Marketing / Automation

Handling a Cold Lead

Ellis Friedman

Updated: Jan 09, 2024 · 5 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

Glass with ice cubes on the wooden table

Cold leads are a harsh reality of any email list. These cold leads could be people who haven’t received an email from you in a long time, or who just don’t open or engage with the emails that you do send them.

Know if your leads are hot or cold

The first step to being able to heat up a lead is to know when a lead is warm, lukewarm or cold. The only tried-and-true way to do that is to score your leads. Lead scoring allows you to target your messaging to leads based on how hot they are. Automatic lead scoring means you set up your lead scoring one time, and from there on out, your list is constantly scored.

You’ll want to make sure that you collect the right information to accurately score your leads. If you know that people with certain titles, in certain regions, of certain ages—of certain anythings—are more likely to buy or be interested in your product, you can assign higher values for those things, making a lead hotter.

But when you have a group of leads that your scoring has indicated are rather chilly, what to do? Going cold doesn’t mean a lead is hopeless; in fact, there are plenty of ways to warm up at least some of your cold leads. Let’s look at some of those ways.

Make sure they still want your emails

If someone put themselves on your list and then never opened an email from you again, the lead is cold but definitely not lost. Group those people together and craft an email designed specifically for them. Craft a subject line that will pique their interest and tailor the messaging to them. You can even say,

“Hey there [name]! We noticed you haven’t read any of our emails. Can we help you find what you’re looking for? Click here if you want to [talk to an agent/see what’s on sale/have a question we can answer]. If you don’t want to receive them anymore, click here.”

(And yes, it’s absolutely fine to have someone proactively opt-out of your email list. It will help your sender reputation.There’s also no point in sending emails to people who don’t want them.)

Showcase what’s new

If your company interacted with leads a while ago, but they lost interest and went dark, emails highlighting what’s new can help bring them back to the fold. Do you have new pricing? A nifty new feature that will drastically improve experience? Tell them, and don’t bury the lede!

Put your new features right in the headline. “We lowered prices” or “NEW! Now we have [x]!” are great ways to draw attention right off the bat, and people who are interested in those new features will have good reason to open your email.

Give them a nudge

If a lead is cold but still warm enough to spend resources on, try some ways to reengage them. The best way to do this might be to give them something—a free ebook or consultation, a discount or coupon code, a sneak peek, anything that you think might provide them true value while also helping them warm up. You can also solicit feedback or send out an emotional appeal about missing them on your list.

Remember, providing true value to a recipient is an excellent way to build (or establish) a relationship. Treating this more like a relationship and less like a transaction will go a long way in helping leads cozy up.

Try some new channels

Instead of calling or emailing incessantly, see if you can get your cold leads to engage with you on another channel. Consider replacing one of your “Hey are you still there?” emails with an encouragement to follow you on a social channel. You can also try pop-up ads on your site for those who still visit your site but don’t open email.

It will be very important to try to warm super cold leads through a medium other than email because if you start to email very cold leads, it could damage your sender reputation. If people who don’t want your emails but for some reason haven’t unsubscribed get really frustrated, they could mark you as spam, which will damage your sender reputation. Best case scenario, they continue to ignore your emails, which skew your email data and hurt the amount of insight you can get into what actually works.

Don’t let your new warm leads go cold

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, so as you continue to procure new, warmer leads, do your best to make sure they don’t go cold. This means keeping in regular contact with your leads, even if they don’t initially convert as you’d like them to. Listen to these leads as you interact with them. Did they express a certain concern during a phone call? Do they click on certain types of content but not others? Knowing these things will help you target the content you send them.

The biggest part of prevention is to not let leads go dark when they don’t purchase. Remember, it usually takes six to eight touches with a lead to get them to buy; don’t give up after two or three!

Warming a cold email list is a totally possible feat, especially with the wonders of automated email. You can thaw out leads by making sure recipients want to hear from you, giving them the content they want, and making sure that you’re never long out of contact. Spend less time copy and pasting messages, manually following up with leads and clients, and more time meeting and serving your clients. Automate your marketing, sales and data entry with Keap.

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