Why We Set Out To Be The Best Cold Email Agency

When we started Nerdy Joe, we had no intention of offering lead generation or cold email as a service. Our main focus was to help e-commerce and SaaS businesses boost their revenue through email marketing. 

But as our client roster grew, something happened…

Most of our clients started complaining about their current lead generation agencies and how they were losing money. Given our proven email marketing results, we started getting requests to expand our services to lead generation.

Usual complaints we were getting from clients include:

  • “We’re stuck in a 6 month contract and we’re not getting results.”
  • “Our cold email agency charges $3,000 per month and we have no idea what the promise is.”
  • “The quality of the leads we’re getting is subpar and it’s literally a waste of time for our sales people.”
  • “Many people have been lately complaining about our outbound emails on social media.”

We then discussed internally to weigh in the pros and cons and ultimately decided to offer cold email as a service. 

But instead of doing what everyone else was doing. We decided to follow a strategic approach and be result-oriented. 

We used our strategy to get:

  • Multiple $24,000/year clients for our content marketing agency.
  • Multiple guest blogging placements for our clients on blogs like Mailshake, Coschedule, Hunter.io, Appsumo, etc.
  • $300k+ in the sales pipeline for one of our agency clients.

Below, we discuss how our cold email marketing agency is different from what you’ll see in the market.

Note: Struggling to get replies or book meetings with prospects that fit in your ICP? We’ll help you get 6 SQLs or book 6 meetings with prospects that are ready to buy for only $999/month. Book a 15-minute consultation nowhttps://tidycal.com/bogore/15-minute-meeting.

Why Most Cold Email Agencies You Work With Fail To Deliver 

From our experience, there are four main reasons why most agencies fail to generate highly qualified leads.

Most agencies think cold email is a number’s game

There is a common belief that the more people you can target with your outbound lead generation, the more opportunity you have — ergo, you can convert exponentially. 

Tons are the self-proclaimed cold email experts out there who sacrifice quality in the name of scalability.

Well, the result just comes out being a fiasco. 

  • 1000 emails sent a day with a template subject line
  • 300 trigger spam filters.
  • 12% open rate.
  • Only 1 person is interested. 
  • Client’s sender’s reputation gets damaged.

The problem is that targeting a huge prospects list sucks away the time you need to properly research your prospects and create email copy that is tailored to their individual traits and touches on their pain points. 

Simply because you target 3000 people doesn’t guarantee you will convert more than someone who targets specific and handpicked target prospects. 

From our experience, when you create a cold campaign, write beautiful emails, and target 200, or 100 people at the same time, you get zero results out of the campaigns. 

And the few responses were all big fat “NOs” or “Please don’t reach out to me anymore”. Not always this respectfully, but you know the drill.

Successful cold email senders have a small, specifically-defined target group per campaign. A high-quality list of contacts makes your email reply and conversion rates skyrocket. 

Case in point, Andrei Zinkevich, Co-Founder of Fullfunel.io, reached out to a select list of 30 qualified high-ticket B2B service providers in a well-defined niche. 

Prior to the campaign launch, Andrei took the time and conducted proper research, warmed up his accounts, and only then did he send personalized proposals. 

Andrei’s campaign had a 37% response rate (12 out of 30 accounts responded) and a 20% success rate (2 deals closed out of the 12 accounts that responded). In total, it was a $300,000 revenue. That’s an average of $150,000 per account. 

Most agencies report on open rate and clickthrough rate and not on the metrics that matter

It’s not easy to get people to open your cold emails. 

In fact, a significant part of your strategy with cold email is getting your prospects to open your emails. One could even argue that it’s the most critical part of the entire cold email campaign

But that doesn’t make it a success per se when prospects open your cold emails. 

The open rate is merely an email campaign metric, not a marketing outcome, and that’s why it makes little sense to report it. 

The open rate only informs how many of your cold emails have been opened. It’s a metric you should refer to improve your cold email tactics to ensure better engagement for future campaigns. 

You can have 100% percent of your prospects open your cold emails and still have 0% reply and conversion rates — zero leads generated for your business. 

Think about it like content marketing. Simply because your content is generating a ton of traffic doesn’t mean it is converting. 

Yet, that’s what most outbound lead gen agencies report on — leaving their clients empty-handed with no ROI whatsoever. 

As a business owner or marketing executive, you want to work with agencies that understand metrics that matter for your business. 

For instance, if you’re a B2B company, your b2b lead generation agency should report on metrics like the number of b2b leads generated month over month or the number of appointments set on a monthly basis.

If you’re a digital marketing agency, your cold email agency should report on the number of sales meetings they book for you, not your campaign open rate.

