What to do when cold emails fail

Anyone who has been cold emailing for a period of time knows that sometimes it just doesn’t cut through the noise.

No matter how clever your subject line, or how many emails you send, some decision makers will simply just ignore it.

Their inboxes are crowded.

Mail filters catch it before it even reaches them.

Or they just delete it upon arrival.

But, sometimes you really need to break through to specific target accounts. Maybe this is a large deal that could be worth $20k+ or $100k+ of revenue.

Are you really going to let the fact that a cold email isn’t getting through stop you from winning that business?

In this post, I am going to share with you some alternative methods that my outbound marketing company has used to get ourselves and our clients in the door, even when cold email fails.

Stand out and be unique

Think about the last time you got a physical package in the mail that you were not expecting. Chances are, you were excited to open it up and curious about what is inside.

Now imagine for a moment that when you open up that box, you find something so unique and different that it completely catches you off guard.

You open up the box, and on the inside you find a vintage book with jute twine wrapped around the outside and a tag with YOUR name handwritten on it.


You immediately find yourself in complete curiosity as to what this could be. So you unwrap the twine, and when you open the book, you find that it has been hollowed out and filled with unique contents, just for you.

On the top you find a letter that has been wax sealed with your name hand written on the outside.


Then, underneath you find a scroll with information about this company that wants to work with you and a moleskin notepad and a nice wooden pen.


You read through the letter and are amazed as this has been personally written just for you. This entire package was custom created just for you.

When the creator of this package follows up with a call or email the next day, you feel absolutely inclined to give them a response and maybe even a conversation.

Give your prospects an experience they can’t ignore

As you will see through the example above, we created an experience for the prospect. We designed something so unique and so custom that it was hard to ignore.

Every day decision makers are getting countless cold emails in their inbox.

And sometimes they even get mass mail marketing campaigns sent to them.

But rarely do they get something as unique and personal as the experience I just described.

Another approach, send a message in a bottle

Hollowing out a vintage book takes quite a bit of time, so here is an approach that will cost you hardly anything and can be accomplished very quickly.

One prospect that I had was an development agency who was based out of Japan. The CEO was a notoriously a bit of a goofball on podcasts, so I decided to have a bit of fun with this one.

I grabbed a bottle from my local thrift shop and slipped a piece of paper in it. Written on the paper was a short web address that went to a custom landing page on my website.


When he received the bottle and went to the landing page, he was greeted by a fun little video. The video starts off with the 80’s hit “Message in a bottle” by the Police and then cuts to a personal video of me on camera talking directly to the prospect.

Notice how I mixed a bit of fun and entertainment with the sales pitch? You can’t help but laugh a bit when you experience this, which puts you at ease for the sales pitch that comes after. The prospect who received this loved the bottle and ended up hiring me afterward.

To see just how much of a reaction this post had on him, see his email response below.


Spicing things up with some hot sauce

On a recent podcast interview I did with Ryan Meo of ScaleSquad, he shared a story of how he used hot sauce to drive hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business to his agency. Here is what he did.

He bought roughly 1,000 bottles of generic hot sauce and had them white labeled with his custom packaging on it. The messaging on the packaging was something cheesy like “Want to spice things up? Give us a call at ScaleSquad.”


Then, after sending out these 1,000 bottles, they just started cold calling all of their prospects.

Although instead of it being the typical cold call sales pitch, they opened up with the line “Hey, we are the guys who sent the hot sauce.”

This fun and low-pressure approach generated tons of business for them. Many of the respondents on the phone would start whole conversations about how they loved the approach AND the hot sauce.

Slowly, they were able to nudge this toward a sales conversation, and as a result they won hundreds of thousands of dollars of new business… with hot sauce.

One final piece of inspiration from a college graduate

Now if you think that this is too hard or challenging to do, then think again. A recent college graduate used this same approach to land his dream job right out of school. Here is what he did.

He dressed up as a Postmates delivery driver and took doughnuts with his resume inside to roughly 20 of the top companies that he wanted to work with.

In many cases, he got the chance to walk right in and meet the decision maker at the company he wanted to work for right then and there. In other cases, they were not available when he arrived, but he was still able to get his resume in front of the decision makers in a way that stands out from the noise.

If this college graduate with hardly any real world sales experience can go above and beyond, so can you.


Ground rules for using these tactics

Before you dive in and start with your eye-catching outreach campaign, I do want to share a few simple ground rules.

  1. Need high Customer LTV – The clients you use this on should be worth at least $20k+ in annual value. Otherwise the tactics may work, but your ROI may become questionable.
  2. Keep it professional – Deliver packages at work, not at someone’s home address.
  3. Follow up – Just because you send a package doesn’t mean they will immediately call you. People are still busy so follow up via email and phone several times referencing your package.

