Cold email is an incredible way to acquire new clients, expand your network, and initiate conversations with anyone worldwide.

Yet, to some people, it is synonymous with a nuisance and spam. It could happen because the marketers are unsure of the spam laws and regulations in their country or the recipient’s country that apply to cold emailing.

So, in this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cold email. We’ll also discuss its key differences with spam and how to ensure you write cold emails that get responses.

What is Cold Email?

A cold email is an unsolicited email sent to prospects without prior contact or relationship. Generally speaking, this type of email intends to introduce your product, service, or brand to a recipient.

In addition, it is called a cold email because you don’t know the sales representative or the individual you’re contacting. However, this doesn’t mean cold emailing is spamming; it’s simply a way of saying hello.

Cold emailing can also help you develop a client base and an audience. Unlike other marketing methods, such as online advertising, you may get quick responses with cold emailing. Doing so increases your chance of successfully marketing your brand to your recipients.

Cold emails are effective, and one of the reasons is that they are less intrusive than other marketing channels, such as cold calls.

What is Spam?

On the other hand, spam is an unsolicited bulk email sent to random people who aren’t interested in the product or service or don’t want to receive them.

Spam emailing doesn’t involve prior research on the prospects, so it’s not a targeted campaign. The message can be sent to any audience, regardless of their demographics or niche.

Each country has its laws on email, and it’s essential to the rules set by the government of the country you’re doing business with. For instance, the USA follows the CAN-SPAM Act, which we’ll discuss later.

Most spam emails don’t surpass the evolving spam filters used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because of spam-triggering words or poor email content.

Even if, somehow, spam email dodges the system and lands in the recipient’s inbox, the recipient will likely still mark it as spam once they open it.

Cold Email vs. Spam: What Are Their Key Differences?

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1. Value

When comparing cold and spam emails, the former is more thoughtful of the recipient’s needs and provides value. Spam emails, in contrast, are often irrelevant and generic to the recipient.

Cold emails require prior research to ensure the message is valuable to them and are more customer-centric. Spam doesn’t consider who the recipient is. Instead, it’s just plain product-centric. It introduces a product or service and doesn’t add value to the receiver.

2. Personalization

Another key difference is that cold emails are personalized, which suits the recipients’ needs. More specifically, there is intentional contact with the prospects for a valid business purpose.

In contrast, a spam email doesn’t include customized information that addresses the recipient’s needs. Instead, it’s just a generic advertisement.

So, when you cold email, adding an extra touch is essential. Doing so shows your recipients that you’ve researched them and considered how their product or service could be valuable to them. It also creates a considerable difference, separating a legitimate cold email from spam.

3. Follow-Up Emails

A cold email campaign has follow-ups, unlike spam emails. These follow-up emails educate the prospects more about your product or services.

Follow-ups are not sent to push sales but to add value to your prospects. Typically, a good old email sequence contains two to three follow-ups that mention more benefits, pain points, and case studies to add value to the prospects.

4. Data Policies Compliance

Cold emails are compliant with the data policies in the sender’s region. The sender cleans and updates their data regularly because it can impact their email service provider (ESP) and flag them as spam. It also lessens their bounce rate and reaches the correct email addresses.

For instance, cold emails observe the CAN-Spam Act, unlike spam emails.

CAN-Spam Act

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) is a law addressing unwanted commercial electronic messages.

Here’s a rundown of this law’s main requirements:

  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines. Instead, they must reflect the content of the email.
  • Don’t use misleading or false header information. The “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To” must be accurate and identify the business or individual who sent the message.
  • Include a valid physical postal address. It can be a post office box or your current street address.
  • Include a clear explanation of how recipients can opt out of receiving future emails from you and honor these requests promptly.
  • Ensure that your outsourced email activities abide by the guidelines. You can be liable for defaults even if a third party sends the emails.

5. Prospects

Spam emails are sent in bulk to people without prior research on the target audience. Spammers usually purchase long lists of email addresses of random people and send emails to them. As a result, their messages get marked as spam or result in a high bounce rate.

Meanwhile, marketers research their audience to send personalized emails in cold emailing. It means they are generating leads in a timely and efficient manner. Once they figure out the group they want to engage in, cold email marketers create content that resonates with that audience.

6. Pre-Warm-Up Routine

Spam emails are sent in bulk without a pre-warm-up routine or sending limit each time they’re sent. This harms their reputation and impacts their deliverability, which explains why many spam emails are caught in spam traps.

Unlike spammers, legitimate email senders observe their daily limit. Therefore, whether you’re sending emails for lead generation or sales, regular business correspondence, or newsletter emails, each email service provider limits how many emails you can send daily.

