Cold Outreach Strategy: The Do’s and Don’ts

It’s frustrating when you’ve composed hundreds of cold email outreach to your potential customers, but no one is interested in your offering. Your inbox is still dry, and you might run out of ideas on how to capture your readers’ attention. 

You may be wondering whether cold email outreach is still working or not. The answer is it works when done right.

If you haven’t got a nice result from cold email outreach, you probably have made mistakes in the process. To help you figure out your mistakes and improve your cold email outreach strategy, let’s learn about the dos and don’t.

What Is a Cold Email Outreach Strategy?

First thing first. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what a cold outreach strategy is.

A cold outreach strategy is a process of contacting potential customers or business partners who have had no prior interaction with your brand. So, the salespeople will have to introduce themselves and their brands from scratch.

This type of outreach is usually done by sales representatives or marketers who are willing to risk rejection for the sake of a new customer or business partner. The goal of a cold outreach strategy is to eventually turn a cold contact into a warm one– where those prospects can be paying customers and other businesses can be collaborative partners.

Why Do Marketers Use Cold Outreach?

Getting emails out of nowhere might not feel great, no one ever wanted to be sold to– not in their inboxes or anywhere else. But, it’s a common marketing tactic for a reason. 

So, why do marketers use cold outreach?

A lot of businesses see success with cold outreach because it can help you reach new audiences that are relevant to your products or services. It also doesn’t require a huge budget like other marketing channels such as paid advertising. It’s accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Besides all of the bad rap that email marketing receives, email is still one of the most popular and effective ways to reach out to new customers.

An email has a number of advantages over other marketing channels:

  • You can segment your list and send targeted messages to different groups
  • It’s easy to track metrics and measure success
  • You can automate your email marketing to save time
  • It’s relatively inexpensive

The main reason why cold email outreach still works is that it’s an effective and affordable way to reach new customers– whether you’re a large corporation or a freshly-launched startup. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Cold Outreach Strategy

Now that we know a little bit more about what cold outreach is and why businesses use it, let’s take a look at some Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind when crafting your own strategy.

1. Do: Research Your Target

Whatever business marketing strategy you take, research is the number one step that you can’t avoid. In a cold outreach, you need to research some information before sending a proper message to your audience.

First thing first, look for the contact information of your target audience. Find their email address so you can reach out personally. Make sure to get the right address to avoid confusion since the people you’re sending messages to aren’t interested in your product. (hint: use Outbase).

Once you’ve got the correct email, conduct a small research on the LinkedIn page or website. Try to find more insights about the target so you can provide relatable and valuable information on the first communication. 

For example, you want to get in touch with MMA fighters to ask about how’s the game going. You don’t directly ask about it, but get a little research on the digital news media. It’s a great way to impress and build trust.

Remember to create a data pipeline with real-time streaming capabilities. This way, you can utilize the information you gather on the go and also organize it so other teams from marketing to support can utilize the data for further strategies or to improve the support experience. 

2. Do: Provide Helpful Information

When you receive an email that entirely talks about a particular company or product, do you want to engage with that? Most people will say no. 

They’d rather read an email that provides helpful and valuable information about a particular topic. You can also add a link to the email if you have relevant articles on your website. Lastly, you can direct them to a dedicated knowledge database where all common questions are answered and how-to questions are explained. To keep the weight off your shoulders, let a web developer handle this for you. 

3. Do: Make a Personalized Subject Line

When you send a cold outreach, of course, you don’t expect the email to end up in the trash folder. That’s why having an engaging subject line is a must. It urges your recipients to read the email. 

So, what is a compelling subject email that is clickable? Avoid click-bait, catchy slogans, or long subject lines because 69% of people will report your email as spam. You’d better go with a personalized subject line to make them feel valued. 

You can include the recipient’s name. According to a study, that simple detail can increase the open rate by 22%.