Stand out and be unique

If there is one message I want you to walk away from this blog post with, it is stand out and be unique.

We live in a world where anyone can blast out 1,000 cold emails a day. Try a new approach, stand out and be unique.

Jake Jorgovan helps agencies and consultants win their dream clients. He runs an outbound marketing company, and also blogs and podcasts at Jake-Jorgovan.com. He is also author of the book Win Your Dream Clients.

The Official 2016 Toofr Spotify playlists

Here are two playlists reflect on your sales in 2016.

The Closed Won Playlist

Our Closed Won playlist celebrates your greatest wins. It sets the mood with an all-time classic, “Eye of the Tiger.” Feel that palm-muted guitar in your gut as you think back to getting that first huge signature of the year. Bask in the glory. The sun is shining on your face, reflecting off of your gold Rolex.

From there we traverse decades to the 90s rap anthem “Big Pimpin'”, one of Jay-Z’s first major hits. You were pimpin’ “bigly” this year. And “Hustlin” too. That Rick Ross classic follows another big 90s track by Reel Big Fish, “Sell Out.” Yes, because you reeled in some big fish this year and sold the crap out of them.

From here we visit Pink Floyd. We had to include “Money” on the Closed Won playlist. “Money” leads to the “Good Life,” a Kanye West favorite that celebrates all the things you can purchase with your humungous commission checks. Since you probably got “No Sleep” on your Presidents Club trip, we brought Wiz Khalifa into the mix following another celebration of materialism: Jay-Z’s “Money, Cash, Hoes.”

Finally, we bring it back a bit closer to where we started, celebrating your “Semi-Charmed Life” as the “Superman” of sales this year.


The Closed Lost Playlist

You win some, you lose some, right?

Our Closed Lost playlist begins with a solemn reflection on being “Far Behind” on the leaderboard. Being at the bottom of the board can make you second guess your career in sales. But don’t “Disarm” and don’t spend too much time “Losing My Religion.” That’s a “Runaway Train” that may never come back. You’ll be “My Own Worst Enemy” if you spent all your time moping.

Instead, you gotta have “Faith” that you’ll come back from your sales drought. Having “No Rain” usually means there’s a flood of deal flow around the corner. The trick is to never again be “Outshined” by your colleagues in the sales pit. Hunker down, get “Low,” and take the “Longview” on your pipeline.

That’s not to say you’ll never find yourself “Under The Bridge,” feeling like a “Lost Cause” with no “Self Esteem” sometimes. In those moments of doubt, remember “The Day I Tried To Live” when you felt “Lost” and then you’ll return to your “Stronger” self.

Your buddies on the sales team will tell you “Hey Man, Nice Shot” “When I Come Around” on top of the leaderboard once again.

You’re already a winner, but “Learning To Fly” can sometimes take time.


How to lower your bounce rates with our confidence score

We get a lot of questions about what the confidence score is. This is hard to answer because, to be frank, the way we calculate it keeps evolving. Every time we identify a new source, or a new way to interpret an existing source or add a new database of patterns, our scoring changes.

What we can say about it is this:

The confidence score is a summary of the strength of multiple sources we use to determine if an email address exists.

The sources include social media databases, our own emails and patterns databases, and mail server testing resources. How those sources convert to a score is the constantly evolving Toofr algorithm, which we adjust based on source performance, feedback from our customers, and our own internal testing.

Importantly, we also re-compute the confidence score of an email address every 90 days.  This is why you may see the score for a given email address change over time.

As of this writing, a rough breakdown of our confidence scoring looks like this:

  • Score 1-20: Only pattern match. This is our weakest signal since it is based only on the most popular pattern for a given domain. These will have ~30% bounce rate.
  • Score 21-74: Only social media match. This is a “decent” score in that some of our sources identified that the email existed at some point. It does not confirm that it exists today. Emails in this score range will have ~20% bounce rate.
  • Score 75+: Mail server testing is positive. This is our best score and it should yield a bounce rate under 5%. If the score gets into the 90s then it means there is both mail server and social media scoring, and that all but guarantees the email won’t bounce. It also means that the domain is not a “catch all,” which often trips up our competitors.

New feature: get prospect emails

Well, here’s a thought.

What if you could dip your bucket into a well full of leads, pull it up and sort through what you want and don’t want. Wouldn’t that be helpful?

We thought so, so we built it. It even works for trump.com! Check it out:

Did you ever want to email the president?

Soon we’ll add titles to this output as well, giving you even more opportunity to find the lead for your next deal.

It’s sourced from our ever-growing pool of emails, and you have real-time access to this data. Best of all, it’s available for the low-low price of one credit per search. On this feature we don’t charge by the email, so you may get up to 20 emails back on a single credit. What a steal!

You can access this feature here: https://www.toofr.com/domain.

Enjoy and sell hard.