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Any relationship is difficult to maintain without regular communication over time, and this is no different when it comes to your email subscribers or customers. If you don’t communicate with them, they’re likely to give you the cold shoulder.

What is a Cold Email List?

A cold email list is often the result of purchasing email addressed or using a list that is out of date. Email contacts move companies and change email addresses often and the longer your list sits there, the more email addresses that you have will bounce.

A cold email list tends to have higher bounce rates and spam reporting. There are many risks when sending emails to cold or unengaged lists, which will negatively impact your ability to communicate with your subscribers. For example, you may:

  • Hurt your sender reputation
  • Associate your brand/business with bad email etiquette
  • Taint your relationship with your Email Service Provider
  • Generate spam complaints

What is a Hot Email List?

With a hot email list, the recipients were put there purposefully for example by signing up to a network or downloading a piece of content. The recipients on a hot email list know who your brand is and are therefore more likely to open your email and respond accordingly.

Contact is maintained with the recipients on a hot email list by sending them regular content and company updates so that the brand name has stayed familiar in their minds. Furthermore, a hot email list is most often segmented so that you can send personalized messaging to each segment.

How to Warm Up a Cold Email List

Say Goodbye

The first step to warming up your cold list is to remove any purchased names and out of date contacts.   Get rid of any contacts that aren’t interested in you, your products or services. 20,000 contact aren’t always better than 2,000 contacts who read every email.

Re-Engage Your Contacts

Then you need to decide on a strategic plan as to how you are going to re-engage these people and give them the opportunity to decide if they want to continue to hear from your brand or not.

Your re-engagement email should be personal, and remind the recipient of why they opted in and why they should continue to receive your communications. In order to do this, the email should offer value to the customer, whether that be through knowledge or information, a product or service offer such as a discount or other special offer, or anything else that is valuable to your customer.

Make a Good Second Impression

A strong second impression is vital in warming up your email list. The re-engagement shouldn’t be a regular newsletter, or a fun brand update. Those will come later. Instead, you should address the fact that you haven’t been in touch for a while with a ‘we miss you’ email, a touching base email, or a survey asking for input on the types of communications they’d like to receive.

By doing this, you will quickly heat up your email list.

Be Prepared

Don’t just plan you’re re-engagement email, send it, and then decide what comes next. In order to heat up your email marketing list, it’s vital to have your entire email campaign planned out before you send a single email.

Consider the objectives of your email campaign and how you’re going to use the channel to improve your wider marketing efforts. Write out a schedule and the next few weeks or months of emails so that you can keep the conversation going.

Warming Up an Email List: Lead Agency Case Study

At The Lead Agency, we specialise in email marketing and have warmed up email lists for several clients that we have worked with. A particular campaign that we were involved a Recruitment client aiming to re-engage with a cold email list of over 18,000 subscribers.

We cleaned up and segmented the database, so that we could send a reengagement email to specific sectors. As a result, we received extremely high open rates up to 43.56% and click through rates up to 26.21% with over 2,500 recipients visiting the website. We have continued to send emails to this database, and almost 12 months on from this campaign, still see much success.

This case study demonstrates that a cold email list isn’t necessarily dead, and with the right strategy, can be used to create a successful campaign.


For more information on Digital Marketing and in particular B2B Email Marketing read our article on 5 Email Marketing Tips To Increase Your Open Rate

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