How to Generate Leads with Cold Email

When used correctly, email can be an effective way to generate leads, build relationships, and grow your business.



When I started my first company (that eventually went on to be venture-backed), nearly 100% of the business generated over the first few years (that didn’t come from our friends or family) was the result of cold outreach. More specifically, it was from cold email. Most people are shocked to hear this. The truth is, our cold outreach became so effective that not only was it sustaining our business, but we had so much overflow that we ended up referring most of it out!


If you’ve ever thought about ways to grow revenue quickly and affordably, you’ve probably explored email. And if you ended up here, it’s because you found out how difficult it actually is to do on your own. Or, maybe you didn't, in which case we’re going to walk you through what cold email is, why you should use it, why it works, and pitfalls to avoid.


What is cold email?


Let’s start with what the ideal cold email isn’t: Cold email IS NOT SPAM. Though it often comes across that way and gets a pretty bad rep.


So, what is cold email? Ideally, it’s a way to provide value in a highly targeted and relevant manner to someone that you don’t have an established relationship with.


And if you do it right, you can break a whole lot of ice.


Why should I use cold email?


  1. Cold email is over 100x more effective than direct mail and can save over 4 hours / day versus cold calling.

  2. Cold emailing scales!

  3. Cold email is 10x cheaper than direct mail

  4. You'll be surprised at how much more you can sell when you're not worried about someone you know rejecting you


Why does cold email work?


  1. Cold emails reach users where they spend the most time - in their inbox

  2. Emails stick around and don’t get missed when scrolling through a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed

  3. Cold emails can be personal

  4. Cold email scale and you can even send them in your sleep.


What should I avoid when cold emailing?


1. Don’t be misleading


Rule #1. Not only is it unethical, but it’s against the law. The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits the inclusion of deceptive or misleading information and subject headings and your prospects won’t appreciate being taken for a ride.


2. Don’t blast blindly


The key to a good email is a good target and the more information you have about them, the more personal you can get, and the more value you can add.


3. Be conversational


You want your emails to sound like they're coming from a real person, right? Write like you would to your best friend - using language that is conversational, and avoiding anything too technical or formal. The best emails are the ones that sound like they come from someone you already know.


4. Provide a clear value proposition or call to action


You don’t want to trick someone into saying yes or no by forcing them to do work on your behalf. If you read our emails, you know we use a simple “hell yeah” or “no” email follow-up format.


We use this because we want to avoid putting pressure on the prospect to do work on our behalf. So, if you want to get more prospects, use something like this:

Hi [Prospect], I’m following up on the [Date] email I sent you. I’m wondering if you’re interested in [Product/Service]. If you are, great, [Product/Service] is a great fit for you. If you’re not interested, no worries. I understand. If you’re interested, here’s what I suggest we do next…


If you’re not interested, please reply to this email and let me know so I can remove you from my follow-up list.


Thank you,

[Your Name]


This email follow-up format is short, clear, and easy for prospects to follow.


5. Provide an unsubscribe link or “Opt Out” Option


If you’re going to send any type of marketing email, you need to include an “Opt Out” option. It’s not only the ethical and polite thing to do, but it’s also the law. You can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do, and you can’t make it impossible for them to unsubscribe.


6. Respect your prospects - and don’t take it personally


If someone complains, don't try to argue or engage, just remove them and move on. And don't take it personally. A no doesn't mean no forever, it just means "not right now."


How to Send Cold Emails


Well, there are two ways - the hard way and the easy way. If you’re interested in the easy way, just sign up for Scout and you’ll be up and running in minutes. But if you’re interested in doing it yourself, you’ll need a few things for starters: 1) a warm email account, 2) a clean list of contacts, 3) a great copywriter, 4) some great email tracking and automation software, and 5) a lot of patience.


If you’re looking to take the easy road, check out Scout.





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