Cold Calls versus Cold Emails. Which should you be using?

There are many ways to find and contact potential customers today. However, two of the older ways still remain among the most popular – cold calls and emails. Both ways are effective in initiating conversation with potential customers.

If you ask salespeople which method they prefer, some will favor calls, and others will swear by emails. Both methods have their perks and downfalls. Does one really work better than the other? Maybe you should be utilizing both? Find out more about the benefits and drawbacks of each.

ColdCall & Email ProsTitle

The Cold Call Pros

Cold calling has a bad reputation. When you hear the word cold call, I’m sure a negative connotation pops into your head. Many sellers don’t want to cold call and therefore want to believe that cold calling is dead.

“Both buyers and sellers agree: cold calling works, and it’s still one of the most effective ways to generate initial sales conversations” (Rain Group). Cold calling is second to email and above all other forms of contacting buyers.

One of the biggest advantages of cold calling is the control the sales rep has over the conversation. This live-action conversation allows for faster responses and reaction time.

#1 Cold calls allow for faster responses

You can reach prospects quickly with cold calling, and faster responses do save you time and hassle. Pitching a product/service and waiting for a response can be nerve racking. With phone calls, you save the hassle and time of waiting around wondering if that prospect is going to want to make a deal.

Immediate responses also give sales reps the advantage of listening to the needs and doubts of the prospects. This way, they can respond right away with reassurance of benefits the product or service can bring them. It can kill doubt instantaneously and not permit it to build up.

Instant responses allow reps to deal with the “no” conversation immediately too. Sales reps can ask for a reason (instead of waiting for another email) and work through a solution right away with the prospect. This also gives the prospect something more to think about. So if you do have to go into a follow-up email, they aren’t coming in at a no. It gives sales reps more insight from the first call too, to build a better follow-up conversation.

It is easier to convince someone of the benefits of the product/service if their mind isn’t already made up.

#2 You can get more personal

It’s all about getting personal these days. The more personal, the easier it is to grab the customer’s attention and keep them hooked.

Cold calls are much more convenient when it comes to inserting that personal touch in a conversation and demonstrating emotion. You can receive immediate feedback on the prospect’s personal and work life and get a feel for their personality to use to your advantage. Adjusting your tone and where the conversation is going works a lot faster and easier over the phone. You can build a connection with a prospect in a matter of seconds.

Talking over the phone gives sales reps a chance to establish a personal connection immediately, something that is much harder to do online. The more you learn about a prospect, the easier it is to direct them towards a certain product/service that would work best for them.

#3 You can explore more opportunities

The more you talk with someone, the more you learn about them. With a one-on-one live conversation, a sales representative can direct their full attention to the prospect to explore their wants and needs. If nothing stood out to the client during the initial pitch as something that would help them, a phone call allows you to explore more opportunities you have available with them.

Cold calling gives sales reps that initial feedback we talked about and gives them a chance to steer the prospect towards another product/service that might be perfect for them. If the product or service does not quite go with their needs at the time, you can also still gain valuable insights about the consumer. Considering these insights, you can develop new directions you might want to grow the business.

The Cold Email Pros

This strategy is used by a lot more people than just sales representatives. Many professionals and individuals send cold emails.

#1 Cold Emails are time efficient and less frustrating

The new world of email automation trumps having to reach out to each prospect (such as in cold calling) when it comes to saving time. The initial email to prospects doesn’t have to be completely personal, and because of this, we can send mass emails. With a single click, you can send the same email to a large number of recipients, upping your time efficiency and boosting productivity.

Cold emails also allow prospects to get in touch when it’s convenient for them. This makes the recipient less likely to be frustrated because they can reply at their own paste. Emails are less interruptive than phone calls.

With emails, sales reps don’t have to take time out of their day to try and to reach each prospect. It is especially frustrating finally reaching a prospect via phone and getting a “no.” Email takes away the more personal touch of actually hearing no.

#2 Cold emails can attract visually

Our attention is drawn to things we find attractive, and therefore the more attractive a message, the easier it will be to catch a potential customer’s attention and get them to stick around to learn more. Emails allow you to script a professional and eye-catching message.

