You’ve been told that a cold email campaign can only be sent to a cold audience, right? And that it would result in a lot of complaints and SPAM filters triggered?

But what if it was possible to reach an audience that has requested to be emailed on the topic of your business. And they haven’t requested YOU to email them directly?

What would the results be – what tools to use, is it possible, how many marked us as SPAM?

The story

The MIPCOM is the world’s largest event for media content buying. People go there to sell their media content, buy high quality content, find partners and production companies. Here is how they present the event:

MIPCOM gathers the world’s most influential industry players for four days of meetings, screenings and conferences. Discover and screen the latest blockbuster programming and find new partners at the year’s most anticipated global market for entertainment content across all platforms.

I was working with a team that was attending the MIPCOM and was presenting their VR production company. The goal was to get them to meet as many interested industry professionals as possible, to spark a conversation and introduce them as THE partner regarding VR in Europe.

The list

The good thing about this campaign was that all MIPCOM attendees checked a box if they are interested in receiving mail from exhibitors. So we had a list of around 5000 people, that after the cleanup decreased to around 3200.

We checked the list for additional small issues – sometimes people fill in their name in the email field and vice versa. I also made sure all names are properly capitalized and ready to be imported in our system. It might seem like something too small to do, but how would you like your name in small letters?

We expected some hard bounced emails too – so the question at that point was which software to use. Some have a strong policy against cold email campaigns, and though this was a warm list, we didn’t want to be penalized.

The software

The decision was between MailChimp and Sendy. When we joined the project, they were not planning to invest money in a special email marketing software and they wanted to use MailChimp’s free features. But that meant having MailChimp’s logo at the bottom of the emails. And generally – having an email that looks like a newsletter and not like a personal email.

As we’re working with Sendy, that was the most reasonable solution we could offer them at almost zero cost. Our Sendy installation is set on an Amazon AWS server and is using Amazon’s SES for email delivery. That means we get great deliverability rates and low SPAM score according to email providers. And the cost is closer to $0 – actually sending 10 000 emails costs around $1. Beat that!

The copy

The email was written as a personal introduction, as that was what it was. It presented the exhibitor personally, gave credentials regarding him and the company, listed the opportunities available and suggested you contact him to arrange a meeting. Simple, 3 paragraphs, read like a normal intro email.

The only thing that made it different was the small “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom.

A great subject line was the last step before crafting the campaign – something that was on point and yet, general enough, to catch their attention and make them open the email.

Subject: Virtual Reality at MIPCOM 2016

The results

So let’s recap – we are sending an email to more than 3200 people that have never heard of us. We had no idea if they are interested in that specific type of content we’re offering them. And the list is cold from our perspective – we are not allowed to email them about anything else ever again. Because that would be really SPAM. In addition, we sent the email just 4 days before the event – at a time when most people have already planned out their schedule, or are on their way to Cannes, France. So we didn’t expect a lot of replies.

cold email campaign to warm audience

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  • 39.87% Unique Open Rate. And most people opened the email around 3 times.
  • 2.77% Click-Through Rate. We didn’t really have a Call-to-Action related to the links – they were just for branding and information purposes.
  • 6.05% Reply Rate. We got over 200 real meeting requests with industry professionals that were interested in the products and services the company is offering. This is what we counted as a conversion. And it’s needless to say – we were happy with it!
  • 0 complaints. No one marked our message or email as SPAM. No one!
  • 29 Opt-outs. That was great. Less than 1% of the list didn’t want to hear from us ever again.

The only downside from this campaign is that the team almost didn’t manage to read and reply to all requests. They were overwhelmed with the response. And now they are also totally in love with the power of email marketing.

Can you think of an opportunity similar to the one above where you could run a cold email campaign to a warm list? Let me know if you’re interested to try something similar – low investment, big results.