Aug 16, 2006

Is it cool to “cold call” with email?

Everyone dreads cold-calling by telephone. Email makes things so much easier, and less nerve-wrecking. But where does it cross the line and become spam?

  • If you open up your email application, and send a personal,
    relevant, brief note to one prospect, you’re not spamming them. That’s
    just a one-to-one email.
  • Send that same person a ginormous HTML email newsletter out of
    the blue (because you think he’ll be dazzled by your professional
    looking logo and branding), and he’ll probably report you for spamming, plus start blocking all future email from you.
  • Taking it one step further, if you use an email marketing service
    to "blast out" 500 "cold call" emails to a list of addresses you
    scraped from websites, or purchased somewhere, then yes—you’re spamming those people. Even if those people are members of the same local group you’re in. Even if you got ’em from the local chamber of commerce. Even if you’ve painstakingly researched all the trade journals and newspapers, and assembled that list of prospects "by hand." Even if you use "mail merge" fields to "personalize" the messages.

Use email marketing to build and nurture relationships with
customers. Not cold calling.

For cold calling, use your own email program. And send to one prospect at a time. And make each message uniquely relevant. It’ll be more personal that way, and you’re not as likely to get spam filtered.

For more tips (and an example) on proper email cold calling, check out this article by Jill Konrath at RainToday:

Does Email Cold Calling Work?