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STEP 1, CONTENT: GHL Cold Email Prospecting Tactics for Beginners

On Tuesday September 28th we published an article discussing Cold Email Prospecting Strategies (click here to read more).

In that strategy article we dispelled some common myths of email prospecting (i.e. it's FREE, it's EASY, etc.) In that article and corresponding email, we also mentioned that we will be sharing tactical HOW TO information over time.

This article is step 1 of the HOW TO'S, planning your email prospecting content. In this article, and subsequent tactical articles I will be sharing step-by-step instructions on how to kick off an email prospecting campaign ... AND ... I will be documenting my process as I build out my own email prospecting campaigns, hence this series is an opportunity for me to document and standardize our process.

As you read through this article please do not lose sight of the objective - COLD EMAIL PROSPECTING BEST PRACTICES, which are completely different than email marketing to list of people that already know you (warm email marketing).

PLEASE NOTE: The two most important pillars of email prospecting are; 1) Deliverability, and 2) Content. These two can be worked on in parallel, though I'm publishing content suggestions first. The next article, STEP 2, will discuss deliverability and be published either Friday Oct 1st or Mon Oct 4th.


Content, in this context, is not only the copy required for emails (email body, email subject, etc.) but any collateral content including, but not limited to; video, audio, blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, etc. Remember, email prospecting is COLD, recipients have no clue who you are and one of the first objectives is to build credibility, authority, trust, and relationships with your audience.


Humor me, and you, for a minute. One simple yet SUPER effective exercise to get ourselves into the proper mindset is ... well, first get a piece of pen and piece of paper, or even open a draft document/email and then;


After you write this down, set it aside and revisit again tomorrow and ask yourself; "Is this really a problem I solve, or is it a component to a larger problem that we solve." (aka feature vs. benefit)

This one simple exercise will ultimately be SO helpful, not only for email prospecting but for communication and content as a whole. This exercise will help you discern your benefits from your features!


Personalize your subject lines! If you are a GHL agencies or user, do not forget you can use dynamic content in the subject line, just like you can in the body. Common personalization tactics include inserting recipients name, business names, etc. You can also leverage; 1) geography (i.e. "Tips to Google Getting Results in {{}}", 2) competition and/or psychology (i.e. "Ever wonder how {{contact.competitor1}} is Generating Leads?", etc. Below we scratch the surface on D7 Lead Finder, premium D7 subscriptions give you POWERFUL data points, these data points be leveraged in subject lines, i.e. "{{contact.google_rating}} for {{contact.google_reviews}} - How to Get MORE and Higher Quality Ratings."

The image below is from a campaign we ran in the fall of 2020. The campaign was split test, with and without competitors in the subject line. The difference in performance was staggering, ZERO results without the competitors and 2-3% cold optin rate with the competitors.

NOTE: We pulled local lists of attorneys in 3 major metro areas, then we populated our sheet that we uploaded with the name of the attorneys that had the highest GMB rankings, we uploaded the names of the top GMB attorneys in {{contact.competitor1}} and {{contact.competitor2}} fields. 


You basically have 3-7 seconds and 1-2 sentences to earn the captivity of the person reading the email. So, how do you best capture the interest of the reader in one sentence?

First (and perhaps most important) thing is that the first sentence should support the subject line. If your subject line topic is about Leads or Lead Generation and your first sentence is about a CRM system this will inevitably fail. As per the strategy article we published, one effective tactic is to ask a pain problem (problem statement) question in the first sentence.

"Ever wonder, how the F*** is {{contact.competitor1}} getting more business than me from Google?"

This is a KILLER question to ask and you don't have to use F*** 🙂 I considered the times (probably hundreds of times) clients have called and asked questions, specifically asked about their competition and asked how they are getting "so much business from Google", this is a VERY telling signal! For me personally, this is true for Attorneys, Car Insurance, HVAC, Electricians, Headstones and Monuments, basically ANY local business.

