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As email marketers, we are told straight out of the gate that cold emailing is not considered a sending best practice. For any person who has had a job in cold calling, you are told the exact opposite. For professionals in both businesses, they are both dispiriting tasks to tackle while still expected to produce results, and can be disheartening when you report back with zero responses.
Luckily, when it comes to email, you can get your email delivered after you have already put your well-thought efforts into it, and send it to your intended recipients. Cold calling is different in the sense of taking the approach of “Just pick up the phone and call.” Here at Inbox Pros, we’ve noticed that many email marketers have translated this cold calling strategy into a cold emailing strategy – just keep sending emails. Though they are different, the end result can be the same when it comes to our ability to reach those people again for further communication. If you send enough cold emails to people who did not request communication with you, your emails become junk and marked as spam. Cold callers wind up being blocked by the person they are relentlessly calling time and time again.
Are the effects on these two practices the same when it comes to your reputation? The answer is no. Why? The answer is found in feedback. Email feedback carries far greater weight than phone feedback. Customer feedback from cold calling doesn’t necessarily affect your overall deliverability – or, your ability to get the right person on the phone every time you make a call. While a potential buyer hanging up on you may hurt your ego, it will not hurt your potential to reach the next number on your list who works at a different company. As long as you continue to perfect your pitch and learn to maneuver past the gatekeeper, your reputation starts afresh with every phone call.
This is not the same with email.
In email, the “gatekeepers” are not elderly receptionists who’ve heard every pitch in the book. They are Internet Service Providers: Gmail, Hotmail, Oath, Verizon, Microsoft, etc. – and these gatekeepers carry great authority. They monitor the email equivalents of hang ups or calls sent to voicemail (i.e. delete without read and report to spam) with a keen eye; and thus assess your overall reputation by the sum of all user feedback. They will then link your domain name to your overall reputation – a reputation that will affect the deliverability of your next 500 cold email sends. Therefore, if a majority of your first 500 emails fostered negative feedback, ISPs will take note; and you will have a much harder time making it to the inbox for the rest of your list.
Resourceful cold callers may flip through a city’s Chamber of Commerce directory or scroll down to a “Contact Us” page in the footer of a prospect’s website to retrieve a business’s phone number. Both practices are considered timeless and effective in the world of sales.
However, again we find that the emailer’s equivalent of obtaining contact information – buying lists or scraping the Internet for email addresses – is fraught with far more risk. Major ISPs mask pristine spam traps as valid user addresses, both within purchased lists and strewn across various chat rooms and blog boards floating in the great expanse of the Internet. If you send cold emails to a purchased or scraped list and happen to send to a spam trap, your friendly cold email will land directly into an inbox audited by the ISP who planted the trap. The ISP will most likely consider your cold email to be abusive and unwanted, and will place a negative mark on your deliverability reputation because of it.
Please, remember this: while buying or scraping lists and sending blast batches of cold emails might seem like a good idea, cold emailing is in fact a terrible email marketing practice. ISPs will catch you and deem you as spam. Instead, focus on fostering positive engagement. Do not risk instigating a whole host of negative engagement by sending to users who have not subscribed on their own accord.
One size does not fit all.
If you are experiencing problems with your reputation or deliverability, contact our Deliverability Experts.