How to Set Up a Cold Email Campaign

Do you want to plunge into cold email marketing but aren’t sure how to start?

If that sounds like you, keep reading.

When it comes to cold email, the first campaign is the hardest.

You need to figure out the best cold email software to use, create targeted prospect lists, write compelling email copy, and more.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the steps you need to take to set up and send your first cold email campaign.

We’re going to show you the best tools, how to overcome common barriers, and the technical details you should know.

Let’s jump into the guide.

Benefits of Using a Cold Email Marketing Strategy

Cold email is one of the most effective ways to grow a business.

There are a few great reasons you should fire up your first cold email marketing campaign.

Let’s take a look at them:

1. Low Barrier to Entry

No matter how big or small your business is, you can use cold email.

It’s a low-cost strategy that you can use even if you’re a solo-founder or only have one marketing hire.

You can access accurate B2B data to create targeted prospect lists using Leadiro.

We have a free plan enabling create and download your first prospect lists. If you’re seeing ROI, our paid subscriptions will pay themselves back extremely quickly.

When it comes to sending out emails, there is a wide range of cold email marketing software out there.

If you’re looking for the best tool for you, we go in-depth on cold email marketing software in this article.

Many cold email tools have a free trial or affordable pricing plans, so the barrier to entry is low.

You can test your strategy for a month or two, measure results, and decide if it’s worth continuing.

2. More Accurate Targeting Than Almost Any Other Strategy

When you run ads, you’re never going to be certain who exactly has seen your ad.

In fact, email marketing is 40x more effective than social media, and prospects are 5x more likely to see a message over email than on Facebook.

With cold emails, you cut out the guesswork.

You can create targeted lists of prospects, and you can customize every email to the last detail.

Your communication is going to be as personalized as it can be. You’ll waste fewer resources, and be able to talk directly to great leads.

3. Proven Return on Investment

For over 10 years email has ranked as the #1 most profitable marketing tactic with an ROI of 3800%, on average.

What kind of impact could an ROI like that have on your business?

Step-by-Step Process to Setting Up Your First Cold Email Campaign

1. Choosing an Email Marketing Tool

We touched on this briefly already above. Choosing your cold email marketing software shouldn’t be seen as a hurdle. They’re all built with the same end goal in mind, which is to help you send out emails at scale.

Some may have more features or a UI that you prefer, but the core point is that they all send emails.

You can even use a range of Chrome extensions that enable you to send and schedule emails straight from Gmail.

Once your leads convert, you can use a tool like MailChimp to create automated lead nurturing sequences. It’s free for up to 2000 subscribers.

Within a few days of testing, you should decide on your cold email software. You can find reviews on sites like G2 Crowd or Capterra to help guide your final choice.

2. Source Prospects at Scale

Only enterprises have the resources to source prospect lists at scale, right?


Every company can access accurate lists of prospects to use their sales campaigns.

There is a range of email finding tools out there. These enable you to source contact data for individual leads from LinkedIn or company websites. This can be effective if you’re targeting a small group of people.

But, if you’re planning to send a large number of cold emails then we’d recommend using Leadiro to source your B2B contact data.

You can use DemandScience to create targeted lists of prospects, filtered by your chosen criteria. These can include job titles, industry, company size, the technology stack a company uses, and much more.

DemandScience’s data is all GDPR compliant. You don’t have to worry about using it in your cold email campaigns, as long as the recipient will have a legitimate interest in your offer.

Cold email isn’t reserved to large enterprises or companies with an existing sales team. Tools like Leadiro enable any company to quickly create targeted prospect lists to power your sales campaigns and get you in front of your ideal customer.

3. Writing Compelling Cold Email Copy

You have an amazing solution to your prospects pain points. Now, you need to convince them.

Writing engaging cold email copy is a skill and you need to spend time honing your message.

We recommend reading our article on creating cold email copy as well as Copyblogger’s article “37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked”.

If your solution is truly solving a problem in your ideal customer’s life, then creating compelling copy should be a breeze.

4. Measuring Success and ROI

A survey of ~3000 marketing professionals found that only 12.1% of organizations are confident that they can track email marketing ROI very well.

measure email marketing ROI
According to Litmus most brands don’t measure their email marketing ROI

If you want to be able to improve and refine your cold email campaigns you need to measure them.

Your cold email software will have it’s own built-in analytics. This will provide details on your key email metrics, such as delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate, reply rate, and more.

These will be vital for tracking how effective your subject line and email copy is. Many cold email software also has A/B testing features, so you can compare different messaging to discover what resonates.

Tools like Mailshake let you A/B test cold email copy

Once you’re talking to leads you should track your conversations from start to finish.

You can do this using a CRM, such as HubSpot’s free CRM or Close.

measure sales performance with a CRM
HubSpot’s Free CRM

Tracking your conversion rate will allow you to measure the ROI of your email marketing campaign against other customer acquisition channels. Then, you can decide if it’s a success or not.

Keep an eye on your metrics and you’ll be able to optimize and scale your cold email campaigns with ease.

5. Not Following Up

Another roadblock to winning with cold email marketing is not following up enough.

48% of sales reps don’t make a single follow up attempt.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when creating your first cold email marketing campaign. This can lead to an overemphasis on perfecting focus on the first email, but forgetting to schedule follow ups.

cold email follow ups
Keep following up!

Time and time again, the data shows that follow-ups work.

Your potential to get a response doesn’t drop much after the first email, and getting a response to your 6th email isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

But, be respectful of your prospects. Don’t follow up many times in a short space of time, and keep the follow-ups brief.

Technical Details to Keep in Mind

GDPR Compliance

You need to pay attention to the GDPR. Follow the rules when sending your emails, or you face large fines if you’re found to be in breach of the regulation.

Now, a common misconception is that the GDPR puts a stop to cold emails. It doesn’t.

The GDPR states “the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest.

As long as you can prove a legitimate interest, you’re in the clear.

What does this mean in practice?

If you’re selling software for IT companies, then emailing the CTO of an IT firm about your solution won’t be a problem.

Make sure that everyone in your contact list will find your solution relevant and useful.

Staying out of the Spam folder

If you have a large list of prospects, you should refrain from sending all of your cold emails at once.

Sending out too many emails will get your account flagged by your email client (Gmail, Outlook) and your emails will end up in your prospect’s spam folder.

To ensure email deliverability you should

  • Don’t send more than 200 emails per day
  • Avoid ‘spam’ words like Congratulations, Click here, Order now…
  • Include your company’s physical address and phone number

These three things alone will help keep you out of the dreaded spam folder, but there’s no silver bullet.

Keep your emails genuine, and only send them to relevant prospects.


As you can see, cold email marketing isn’t complicated. By following these steps, you’re going to have a solid campaign ready to send. Interested in learning more? Check out how 10 other brands are doing email marketing right!