Is email prospecting spammy? (spoiler: not if you do it well)

Is email prospecting spammy? (Spoiler: not if you do it well)

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Is email prospecting spammy? We debunk the myths of cold emails, and explore strategies for effective B2B email prospecting.

Email is one of the most risk-averse and cost-effective channels you can find that will aid your business in targeting piping-hot leads. 

Our survey of more than 350 B2B marketers found that email prospecting was the most reliable channel for driving leads, and 72% said it delivers “good to excellent” ROI. Not only that, but 77% of B2B buyers said they prefer to be contacted over email compared to any other channel.

But that doesn’t mean that every B2B business has already worked email prospecting into their strategy. Why not? Well, an old myth about prospecting being spammy is floating around… and we’re on a mission to debunk that myth.

Here at Sopro, we curate personalised, expert, and compliant campaigns that won’t make their way into the spam filter, and that buyers will be pleased to receive. With a little *ahem* expert advice, you too can use prospecting to generate new leads and watch those sales reports climb.

Email prospecting vs spam

Email prospecting and spam strategies are two very different ways of getting your message out there. 

Some people have the misconception that all email prospecting is spammy due to the legacy of old-school outbound email techniques. These older methods often suffered from poor targeting, lacklustre data, and a glaring lack of personalisation. 

However, the landscape has evolved significantly. Modern outbound email prospecting is characterised by its intelligent targeting, rich data utilisation, and highly personalised approach. It’s a refined strategy, tailor-made to resonate with prospects and deliver value to both parties.

When we talk about spam, it’s important to distinguish between two key types: malevolent and misguided.

On the one hand, there’s the nefarious kind, riddled with phishing attempts and scams, designed to deceive and exploit. On the other hand, there’s what can be described as ‘bad practice’ spam – these are mass emails that may not be inherently malicious but are poorly targeted. They might yield some results for the sender, even if the success rate is only 0.01%. This type of spam is more about a scattergun approach, hoping to hit the mark by sheer volume alone. Modern email prospecting firmly distances itself from this approach, focusing instead on relevance, consent, and genuine engagement.

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Needless to say, your business should only be making the most of one of these types of email. Let’s first break down the differences…

Email prospecting: Forging meaningful connections

Email prospecting, first and foremost, is a targeted strategy employed by businesses to initiate authentic conversations with prospects. It involves doing what we do here at Sopro: crafting tailored and relevant messaging to address the needs of the company you’re reaching out to. The messaging should also address any applicable interests or pain points they might be experiencing in their sales funnel. 

In its simplest form, email prospecting hinges on personalisation, permission, and value – and we live by those principles here at Sopro. By contrast, impersonal mass-emailing, rightfully branded spam, doesn’t encapsulate those into the strategy at all. There effectively is no strategy. Unthinkable.

A well-executed email prospecting campaign takes the time to understand the preferences of target businesses. The content needs to resonate, pique their interest and spark a conversation. Try referencing specific industry challenges or acknowledging any past interactions with the brand. Prospecting requires you to do your research, requiring time and resources. That’s where we come in to help you sell more.

Spam: keep it in the tin and not in mailboxes

We’ve all had it and can collectively agree that we don’t want it. You don’t want your business to be associated with it. Spam is an untargeted way of reaching out to the masses that doesn’t consider the recipient’s consent, relevance or preferences.

All spam serves up is a bad taste in our mouths. The content is typically generic from the subject line to the main body and makes little attempt to establish rapport – the critical element of personalisation is missing.

Spam has the objective of sheer volume, casting a wide net to catch a few. The content will also often employ deceptive subject lines, misleading offers and tactics that aren’t gold star approved, luring recipients into engaging. This ends up giving your business a bad online and offline reputation. Word travels. After years in the industry, we wouldn’t recommend it.

By contrast, email prospecting as part of a multi-channel campaign respects the recipient’s autonomy and values relevance. It’s much more targeted, promising valuable leads.

Seven simple values to stay spam-free

Forget the seven deadly sins; stick to these guidelines, and you’ll be floating on cloud nine. Effective email prospecting needs a little finesse, empathy and strategic thinking. Let’s get started.

