Tips for Generating Leads through Cold Email

Trustmary teamTrustmary team
Last edited: May 31st, 2024
sales pitch mistakes

Lead generation is ground zero for every business’ sales process. You can try PPC, content generation, SEO, social media outreach, influencer collaborations, and lots of other shiny new options. 

But many of these methods, although excellent, can seem time-consuming and difficult to implement at first. Not to mention expensive. Add to that the fact that the results aren’t always easily quantifiable, and it’ll become clear why so many marketing teams are burnt out from jumping down one too many rabbit holes.

If you want a breather from chasing all the latest trends, or even if you’re just dipping your toes in the waters of lead generation, cold emails are a relatively uncomplicated, trackable way to generate and nurture leads. They’re not just a marketers’ favorite, 80% of buyers prefer to be communicated with via email, too.  

Not sold yet? Email generates almost 40x more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. So if you want to harness the power of cold emails to generate leads, here’s a step-by-step guide.

#1: Define your target audience: 

This goes beyond simple Ideal Client Profiles (ICPs) and buyer personas. If you don’t know who exactly you’re pitching to, you might as well be speaking Klingon to the Vulcans.

Use the keywords of your product to determine who has the most need for it. Browse through common challenges, complaints, and objections related to it and start bucketing them into niches. 

Do you want to cater to medium-sized enterprises with remote employees? Or mom-and-pop shops with a mostly offline presence? If your product is versatile, it’s possible for both to be potential clients. But you should zero in on who you want to pitch to now

Make an urgency/need matrix and then filter it according to purchasing power. Go for the ones that can bring in enough revenue to keep your business afloat first, and leave the others for later.

Explore whether you want to acquire smaller clients quickly or take longer to bag bigger clients with higher Lifetime Customer Values (LCVs). 

The channels you use to find them, the pain points you highlight, the tone of your emails, everything hinges on how well you understand your target audience.

#2: Research potential prospects:

Once you have that figured out, gather information about these three categories to nail down the specifics of your ideal customer:

  1. Companies/businesses you want to reach
  2. Decision-maker/(s) – (More on that later)
  3. Gatekeepers or alternative contact persons

Your ICP should consist of at least:

  • Industry
  • Size
  • Location
  • No. of employees
  • Customers
  • Competitors
  • Problems faced

Set up Google or Mention Alerts to keep tabs on new developments in your targetted industry. Monitor specific clients and stay up-to-date on your keyword research. 

Start actively listening to the conversations in forums, and online and offline events where your potential clients hang out. You can sponsor or participate in webinars, podcasts, LinkedIn and Facebook groups to build a network of contacts. This gives you the chance to interact with them and get firsthand insight into their challenges and expectations.

If you have existing customers, conduct surveys or one-on-one meetings to discuss their biggest pain points and how you can serve them better.

Use this information to refine your ICP for your outbound prospecting. If they have needs that are currently unmet, see if you can flip them into a selling opportunity. You can also create different pricing plans based on the behavior of various segments.

#3: Identify key decision makers:

Don’t make the mistake of pitching to the first person you can get a hold of. Do your research into the people that are likely to wield the pen that signs your check. 

Make a data sheet about the decision-makers containing the following:

  • Position in company
  • Demographics like age, gender, education, etc.
  • Psychographics like opinions, interest, morals, etc.
  • Responsibilities
  • Day-to-day challenges

Companies that fit your ICP are likely to have similar job titles for their respective decision-makers. Look for variations of the same job title on their site. If they’re not listed, visit the company’s LinkedIn page to see their employees. 

Simultaneously look for possible gatekeepers or alternative people, like an assistant or direct subordinate, you could contact in case the person you’ve singled out can’t be reached. 

#4: Find and verify contact information: 

If you’re lucky, you’re going to find your prospect’s contact information sitting neatly alongside their picture on their organization’s website. If you’re not (because a lot of mid to large-sized companies only list top honchos on their site), get ready to go sleuthing. Or, as is the norm in the twenty-first century, let technology do it for you.

Hunter’s email finder rounds up all the email addresses associated with a domain from different sources on the internet. All you have to do is type in the company’s website in the search bar, like this.

And then take your pick from the email addresses shown.

But email addresses are not set in stone. Companies move domains, people change jobs, and servers glitch. 

When you send an email to an unverified email address, you run the risk of damaging your sender reputation. Too many of these will condemn you to the spam folder, or worse, put your domain in danger. 

You can verify email addresses to ensure the ones on your list don’t have a typo, exist, and are functional, so that your email reaches its targets.  

#5: Craft an effective email sequence: 

Cold emails have it tough. Remember when your school organized a bake sale and peer-pressured you into selling as many overpriced gingerbread cookies to your friends, family and neighbors as possible in order to feel validated? That’s what cold emails have to do every day, with the additional challenge of selling to someone that has never heard of the sender. 

