goal of talking to the person or learning more about what they do.
    • Smaller lists are better. If you email 500 people the same generic crap, no one will respond. Email 10 people and 2 of them are perfect people to learn from? Much better.
    • Answer "why this particular person"
    • Follow up, some people genuinely want to help but get busy.

    Met my current cofounder this way because he was interested in the problem I was learning about. Was able to learn quickly during my last (failed) project.

    1. 1

      Email to learn, never to pitch.

      Loved this thought! Thanks a lot for sharing these tips @shindi. I'm sure lot of people would find this useful!

  2. 5

    Of these 700+ B2B decision makers, who is actually paying the bill? I had this problem a couple years ago when I was doing affiliate marketing in my newsletter. So the situation is that I pitched an event that 100% the newsletter readers would go to. In fact I heard from many that they indeed go. Readers of my newsletter even talked at the event. Some brought their whole company. Some made huge connections at the event and heard about it through my newsletter.

    but I got $0 of affiliate revenue from tickets sold.

    Zero. Zilch. Nada.

    Why?

    Because the people who went were VPs, C-suite, managers. All Decision makers in their company. But the person paying was always someone else. Accounting, VA, Executive assistant.

    The link in my newsletter was not the last click.

    Why does this matter to your sales calls? Because you might need to choose a different market to market to to get to your B2B decision makers. Who influences them? Who uses products on their own and brings them to a company? Who in the company actually makes the decision... might be an accountant.

    When I did cold emails for selling newsletter sponsorships I never knew who was the actual person at the company who I would sell to. I'd email sometimes a dozen people at a single company asking who is the person I should talk to?

    Sometimes I'd find out it's definitely not the CMO making these tactical decisions, in fact it's the Social Media Manager. I was selling newsletter sponsorships for a developer oriented newsletter and I'd get some interesting paths to the decision maker. Sometimes it's a "Developer Advocate" not a Marketing Manager who wants to get into the newsletter. I once had 2 separate conversations with people who wanted to buy a sponsorship from the same company, but wanted different marketing tactics. So I got to advertise the same company twice! and it worked!

    One Weird Trick to Cold Emailing

    This won't work for everyone but I thought I'd share it. Emails with the Subject: Interview Request, get opened at a HIGH request. Start a blog for your company. Set a goal to publish an interview with 1 person in your industry every week. Email those 700 B2B decisions makers again, and ask if they will be interviewed. Send them a google doc with 5 questions to fill out. and publish it in your blog, on your email list.

    Now your cold email is to promote them. You find out more about them (by actually asking them questions you're into) and you promoted their company. If they want to use your product they might try. because they read your blog, saw others, and sent the link to 2 or 3 people in their company to try it out.

    Out of 700 Decision Makers you should be able to get 52 who want to promote their own company and will answer 5 questions in a google doc.

    1. 1

      Firstly, thanks a lot for writing this detailed response @AndrewKamphey!

      Your point regarding people paying the bills is quite interesting. In my case, I was mostly approaching to the CEO's and Founders directly of SME's who would most likely benefit from my tools. That being said, this is defiantely a question that I should dig deeper, in case I try cold mailing once again in the future.

      Secondly, the trick to interview looks quite convincing! It's something that I have come across for the first time. I will definately try out working on this trick and update you how that went on this thread itself! 😄

      Thank you once again for sharing your valuable personal experience!

  3. 5

    I couldn't agree more. I have tried cold email multiple different times. I thought it was my pitch, my product, or something else. I could never figure out why no one would reply to my emails. Not even the emails where where I'm just looking to build rapport. If they did reply it was a small minority of the total emails I sent.

    I found almost instant product-market fit on Facebook Groups. Just looking to connect with the community I'm serving and providing useful value wherever I can. Slowly I built up a following and was able to better understand the kinds of problems their facing.

    1. 1

      100% aligning with what I think too! In fact at first I underestimated Fb groups a lot but it's a great way to get feedback. And you're also steadily building a community around your product as well.

    2. 0

      Kindly ask you to show the example of your letter.

      Bet it's impossible to read, all about you and your great product.

      1. 2

        Did you not see where I mentioned that hardly anyone would reply even when I was looking to simply build rapport? The entire point I was trying to make was that depending on the product, there is a lot of friction in trying to get users/clients/customers via email.

        If your offer is good, you are solving a problem, then selling should not be a 1-5% response rate lol. I think a lot of IH'ers are working harder than need be to get customers using email. But hey, if you're happy with less than 10% response rate, keep at it!

  4. 2

    Cold email is only one of the ways to get leads/clients.
    Cold emailing is working great, but depends of your product, the content of the email if the content is ultra personalized, tool you are using to send emails, your sender reputation,.....
    In fact, I'm doing cold emailing for years, and for me, with SEO, it's the best way to get leads/clients. But both required a lot of experiences, and the learning curve is high.

    For other ways, that the point, need to think out the box (quora, reddit, fb groups, linkedin groups,...), and of course ads!

