How to build a valid business email list for cold email campaigns?

Despite what you may think, cold email campaigns are very effective for B2B businesses. At first, we thought it might be inefficient and even uncomfortable to search for businesses contact information and start sending sales emails to people who do not know about our product, but the truth is that after you overcome the fear of not being read or not getting responses and accepting that it is a try and fail process, in which you are improving by sending cold emails, this becomes a very powerful marketing and sales tool.

To start a cold email campaign, you need two basic inputs, valid emails, and a good e-mail message. You may be tempted to buy databases to start sending your sales emails, but in many cases, they may be full of bad emails or simply emails that are not in your target market. I tell you because at Toky we bought one once and we lost our money since it had bad emails and when reviewing them in detail, the valid emails were not of the kind of customers that we were looking for.

Although there is always the classic manual process of searching sites and navigate to find emails, I want to share one of the processes that we do at Toky to get emails in a simple, free way so you can easily start.

Before starting the process you must have the following:

  • Create a Google Sheets file with the name you want.
  • Get a free or paid account in Hunter.io

1. Collects domains of websites of potential customers

You must first define if your customers are eCommerce, real estate agents, marketing agencies, restaurants etc. This is vital in order to be able to start the search and actually look for potential customers and not any business email. Then you can visit startup listings, company directories or search the internet and start collecting the domains of each business on a sheet within the Google Sheets file.

2. Generate an email list using Hunter.io

To generate emails for our campaign, you should go to your Google Sheets sheet and install the hunter.io add-on.

hunter.io add-on

After installing the add-on, you must activate it with your Hunter.io account and for that, you should go to the hunter.io API page and generate a key, copy and paste it in the add-on.

Hunter.io API Key Google Sheets

Now you can begin to generate emails according to the domains of the websites that you have collected. To do this select the cells with the domains and in the complement of Hunter.io, use the option Bulk of the tab Domain search.

generate email with hunter.io

The add-on will create a new sheet in which you will leave the emails obtained with the following information:

  • Email addresses: The founded business email address.
  • Confidence score: The level of reliability of the email and we expect it to be greater than 80.
  • Type: Define if the mail is personal or generic; I recommend using the personal but if there is only one generic link and the chosen company is in your target, nothing prevents you from making the attempt.
  • Number of sources: Hunter.io extracts the emails from public sources on the internet and stores them for you to search. That number indicates how many sources the email was found, which sometimes increases its confidence.

    You should keep in mind that the free plan of Hunter.io is limited to 150 queries per month, so try to select the domains of your leads carefully or get a payment plan.

Now just take the emails generated and filter those you consider most appropriate. Look for the email on the internet and sometimes you can find the name of the contact or if you are lucky his profile on LinkedIn where you can see his position and thus improve the filter of the emails. Create a new sheet in Google Sheets and start adding the selected emails there.

3. Validate the emails obtained before sending any messages

It is important that you verify that the emails generated are still valid and correct, good contact information is very important. A cold email campaign is based on sending many emails because the opening and reply rate is not always high, but it is worse when you start bouncing since your email can end up penalized because when bounce is high and in a short period, they can interpret you as a SPAM generator and report you on blacklists.

If you use your own email client to send emails, be careful about sending a lot of emails in a short period because you could be penalized. Send emails in small batches or get a cold email platform.

You can validate your emails with different services that although sometimes do not give a 100% of confidence, they will help you to discard many emails that of surely will bounce. Sometimes we use:
  • Quick Email Verification that lets you validate 100 emails per day, although registration is required.
  • Verifalia that lets you validate batches of 25 emails per day.

4. Design the right email for your cold email campaign

Now what we need is to create a mail template that you can use to start sending emails. You must remember that your customers are companies so we recommend you consider the following:

  • Avoid using images since cold emails should be personal and not look like a newsletter since it tends to be ignored.
  • Work a lot in your subject line because of it depends if your email is opened or goes directly to trash or worst, to SPAM. It must be short and maybe using the first name of the lead.
  • The message must be concrete and focused on the possible needs of the recipient. It is good that you investigate his website a think about how your product or service can be useful for him.
  • Define an objective with the sending of email and establishes a call to action(CTA). Sometimes, we invite the recipient to create a Toky trial account or request a phone call.
  • The message must be respectful, but you must bear in mind the type of product and customer, always trying to be able to call the recipient by name. Too formal or informal treatment can affect the response in some companies.

Now with the email text ready and a good subject line, you can send your messages with the appropriate tool, even you can create some good cold email templates depending on your market segments and the emails collected. We use Hubspot CRM to have opening and click tracking and integrate it with our cloud telephony platform in case we have to make calls to customers as a follow-up or maybe try a cold call to talk about the email we sent. Also there are many online tools to automate cold calls which you could try.

If you get a response from your customers do not forget to return messages as soon as possible and schedule follow-ups from time to time and make phone calls when possible. Not doing follow-ups and forgetting to respond to your cold emails are some of the biggest mistakes when doing cold email.

At first, you may get a bit discouraged because you don't get a response and the reply rate may be low, but as you make adjustments to the message and tuning the email recipients and maybe improving cold email templates, you will see better results. In our case, this process has brought us new and good customers, which although I will not say that they are too many, perhaps they wouldn't have become customers by other means, in some cases the deal was closed using sales phone calls with Toky.

Have you conducted cold email campaigns? Tell us how it worked for you in the comments.

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