A sales representative’s message placed on a visually attractive layout will make the overall pitch that much more appealing. A visually pleasant email can take away a lot of the “cold” factor in reaching out to prospects.

Email personalization is also attractive to a reader. The tone, visual aspect, and message are all something you can personalize to match a specific segment or individual group. Find out the demographics and psychographics or the segment or individual and adjust your message accordingly. The goal is to lure customers in, and as long as you have an eye-catching, informative layout this is a sure way to do it.

#3 You can be more informative

With the option to add attachments and links to aid in a sales rep’s explanation, emails can be a lot more informative. Attachments and links such as documents, infographics, promo material, learn more pages, etc. help tell a more detailed story.

It allows for your thoughts to be more succinct than a cold call no matter how many times you practice. The sender has more time to think and can read over the content in the email making it sound much more polished. This way the sender can get everything across they hoped to inform the prospect on without fear of being misheard or forgetting to add something. It’s also an advantage to the recipient, as they can read and reply to the email at their paste. They don’t have to feel rushed to reply and can think overall the questions they have to ask.

#4 You have the ability to track and forward messages

Email software allows you to track many different things including, the open rate, successful deliveries, click rate on specific links, your prospect’s replies, and whatever else you find valuable. These stats help inform you on what’s working and what improvements you need to make in pitching your product/service to new customers.

Email tracking even allows you to track the number of forwards, which is a big advantage for cold emailing. Sending emails means that there is a chance your message will get passed along to others. While this can happen with cold calling too… emails have your message laid out how you presented it and not how the customer remembered it. The ability for receivers to forward your message gives you not only free brand awareness but free referrals too.

ColdCall & Email ConsTitle

If there are many pros to each then what are the cons?

The Cold Call Cons

#1 Frustrating the prospect and yourself

No one likes their time being wasted, especially on something that wouldn’t fit their profile. Without proper research before reaching out, you can surely frustrate the prospect.

Even with ample research misspeaking or not knowing a specific fact can cause frustration by the prospect. If you’re reaching out, you should know who they are, what they do, and how your product/service can specifically help them.

Since cold calling is unscheduled, you might be reaching the prospect at a bad time, resulting in frustration and possibly turning them off permanently. It also can result in you becoming frustrated when you go through a dry spell of unanswered calls, hang-ups, or negative replies. Upfront rejection can be discouraging. Cold calls make it easy to put yourself in a vulnerable position.

Empty promises made with cold calling are frustrating. Prospects can promise anything over the phone just to get rid of you, then ignore the follow-ups.

#2 Cold Calls are difficult to handle and time consuming

Not everyone is a pro speaker and has the natural ability to be upbeat and positive all the time. Cold calls also require salespeople to be persuasive when speaking and quick on their feet. Not everyone can come up with a quick counteroffer, and when cold calling it’s an important skill to have.

Cold calls must be handled one at a time, you cannot contact multiple contacts at the same time as you can email. One contact at a time means more time spent per prospect and the higher the risk of your time being wasted. I don’t even want to go into the fact you can have an hour-long conversation that still ends in a no. Talk about frustrating!

#3 Cold Calls can harm the reputation

People get frustrated for all sorts of reasons, and an unexpected interruption or negative conversation can cause them to build a negative image. One bad call can shift to the whole company, and a negative image could mean a lack of respect and trust in the company by not only that customer but anyone they share their experience with.

The Cold Email Cons

#1 Cold Emails don’t yield immediate response

There’s a huge gap in the response rate for emails. You could hear back immediately from a prospect or two weeks later, there really is no saying when, as it’s reliant on the prospect. You also don’t know whether a prospect is planning to reply later or maybe not at all. You can, of course, send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back in a while (that does mean extra effort on your part though).

#2 Cold Emails are subject to delivery issues

Cold emails can never reach your prospects, never be opened, or never read, and you have no control over it. With a call, you can more easily force someone to listen, but with an email, there is no courtesy or force for you to get a prospect to read or even open the email.