    By the way, I worked for some competitors of brutask, it's one the most competitive fields I have noticed (in the b2b online service)
    When someone is using daily such tool, he doesn't want to change (afraid to lose the history of the task, learn how to use the tool....). That's why the CPC for think kind of service (notion,trello, monday...) is high.

    Also, I guess it's your marketing/sales strategy do not display the pricing of your tool brutask, but, speaking for my own experience, I'm testing almost 10/15 new tools each day (ph,beta,....) , but I never test tool that doesn't display the pricing before I signup...

    Good luck

  5. 2

    I see people saying "cold emails don't work" but then I see those same people saying "I only got a couple responses out of a hundred emails."

    Guys, the response rate is expected to be 1-2%. That's not doing it wrong. That's exactly what is expected.

    So if you're willing to put up with that - and why not? it's cheap, and you can get plenty o' emails - it seems like it can work, where work means "assuming 1-2% response rate, here's how you build a strategy to work off of that, and make money."

    1. 1

      Exactly bang on point @julianeon! I personally do feel that even my strategy wasn't on point. I did try using certain tactics but definately could've done better job at optimizing the process.

      The key part of your reply -

      So if you're willing to put up with that - and why not?

      That's what I was trying to say above in my post that it does work for people but surely requires decent amount of effort. Specially for the people who are thinking that blasting emails to hundreds people- that wont work. You need a strategy around the whole process to make it work.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙌

  6. 2

    It probably depends on the market you're trying to target.

    Personally, I ignore almost all cold emails, and I'm sure a lot of other people do the same. If you're a B2C business trying to get me to spend my personal money, then you're not going to have much success.

    If you're a B2B business emailing my company email and offering to solve a real pain point for me (which my company would pay for), then you might have better luck. But prepare to spend a lot of time emailing and finding the right customers.

    1. 1

      Many B2B businesses soeak highly of cold mailing because of the problems these products solve indeed.

      prepare to spend a lot of time emailing and finding the right customers.

      This is exactly my point as well. It is a good way that works for many people but it requires lot of effort+research. I believe that you do want to try cold mailing, you should simultaneously start creating other channels of marketing, which are more sustainable in the long run.

  7. 2

    Yeah, no matter your personal opinion, I will actually do it.
    In fact, my idea is to do cold emailing with videos -- since I'm selling a video editor.

    Try putting out organic, valuable content. It's slow but gets you much higher quality results. Create a blog, put out social media posts, start a podcasts.

    Is this just stuff you've heard, or something that you're actually doing?

    Because the idea is -- with cold emailing, if you get replies, you get instant feedback. If you don't, you need to change the strategy, and do it until it clicks.

    While with organic reach, it's so hard to get traction, and not only that, but you may need to pivot several times during the process -- which can be months, and you could go bankrupt.

    So while in theory you're right, in practice you can go broke until you actually sell anything.

    1. 2

      @johnt2021 That is the key thing in marketing! Doesn't matter what opinions surround a particular method, you should be trying it out practically to see whether it works out or not. Please do try it out and if it works out for you then fantastic! 🙌

      Also, yep organic marketing is something that I am currently doing myself, for the past few months. Initally it took me some time to get streamline a process but now everything is set. I have dedicated time set aside only to interact with communities, share posts and work on social media platforms.

      Organic traction is hard indeed, specially on instagram where a lot of my audience spends time. So occasionally I just boost my efforts by running paid ads on valuable content that people find useful. :)

      1. 1

        I'm still not convinced. Cold email is yet another tool when doing marketing -- I will try it for myself and then judge. Not based on your personal opinion.

        1. 1

          Sure thing 😄
          Good luck!

  8. 2

    Cold emails are essential for certain products/businesses, especially B2B. I have used them before for my own product and the response rate was terrible (approximately 5%), but it was really helpful none the less. They should be a part of marketing strategy, beside other organic channels. They are just an easier and low effort way to get leads, you just have to cast a wider net. Also, personalizing cold email is not that hard and I don't think receivers care so much, they are Cold mail after all :D

    1. 1

      It's good to hear that it was helpful for you @ranuzz! Yes that's true, it could be a part of larger marketing strategy with correct set of proccesses. Plus, as for your personalization point- it's ultimately cold so yeah can't expect the buyers to care frankly unless the solution actually solves an issue.

  9. 2

    Also highly likely your process was broken.

    Rather than booking a demo you should have booked a short call and then sold the demo on that call no wonder they didn't show up.

    "This is not the ideal way to sell anything"
    Like seriously?
    I don't know about you but phone calls and Emails are the best way to sell high ticket items.

  10. 2

    People hate on cold emails and discourage others because THEY suck at sending cold emails.

    I have personally generated more than $10k dollars using cold email. So if they don't work for you too bad.

    Also people love buying thing when you solve a painpoint.

    If your cold emails are not working it's time to look at your offer.

