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Cold Email or Spam: What’s the Difference and How Can You Keep Your Email Campaigns Compliant?

What are cold emails…

You’ve likely heard the term ‘cold email’ before.. But what exactly is MOST cold email and what makes it so cold?

Cold Email (n): An email sent to someone with whom you have no prior relationship.

Essentially, they’re ‘cold’ because you don’t know the person.

Too often not knowing the person leads marketers and business owners to lose focus of their prospect in their message. 

It’s the same principle as moving down a cold call list with the same impersonal script over-and-over without considering how the person on the other end of the line feels.

Generally speaking, the intent of a cold email is to stir interest in your product or service and get your prospects to agree to a clear next step with you.

There are some businesses that do email marketing to cold contacts really well, but many more that don’t. Fortunate for you’re reading this blog and you'll be armed with the tools and information to do it right!

Read on to learn about how you can personalize your cold email (without sacrificing time-saving automation), and protect yourself by avoiding being labeled spam.

Let's talk about SPAM

Not knowing someone personally, does not necessarily qualify a message as ‘spam.’. There are, however, certain requirements you must meet in order for your account and the individual messages you send to not be deemed ‘spam’.

Each country has their own laws with regards to emailing and it’s imperative that you follow the guidelines set forth by the government of the country you do business in (and with).

For example, if you’re in the USA you’ll need to follow the CAN-SPAM Act.

Here are a few best practices to keep your emails from getting the dreaded spam label...

Don’t use deceptive subject lines - Subject lines must accurately reflect the content of the message. In other words don’t use subject line ploys such as “Your account information” OR “Your recent purchase” and then go about promoting your services in the body of the message instead.

Provide your mailing address - You must give recipients the means to contact you VIA mail if they’re so inclined. The easiest way to remain compliant here is to add your physical address to your email signature line..

Provide an opt-out (for people who do not wish to receive future messages) - You must provide clear instructions for how the recipient can get off your email list. It must be easy for them to recognize, read, comprehend and complete.

We've found that the best way to stay compliant with unsubscribes while also getting the best results possible with your email marketing is to add a line of text above or below the signature line giving them an easy way out.

EX: You could say something like, “PS: If you don’t want to hear from me again, just hit reply and let me know”.

Too often people assume they must have a link that simply says ‘Unsubscribe’ at the bottom of their email.

You can stay in compliance without having a link that only says ‘Unsubscribe.’ Give your audience the option to opt-out of future emails with a little more personalization and personality.

Identify your message as an ad - You have some wiggle-room to be creative here. And, this entry is only meant for email messages that are direct advertisements or coupons. Be clear in what you are offering if that's the case. The key here is to not be deceptive. If you are sharing a link to a blog post your prospect may find helpful - that's not a direct advertisement.

In Canada and the European Union the limitations placed on cold email differ.

CASL (For Those in Canada)

CASL is the law of the land in Canada and applies to any messages that encourage participation in a commercial activity. This includes advertisements and information about promotions, offers, business opportunities, events, etc.

Under CASL, consent is required before sending a commercial message.

There are two ways to gather consent under the law. In CASL, consent can either be express consent or implied consent.

Express consent means someone actively gave you permission to send him/her messaging.

Implied consent means it would be reasonable to conclude you have someone’s permission to send him/her a message based on prior relationships. 

Implied consent could also apply to someone who has published his/her email address in a find-able location and you have a valid business reason to be reaching out.

Those you have connected with on social media like LinkedIn where their email address can be gathered from the Contact Information on their profile, or with those that have publicly available emails on their sites, can be contacted through this manner. We recommend leading with a connection request on LinkedIn whenever possible.

Note - under CASL, you must include the following in every outreach:

The name of the person sending the message (you), and identify on whose behalf the message is sent, if different.

Contact information (mailing addressing and either a phone number or an email address) of the senders.

A mechanism that allows the recipient to easily unsubscribe at no cost - this can be handled with a link - or by providing clear instructions on how a recipient can request no further messages from you - as seen in the CAN-SPAM section above.

With GDPR legislation in the European Union, there isn’t a category for Implicit Consent.

When approaching contacts you have not interacted with previously through email, we recommend first connecting with them to begin the relationship through LinkedIn.

