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Cold Emailing: 12 Leads Each Week with 30-Minutes of Effort

You might be thinking to yourself. "Cold emailing, you're having a laugh. I'm not going to spam people". Don't worry, there's no spamming going on here. This is an article about how to send a lot of targeted emails to relevant people in a short space of time.


What makes something seem spammy is a lack of targeting and relevance. If it's targeted then you're doing them a favour. If this email isn't going to land in their inbox and make them think "YES! Finally! I'm off to buy a lottery ticket because it's clearly my lucky day!", then your messaging or targeting needs work.


Firstly, what are you trying to achieve? Sales obviously, but what is your reasonable plan of getting there? My suggestion is to shoot for a "brief 5-minute chat". Even sometimes, that can be a little too committing. This activity should be a conversation starter, not a sales machine. These are some potential outcomes:

  • You could use it as a way of getting people to subscribe to your list by offering some kind of lead magnet
  • Try and book in a 5-minute call to gauge interest
  • Use it to drive traffic to your offer
  • Ask them to answer a question of some sort.


Once you know what you are trying to get as a response, you can think about which industry or group of people would respond to that kind of email. Don't ask hyper busy people to read some content or anything that is going to take a long time for instance. Try and play the mental movie of them receiving the email in your head. This should give you a fairly decent chance of predicting a response. Consider what happens when they get it too. Are they reading on a phone most likely? Is your website looking good on phones?


I've tested this many times and despite it flying in the face of popular belief, you don't need to get the name of the person you're emailing. Just get the email and the company name. It's better value for money. I don't recommend you do this yourself. If you have the time to be gathering this amount of data then there are surely more important things for you to be doing. Outsource it. We pay $22 for either 100 named email addresses or 200 without names. Before Christmas, I was sending 200 each week, we're now doubling that effort to 400. Have them supply it on a Sunday night in advance of your week. You can find someone to do this on or easily and cheaply. Have them supply the data in a spreadsheet. You only need:

  • Email address
  • Company name and
  • Website address.


There is a key thing you must do. Ask for the correct person to speak to or the email to be forwarded to. If you don't do this, you will be more asking for the sale which won't go down well. You're asking the person you are emailing to help you out by forwarding your email to someone. My suggestion is to come across super humble and like you're after direction. You don't want to give up your authority but at the same time, think how a university student would approach a company director to give them 5 minutes of his time. Take a similar vibe into your emails. This is the first email I send:

Hi there,

Could you help me out for a moment please? [99% chance it's the persons job reading this email to help people. Play to their job role]

Would you happen to know who at *|COMPNAME|* would be responsible for writing and sending your proposals? [Replace this with 'generating leads for your company' or 'making sure you don't pay more tax than you need to' - whatever]. 


- Designing and writing them - Getting them opened, read, and replied to - Knowing when to follow-up

I’m asking because our company has developed a free and unique web app specifically designed to help Digital Agencies, such as yourselves, send better proposals. [Say exactly what you have done and what you do is the clearest, most succinct way possible].

By this, I mean stand-out design, trackable delivery and employing digital signatures to speed up the sales process. [Hit on those benefits again, almost as if you weren't clear enough with your previous sentence]

I have no idea if this can help you yet, so all I’m asking for is a 2-minute call or brief email chat with the appropriate person in order to find out if you are experiencing frustration with the time it takes to create proposals and get them responded to. [This is your call to action. Do not change a word. Just the last bit where you re-state the problem again.]

Any help you could provide by clicking ‘reply’ would be much appreciated. [Any phone users will call you with the number in your email signature. Any people who don't like phones will reply. This gives both types of people an acceptable way to respond].

Thank you.


