3 Principles To Follow When Doing Cold Email Outreach [Updated for 2021]

by Ayhan K. Isaacs in March 2nd, 2021

Cold email outreach is a (communication) strategy that can connect your brand with pretty much anyone you want...

Prospect, blogger, influencer, journalist, or whoever you want to target - it is all about starting a conversation and developing a relationship with your prospective clientele.

The more conversations you have, the more opportunities you are likely to attract. Through these conversations, you are able to develop your brand and narrow in on a specific audience. This way your efforts compound over time.

Outreach is often overlooked as a sales activity.

This is false.

Setting up an outreach engine is a collaborative effort from sales and marketing and is a powerful channel that should be activated from day one (with the appropriate feedback loops).

Unfortunately, the world of automation has given cold email outreach a bad reputation, and people's inboxes are flooded with irrelevant emails and spam.

As the image states - outreach is no longer a numbers game.

Sales Reps and SDRs are used to building a list of a few thousand people and launching a campaign. This 'game' of reaching out to thousands of prospects to get a handful of meetings is no longer applicable and effective today.

In order to be successful - you have to understand some basic principles.

Let's look at how we, Growth Rhino evaluate and thinks about an outreach strategy for our clients. It's not a definite list, but a basic summary of the key tips you should be thinking about.

#1 - Research

The best way to approach this is to think about it in the following framework.

Who are you trying to reach? Why is it relevant to them? Whatt do they need to do after?

This is a simple, yet powerful framework.

You can provide a significant amount of value to your prospect when you understand the why behind your outreach strategy.

Before you send an email - you need to understand everything there is about your ideal client's pain or problem.

Let me give you an example:

Assume you want to book a meeting to demo a SaaS product for accountants. This solution helps them manage their bookkeeping business in a more effective manner.

Your research needs to provide insights like:

  • How many hours an accountant spends on bookkeeping
  • What their bookkeeping workflow looks like
  • How many clients they need to have until their process break
  • How much are they willing to spend on a solution like this
  • What is wrong with current solutions
  • What type of accountants should I be looking for (independent, small team, big firm, etc.)

Once you have these insights and truly believe you can provide genuine value, that is when you start crafting your relevant messaging.

black laptop computer

#2 - Relevancy

Many make the mistake of using online templates filled out with basic parameters such as First Name & Company Name.

The Internet is a gift with an abundance of information available on your prospect.

It does not have to be specific to the individual but you can easily spend some time learning about their world to create a more relevant outreach.

Look up the industry, company, or best practices in their trade/craft.

Put the effort into getting to know them so you can then take the time to inject that research into your email copy.

The only way to be relevant is to understand their world.

Always ask yourself if the message you are sending is relevant to the recipient and if you would respond back to it if it was sent to you.

#3 - Up-Front Value

Your prospects are busy and may not respond straight away. That is to be expected.

In reality - less than 2% of the people you outreach to will be interested or in a ready-to-buy mode.

That <2% that is interested will respond to a decent crafted message but what can we do about the rest? Those that don't respond.

Does this mean you forget about them? No!

Them not responding does not mean they are not interested, it can mean that they don't have the need right now which is something you cannot force.

Knowing that majority of the people are not in ready to buy mode - you need to ask yourself these two questions:

  • How can I convert a cold prospect into a working relationship?
  • Once the relationship is made - how do I nurture this relationship into something more tangible or say top of mind?

This is where sales & marketing can truly come together.

Sending emails with branded (or curated) content can really help move the needle on this and if you truly understand your prospect’s world and seed them with valuable content/information it is only a matter of time until they notice.

Again the goal here is not to ask for anything but to put the value up front.

If the prospect is interested in your product/solution, they will end up clicking on your website or asking you for more information.



A lot of people ask us - "How can we make our cold emails stand out and not be boring?"

Our answer is always the same.

Effective cold email outreach is all about being relevant & valuable.

GIFs, images, and videos are great but are they driving any true value for your prospect.

We highly recommend experimenting with messaging to validate or invalidate any assumptions you have on your persona.

This will give you a data-driven way of understanding your persona and crafting more relevant messaging to attract your ideal clientele.

Be sure to review these best practices around cold emailing and check out what we wrote recently about why your cold emails could be failing and how to improve them.

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