Why every founder should learn cold email (and some fundamentals)

The 3 stages of the founding journey that I've experienced so far are:

  1. Idea stage - where the goal is getting validation
  2. Post-MVP stage - where the goal is getting early user feedback
  3. Product-Customer fit - where the product clearly solves an urgent need for certain customers, and now the goal is to sell, sell, sell

I don't think I would have succeeded at any of these without cold outreach. Actually, I've had several projects in the past that failed at any one of these stages because I didn't know how to get in touch with people, or how to get them to reply.

So I wanted to share what I've learned. This is not a step-by-step guide, but rather the key principles, considerations, and tools we use at Lyne.ai to start new relationships with large clients and with early users for new products.

-- The 3 pillars of cold email (failing to do any 1 can kill your campaign) --

  1. Getting the right message (copywriting)
  2. To the right people (list building)
  3. Without going to spam (deliverability)

-- Important considerations for each pillar --

  1. Copywriting:
    a. is my message personalized to the recipient?
    b. does my offer solve a burning need? (if already selling)
    c. is there something they could gain from replying (if not already selling)
    d. is my email short and easily digestible?

  2. List building:
    a. am I emailing companies who actually have the need I solve?
    b. am I emailing the right job title at the company?

  3. Deliverability:
    a. am I sending to valid email addresses?
    b. is my own email domain properly warmed up?

-- Tools for each pillar --

  1. Copywriting:
    a. to automate the "personalization" portion of your emails, we use our own tool, Lyne.ai, which researches each of your prospects and writes a personalized compliment for each of them that you can plug into your cold emails at scale

  2. List building :
    a. you can use tools like Texau or Phantombuster to scrape leads from Linkedin searches, or…
    b. tools like Apollo.io that allow you to search for your leads from a database instead

  3. Deliverability:
    a. to reduce bounces, you should verify your lists through a tool like Usebouncer.com or Clearout.io
    b. to warm up your domains before your campaigns (at least 2 weeks of warmup time is best), you can use a paid tool like WarmupInbox.com or Lemwarm, or a free tool like Gmass'
    c. to send your campaign, you should use a tool specifically designed for cold email, like SmartReach.io

Hope this helps! Let me know if you'd like to see something more step-by-step. And free to shoot me a message on linkedin (linkedin.com/in/coldemail) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/ElsakrAndrew) if you ever want to chat about cold email.

  1. 3

    how many cold emails do you send at once? and typically how many emails before you get a reply?

    1. 2

      I view campaigns more like a series of tests. So for For my market size, if I want to test something (new messaging or a new tactic), I might test on ~300-500, but those go out over multiple days. This would vary based on the size of your market. If you have a smaller market to go after, you will need to test in smaller batches. And you can have multiple tests running at once, but in my experience, many smaller/fine-tuned campaigns are better than one massive campaign. Keep in mind, this methodology doesn't apply so much to enterprise sales.

      As far as reply rate - this is one of the metrics tracked, secondary to meetings booked rate. On successful tests, the reply rate can get up to 18%, on unsuccessful tests it can be as low as 0%. What matters is you learn from the results and continue testing. On average, I see 8%+ reply rate.

  2. 2

    How accurate are the list building tools that you have mentioned?

    1. 1

      Gonna be some duds in there for sure but using the verification tool after building the lists should weed out most of those. You're sending to 99% valid emails, so even if the data is a bit stale and someone's switched jobs, all you get is an auto-response saying they work somewhere else now.

      I will say, the accuracy of the data depends also on industry. I've seen much more issues with old data when reaching out to dentists than people in B2B SaaS

      1. 1

        Sounds good, thanks!

  3. 2

    Hey! Yeah, it would be nice to see something in much detail. Indeed I have tested cold-email but without any success. However, I might say that I haven't approached a big list of users (only 20-30 tbh).

    On a separate note - I'm new to IH community. How can I save your article cause it seems very useful.

    1. 1

      Hi, glad you enjoyed! Not sure if there's an easy way on IndieHacker without bookmarking or saving the link somewhere using another method :)

      Will post something more detailed in the near future!

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