The basics of cold emailing explained

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You may have already heard about it. But, What is Cold Email really about? Cold emailing, also called Email Outreach, simply means contacting, in a proactive way, an interlocutor with whom you have never had a previous exchange. It is one of the most effective, cheapest and most used channels in B2B acquisition, but also one of the most overused. This article was written in partnership with Scalezia.

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Cold Emailing: the most abused?

Of all the acquisition channels, Cold Emailing is undoubtedly the most questioned. This is due to technical requirements that are becoming more and more complex and confusing. Because of bad practices and a lack of knowledge and experience amongst its practitioners, cold emailing has gradually built a reputation of a channel that is more a source of nuisance and tension than real business opportunities.

This is simply not true.

Cold emailing is not intended to harm, annoy or harass. If it is so criticized, it is because it is given roles that it cannot fulfill.

Many people misunderstand what can be expected from a cold mail. A cold email is not designed to sell. A cold email is not designed to praise the merits of your company. A Cold Email is not designed to promote its product or services. The role of a cold email is to create a relationship between two interlocutors, all around a common subject or interest. The role of a Cold Email is to create the desire in the interlocutor to continue the exchange through another channel, usually a call or a meeting. A Cold Email is designed to create a relationship. To create a human touch. To create links. No more, no less. We’ll see in the next part: well executed, a cold emailing acquisition strategy can be extremely effective.

Cold Emailing: the most effective?

In B2B, very few sectors and industries are immune to Cold Emailing, for the simple reason that everyone, today, has an email address.
Thus, when certain good practices are observed, Cold Emailing can very quickly become a considerable growth vector for a company.

Why? Because an intelligent practice allows, in concrete terms, to break the ice with any decision maker, and this, as we will see below, in an almost entirely automated way.

While it takes 7 to 9 calls on average to get a decision-maker on the phone, it only takes a few minutes to automate a sequence of cold emails that will follow up with the decision-maker at different key moments, and over as much time as you want. In terms of metrics, Cold Emailing is very powerful. Indeed, a well-designed campaign can gain an 80% opening rate and 20% response rate, or even much more. As proof, here is an example of a campaign with 97% open rate and 25% response rate that we launched for one of our clients: Example Campaign. 🚀 And there’s no shortage of examples similar to the campaign above. And as proof, here are some case studies of acquisition projects we’ve done for new clients as part of our agency:

  • Here’s how we generated 151 leads with the biggest BtoC brands in 10 weeks (Access the case study).
  • Here’s how we generated 174 leads with SMBs in 12 weeks (Access the case study).
  • Here’s how we generated 28 leads with the largest banks and insurance companies in 6 weeks: Access the case study.
  • Here’s how we generated 61 leads in one Cold Emailing campaign: Access the campaign script.

You will have understood through these examples, cold emailing is nothing but the direct extension of your marketing strategy as a whole.

The results you will get from it will always be a direct result of:
  • The quality of your targeting.
  • The quality of your segmentation.
  • On your positioning.
  • On the power of your value proposition.
  • On your understanding of your market and its needs.

There is no miracle recipe in cold emailing.

The miracle script does not exist. The miracle email list is a fantasy. Every company must invest time and energy in understanding its own business and optimizing its strategy and campaigns. This is what makes it one of the most demanding channels. But don’t panic: we’ve got your back! 🔥

Cold Emailing: the cheapest?

When it comes to acquisition channels, it’s hard to find anything cheaper than cold emailing.

Let’s break down that cost a bit. To send up to 2,000 emails/day (and that’s more than enough if you’re operating by the book), you need:
  1. A dedicated domain: about €5 per year maximum.
  2. A email sender: about €2 per month.
  3. A sending software such as Waalaxy: between 40€ and 80€ per month

In total, you will need to count between €47 and €87 per month for an operational cold emailing suite.

Some calculations

To measure the financial interest of cold emailing in B2B acquisition, let’s compare its cost to other channels.

(Warning: these calculations are indicative and, due to their nature, may include some approximations. However, the orders of magnitude will remain the same)

CPM (Cost Per Mille)

Let’s start with a calculation based on CPM (cost per thousand impressions). In Cold Emailing, it is possible to contact up to 2000 people per day for a pre-heated G-Suite sender. To be on the safe side, we will keep to 1900 emails per day in order to leave ourselves a response margin. At a rate of daily sendings on each working day, we arrive at a total of 38000 contacts per month (1900 emails X 20 days). Now, let’s calculate :
CPM = (Cost of tool suite in €) / (# of daily emails X # of business days) = {47 ; 87} / 38000 = 1.24; 2.29.

When compared to the total cost of a Cold Emailing suite, we arrive at a CPM ranging from 1.24€ to 2.29€, or $1.49 to $2.75.

Let’s compare this score to other channels (Source) :
  1. Pinterest Ads: $30 for 1000 impressions.
  2. YouTube Ads: $9.68 per 1000 impressions.
  3. Instagram Ads: $7.91 per 1000 impressions.
  4. Facebook Ads: $7.19 per 1000 impressions.
  5. LinkedIn Ads: $6.59 for 1000 impressions.
  6. Twitter Ads: $6.46 for 1000 impressions.

CPC (Cost Per Click) vs. CPR (Cost Per Response)

The CPM is an interesting piece of data. However, what we are looking for in cold emailing and, by extension, in advertising, is engagement. In ads, the most common engagement is a click to the advertiser’s web page. In Cold Emailing, a click is also possible, but the most common action sought is a response. In order to make the comparison viable, we will be speaking of CPR’s – Cost Per Response. In Cold Emailing, the average response rate for a quality campaign varies between 10% and 25%. For conservatism, we will base ourselves on the low range, i.e. 10%. On a basis of 38,000 emails sent per month (1900 emails/day * 20 working days), we arrive at : = (Cost of the tool suite in €) / (Nb of daily emails * Response rate * Nb of working days). = {47 ; 87} / (1900 * 0.1 * 20). = {47 ; 87} / 3800. = 0.012 ; 0,023.

CPR = from 0.012€ to 0.023€, or from $0.014 to $0.028. This rate is divided by 2 for a 20% response rate, which is the minimum rate we recommend. Let’s compare it with the average CPC of the biggest platforms:

    1. LinkedIn Ads: $3.72 in Q4 2018 (Source).
    1. YouTube Ads: $3.61 in Q4 2018 (Source).
    1. Google Ads: $1.33 in Q4 2018 (Source).
    1. Twitter Ads: $0.40 in Q4 2018 (Source).
  1. Facebook Ads: $0.57 in Q4 2018 (Source).

Verdict on cold emailing

As you can now see: it’s hard to beat cold emailing when it comes to acquisition.

Whether it’s a question of CPM or CPC/R, in B2B, Cold Emailing coupled with LinkedIn, is systematically positioned as the least expensive outbound acquisition channel.

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