Search

Cold Email vs Marketing Email: Which Should You Use?

It’s normal to fumble with the choice between cold email and marketing emails. In fact, some companies use the terms interchangeably, but in practice they are emphatically different. What’s more, when companies pick the wrong one, the results often show it with low engagement. That’s because each one of these outreach types fulfills a distinct purpose. Swapping them is as useful as trying to putt a softball into a golf ball-sized hole.


By understanding when to use which, you can better position yourself to get results from each type of campaign. Many times, companies opt for marketing emails by default because their experience trying cold email has led them to believe it doesn’t work. But cold email is one of those things where once you unlock it, there’s a wealth of gold that comes spilling out of that vault.


Cold email is one of the most powerful business growth tools at your disposal, it’s just rare for people to get great results until they’ve had some sales training or guidance. It’s no easier for someone with no sales experience to pick up the phone and set a handful of meetings with cold prospects. That’s the necessary thing to understand about cold email— it’s not marketing, it’s a function of sales.


To decide which type of email campaign to send, start by asking yourself two questions:



1) Who are you trying to reach?


2) What are you trying to accomplish?



Let’s take on a few examples to break down the key differences and appropriate campaign choice.



Example 1


Mary runs a B2C online business that sells health supplements. Her e-commerce store is launching a new product and she wants to convert new customers and existing ones in as few touches as possible.


Who are they trying to reach? Individual consumers


What are they trying to accomplish? Quick conversions and building a funnel to target different levels of interest.


Correct campaign to use: Marketing email


Why this choice? The goal is to generate interest and drive sales in a consumer product. This company needs the fastest way to get their consumers from point A (unawareness) to point B (conversion). For some consumers, that cycle is short, while for others who express varying levels of interest.



Example 2


Bill just launched a B2B SaaS startup that automates email marketing for busy marketers. He needs to set interactive demos with high-level decision-makers.


Who are they trying to reach? Qualified prospects in authoritative company roles


What are they trying to accomplish? The start of a conversation that leads to a demo and ushers new prospects into their sales pipeline.


Correct campaign to use: Cold email


Why this choice? The goal is start a 1:1 conversation. That needs to feel personal in order to work, especially for a prospect in a high-level position who’s used to getting slammed with generic cold outreach. To earn their time, it’s necessary to send engaging emails that relate to their needs and show compelling value.



Example 3


Keisha runs a B2B office supply company and needs to market their annual sale. She wants to get the word out to office managers with access to their company's office supply budget.


Who are they trying to reach? Business consumers


What are they trying to accomplish? Quick conversions and building a funnel to target different levels of interest.


Correct campaign to use: Marketing email


Why this choice? They’re selling products that are highly transactional. Office supplies don’t require a drawn out sales process, unless you’re a vendor looking to establish a long-term relationship with large companies. But for a transactional decision that the budget’s already been determined for, a marketing email campaign incentivizing quick conversions will do.



Example 4


Lee just launched a B2C startup that sells personal hygiene products. He's looking for its first customers to write detailed reviews of their products online.


Who are they trying to reach? Individual consumers


What are they trying to accomplish? Customer loyalty and new customer conversion.


Correct campaign to use: Cold email


Why this choice? They’re making a direct request from a small audience. As a startup speaking with its first consumers, there's no reason not to show them some gratitude by reaching out personally, especially if they want to incentivize thoughtful reviews.



These four examples serve to show that the market you sell into doesn't necessarily determine which type of email campaign you should send. The choice comes down to the nature of the goal, whether that be a quick conversion or a more complex request. For quick conversions and lead funneling, marketing emails are the way to go. When you're looking for an introduction or a a means to start a relationship, cold email can make it happen.

Learn to Write Copy that Converts

©2020 Farren Neu

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Black LinkedIn Icon