4. Do: Use Videos

People won’t check new messages at a time, especially when they come from brands. Recipients are smart enough not to check every email because they expected it to be promotional and sound dull with the cluttered text.

You can anticipate this type of response by providing compelling content that quickly catches their attention. Visual representations like images, GIFs, and explainer videos can help attract them to read your message fully. Moreover, an email with a link to a video or a snippet video image has been linked to a higher open rate by 19%

However, many mail service providers don’t allow you to send videos. You can integrate video when your clients use iOS, Apple Mail, Samsung Mail, and Thunderbird. 

5. Do: Make It a Win-Win

When you’re reaching out to someone cold, it’s important to make sure that your business proposal is relevant to their needs and that there’s something in it for them.

Your goal is to establish a relationship with this person or business, so it shouldn’t feel like a one-sided transaction where you’re just trying to extract value. Instead, focus on creating a win-win situation where both parties can benefit from the interaction.

6. Don’t: Send the Same Email to Everyone 

Blasting a generic message to an email list is a big no. It saves you time, but you will gain nothing from the cold outreach. Why? First of all, people are already sick of templated emails. They will ignore the email as if it is not there. 

Secondly, you can’t offer the best solution because everyone’s problem is different. The situation will be different if you use a personalized approach. You know the pain point of each target, and you can address the problem accordingly. You can optimize email deliverability to avoid spam filters.

You may need extra energy and time to provide a personalized email, but it is worth the effort. That email can get better conversion by 10%, and the click-through rate will increase by 14%

7. Don’t: Write Lengthy Email

We understand that you want to make a great introduction to your potential customers. However, you don’t need to explain every single thing in one message. It is better to complement your subject line with an engaging message. 

Think of your first message as the opening section to establish a deeper conversation, not a monologue. You can focus on discussing the solution for your recipient’s problem rather than explaining your products in the email. You can also highlight the benefits that you offer. 

Discuss the topic in more than 900 characters but less than 1500 characters. You can also include general information about yourself to look convincing, such as name, title, and company information. 

So, people will know who you are. If they are clueless about you, they will ignore your email. 

8. Don’t: Provide Inappropriate Follow-Up 

Sending a follow-up email is a must because not all people will respond to you since the first touchpoint. It happens because they are not convinced yet or forget to reply to your email. 

Whatever the reason, providing follow-up is an excellent move. It will ensure that your email is not lost in the spam and encourage your target to reply to your email outreach. Moreover, you have a 21% chance of receiving a response to your second email. 

However, it’d be best if you use a time-tracking app to take the right time to send the follow-up email. Do not send the follow-up every day. The reply rate will increase if only you send it a week after your first email. The follow-up can be a reminder or another value-added piece of information.

9. Don’t: Add Many Links 

It is better to avoid adding many links in the early stage of cold email outreach because people barely know you. 

If you urgently need the link and want people to take action after seeing your email, use one link only! It is aimed to optimize the call to action. 

Adding two or more links is not recommended. It will create confusion, and people can’t focus on your messages. Most importantly, the more links you have in your email, the greater the chance that people will not click on any of them.

10. Don’t: Send Generic Messages

When you’re reaching out to someone cold, it’s important to personalize your message and make it relevant to them. Sending generic messages is a surefire way to get your email deleted without even being read.

There are tons of copy-and-paste templates that many marketers use without even thinking twice. But, the problem with these templates is that they’re not personalized to the recipient, so they come across as inauthentic and insincere. The recipients have seen enough of these generic messages to know that you didn’t bother taking the time to write a specific message for them.


A cold email outreach still holds power in a startup business and any marketing campaign if it is done right. If you don’t follow the basic rules, you can lose your opportunity to drive leads or improve sales. 

Take your time to research your prospects and provide valuable information because people only engage in personalized emails. You should also avoid using generic emails, writing lengthy messages, and adding many links. 

Author Bio

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order). 

Twitter: @breadnbeyond

Email: [email protected] 

LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro