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How To Warm Up a Cold Email List

Is your email list super cold? 

Let’s talk about how you can warm up a cold email list and get back in touch, even if it’s been a really long time.

You don’t need to be embarrassed to write to your subscribers because it’s been a long time since they’ve heard from you.

I coach people in midlife to build profitable online businesses.

I’ve worked with people who already have an email list, but inside my Offer Accelerator program, one of the most common questions I get is:

“I haven’t written to my email list in a really long time. What should I do?”

Warm up a cold email list without feeling awkward

I get it. The more time that’s passed, the more you feel awkward about reaching out.

It’s like a weird, vicious circle. The more time passes, the worse you feel about it.

It’s sort of like:

“I’m embarrassed I haven’t emailed, and I don’t email because I’m embarrassed. And then I feel more embarrassed because I haven’t emailed.”

Here are three simple things you can do to warm up a cold email list. 

warm up a cold email list

Tip 1. Show up with a gift

First off, show up with a gift. Give people something, and don’t ask something from them.

Make sure that it’s something useful and will teach them something valuable.

It could be in the form of a worksheet, a tutorial video, a checklist, something that will help them to achieve something that they couldn’t before.

Give them a quick win!

Because the people on your list have already subscribed, don’t ask them to sign up for something else. Make sure you just give it to them as a gift. 

Related: The Best Lead Magnet Ideas to Build an Email List of People Who Can’t Wait to Work with You

Related: How to Create a Lead Magnet in an Afternoon [Start with the Free Template]

Tip 2. Share the person behind the brand 

Whether you have a personal brand or a business brand, I think it’s smart to share a photo of you — the person behind the message.

Give subscribers a brief update about your life — two or three sentences. It doesn’t have to be super long.

Let them know there’s a person behind the brand, and give them a peek into what’s happening with you now.

You want your subscribers to see that there’s a real person behind the email they’re getting from you.

There’s a reason I use the phrase “warm up a cold email list.” It’s the person-to-person connection, even if that connection happens in a customer in box.

Inboxes are very intimate spaces, so you want your email messages to feel personal, and you want them to feel connected to you. 

Tip 3. Keep your email list warmup brief

If you haven’t reached out to your list in a while, it might be tempting to launch into a lengthy explanation about your absence.

Resist the urge.

Keep your reintroduction message brief.

Don’t be that person at the party — you know the one — who corners you and drones on and on about every little thing they’ve done since you last saw each other.

When you want to warm up a cold email list like a pro, keep it brief and consider making this a sequence of emails rather than one long warm-up email.

Just send a few paragraphs in each email, let people know what you’re doing, give them a gift, and get back in touch.

Format your emails for easy reading

Smart formatting makes webpages and blog posts easier to read.

The same principles apply when you’re writing emails.

Subheads, bullets, white space — they all make the content of your emails easy for your readers to consume.

You can apply those principles right now:

Related: 6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page

Bonus: You can use formatting to spruce up your web pages and blog posts, too.

Don’t worry when people unsubscribe

When you warm up a cold email list, you can think of this as a reintroduction AND a little list-cleaning.

People who unsubscribe might not be interested in hearing from you — but it’s not because what you offer doesn’t have value.

They could have any number of things going on in their own lives.

Don’t take it personally.

Focus on the people who keep reading. They’re actively interested in what you have to offer.

Those are the people you want on your list.

Quality over quantity, my friend. If you’re here, you’re not selling low-priced products or services.

Having high-value offers means you don’t need a huge list.

Related: Your Marketing Elimination Diet: How to Lose the Dead Weight and Find Your Best Customers Now

Related: How to Build an Email Marketing Program You Can Be Proud Of

Use an email service provider

You know how much time you can save by scheduling emails.

Organizing your subscribers according to their interests means you can send people content they want and can use.

An email service provider helps with both of those things.

While there are a couple of decent free options, I use a paid service.

People ask me about this all the time, so I’m happy to tell you I’m a ConvertKit customer. That’s my affiliate link, by the way. If you use it to sign up, you get your first month free.

Let’s stay connected

Video is personal.

It’s become an important marketing tool — and can be a real asset for your business.

Seeing the person behind the business is a great way to stay connected.

You’ll be seeing more of me on video — answering questions and sharing information — to help you grow your online business.

To watch my new online business video content the moment it’s published, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is the Chief Marketing Officer at DCS. She’s the creator of the Offer Accelerator Program. Learn more about Pamela’s content marketing books, and read reviews of the tools used to run this site.
Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.


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