In addition, GDPR has a requirement about data processing. We recommend including a disclaimer at the end of your cold emails sent within the EU. You want that disclaimer to accomplish a few things:

  • A statement letting them know that you processed their data;
  • A short explanation of why you have processed it;
  • Clear direction on how they can change the data you process or remove their data from your list. (this doesn't need to be an ‘unsubscribe' link, but should give a clear option to remove themselves)..

A sample disclaimer may look like this:

{firstname}, I sent you this message because I have strong reasons to believe that the information I’m sharing could benefit you. I’ve only processed your name and email address so that I could deliver this message to you. If you’d like to change the data I used, remove your data from my list or to be removed from any future emails, hit reply and let me know.

Now let’s move onto how you can turn cold email into priority email that gets opened allowing you to generate more leads and clients!

What is ‘priority’ email?

Priority email is what we call the type of personal email that looks handwritten sent out with Connect 365. It’s email that gets seen by your prospects and given priority by their inbox.

Priority email is all about your approach in two areas:

  1. The type of messaging and outreach you send.
  2. The delivery and appearance of your email in your prospect’s inbox.

So what is it, exactly?

Priority Email (n): An underutilized email messaging strategy that offers a more personal, intimate experience to the recipient that cuts through the noise of the modern email inbox and stands out amongst a sea of “marketing” and “advertising” emails that your prospects receive on a daily basis.

Now that’s a tall order but Connect 365 will give you all the tools needed to do just that...and then some!

Connect 365 was created for a different type of email automation

Connect 365 will allow you to send hundreds of customized emails directly through your email account that appear as 1-to-1 messages, not mass marketing emails. These emails look as if you spent the time to individually hand-type and send someone a personalized message. But in actuality, they can be automated.

On average emails sent from Connect 365 have a higher open rate than nearly every other tool on the market meaning, because they have a high deliverability and cut through the noise by being different from every other mass message email sent from the big CRMs. 

Most bulk email automation tools have funky formatting:

Or long, odd-looking, and impersonal unsubscribe links:

Or dead giveaways that display the real email server that completed the sending:

With Connect 365 your emails are sent exactly like a personal, handwritten email that you would typically have to send manually. This type of email has increased visibility and engagement because of the personal nature of the email and delivery. This means Connect 365 members report increased  views, opens, clicks and responses! 

Click here to learn more about Connect 365 and sign up for a free trial.

Now, the appearance and deliverability of your email is only part of the equation. To consistently convert prospects to sales appointments and clients, your success will also be determined by your messaging and follow-ups. 

Staying compliant with your email campaigns

To start, I recommend checking with your email provider to see your daily, email sending limit. Connect 365 currently integrates with Google Mail (Gmail) and Outlook Mail so we’ll link to both of these providers here. 

Click below for the most accurate info on...

Please note that while the links above discuss sending maximums, we DO NOT recommend hitting your maximum allotment of daily emails.

So, how many contacts should I message in one day?

When it comes to email marketing, the typical rule is to limit your activity to sending no more than 200 cold/warm emails per day. To be safe we actually recommend starting with somewhere around 50-100 emails per day (less is also fine) and gradually increasing as time goes on.

The only caveat would be for users who have a brand new email account. There are a few steps you’d want to take to break in your new account first.

How to break in a brand new email account?

If you have a brand new email account, don’t start by sending out a bunch of cold emails on day one - that’s critical.

Instead, warm up your new email first by following these steps...

  1. Send a few custom emails to people you know -
    • Send an email to 5-10 friends and/or colleagues (make sure the copy is different in each email). 
    • Ask them to reply (let them know you’re trying to warm up a new email account if it helps). 
    • Reply back to everyone who replies to you (at least once).
  2. Sign up for 5-10 email newsletters (from companies you like).
  3. Wait 2-3 days (in total).

From there you’re ready to get started with an email campaign but, we still recommend starting with a low volume for new email accounts (IE: 20 or so emails per day). Over the coming days/weeks feel free to gradually increase your sending volume (just remember to keep it under 200 emails per day).

What if I want to turn up the volume?

For those of you who won’t take “no” for an answer and are hellbent on increasing your sending limits of warm emails here is an additional piece of advice…

If you really want to slam on the gas we highly recommend creating a new email address for your email that’s similar to your existing email and company domain. EX: VS OR OR OR 

This simple step will help preserve the health of your primary email domain. Because you don’t want to tarnish the reputation of your existing business email - which can happen when emailing at a super high volume.

