Cold emails and calls do work

In the past year I’ve spent more of my budget on the companies that cold emailed me than those who spent hours crafting targeted messages.

Every bit of my marketing training tells me that’s impossible and yet I can’t deny the fact that cold emails and calls do work. This week alone I’ve spent thousands on a company as a result of one email out of the blue and I spent nothing on companies I already knew.

A year ago I’d have been the first to fan the flames of hatred against cold calling and emails. Coming from a digital marketing background I’d had it drilled in to my head over and over that inbound marketing and permission marketing were the only roads to go down and that cold emails were the devil’s work.

Reading about the hatred for cold messages in this post by Dharmesh Shah really made me realise just how deep this hatred goes. Whilst Dharmesh’s position is unsuprising (he sells inbound marketing software) the majority of the comments also add to the perception that cold messages don’t work.

Partly I think this battle is born out of the idea that modern marketers don’t like to think that old tactics, especially those not driven by data, could possibly be as good as the modern versions. So in their minds building organic lists will always trump buying lists and writing targeted emails will always win over generic emails.

Here’s the thing, I’m not saying there aren’t some terrible emails out there, or that I’d buy from every person who sends me a cold message. But I, and possibly your prospects too, am open to the idea that the next big thing may come through my inbox out of the blue.

Your average prospect doesn’t have the time to research every single agency for every single service that they need. Sometimes a well-timed cold message with the right information can be just what they need. My email is filled with suppliers for countless marketing services and assuming they’ve sent me evidence of their track record they already have a step over everyone else.

The companies who build targeted lists and spend lots of money profiling their customers are the ones who can afford to do so because they’ve already built up a strong customer base. The simple truth is almost all of the major players online built up their customer base with cold messages and bought lists. They may not be the nicest tactics in the world but they shouldn’t be disregarded.

If the choice is between a cold message or sending no message then the choice is simple. A brief, well-articulated cold message can make a difference.

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