For instance, Gmail has a 500-email daily sending limit, Microsoft Outlook has 300, and Bluehost has 150 an hour sending limit.

4 Steps to Craft the Perfect Cold Email

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1. Build a Tailored Email List

Focus on building a tailored email list. Build one that comprises a focused buyer persona to improve your open and response rates. Doing so will also help you better understand the message relevant to your prospect.

However, a tailored email list won’t be as effective if you won’t use offline methods to grow such a list.

For instance, if you have a physical address, you can leave your business cards on the booth or the counter. You may also encourage people to leave their business cards, which paves the way for an email sign-up.

Moreover, if you’re joining fairs or events, have a registration list with a box for your email address.

2. Write a Stellar Email Every Time

Cold emailing doesn’t have to be complicated. Its fundamentals are very simple. Yet, the best cold emails and writers of such content know how to grab someone’s attention and offer value.

In addition, they avoid using misleading subject lines and ensure they accurately reflect their email’s content. Their subject is honest, ignites the recipient’s curiosity, and is usually straight to the point.

As for their body content, it is relevant and adds value to the reader. It means it answers a few pertinent questions. It may also address a pain point or have a clear purpose that the reader will understand easily.

All these email marketing practices boost their reputation and overall email deliverability.

3. Keep It Short and Actionable

Short emails are more likely to be read, so keep your message short. Request a clear and specific action to get a high response rate. Rambling, long-winded cold emails suck.

One of the best ways to keep your cold email direct and short is to write how you talk. If you meet such a recipient at a cocktail party, you won’t just start pitching them.

Instead, you’d introduce yourself, say something kind, connect with them through a shared interest or a familiar friend and make a reasonable request.

We also recommend you read your email out loud after completing it and before sending it. Doing so will lessen the chance that email service providers, like Gmail, will flag it as spam.

Suppose you’re struggling to come up with content ideas. In that case, you can:

  • Mention free or specific advice for your recipient if they agree to call
  • Debunk an industry misconception that prospects or new clients may have, and
  • Share a behind-the-scenes look at how you’re doing things in your business. Just ensure it’s short.

4. Invest in a Trustworthy Email Marketing Platform

The last step to crafting the perfect cold email is to invest in an email marketing platform. One that will help you avoid triggering the spam filter.

Another reason to use an email marketing platform is for easier personalization of your emails and automated follow-ups. It can help you set up and begin your email campaigns. It may also have features you’ll need to succeed in your campaign.

Some even have a built-in search feature for prospect research or an email finder. This feature is excellent for finding people likely to open your mail and creating a targeted list.

People Also Ask: FAQs About Cold Emailing and Spam Differences

Are cold emails still effective?

Absolutely, cold emails are still effective this 2023, but only if you get it right. They can be a powerful tool for reaching potential clients, customers, or partners. Cold emailing also puts your message directly in the user’s inbox, lessening the chance of them missing your pitch.

What is the difference between cold email and bulk email?

A cold email is sent to a recipient without prior contact or relationship. Marketers often use it to introduce themselves or their business to potential clients or customers.

On the other hand, a bulk email is an email sent to a large group of recipients at once. Newsletters, updates, marketing messages, and invitations are typically bulk emails.

It is also possible to send cold emails in bulk without getting blocked or hitting the spam folder. You can achieve this if the message shares value with the recipient or using a reliable email marketing tool.

What are the risks of cold emails?

The risks associated with cold emails are that when done wrong, they could damage a business’s reputation and increase the rate of recipients marketing the emails as spam. If that happens, they may end up unsubscribing from your future communications.

Even if the cold email isn’t spam, a few people may still find it annoying, especially when emails bombard them almost daily.

How do I make sure my cold email doesn’t go to spam?

There are a few cold email best practices you can do to keep your emails away from the dreaded spam folder. These include not using deceptive email subject lines and only using those that reflect the content of your email.

Provide your company mailing address and include an opt-out so it’s easy for your recipients to get off your email list and not mark your email as spam.

Moreover, have a warm email strategy to stay in front of your target audience longer without them getting sick of your messages.


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There’s a massive difference between cold emails and spam or unsolicited emails.

A good cold email adds value and generates revenue, while a bad cold email frustrates or annoys the reader.

If you’re a marketer and you don’t want your messages to end up in the spam folder, in the end, it’s vital to adhere to the spam laws and rules set out. For instance, under the CAN-SPAM Act, you provide recipients with a way to unsubscribe and avoid a misleading subject line.

See excellent results in your cold email campaigns with InboxAlly.

Book a live demo to find out how this ultimate deliverability too can help you send mass emails without fear of landing in spam.

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