TLMM #064: Why Cold Emailing Local Small Business Owners Is A Highly Effective Prospecting Strategy

Read time: 4 mins

In this week’s issue, I want to talk about why cold emailing local small business owners is a highly effective prospecting strategy as a Local Small Business Consultant or Digital Marketing Agency Owner…

Cold emailing unjustly gets a bad rap…

But don’t worry, we’re not spamming anyone, ever!

So with that in mind…

Let’s dive in!


What Is Cold Emailing?

Cold emailing by definition is an unsolicited email that is sent to a receiver without prior contact.

Oftentimes, people associate cold emailing with spamming…

But that’s an incorrect assumption.

You are legally allowed to cold email anyone at any time as long as you abide by the CAN-SPAM Act.

Below is a rundown of the CAN-SPAM’s main requirements*…

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message. 
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message. 
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement. 
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations. 
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future marketing email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting marketing email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all marketing messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests. 
  6. Remember that subscribers and members can opt out of marketing emails, too. Recipients of emails from a sender that runs a subscription service or membership program still have the right to opt out of marketing messages from you. While you don’t need to get members’ consent to send them marketing emails, subscribers and members don’t lose their ability to opt out of marketing emails from you simply because they have a subscription or membership. Before sending a message without an unsubscribe link to subscribers or members, be sure that the primary purpose of the message fits within one of the five categories of “transactional or relationship” message set out in the Act. If it doesn’t, you need to include a way for recipients to opt out of further marketing messages from you. 
  7. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. 
  8. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.


Why Do Cold Emailing?

You should seriously consider doing cold emailing as a Local Small Business Consultant or Digital Marketing Agency owner because…

  • It can get your message out to your ideal customers/clients.
  • It can be automated and always working for you around the clock, 24/7/365.
  • It can be a highly effective way to prospect for new customers/clients.

Cold emailing is less “scary” for the Local Small Business Consultant and/or Digital Agency Owner than cold calling…

Cold emailing is less intrusive to the local small business owner than cold calling.


What You Need To Do Cold Emailing

First things first…

You must understand what it takes to effectively do cold emailing…

Because if you don’t, you will end up in the spam folders faster than you can even imagine.

Especially if you plan on doing a relatively high volume of cold emailing.

And that’s why there are “Naysayers” when it comes to this topic.

You probably hear a lot of horror stories when it comes to cold emailing…

But I can assure you that it can work, if you do things the right way and avoid taking any shortcuts. 

Of course if you’re only going to send out a handful of emails per day or per week…

You probably don’t need to worry about ending up in the spam folder or be the next “horror story.”

However, cold emailing is most effective when it’s done in the masses…

Because after all, it’s a numbers game!

You will need the following…

  1. An email address (Duh?!)
  2. An email list
  3. A plan

I know that seems elementary, but the most important part of that short list is “a plan.”

Without a plan, you’re certainly setting yourself up for failure…

More specifically, your plan must include things like…

  1. Your objective (What do you want the cold email to accomplish?) 
  2. Email address warm-up process (A new email address will need to have a solid sending/receiving history before using for this.) 
  3. A cold emailing software and/or service (You will want to consider using some sort of software or service to send and track emails.) 
  4. Initial outreach email (This is your first impression, so you must get this dialed in.) 
  5. Follow-up emails (Your first email will likely NOT do the trick, so you will need to send follow-up emails – How many?, What frequency?, etc.) 
  6. Calendar system (You will need the ability to schedule appointments with those who respond favorably to your cold emails.) 
  7. Meeting in person and/or virtually (You will need to have a software like Zoom or Google Meet.)

There may be other things I’m forgetting here, but as you can see it’s imperative that you have all of your ducks in a row before you start cold emailing.


What To Send In Your Initial Outreach Email

Not sure what your initial cold outreach email should consist of?

Here’s the five main parts:

  1. Subject line
  2. Custom compliment
  3. Case study
  4. Call to action
  5. Email signature

The sole purpose of cold email outreach isn’t to sell your product or service…

It’s to schedule a discovery call.

And as such, one of the most important steps to make this successful is the custom compliment.

You should never send the same basic email to everyone… 

As that’s a surefire way to wind up in the spam folder. 

So that means you have to take some time to learn something about the person or business you’re emailing…

And use this to explain why you’re actually emailing them.

For example…

You might be looking to offer birthday marketing services to restaurants. 

So you could build a list of restaurants along with the number of reviews they have on Yelp.

Your email could then mention their restaurant name and congratulate them on the reviews…

This would make your cold email more personalized.

You can then say something like…

“I specialize in increasing dine in customers to restaurants in [CITY]. Recently we worked with [RESTAURANT NAME] to get 12 more [SALES OR CUSTOMERS OR DINERS].”

And then just make sure you keep it casual and make the next step extremely easy…

“I can send over a few times to chat.”

It’s highly unlikely that the restaurant owner is going to mark your email as spam.

Instead, they’re probably going to think…

“Wow!!! This person got [RESTAURANT NAME] 12 new customers???! That’s crazy!!!  I want to know how they did it!!!”

So think about how you can approach potential local small business customers/clients using this formula… 

This type of approach may produce the best results from all of your marketing efforts.


How To Do Cold Emailing Effectively

There’s a lot of good advice out there on how to do cold emailing properly (primarily so you don’t end up in the spam folder).

But I don’t want you to have to search for the answers, so I’ll just give you the do’s and don’ts here.

In order to be successful in your cold emailing efforts…

  1. DO NOT use your primary sending domain to do cold emailing
  2. DO NOT send a “one size fits all” email template to everyone
  3. DO NOT start off by trying to email 100 or more people the first day
  4. DO NOT send your cold email campaign without some way to track delivery and opens


  1. DO properly warm up your email sending domain
  2. DO “customize” your email template to “speak” directly to each individual prospective customer/client.
  3. DO start off by sending to 10 people or less per day for the first week, then start increasing it by 10 emails every day until you are averaging 100 customized emails per day
  4. DO use some sort of software/service to track delivery and opens

There you have it…

Pretty much the “Cliff Notes” version of everything I’ve ever learned over the last 13 or 14 years about cold emailing.

I promise that if you follow these guidelines…

Cold emailing can be a highly effective way to reach potential customers/clients for your business.

Grab a new domain for sending cold emails…

Warm up your new domain properly…

Create your cold email game plan…

Happy sending!

See you next Monday!




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