To make their task a little easier, work on your:

Subject lines 

  • Keep them short, catchy, original and personalized.
  • Only the first 30-odd characters are displayed on mobile devices, so writing long subject lines might dent your open rates. 
  • Use lowercase to make it seem more informal.
  • The recipient’s name in the subject line could get you more opens.
  • Vinomofo, an Australian wine e-tailer, includes the recipient’s first name in the subject line. 
  • Experiment with something informal, like a text they’d get from a friend. This could act as the launching pad for your storytelling opener.
  • For example, 

1. ‘my mother-in-law’s here. again.’  or 

2. ‘i think i’m going to quit’ or 

3. ‘am i seeing things, {prospect_name}?’

Email openers 

  • For a lot of people, an opener consists of a greeting and an introduction. But if you want to stand out in crowded inboxes, personalized openers are the way to go. 
  • Put your prospect research to good use and congratulate them on recent professional or personal milestones like a promotion or birthday.
  • Subject lines that segue smoothly into an opener also improve your chances of getting a response. 
  • For example, the third subject line mentioned above could be used to cite a case study about a client of yours that got great results from using your product or service. It could be along the lines of “Or did {Company X} really get 4500% returns on their {service_name}?


  • People aren’t going to give you their money the very first time they hear from you. Email sequences, not standalone blasts, are vital in establishing brand awareness, then interest, trust, before finally asking them to make a purchase.
  • Introduce your product in a customer-centric manner. Keep the spotlight on your prospect’s problems, and explain how you can solve them.
  • Your initial emails should give value before asking for something in return. Free ebooks, research reports, quizzes, etc can slowly move prospects along the sales funnel.
  • One of the later emails in your sequence can use behavioral data to make them an irresistible offer. If they’ve visited a particular page on your website multiple times, offer them a special discount. If that’s not possible, send them a list of product benefits, or a buying guide. 


  • The Call To Action (CTA) is what you want a recipient to do upon reading your email. 
  • Do you want them to sign up for a free demo of your service? Or do you want them to check out your latest spring collection of beddings? Spell it out clearly.
  • Your cold emails should have a single CTA aligning with the offer in the body. 
  • A single-column layout with a CTA button at the bottom makes your emails mobile-optimized. 
  • For earlier emails, keep your asks small. Offer collateral in the form of free resources.
  • If the end-goal is to get a meeting with them, include a link to your calendar, like this template here. 

#6: Follow-up on your emails:

Global email volume is growing exponentially each year, so your prospects can’t really be blamed for never even looking at your email, let alone opening and reading it. 

But follow-ups are game-changers in email marketing and can get up to 20x responses when compared to standalone cold emails. 

We’re not asking you to spam your prospects with desperate emails like “Hey! Are you there?” or “Please reply!!!!” or “I still haven’t heard from you. I know you’re reading my emails” every couple of hours till they block you or report you or both.

Instead, wait for two days before following up with a simple email like this.


If they don’t reply, politely ask to be redirected to the right person in their organization.


Aim to add value with your follow-up emails. 

If they’ve been dragging their feet about buying your product for a while, send them an email containing a round-up of your best reviews.

Trustmary’s import feature lets you collect all your reviews in one place and the automated Review AI Score will help you pick out the best ones.

When the CTA button redirects readers to your testimonials page, it’ll help alleviate any concerns they may have had about purchasing from you.

#7: Track and measure results:

Every email is sent with an end purpose in mind (if yours isn’t, you need to get on it, pronto). And the beauty of email marketing is that it’s so easy to measure whether that purpose has been met successfully. There’s a metric for everything.

Was your cold email meant to get the most clicks? Just compare the click to open rate of your previous emails with this one and you’ll have your answer. 

Not only that, there are set solutions to fix most problems. The click rate can be improved by making emails more interactive, as Findomestic did here by including an in-built loan interest rate calculator in their email, to get an increase of 133% in CTR. 

Gamifying emails, or running limited time offers can also rouse interest.

The other important metrics to watch out for are:

  • Open rate: The number of opens divided by successfully sent emails
  • Bounce rate: The number of emails not delivered divided by emails sent
  • Conversion rate: The number of CTAs acted upon divided by successfully sent emails
  • Unsubscribe rate: The number of unsubscribes divided by successfully sent emails
  • ROI: The net gains divided by the total campaign cost

Monitoring these metrics will take the guesswork out of running successful cold outreach campaigns. You can run A/B tests to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies and brainstorm to overcome it.


Cold emails are a great way to streamline the lead generation process, as well as make it more cost-effective. Despite their competitive nature, when done correctly, cold email campaigns can help nurture leads, increase the likelihood of repeat purchases, and ultimately boost customer lifetime value. 

With proper execution, cold emails can be an invaluable asset for any organization looking to accelerate their business growth. Just remember to keep testing and improving your cold emails to get quality leads with high conversion potential.

Written in collaboration with email finder Hunter.

Trustmary team
Trustmary team


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