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The Art of B2B Cold Email Prospecting

Updated: April 17, 2024
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B2B cold email prospecting is common, but your approach is what makes you stand out.

In 2023, there were 347 million emails sent daily, all around the globe. This means your messages are up against some stiff competition. Email personalization, device compatibility, delivery rates, and engaging content are key to getting more responses.

Specifically, B2B cold emailing is a sales method where you send a sales message to someone you don’t know. You use cold emails to start a conversation, make a connection, or schedule a sales call. This helps sell products or services. Using cold emails for business can give great results with a high return on investment, sometimes over 10,000% per email.

Of course, B2B cold email might seem hard at first because it’s detailed and needs specific info. We’ll help you get started. Before you know it, you’ll get better at making new connections, building trust, and improving your conversion rates quickly.

Rules of B2B Cold Email

B2B cold email is a legal business practice, but there are strict laws and regulations around it, mostly to do with privacy and spam. Remember, privacy laws differ by country, especially for international outreach. Let’s look at the rules in the United States and Europe. Following these rules is vital to keep your emails out of spam filters.

CAN-SPAM for B2B Cold Email

The CAN-SPAM Act is a US law that places restrictions on emails from businesses, advertisers, and nonprofits. Emails under this law must follow rules about subject lines, disclosures, and headers. Most importantly, recipients must be able to choose to stop getting emails—and businesses that don’t follow this rule can get in trouble. Make sure you understand these implications before you begin sending B2B cold emails.

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) offers specific privacy rights to California residents:

  • Knowing what personal data businesses collect, how they use it, and who they share it with.
  • Asking to delete their personal information, with some exceptions.
  • Choosing not to have their personal data sold or shared.
  • Being treated fairly even when using their CCPA rights.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is a strict global law about privacy and security. It started in the European Union but affects all organizations worldwide that deal with data from people in the EU. The GDPR requires businesses to have a valid reason to contact someone and demonstrate transparency about where contact info comes from. This is crucial to remember when sending B2B cold emails to prospects in the EU. The law also obliges businesses to let people easily opt out of future messages, usually by including a one-click unsubscribe in emails.

Best Practices for B2B Cold Email Compliance

Remember, the rules for B2B cold email are different in the United Kingdom, the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia. Stay legal by familiarizing yourself with the different international laws, and follow best practices to avoid having your email land in the spam folder.

Only Use B2B Cold Email for People Who Might Be Interested

Make sure your cold emails match your prospects’ needs. For example, it’s relevant to contact a company using a competitor’s product based on a review. Mass emailing customer resource managers’ (CRMs’) pitches isn’t. Segment your lists and customize emails based on what each prospect needs.

Have an Explanation for How You Got Their Email Address

When you send a B2B cold email, explain why you’re emailing and offer an opt-out. Here’s an example:

“I found your email on [website] and think your company might like our [product/service]. If you don’t want emails, let me know so I can delete your info.”

A standard unsubscribe link isn’t enough. Remember these rules of thumb:

    • Keep it simple—don’t be too fancy explaining how you got their info.
    • Follow through and delete their data if requested.

If a prospect does opt out, just marking them as unsubscribed isn’t enough. Delete their info from all your databases.

Make Sure You Understand Data Consent

Some marketers like to email people persistently after they show interest to stay on their minds and hopefully buy later. However, you might need to get clear legal permission to do this.

When you collect someone’s email, you must tell them you have it and ask if they want to get emails from you. Bear in mind that just asking for permission to send marketing content is the same as sending marketing content.

So, what do you do? You can send follow-up emails if you follow the rules:

  • Have a good reason to email.
  • Explain what info you use, why, and how you keep it safe.
  • Never keep info longer than needed.

Personalized follow-ups within these boundaries might be okay. But adding everyone to your emails without clear permission might not be allowed, unless you get their consent to send them marketing emails.

Prioritize Data Security

Practice responsible data management:

  • Only let necessary people access data.
  • Keep stored data secure during processing.
  • Hold onto data for as long as needed—and not longer.
  • Don’t share data with others without telling the person involved.

You don’t need a data expert if you follow these steps. On the other hand, you can get consulting services to check your data practices and suggest compliance actions for less than hiring a full-time data expert.

Writing a B2B Cold Email

For a cold email to get responses, it needs to be short, powerful, and interesting. Every part of this brief message must be valuable and serve a key communication purpose.

Be Respectful and Real

Maintain a balance between being respectful and authentic in your approach. Strive to make your B2B cold email sound genuine and engaging, with the main point clearly articulated in an interesting and easily comprehensible manner. Plus, keep the tone conversational to establish a connection with your prospect.

Make Your Intentions Clear

Clearly communicate the purpose of your email to your B2B cold email recipient. Show that your outreach is well-researched and intentional, aiming for a mutually beneficial partnership.

Build credibility by providing social proof of your past successes to instill trust and authority. Further, highlight the potential and possibilities your offering presents, using an optimistic tone with action-oriented language.

Drop the False Urgency for B2B Cold Email

Avoid employing aggressive tactics that may lead to discomfort or distrust. Remember, the point of a B2B cold email is to initiate a meaningful conversation rather than overselling or making unrealistic promises.

Keep It Simple and Short

Opt for clarity over creativity by using straightforward language and avoiding complex industry jargon that could confuse or alienate your prospects. Keep the email concise, limiting it to 150–200 words in short, scannable paragraphs that maintain the reader’s interest.

Remember: clarity, brevity, and relevance are key to crafting an engaging B2B cold email.

How NOT to Write a B2B Cold Email

If your personalized email campaigns get less than a 10% reply rate from your target list, it means your cold email strategy needs improvement. Let’s look at common mistakes to avoid in B2B cold email outreach.


Bombarding your B2B cold emails with too many value propositions can overwhelm your readers.

Focus on presenting one unique idea in your email. Ensure that all elements of your email support this singular idea, whether you’re sparking interest, adding value, making a strong assertion, or providing evidence to back your claims.

The Me, Me, Me’s

Avoid self-centeredness and talking about yourself too much. Instead, focus on dealing with the prospect’s issues and how you can help. Watch out for talking more about features than benefits.

Lack of Assertiveness

We’ve talked about avoiding aggressive language in your B2B cold email messaging. Also, don’t be too shy. If a prospect doesn’t know you, they know they’re getting a pitch. Timid wording can weaken your message. Use phrases that show value, clarity, and prompt action. If they’re not interested, soft language won’t change that.

Reckless Overuse of Special Characters

Avoid using too many special characters, especially repeated exclamation points. It might come across as spammy and unprofessional to potential readers.

While using an emoji or exclamation mark strategically can improve your writing, remember that less is more. Keep your writing clear and simple. Be careful with underline, bolding, and italics too.

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar Errors

Sending messages with lots of errors in grammar or spelling can make you look careless. Additionally, it can make clients doubt your knowledge and professionalism. Always read your email out loud before you send it, use a spell checker, and ask someone to double check it for you before you send it out.

Mastering B2B Cold Email Prospecting

B2B cold emailing is an essential tool for businesses looking to expand their client base and increase sales. With the high volume of emails being sent daily, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd with a personalized and engaging approach.

By focusing on email personalization, device compatibility, delivery rates, and creating captivating content, you can significantly improve your response rates and ultimately achieve a high return on investment.

While B2B cold emailing may seem daunting at first, with practice and the tips mentioned in this post, you can master the art of cold emailing and see significant growth in your business. Don’t hesitate to start implementing these strategies into your outreach efforts and watch as you make new connections, build trust, and improve conversion rates quickly.

Remember that every email is an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Use it wisely and see your business thrive in the competitive world of B2B prospecting.

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