4 crucial considerations for your cold email campaigns
I've found cold email campaigns to be one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there. With the right tools, it's possible to reach thousands of targeted leads and generate thousands of dollars in revenue, just with cold emails.
In a previous blog post, I provided a step-by-step guide for small business owners looking to send out their first cold email campaigns. I received quite a bit of feedback regarding this blog post, with many people asking great follow up questions.
This blog post is an attempt at answering these questions. So without further ado, here are my 4 crucial considerations for your cold email campaigns.
1. Send cold email campaigns from a separate domain
One great question I received, was whether you should send cold email campaigns from an email address tied to your main domain. It's a great question because it touches on many important issues which marketers should be aware of before sending out cold emails.
First off, it's important to understand what a server IP is and how it affects your emails. In a nutshell, the URL of your domain (in my case www.cgrundy.com) is just your server IP rendered in humanly readable form. The real name of your domain will be something like this: 220.127.116.11
This is your server IP and it has a reputation on the internet. This reputation determines whether email providers accept your emails or mark them as spam. In short, if your web reputation is poor, your cold email campaigns will land in your contact's spam folder.
To check your web reputation, head over to Talos Intelligence and enter your domain name. Even if you haven't sent out a campaign yet, it's worth checking, just in case a previous owner of your domain name may have impacted its reputation.
So now that we understand that our server IP has a reputation on the web, it is crucial to protect it. If we don't, we must expect important transactional emails to be marked as spam, and well-meaning email communication to fail.
As a result, it is crucial to set up an email address on a separate domain from which to send cold email campaigns. Should the web reputation of this domain become compromised over time, email communication coming from our main domain will remain unaffected.
The best solution is often to set up an email address with the same domain name, but with a different tld. So instead of sending my campaigns from cgrundy.com, I would send them from cgrundy.co.uk, cgrundy.net or cgrundy.org for example.
In my experience, newer tld's like .io, and .cool have a higher likelihood of ending in the spam folder.
2. Set up SPF records in your DNS settings
Emails seem very simple on the surface, but there is a ton going on under the hood. I'm just going to scratch the surface here, so I recommend watching this video for a more in-depth approach.
For now, the important concept to understand is that of the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). At its core, the SPF record is a small snippet of text which is placed in your registrars DNS settings.
This snippet identifies which servers are permitted to send emails on your domains behalf. By including this txt record in your DNS settings, you show other web servers that you have permission to send emails from your server IP.
As an example, let's assume I send an email from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org. Before coldemail.com admits my email, it checks to see if my email might be corrupted or spam. The first thing it checks is the SPF record. If none can be found it checks for the DMARC. When this record cannot be found either, the message is deposited in the spam folder.
Thus, by adding an SPF record in your DNS settings, you vastly improve the deliverability of your cold email campaigns. Without it, most of your emails will not reach the intended recipients and will fail as a result.
To check if your SPF record has been included, either head over to your domain's registrar and navigate to the DNS settings, or head over to mail-tester.com and send an email to the provided email address.
Your basic SPF record will typically be a txt file in your DNS settings looking something like this:
v=spf1 mx include:_spf.google.com -all
This is the most basic form of SPF record, but you can learn more about setting one up here.
3. Warm up your email address
Another excellent question I got, was regarding the necessity to warm up a new email address.
First, we need to be aware of the fact that Gmail and other email service providers treat new accounts with suspicion.
If you were to register a new domain, set up an email address, and start sending hundreds or even thousands of cold emails within a couple of weeks, you would find yourself blocked very quickly.
Once you have set up a new email address on a new domain therefore, it is important to register some normal activity before sending out cold email campaigns. This blog post goes into great detail about how to warm up an email address correctly.
The short and sweet of it is, that we need to spend around 2-4 weeks sending a few emails each day from our new email address, before sending out cold email campaigns. Should you skip this part, you will find your email address suspended, limited or blocked very quickly.
The easiest way of setting this up in an automated way, is to create a multi-stage Yesware mail merge campaign. Ideally your template would contain 7-8 stages, each sent out 2 days after the previous one. Upload a list of 3-5 contacts as a CSV and let Yesware do the heavy lifting.
4. Create a trustworthy signature
In my previous blog post, I went into detail on how to write a convincing cold email. One person reached out to me explaining that I had omitted to mention the importance of a trustworthy signature at the bottom of the email.
This is a great point, as a correctly done signature builds trust with your lead and makes your email appear more professional.
Less is often more when it comes to email signatures. Be sure to limit your signature to the following details for the best results:
- Full name
- Position at the company
- Phone number
- Skype ID
- Links to one or two Social Media profiles
This is setup recommended by the guys over at Sigstr, a startup specialised in email signature marketing.
Conclusion | Nailing your cold email campaign
With these four points in mind, you should be able to avoid most of the mistakes I made when starting off with email marketing. For a more practical step-by-step guide on how to get started with your first cold email campaign, check out this blog post.
Thanks to everyone who provided the feedback which made this blog post possible. Thanks for reading and see you next week!