Oh, and on a side note, if you are setting up a new domain we recommend configuring your new domain to forward to your existing domain. This will make things easier on your contacts and provide you with a unified brand image.

Following the example above, let’s say I received an email from and I was curious to learn more about the business so I typed in - - into my web browser...if the domain was set to forward I would automatically be redirected to - - like magic. 

It’s not rocket science but it’s worth mentioning if you plan on cold emailing heavily so that you can maintain good domain sending reputation on your primary domain.

Components of a good priority email

How you position your offer is super important BUT how you approach the conversation is equally important. People that pitch, pitch, pitch, right out of the gate and don’t provide any value in their messages, burn through their contacts quickly and don’t have much luck with email.

If you don’t believe me, just put yourself in their shoes. 

What do you do when you get a message out of the blue asking to try a demo of the salesperson’s new software? Or if you got a message out of the blue linking to a sales page or order form for the latest weight loss product? 

Here’s the guiding principles that you should apply to your email copywriting...

  1. Lead with value

One of the best ways to build a relationship with someone you do not know is to focus on them. What does your audience care about? They don’t care about your job duties or the dazzling features of your product. They care about themselves and their business. That holds true no matter who you’re talking with.

With that in mind...every warm email you send should provide at least some educational insight. This is one of the guiding principles of our strategy. It’s critical that you always sprinkle in some sort of ‘value add’ to your messages.

As a matter of fact, some of your emails should focus on just adding value and being a resource and contain no sales pitch whatsoever. Not only will this help to build up some goodwill with your prospects but it’ll also allow you to demonstrate your expertise.

And, that’s important because people do business with people they know, like and trust. And, you start out as someone they do not know and they definitely don’t trust.

If you’re struggling to come up with some content ideas for these messages, here are a few…

  • Give a behind-the-scenes look at how you did something in your business
  • Debunk a common industry misconception new clients typically have
  • Mention a specific, free piece of advice for the prospect if they agree to a call.
  1. Pick a compelling call-to-action (related to your value-add)

As I mentioned earlier, every email doesn’t need to contain a sales pitch but they should all have a call-to-action. The call-to-action is simply what you want them to do after they’ve read your email.

A weak call-to-action would be something like, “just let me know” or “hope to hear from you soon” or my personal favorite “thoughts?”

Whatever your end goal is for that message, it needs to be specific. And, as the initiator of this communication, it’s your job to do all the heavy lifting you can and provide a clear next step.

Here are a few stronger call-to-action ideas…

  • You could drive them to a piece of content such as your lead magnet or a blog post
  • Ask for their opinions on something like what they're struggling with or a polling type question
  • Call out a specific date and time for a call
  1. Don’t blow the pitch

We’ve already touched on how you can add value in their professional careers (by being a resource) but the pitch should get to the heart of their business needs.

Here are four things all good pitches have in common…

#1 Pain Points - First things first...get your prospects in the right mindset. This can be achieved by diving deep into the pain points they’re experiencing (the ones you solve) and the root cause of this pain. This is a good way to prime them for what’s to come and keep them engaged.

#2 Key Benefits - How are your prospects going to benefit from working with you...specifically? You'll want to connect the dots to what you offer and how that translates into the big benefits for your clients.

It’s also wise to inject some differentiation in here. To do this, consider what you do differently or better than the competition and what makes you unique as a business or individual.

#3 Expected Results - This is the most important part! What are the tangible results they should expect? Or, at a minimum, what are the results you’ve helped others achieve?

#4 Time Sensitivity - Good pitches are time sensitive.

For example you could…

  • Put a cap on the number of new clients you can accept within a timeframe
  • Increase your promotional price after a set period of time
  • Simply let them know they’re losing money with every passing day you’re not working together..

To sum up...

It can be acceptable to send emails to people you don’t know if you follow a few basic rules. Just make sure to follow the spam laws in your country.

Warm emails are more effective than cold emails. Having a warm email strategy will allow you to stay in front of prospects for a longer period of time - without them getting sick of you. 

Start small. We recommend starting with a small, non-complex email campaign at first. Then, once you get the hang of it, you’re welcome to gradually increase the complexity and volume.

Create a new email address and domain if you're going to push the limits.

And lastly, make sure to warm up your email account first, if it's new.

Ready to get started?

There’s never been a better time to build real relationships with new prospects on autopilot!

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The 5 Things You Must Do Get Your Prospects to Stop Ignoring Your Emails

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