Nov 2020
I'll admit it. I was set in my ways.
Things changed for me after watching a session on Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing at HubSpot’s annual conference this year. The debate opened my eyes to a super effective tactic that's gotten a bad rap by marketers and sales reps who have adopted a hard-sell mentality.
Traditionally, outbound sales and marketing have been deemed as disruptive and annoying.
But we’ve learned a lot about how people buy and inbound-only tactics may not be enough to drive sales. The truth? Selling is about establishing connections, not enabling transactions. With this knowledge in mind, more and more marketers are shifting their efforts toward relationship-building by incorporating outbound marketing tactics into their strategy.
That said, there's a lot to learn from those who got it wrong...

7 cold outreach don'ts

Don't repurpose the same message for more than one prospect. 

Use email personalization tactics. Go beyond addressing them by name and demonstrate that you did your research by highlighting a recent event the person attended, a blog they wrote, or their new job title. It's going to take extra time but you'll risk losing your shot if you use generic copy. 
cold outreach email example
Forgetting to fill in personalization tokens is a dead giveaway for mass emails. With little to no customization, recipients won't be compelled to respond.

Don't send an email to a generic address.

Avoiding sending your message to an info@ or support@ email address. These inboxes aren’t usually managed by the person you’re trying to reach. Take the extra time to complete the steps above.

Don't send emails from your brand name.

Emails from companies can feel cold and impersonal, making them easy to ignore. Have them come from you and your full name.

Don't use too many links.

Keep it to 1-2 links in your email. Too many links are distracting and detract from your call-to-action.
cold outreach email best practices

Don't rely on one channel alone.

Connect with your recipient or their company cross-channel. Find them on Instagram, like their content, send them a DM letting them know you emailed them and look forward to their reply, and send a LinkedIn connection request with a personalized note.

Don't use a misleading subject line.

A gimmicky or spammy subject line is just asking for a trip to Trash and then you’ve compromised the opportunity altogether. Get creative and write a subject line that catches the eye but still reflects the content of the email.
Wasting time with cold leads? Use this Lead Scoring template to close more  deals.

Don't focus on the features of your product or service.

While these may be a point of pride for you and your team, the recipient will always be more concerned with their gain. Be sure to highlight the benefit they will experience in your outreach.
And now that you know the faux pas of cold outreach...

7 cold outreach dos

Create a list of companies to target.

Compile the names and contact information of companies you want to target in your CRM before anything else. You'll need to keep track of where those companies rank on your priority list and what characteristics qualify them as a good fit for your products or services.

Find a real person at the company.

If the website doesn't have their team members listed, try googling "company name + job role" or explore the company’s LinkedIn page to find employees.
Pro tip: Use a tool like to find your target contact’s email address. 

Use video.

Email inboxes are cluttered as just about every business has shifted to online channels during the pandemic. Video will help you stand out in your prospect's inbox and allow you to personalize your outreach.
cold outreach sales
Including the prospect's name in the video clip will make your message impossible to ignore.

Include your photo in your email signature.

The key is to build a relationship and putting a face to the name in their inbox makes the email less anonymous. Create an email signature using HubSpot’s free signature tool.
email signature cold outreach

Make your call-to-action clear.

A good call-to-action provides clear instructions or next steps at the end of your message. What do you want them to do? Call you? Email you back? Set up a meeting? Make it as easy as possible to take action! 
cold outreach email example
This sender included a single call-to-action and repeated it for extra clarity (bonus points!)

Follow up a few times.

One email likely isn't going to be enough to sell them. Your CRM will help you keep track of how many follow-ups you've sent and when it's time to do another.

Keep it brief.

Your first email or outreach shouldn’t be a novel. Introduce yourself, highlight the research you’ve done on the contact, bring up their pain point, introduce your solution and briefly explain what problem it will solve, call to action. As a rule, try to keep it to around 5 sentences.
For us inbound adherents, cold outreach can be intimidating.
But you don't have to transform your strategy overnight. Though your message should be concise, taking the extra time to research, personalize, and refine your outreach will yield stronger connections. Start small by putting together a list of good-fit companies and work your way up to the perfect pitch by experimenting with new tactics and tracking the results.
What’s a cold outreach method you’ve found success with? Let's connect over LinkedIn and exchange notes.
saas free trial winback email templates