First thing to understand is that it's purely 100% psychology. Inevitably, the person on the other end of the conversation is emotionally motived by "The Fear of Missing Out." Many, most, if not all these conversations are driven in large part because the business owner was told directly or indirectly by a 3rd party, some examples; (indirectly) "Bob at ABC Company is getting all kinds of business from Google leads" or (directly) "Hey {name}, my business is KILLING it with Google Leads. I just purchased a brand new {insert some fancy expensive truck here}."

  • Once you understand motivation and psychology, the next step is beginning a relationship with the email recipient that indeed you can solve the problem. When it comes to explaining your problem solution, it VERY important to remembering to explain How You Catch Mice, Not How the Mousetrap Works - We have all heard it a MILLION TIMES -> discuss benefits and value, not features.

-> BONUS <- Years ago, a bank manager for a regional bank in Michigan shared with me their sales training manual (don't tell anyone). It was the best sales training I ever saw! In that manual, they listed the 6 Benefits (I since added a 7th) of Sales and WHY PEOPLE SPEND MONEY!

The 7 Benefits, People Spend Money To ...

  • Make money (401k's)
  • Save money (replace an old car)
  • Save time (hire an assistant)
  • Have Peace of Mind (insurance)
  • Do It Different (software)
  • Convenience  (fast food)
  • Live the Dream (send kids to college, purchase expensive sports vehicles, etc.) -> This one the one I added!

I could literally ramble on forever here, important things to understand while writing your body copy;

  • Perception is Reality - When communicating your credentials, be honest but at the same time understand you may only have one chance to attract attention. You can be the most skilled person in the world at your craft, but if recipients don’t perceive you as a subject matter expert, you lose your opportunity.

  • Be Genuine - In an age of technology and openness, you have to be genuine. If by chance you catch the interest of someone and they have NO CLUE who you are, social media and search engines give that person incredible tools to research YOU. Make sure your internet and media (social media) content support who you are and what you do.

  • Positioning - Everybody is an expert at everything, especially when it comes to the digital space. You are competing against EVERYONE, make sure you have a USP (unique selling proposition) and you position yourself as the expert that you are.

  • Realistic Objectives - Time and time again, digital professionals attempt prospecting with unrealistic expectations. The objective is to create an opening for AN OPPORTUNITY to 1) build a relationship and then 2) do business. If your objective of prospecting is to only 2) do business, you WILL LOSE. 

  • Understand Psychology - With an emphasis on “Perception is Reality”, you absolutely must understand the prospect's problem (pain) and have a solution. Fear of missing out, keeping up with the Jones’s, Fear of Failure, and Uncertainty are just a few of the psychological tactics to play on.

  • It’s a Numbers Game - (Baseball Analogy), you do NOT hit a home run every time you have an at bat, matter of fact the average major league baseball player only gets a hit 25% of the time. That does not mean they don’t give 100% to every plate appearance, it simply means that a major league baseball player has to understand and accept failure as part of the job. A bad at bat should not affect the next at bat, each at bat is unique and different. You NEED AS MANY AT BATS AS POSSIBLE TO GET YOUR HITS AND HOME RUNS!

  • Split Test & Don’t Be Afraid to Cry Uncle - Don’t get too emotionally attached to your content! If something does not work, stick a fork in it and move on. I have maintained a blog for nearly 10 years ( - I just checked, my SSL cert expired and hopefully by time this article is published I will have a new cert!). Some of my favorite and most thoroughly researched/written articles were complete duds and some of my least favorite get incredible traffic and results. The best article (most traffic) I ever did was a copy / paste job -> “How to embed responsive YouTube videos on a website.” Since it was a copy/paste job (someone else's content), ego dictated that I was not too fond of this article, afterall it was not my hard work! But, it proved HUGELY successful. Another successful article, “What Happens to a Facebook Live Video When It’s Done?”. I really did not have fun writing that article but have learned it’s an FAQ!


Split testing is critical, having comparables is critical. I have two email prospecting campaigns running right now; 1) non-profit and 2) political candidates, political organizations, and political organizations. Focusing, for a minute, on political candidates one incredibly important thing I have learned -> The PAIN and PROBLEM across the board for political candidates is WINNING - LOL, yep seems simple and common sense.

Resorting back to the content suggestions above (specifically communicating catching mice vs communicating the mousetrap), in general professionals in the political space only care about winning (catching mice) and do not give a crap about the mousetrap! If you can catch mice and prove you can catch mice (help a candidate win) they will do business with you. I am constantly adjusting my email content to discuss catching mice (winning) vs. the mousetrap (system, SMS, MMS, etc.)

Now, within the context of  the primary problem (winning) there are other problems and pain points I have identified. These other secondary pain points are a function of interpreting data  AND being engaged with our audience, i.e. asking questions! Some FYI, the other pain point in my case is; “How to become more engaged and win over more young people, professionals, and students.” The same can certainly be said for your audience as well, there are primary pain points and there are secondary pain points, learn those pain points and leverage them!


A GREAT PLACE TO START, keep your website and your blog up to date with fresh and relevant content. You can place links in emails for further reading. Use your email as an excerpt for the full content and full details. That said, you need to have enticing excerpts in your email to persuade people to click through to read more.

There are too many benefits to collateral to mention here but I will do my best to describe what those benefits are!

(LITTLE KNOWN SECRET), I am a physics junkie! 🙂 That said, I watch a lot of physics and physical science documentaries and do some independent study. One common topic in nuclear physics, specifically for nuclear reactors, is a POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOK.

A positive change in one direction causes additional positive change in the same direction.

Collateral content is, indeed, a Positive Feedback Loop! If you document your content not only in emails but also publicly for the rest of the world to see on a blog … AND … you have a subscription (optin) on your public content, you will not only; A) get positive change in the direction of email engagement, you will B) capture additional readers and attention that will continuously feed your email prospecting and marketing.

You have nothing to lose, except a little bit of time, and everything to gain by simply documenting your content publicly.

Here is one silly and easy to understand example. Let’s say you are like me and you have published hundreds or even thousands of emails and newsletters over the years. Then, someone out of the clear blue reaches out to you and says something like; “Hey, remember that email you sent about Chatbot automation, can you send me that info again?” … or … “Hi, I was talking with {someone} and they said you have some information on {some topic}. Can you send it to me?”

BINGO - This has happened too many times to count! The objective of email prospecting (and marketing) has been achieved; 1) you have a relationship, 2) you appealed to someone, somewhere, that you have a solution to a problem, 3) you left a positive impression.

In cases like this, it’s INFINITELY easier to send someone to a web page, blog, or article, than to dig up an old email or newsletter.

One last point for email body content best practices. The higher in the funnel you are, or the lesser number of emails a recipient has received/opened/read, the more you should be GIVING and the less you should be TAKING. 

Remember from the first article; "Don't try to hit a home run on the first date." Simply put, add value to the life and experience of the recipient, empower them with intelligence or information that makes them think and feel; "WOW, this person knows what they are talking about. I got to learn more about them." Address their problems and their pain points in your content. Give free advice. Offer FREEMIUM solutions. 

The more engaged recipients are with your email, the more likely they are to remember you, the more likely they are to build a relationship with you, the more likely they are to do business with you. Content in and of itself can be a POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOP.


Other examples of collateral content include, but are not limited to;

  • Video

  • Audio

  • eBooks

  • Whitepapers

  • Infographics

Multimedia content (i.e. video and/or audio) are by far the most effective. I like to say, “A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a thousand pictures” … and … if you are math person that means that a video is worth a million (1000 x 1000) words!!! This is probably an embellishment but there is no arguing that video and audio has EXTREME value.

A Helpful Resource

When it comes to content and copy, I have one go to resource! That resource is Charlene Burke at “Search by Burke”. Charlene specializes in COPY and only COPY, only GOOD copy! The foundation of all good content is the copy, whether it’s video, audio, or written you absolutely require solid copy to get the party started. 

Click Here to Learn About Charlene and Search by Burke

Coincidentally, Charlene recently wrote about Email Deliverability 🙂 It’s a GREAT article, easy to understand and written from a slightly lesser technical perspective.

Click Here for Charlene’s Email Deliverability Article


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