How to Build a Cold Email Campaign

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Cold emailing is a leading outbound marketing strategy for company growth, especially for B2B companies. We consider cold emailing to be a pillar of an outbound marketing strategy. 

It can supplement your current marketing strategy and help you reach a wide range of potential clients no matter what niche you’re in. 

How do you build a cold email campaign?

In this article, we’re going to show you how you can do it in 5 easy steps. 

1. Understanding Your Ideal Customer Profile

Cold email is best when you know your buyer. Once you understand who your buyer is, that’s when you can maximize opportunity with cold outreach.

Implementing a cold email campaign before you understand the ICP can lead to many opens, a lot of clicks, and even a lot of replies or demonstrations. 

Ultimately, these metrics don’t lead to conversion unless you understand your ICP. 

What happens if you don’t know your ICP well? Invest in other paid channels like targeting tests to find persona and paid ad tests to find messaging. 

2. Build Your List

How do you build a list, and find your target once you understand your ICP? We recommend starting with a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Apollo

You can use these tools to pull information (from a source like LinkedIn) on people that fit your search criteria. 

For example, here is a search we performed in Apollo.

In this search, we target founders within the United States, at companies with 11 to 50 employees, that fit our industry keywords (internet, computer software, information services, etc.).

This search delivered 30,000 results that can then be used to build an email list. 

So what’s next? Now you need to think about your email content. 

3. Great Email Content

Many people end up with failed campaigns because they don’t build personalization into their emails. 

Your emails should speak to a specific target audience. Each campaign should be custom tailored to each specific ICP. 

For example, the companies we email from our Apollo search above would receive one personalized campaign. If we then changed the search to target companies with 51-100 employees, the new list would receive its own personalized campaign. 


This refers to an email campaign that follows a sequence of a certain number of emails over a set number of days. 

We recommend 3 to 5 emails in a sequence over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. Our sequence looks like this:

  1. Rhetorical Question -  Try to begin a conversation by asking questions about their process or business.
  2. Bump - This is a reminder email to bump your message to the top of their inbox. 
  3. Drop Knowledge - Share knowledge to position yourself as a thought leader. 
  4. Drop Knowledge and Help - Talk about pain points and then offer genuine solutions. We offer 30-minutes of free (non-sales) help at this step. 
  5. Breakup - Tell them you’ll stop bugging them and send relevant links they can follow if they’d like to follow up. 

Don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA). This could be as simple as asking them to respond or book a call. 

4. Tools and Systems

There are a ton of tools that can help you with cold outreach. We recommend 3:

  1. An extra email domain - Use a domain separate from your main website in case your cold emails get marked as spam. 
  2. Warmup Inbox - This tool can help prevent your emails from landing in spam folders. 
  3. Apollo - This tool helps you stay organized, build email lists, clone campaigns, and run experiments. 

5. Experimentation

You might feel overwhelmed at the thought of building a list of 30,000 emails and creating campaigns with 5 emails for each of the 30,000 addresses. 

So, what should you do? Treat cold email as one big experiment. 

Break your lists into small manageable chunks. Test your subject lines, messaging, targeting, and even cadence or frequency of sending. 

Don’t be afraid to do more of what works and pull back on what doesn’t. 

The key here is to take the process one step at a time, learn, and scale up as you learn more and build experience! 

Cold outreach can be a significant driver of growth when done right. 

If you’d like to learn more about cold emailing campaigns and see some awesome visuals, check out our accompanying video on YouTube. We’d love to answer any questions you have in the comments!

Craig Zingerline

Craig is a 6-time founder who built Velocity Growth to help startups grow. After interviewing hundreds of founders and working with dozens of high growth startups, he built Velocity Growth to increase the chances of success for startups globally. They focus on holistic growth and experimentation as the key drivers of success. Prior to founding Velocity Growth, he was in growth & product leadership roles at Sandboxx, Upside Travel, Red Tricycle, Votion, New Signature, e-Dialog & more. He’s also an award-winning product strategist and 2-time LAUNCH Accelerator founder.