This is what I send 48 hours later if I've had no response:"We decided to go with another company" It's horrible when someone you thought was going to go with you, goes with a competitor. My aim is to help you never hear it again. [headline bolded to get attention]Hi there,I emailed you a few days ago to ask who at *|COMPNAME|* dealt with sending proposals to your prospective clients. [change proposals to your problem area]As a digital agency, every proposal you send is vital. I'm emailing because I believe there's a very high chance that the web-app we've developed can help you with the following: [Go in for the kill, tell them how important it is that they pay attention and get those benefits in]- Saving you time writing and formatting your proposals- Make them look more visually impressive- Instant and precise reporting on what pages have been read and for how long- Get your proposals approved with digital signatures, to speed up your sales process.You might have your proposal creation down to a fine art but if you know deep down that your proposals take too long to write, could look nicer or you'd want to know when it's been opened, then it would be worth us having a 5-minute chat or trying it out free for yourself. [Keep hitting the problems in different wording.]You are more than welcome to take a look at what we’re all about by going to and if you have any questions, you can email or call me directly on 00000 000 000.[Keep this super casual. If you haven't done enough above, then this doesn't matter anyway]ThanksAdamPS: Don't worry - you won't be contacted again. I'm just emailing companies who I think are a fit for our product. If you're not interested, you can safely ignore this message. [This stops people who got annoyed by your last message for whatever reason and are determined to mark you as spam. It might not stop everyone but if it stops a few, it's worth it.]


The first thing to mention is we're not going to do this with any email marketing software. We're just going to use our regular email in Outlook, Mail, Thunderbird, whatever. Don't worry, we're smart people and made a really simple bit of software to do this with 1 click for each email. If you want to use it, just click the App Store link in your Better Proposals account and switch it on. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, email me at adam [at] and I'll give you a hand. This feature allows you to click 1 button, and it'll open a new email with the email address, subject line, merge tags (for the name or company name) and message all pre-filled. You just need to hit send. The best time to email I've covered this to some extent before, relating to proposals, but the same principle applies. Early mornings might be a good time to get some hyper busy business owners but the majority of regular business owners have normal work days. This means 8-10am is mental firefighting; 10- 12am is a bit more chilled. Hit them with that email as close to 11am as you can. I do my 200 between 10:45 at 11:15am. Side note: I find Mondays and Fridays to have pretty poor response rates so I try and do my cold emailing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Once you've done your emailing, you should start seeing some response so make sure you're able to handle those responses. Don't ignore phone calls but try, where possible to make sure you get all your emailing done before you stop and reply to people.


For every email I send, I make sure I send a 2nd follow up. This time, upping the intensity. I don't pester all these people again and again. I give them 2 emails to respond. That's it. I don't want to get blacklisted by any email servers and most people will allow 2 emails before they start hitting that spam button. The follow up is your 'burn it to the ground' email. You're not going to email them again, so just go for it. Tell them what you want, tell them what they get and lastly tell them what you want them to do about it. In terms of when to follow up, I suggest sooner rather than later. If I email on a Tuesday morning, I follow up on Thursday morning. 48 hours later. I will relax the rule on emailing in the morning with the follow-up and will do it mid-afternoon (2-3pm) if needed.

Dealing with negativity

You will get called a spammer, a piece of shit, a disgrace to business and many things worse but it's cool, just take them off your list, or if you're using our follow-up system, just switch them off and that's all you need to do. I always dignify the person with a response just explaining that you were just going through Google and you're sorry to have bothered them. Assure them they won't get emailed again. Write what you'd want to hear if you had an awful day and some idiot is pestering you (in their eyes).

How long will this take?

I have it down to about 30 minutes to send 200 emails. I'm quick. It'll take you around an hour until you get the hang of it. Do not let people bother you when doing this. Personal phone on flight mode, no facebook, just stick some headphones on, get yourself a coffee and get clicking!

Getting started

The first thing you need to do is get your systems sorted, so get your Better Proposals account and go switch on the CRM and then the Follow Up System. If you have any problems, email me directly or email support by clicking the 'Ask a question' tab on the left of any page in the system. Doing this manually with a spreadsheet is possible but you're looking at 2-3 hours to do it each time which, depending on what you're selling, might simply make it not viable. I wish you the best of luck, commit to it for a good few months and you'll be rewarded for your efforts, I promise. DO NOT SKIP A WEEK!

Adam Hempenstall's profile image
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals. He started his first web design business at 14 and has since written four books and built an international movement around sending better proposals. Having helped his customers win $500,000,000 in the last 12 months alone, he’s launched the first ever Proposal University where he shares best practices on writing and designing proposals. He co-runs a once-a-year festival called UltraMeet and is a massive FC Barcelona fan.