    1. 3

      @sahilk That's exactly why I stated that cold mails work right at the start of my post because I've personally seen dozens of people who love this method. My personal sales style is through conversations and building layers of relationships before pitching anything. My experience was just a part of experiement that I tried doing with cold mails, which I thought would be great to share with other founders! 😄

      If you've generated 10k revenue using cold mails, then I have nothing but respect for you! Keep up the hustle! 💯

      That being said, I'm freely accepting the fact that even though I did attempt to try couple of tactics, it didn't work for me. Maybe it was the copy? Maybe it must've been the way my market reacts? It could be anything that must've gone wrong on my part as well.

      As for your point on booking demos, I was first trying to book a discovery call as usual to understand buyer's issues and once on the call, I was going to give them a demo so that's why I mentioned demo call in the post itself. Some of them did book it with nice conversations but never showed up 🤐

      This is not the ideal way to sell anything

      That's why I carefully emphasized to quote "Ideal" because like you said- cold mails are great to sell high ticket items but the usual sales process involves several touchpoints with the customer before he/she makes purchase, thus making it "not ideal".

      Regardless of everything, I still appreciate you commenting your thoughts on it!

      And for anyone reading this comment- Please don't get discouraged or anything! Do give cold mails a try if you wish to because that's the only way to know if works for you or not! ❤️

    2. 1

      Cold mails are subject to a ton of variables - Copy, offer, set of audience, how the audience reacts, send & open timing, & a lot more things.

      That being said, we have tried cold emails for demo calls to ultimately lead to conversions, but there were people that agreed to turn up for calls, yet they never turned up.

      Point is, just like cold emails worked for a few (example here - you), it didn't work for a few others. If it worked for you, splendid! If it didn't work for others, nothing major. We're trying other methods (SEO, Google ads, LinkedIn) & they're working out really well for us. 😊

  11. 2

    The problem with cold email is the lack of personalization.

    The first 10 emails I sent when I was working on my previous projects was spending time understanding how each client worked internally.

    And how I could create value.

    When I sent an email, I knew their process, understand their problems.

    In the email I would attach assets (docs/product output) that would act as proof of work.

    I got a response whenever I did it.

    PS: I am a programmer, not a salesman

    1. 1

      Absolutely, it's a skill in itself. Research+proper personalization can be a big winning factor when it comes to the success of cold mails. Happy to see that it worked out for you! 😄

  12. 1

    I'm a big fan of sending out new ideas or questions to people that inspire me. And even if I don't get a response, I feel like it's a helpful way for me to "Take action" on my ideas. As long as it's genuine and respectful, I think the worst thing that can happen is that you don't hear a response.

    If the person likes it, it can spark a new relationship, a new job or even a cool collab in the future. So there's my 2 cents.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts @joelh! Yes I agree that the worst case is no reply but if it works, it works haha 🤷‍♂️

  13. 1

    if you use it as a large blunt Hammer, then yes you can expect shit results.
    if you craft it like a fine scalpal then you will have positive results.

    Every email drip we create has these 3 personalized items:

    1 - Their {{First Name}} in the Subject line

    2 - Their {{Title}} and unique {{Spintext}} in the copy * this makes every email 100% unique.

    3 - A custom-made sample sitemap of THEIR website. <<<- this is clutch as it is literally made for them. Example: https://app.visualsitemaps.com/share/5d9e9eba602ae06acd13b265f986081a

    We spread the 3 drips over a 30-day period, as to not be too annoying.
    Snovio is ok to start with, BUT they have a +35% bounce rate on their "VALID" emails, so you will need to clean them after via NeverBonce or ZeroBounce.

    YMMV.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing these valuable tips @arturM!

      QQ's for you -

      1. How big is your spin text usually? Like in terms of words or characters?
      2. How's hunter for collecting emails? Does it also have a high bounce rate?
  14. 1

    You CAN'T SELL THE PRODUCT via Cold Email. You simply BUY THEIR TIME to close during the zoom call.

    700 is a low number.

    Try 70.000 in a week and see how it goes.

    Check this hack snov.io

    Don't give up, it works better than you blog anyway

    1. 2

      Yeah even I felt that snov is a great tool 💎
      Thanks fro commenting @arturcookiejar!

  15. 1

    Thanks for sharing!
    My main issue with cold mailing for my projects was that I couldn't figure out where to get addresses for sending out cold mails. I hear other founders getting their initial users after throwing 1000 messages into nowhere, but I don't believe they collect email manually. Have you?

    1. 1

      Yes getting address is tough indeed but a quick hack around that I did for this experiment was get trail accounts on email fetching platforms like rocketreach to test out. But there were times when I also had to dig through websites to find the email manually too.

Trending on Indie Hackers
📈 We raised $500K pre-seed for our Reddit Marketing Tool 27 comments Event-based customer knowledge base - what do you think? 10 comments Steph Smith on making $130k w/ an ebook, creating a course in 20 days, and the latest trends 10 comments After many failed attempts, I bootstrapped a document translation service to $10K MRR in 6 months, AMA! 6 comments 🤑 I built and sold an app... (and now I'm rich?) 6 comments Launched first product on PH! An affordable AI content creation tool. 1 comment