Rule 1: Keep it relevant, keep it personal

Craft your email outreach to target the recipient’s specific needs, challenges and interests. This means digging around and conducting research on their industry, recent developments, and pain points to demonstrate a level of understanding that comes across as genuine.

Address them by name, refer to any past interactions and offer valuable insights that will resonate and open up a conversation. Instead of spam, which is one-size-fits-all and generic, prospecting is relevant, personalised and curated to nurture potential leads.

Rule 2: Always think about your brand reputation

The misconception is that prospecting can be just as ill-received as spam, but when done well, there’s minimal risk to your brand reputation. Instead, you can put your best foot forward as a problem solver, thought leader and, most importantly, a reputable business.

On the other hand, mass-emailing is poorly targeted, leaves you at risk of domain blacklisting and leaves your brand reputation open to taking a hit. Not to mention the red flags regarding compliance and the poor ROI – little bang for your buck.

Rule 3: Offering up plenty of value

Every outbound email should offer insights, information, or solutions that resonate with the recipient’s needs and open up the floor for conversation.

Put your best foot forward as a thought leader and promise change that you can deliver – nothing like a free consultant! You can even shout about exclusive offers whilst showcasing your expertise. Highlighting just how much you’re ready and willing to contribute to their success. By delivering value, you position yourself as a trusted resource as opposed to a business casting a wide, spam-filled net.

Rule 4: No tricks, just transparency

All marketing activity should be ethical, and prospecting is no exception; transparency is essential to achieving this. Some of the simple actions to this involve leaving behind misleading subject lines or hyperbolic language that over-promises and might ultimately under-deliver.

Leverage that personal touch, but get straight to the point. What does your product offer? How can you lend assistance? Is there a new trend or insight worth sharing?

When communication is clear and the intention is honest, you create a sense of trust that is essential to your brand reputation and to building lasting relationships with other businesses. 

Rule 5: Don’t just promise, provide

If you’re going to promise the goods, deliver on that promise. It also goes a long way to demonstrate how you will go about this, furthering brand trust. 

Take us here at Sopro, for example. We’re not the cheapest prospecting business on the market because we provide a stellar service of curated, expertly managed and, above all, compliant campaigns. We can demonstrate the reason behind our pricing and why cheaper brands may not be able to deliver the same level of lead generation.

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Mass-emailing techniques might be more desirable due to their pricing, but it doesn’t mean they can deliver the same results. Second, it will only deteriorate your brand value and could land you in hot water regarding compliance. 

Rule 6: Opting out with ease

To differentiate from spam, prospecting needs to respect recipients. One of the easiest ways of achieving this is by including a hassle-free option for recipients to unsubscribe from your communications. This not only complies with regulations (be sure to check out the new rules for Gmail and Yahoo), but it demonstrates that commitment to respecting the recipient. 

Not everyone wants to engage with you or the product/service you may offer. With many people being time-poor, it takes the pressure off having to send a response citing no interest. Make the sales journey for each prospect positive, no matter the stage at which they want to dip out. 

Rule 7: Follow up thoughtfully

Email prospecting isn’t a one-and-done way of reaching prospects. As part of your prospecting cadence, you must employ timely and thoughtful follow-ups from your initial message. Show appreciation for their time, enquire about any thoughts or questions, and offer additional value based on their responses. 

Consistency in communication demonstrates your dedication and keeps your brand front of mind without being spammy and intrusive. Here’s how you can construct the perfect follow-up email.

Prospecting with Sopro – no spam present

To answer the original question posed – is email prospecting spammy? – the simple answer is no. So long as you deploy some of the golden rules outlined above. To avoid the spam trope and any damage to your reputation, thoughtful, personalised communication needs to lead the way. 

It’s vital to centre all content around relevance, value and respect in your outbound communication strategies. This will foster meaningful connections, drive conversions and establish your brand as a trusted authority. 

Need a little help? Worried about your communications being dubbed as spam? If you want to get engaged responses and generate leads, it might be time to consider our multi-channel prospecting service.

We’ve been offering prospecting as a service for longer than anyone in the UK. It’s all we do. And we love it. If you’ve got questions, we’ve written some answers to your prospecting FAQs.

Our dedicated team of experts who research your industry and prospective clients can strategically position your offering and ensure that all communications represent your brand, fostering trust and keeping you out of that spam folder!

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