There can also be an issue with the email in which it never gets delivered to the prospect or goes immediately to their spam folder. Spam filters can be the death of cold emails, and they’re only getting better.

Email may be convenient, but it’s not the most reliable.

#3 Cold emails require certain skills

Cold emails require a different set of skills than most salespeople have. Since they must be visually and collectively appealing to catch people’s attention, the creator needs to have great design and copywriting skills.

If the email is poorly designed with bad copy, the recipient will be reluctant to read it. The email has to be captivating and you have to have someone will the skills to make it so.


Which strategy should you use then?

Rein Group Contact Study
The Rein Group Study

The Rein Group did a study and found that email outranked cold calling in terms of being the preferred and actual method of contacting prospects. It also shows though, that email and phone calls are the top methods for contacting prospects.

With all the pros and cons weighed side by side, we say whichever strategy meets your strengths is the one you should be using, even if that means both. You don’t have to put all your efforts towards one strategy, especially because email is a lot less time consuming than cold calling, allowing you room to do, or even just try, both.

Finding the strategy that works best for you and using the other to follow-up with prospects is also a great strategy. This will help you develop client retention skills, be more involved with your prospect, and build up your skills in whichever is weaker.

Both these strategies are a great way to reach prospects and build new clients. These tactics are here to help you create a real connection with your audience and help meet their needs and solve their problems with your product/service.

Make sure you are always adding a personal touch, whether it be over the phone or via email to help build more meaningful relationships.

Which do you prefer?

Cold Calls
Cold Email

Cold Calls vs. Emails

Email Follow-Up Tactics

Graphic Computer with email

Email follow-ups are a great way for more information to be given in detail and to allow the prospect more time to think through the information displayed. When using email to follow up, you must give the client enough information to be considered helpful but not too much as to where you pull out all the stops in the first follow-up. You want to drive the conversation and get them to buy early.

Follow-up emails can be frustrating. Many people assume if a prospect doesn’t respond the first time that they aren’t interested, however, there are many reasons as to why, besides not wanting your service, a prospect hasn’t responded to your email.

These reasons include missing the email completely, failure of the subject line to catch the prospect’s attention, not a clear enough call to action, not set up to be viewed on mobile, and sent at a bad time/day. The good news is these are all things we can easily fix.

  1. Lost email

    Sometimes emails get buried in our inboxes. Dismissing it the first time doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re important it just means we forgot about them. Sending multiple emails when you haven’t received a response yet is okay. The rule we follow is if we haven’t heard anything within two days, we send another follow-up email. Two days is enough time to where if they did happen to see the email, another follow-up won’t frustrate them. Two days is also a good time for the prospect to contemplate the email and then receive another follow-up with even more valuable information. After the first two-day period, you should extend the waiting period by a few days for each subsequent email.

  2. Subject line

    People are bombarded with thousands of emails from everything imaginable. What would make them recognize you and open your email? You must grab their attention and keep it long enough for them to click-through. From our Follow-Up Success Tips article, ask the client if there is something you can put in the subject line, such as using the word important or marking an email as urgent. These special cues can help you reach the client.

    The number of words in a subject line also matters, especially for mobile users. Subject lines with 6 to 10 words deliver the highest open rate [Retention Science], making 8 words ideal. So, create that catchy, noticeable email in 8 words.

  3. Email on mobile

    As of now, 61.9% of all emails are opened and read on mobile devices [Constant Contact]. That means your email needs to be programmed correctly for mobile; failure to optimize your email for mobile results in an 80% deletion rate [Constant Contact]. Emails that aren’t formatted correctly for mobile viewing often cut off information completely or appear very zoomed in. These kinds of emails frustrate the receiver often enough to cause them to delete the email without even fully viewing it.

    Have you checked if your email is optimized for mobile devices? It could be one of the reasons you’re getting a low response rate.

  4. Time and day to send

    There is no exact time or day we can tell you to send your email that will get you one hundred percent results. The first thing we do suggest is asking the prospect when the best time to follow-up with them is. Getting their insights will prove more helpful than anything in getting a prospect to respond to your follow-up.

