Cold emailing and inbound lead nurturing are very different strategies from each other. So different, in fact, that you might need to use a different tool for each strategy.
Considering inbound lead nurturing
Inbound lead nurturing is the “default” digital strategy behind most modern marketing automation systems, such as(for smaller businesses) and (medium+ sized businesses). It assumes a lead has come to your website by their own accord and has given you permission to send them something. For example, through submitting their email address through a form, enabling you to follow up with them through email.
Because of the nature of this exchange, open rates for these emails tend to be good. People are expecting an email from you, after all. And since they submitted their own email address it’s unlikely that the email address will cause emails you send to it to bounce or otherwise not reach the owner’s inbox.
Most marketing automation platforms are protective of the reputation of their email servers. After all, if these reputations go down, fewer emails sent by platform users will actually reach inboxes. Lessening the effectiveness of the platform in question significantly (what good is email nurturing if no one even sees your emails, because they’re all ending up in spam folders?).
Considering cold emailing
Whereas “inbound” implies permission, the very essence of “cold” emailing is that you’re sending something out there which the receiver did not ask for. The way this usually goes that you’ll acquire a list (through purchasing or otherwise) and you send out a message in bulk.
Chances are a lot of email addresses in your list will be outdated. A lot of emails sent will bounce. And since no one asked for that email, it’s highly likely it won’t be opened and read by whomever receives it.
What’s worse, Google (and other email providers across the globe) is getting better and better at detecting unsolicited email. It’s increasingly likely Google will have your email end up in the spam folder, instead of in the recipients inbox.
Because the response to your email is likely to be small and often negative, sending it will cause harm to the email server’s reputation and associated IP address. As I mentioned, most marketing automation vendors will closely monitor your email performance levels. If they start getting too many spam complaints and bounces, it’s likely that you will be cut off. The reason for this is simple – to protect other customers from the damage you are causing.
Which tool for cold emailing or inbound lead nurturing?
In summary, if you’re looking for a tool that supports both strategies, it’ll be tough. I don’t know of any. If you’re primary looking to do permission-based marketing, then the tools I mentioned earlier are a good start.
If it’s cold emailing you’re after, look for vendors that focus on emailing and are not afraid of email reputation – and have ways of fixing said reputation through various technical applications.
In the long run, however, I wouldn’t bet on cold emailing on being effective. In the short run it can be a great way to figure out your messaging and test its effectiveness on a larger scale.
I first answered this question on Quora: