What is cold outreach

The best way to answer the question “What is cold outreach?” is to figure out what it is not. How is it different from spam?
The main difference is in being specific and relevant. When you reach out to a stranger having a specific goal and offering a relevant product this person has more chances be interested in than any other — it’s cols outreach. When you send out messages in bulk without paying attention to who is going to receive them and if your offer is relevant to them — it’s spam.
And because we all get these spammy messages from time to time, many founders feel hesitant about doing it. No one wants to come across as pushy, spammy and annoying. The very idea of sending out useless junk like they are receiving daily seems dreadful to any reasonable person.
However, there are clear distinctions between spam and cold email outreach:
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The goal of this guide is to teach you out to effectively reach out and authentically connect with potential users, people who need and want what you’re selling. NOT spam.

Examples of non-spammy cold outreach


Example 1. Textbook structure & behavioural marketing details (praise + social proof)

Here’s a good example of cold outreach (though not from email but from direct messages in Twitter)
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The structure is absolutely textbook:
1. First ice-breaker — Makes a reader realise this is a relevant message. Not some generic bot. This is really about me, they should think.
2. Second ice-breaker — Look at the emotional aspect of the message. Praise always works.
3. Problem statement — Sloppy cold outreach messages don't even specify the problem. Why would I pay any attention to this? — thinks the reader. Highlight the reason in the fourth or fifth line.
4. Value prop — what the reader will get by considering this offer. Don’t go with a generic "save time/get more money" stuff. Instead, provide very relevant details to the person you’re writing to.
5. Social proof — Someone you know and respect already uses this. Very powerful message. If you can use it in your cold outreach campaigns, never skip this opportunity.
6. Call to action — 80% of messages are unclear about the next steps. Remove the uncertainty about further actions from the table. The more friction – the less likely you will be getting a reply.

Example 2. Very thorough and relevant details

Another nice cold outreach example here. A founder addresses a person who uses their competitor’s tool and suggests to save money by switching to a cheaper alternative.
The message is not perfect though because there’s no call to action and if a prospect wants to follow up they are unsure what to do.
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Read more about ways to craft a better message for cold outreach campaigns and the technical aspects of cold outreach in the main Cold Email Outreach Guide.

Like what you’ve read so far in your founder guides? We’ve got more to come

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Meet the team 👋

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Ana Bibikova - @NotechAna
Ana is an Author, Marketing Strategist and a Mentor in the Founder Institute. Ana has 18y of experience in building businesses, growing them to $4M annual revenue.
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Anthony Castrio - @AnthonyCastrio
Anthony is a Software Engineer, Fractional CTO, and the founder of Indie Worldwide, a virtual incubator and social club for bootstrapped founders.