    With the help of research though, we can give you a general idea of when most people open their emails. Research shows that the very best times to send emails is on Tuesdays [Get Response], with weekends having the lowest open rates among the days of the week and Mondays following in second.

    For the time frame, it appears it’s best to send emails a little after people get to work, and when they are catching up on emails after lunch. It shows to be around 9-10 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

    So, when you do send a follow-up email, it’s best to do it on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.

  5. Call to action

    You need to have a loud and clear call to action. Most times, in a follow-up, this will be for the prospect to follow back up with you, whether it’s via email or phone. Let the client know what you want them to do with the information you gave them. Always leave them more curious than before on a sales pitch. Give them the information they need to know to draw closer to a decision but always be able to add more value after they follow through with the call to action.

The subject line of your emails and the sender name and are the most important factors in getting emails opened and read. Be sure to check who the email is coming from. Making the from more personal increases the chances of getting noticed by a prospect. Open rates go up by as much as 35% by just using an email with your name in it [Pinpointe Markeing].

In 2019, the average open rate dropped to 22.1%. This average means that your company is doing well within its email follow-up and email campaigns if it has an open rate of around 22%.

The most important thing you can do in a follow-up is to continue to add more value every time you come in contact with the prospect. Email allows you to explain clearly and in more detail. It also allows for a more creative aspect. Adding in a creative aspect draws the reader in more. A creative follow-up email catches the attention of your prospects. Remember though this isn’t an email campaign so, don’t go overboard. You want a little flare but not too much to draw away from the information you are relaying and the call to action you want them to take in following up.

Email Marketing Strategies

Email Marketing Strategies

Email marketing has a two times higher ROI than cold calling, networking or trade shows [MarketingSherpa]. Therefore, emails are an essential part of any marketing strategy. When a business wants to communicate something about its brand or sell its products, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to do so.

80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention [Emarsys]. So, what goes into an effective email marketing campaign? The first thing to note is effort. Without effort, your emails will fall into the bottomless spam folder. With a little effort, you’ll be part of that 80% saying your email marketing helped increase customer retention.

Here are some simple but effective strategies:

  1. Catchy subject line

    People are bombarded with thousands of emails from everything imaginable. What would make them want to open your email? You must grab their attention and keep it long enough for them to want to go open the message.

  2. Be brief and to the point

    Cut right to the point. Again, you want your message to catch their attention and lead them to the main message page. Focus on the point of the email and make sure no matter who is viewing the email the message will be understand right away.

  3. Send relevant content

    If not all your subscribers share the same demographics or interest create groups of recipients to narrow the focus to them. Make the emails personalized, if subscribers are not receiving content they find relevant they will stop engaging.

  4. Mix up your content

    Don’t send the same type of emails all the time. Highlight what your company offers but also share your expertise, your brand values, tip and insights, trends, share information that lets them know more about your brand and community. Not all information has to be created by you either, find topics relevant to your brand, and share top stories and insights from leading professionals.

  5. Follow a Schedule

    If you are sending out a newsletter stick to a schedule. Send out emails the same day(s) around the same time each week, this will allow subscribers to learn your schedule and know when to expect your emails. Also, make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Depending on your target audience don’t overwhelm them with the number of emails you send out.

  6. Use graphics

    Always use engaging content and attractive graphics. These graphics help to attract subscribers’ attention to increase their chances of engagement. Do not, however, rely too much on these graphics to deliver your message. Many emails are set to hide graphics by default.

  7. Occasional offers

    Offer discounts, bonuses, coupons on special occasions from anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays to national donut day (whatever national day/week/month applies to you). Make offers that will gain conversion rate.

  8. Mobile Friendly

    With today’s fast-track world, lots of emails are opened on a mobile device. Mobile opens accounted for 46 percent of all email opens [Litmus] That means your email needs to be optimized for mobile. Without optimizing for mobile readability, graphics and buttons could come across completely wrong. Make subscribers experience pleasant.

Today, there are 3.9 billion daily email users and that number is only expected to rise [Statista]. Start taking advantage of this large market segment with email marketing.