5 Best Practices for Warming Up a Cold Email List

Warm up cold email list

It happens. Email lists go cold. Several weeks (or months) go by and a number of your contacts haven’t heard from you. This could be your entire email database—or just the people who haven’t taken action on any of your previous offers and aren’t part of an existing nurturing campaign.

But either way, they’ve opted-in to receive communications and you know they’re potentially valuable leads and prospects who might be ready to re-engage.

Here, we’re sharing our best practices—and brightest ideas—for warming up email lists that have run cold.  

Take Caution Before Running a “Cold Campaign”
Before drafting an email and pressing send, the only assumption you should make about your email subscribers is that they’re cold (tepid, at best) leads. Take heed, because…

• They may not know your brand. Sure, something enticed them to sign up for your content, but they may not remember what it was—especially since they haven’t heard from you in a while. Plus, the need they had way back when may no longer be relevant.

• They may not follow you online. Your cool social media posts and great offers may be off their feed, so they aren’t necessarily up to date with your brand.

• They probably don’t want to “do” anything. People have busy inboxes and they aren’t sitting there waiting for yet another sales pitch. One thing they are willing to do? Unsubscribe if they’re presented with a hard sell.

But the good news—as we’ll remind you again—is that many of these individuals gave you permission to send them content and offers at some point in time, so chances are good they won’t be put off when they see your email come through. Just make sure to follow these best practices to ensure they take action and keep engaging:

1. Give a Friendly Re-Introduction
Reaching out to a contact you haven’t emailed recently requires towing the thin line between “did you forget about us” and “we’re back!” The most experienced email marketers agree, though, that you shouldn’t explicitly say, “Sorry, we’ve been out of touch.” Rather, hold your head high. Display a soft re-entry by sharing valuable, current information that’s relevant right now. Pave the way with benefits-oriented copy and a call-to-action they’ll want to take. (See #3)

2. Be Personal, and Personalize
Here are two best practices rolled into one. Today’s consumers expect to make authentic connections with brands—with the people behind the brands, actually—and want to read copy that’s written by a human being who understands their needs. At the same time, a message that addresses the recipient, specifically, goes farther to engage them. Set the right tone in your warm-up e-mail and you’re more likely to make a lasting impression.

Dig deeper in The Anatomy of a Modern Direct Response Marketing Email and Who, Me? 3 Best Practices for Direct Marketing Personalization.

3. Provide a Valuable Freebie
We said earlier that a cold email is not the right place for a hard sales pitch. It might be perceived as too much too soon. But it IS the place to share some valuable free content akin to a thank-you gift. So in the email itself or via a landing page, attach some new research, free tips, a resource list, or other asset that adds value to their day and builds your credibility at the same time. And, of course, remind them that this is what you’re here for!

4. Invite them to Join You Elsewhere
While you’re at it, your reintroduction email can include links to your social media channels, blog, and/or resources website page—places they can connect with you and find more valuable goodies.

5. Be Ready to Respond!
After sending a thoughtful, well-crafted cold campaign email, you’ll need to be ready for what’s next. Yes, some people will unsubscribe; hopefully, more people will download your freebie, click your links, and take other action on your website. What’s your call to action? For starters, consider sending a follow-up email to the non-responders. Then, have a plan to nurture the responders with consistent, actionable messages and offers. This way, you’re keeping your lists warm and encouraging conversions with every type of contact.

Contact us to learn more about leveraging email in your direct response marketing efforts.