Most agencies have a bias toward what conversion is

If you’ve done business with one or two cold email marketing services, you know there are four types of agencies:

  • Agencies that charge their clients based on the number of emails they send or the number of contacts they put in your list.
  • Agencies that charge you a monthly fee and promise you’ll get the best leads ever but never deliver on their promise.
  • Agencies that call everyone who’s downloaded an ebook or PDF  a LEAD and charge you for that.
  • Agencies that charge based on the number of QUALIFIED leads they generate for your sales team.

The one thing the top three types of cold email agencies have in common is that they all have a bias towards what conversion is. 

At Nerdy Joe, we believe that the number #1 pain point of a company that needs help with cold email is that they’re simply not growing at the rate they want and need LEADS. 

So, every cold email agency should only take pride in reporting on metrics that matter — not vanity metrics like how many cold emails they sent, open rate, bounce rate, clickthrough rate, etc. 

Metrics they should lead with include: 

  • Number of positive replies
  • Number of meetings booked
  • Lead to close rate.

For instance, if you want to work with an agency to increase the number of guest posts your team gets per month, they should report on:

  • The number of YES they get from editors. 
  • The number of positive replies they get.
  • And the number of high domain authority websites you get mentions from on a monthly basis.

If you’re a B2B company selling to accountants, they should only charge you for the number of appointments they set for your sales teams. What conversion means should depend on your company’s goal and what outcome matters the most to you.

Most agencies force you into a 3-month contract with no result guarantee

If you’ve worked with one or two digital marketing agencies in the past, you know it’s common that they require you to commit to 3-month or 6-month contract.

Simply because, “it takes time to get results.” 

The caveat with this model is that it gives the agency some flexibility in terms of revenue, and they don’t feel the pressure to deliver on their promise. 

So, you end up being stuck in a contract where you lose money on a recurring basis with no guaranteed results. 

Why We Set Out To Be The Best Cold Email Agency?

With the shortcomings we identified, we had the basis of a cold email strategy to offer a service that generates results and stands out from the competition. 

We felt that if we could address every single of the above issues, we would genuinely have one of the best cold email agencies around.

So, here’s how we’re solving the problems.

We deeply research and personalize our campaigns

At Nerdy Joe; we have a three-pronged approach to doing research for each campaign.

Understanding your product and offer through a situational analysis

The first step is to understand your product and company. Essentially, we seek to understand what you sell and how you wrap it and present it to your target customers. 

Next, we will seek to understand your company and the things that matter to you as a brand. 

We also embark on a market and situation analysis to identify the businesses and the potential blockers we are going up against. 

Questions we ask to have a better understanding of your company and offer are:

  • What pain point is your product or service selling?
  • What situations are your prospect avoiding when they come to you?
  • What happens when they don’t act on that situation
  • Which prospect was the easiest to close?
  • Which was the hardest to close?
  • What’s your lead-to-close rate?
  • What have you done to improve your lead-to-close rate? How did that impact your results?
  • Which type of client has the highest lifetime value? Why?
  • Which type of client churns the fastest?

The goal is to ensure we fully understand what you offer, how you offer it, the target audience, how your offer impacts their lifestyle, your competitors, and more. 

Understanding your ideal customer profiles through lead scoring and qualification

At the beginning of the engagement, when we ask most of our new customers who’s your ICP, we often get results like:

  • Our ideal companies are SaaS companies
  • We target e-commerce businesses

When we’re lucky, we get more specific answers like:

  • Our ICP is B2B SaaS companies that IPOed 
  • Our ICP is man fashion e-commerce businesses

Still, it’s not enough data to run a highly targeted and personalized campaign. That’s why we ask questions to really understand who you’re targeting, which type of customers are beneficial to you, and which we shouldn’t go after.

We ask questions like:

  • What’s the story behind your company?
  • What type of pain points are you trying to solve?
  • What are the top 3 objections you hear from prospective clients during sales calls?
  • How do you address these objections?
  • Tell us about a time when you worked with a company that fit the criteria, and still, things didn’t go as planned.
  • Etc.

The answers to these questions help us know precisely who to target and why. And this type of information makes the difference between: 

“We’re targeting series A tech companies,”


“Our ICP is a VP of Sales at a b2b software company selling to HR professionals, and his main pain points are lack of organization, time management, and team collaboration. He often refers to XYZ podcasts to get insights as to how to manage his team efficiently.”

Once we have a clear understanding of who the ICP is, we proceed to manually build our list, and that’s what we use to run our lead generation campaigns. 

Understanding who each prospect in the list is and personalizing each email

Since we are sending unsolicited emails and the prospects know very little about the sender, it only makes sense that we break the ice before getting to the subject of the matter. 

Icebreakers are a great place to research your prospects and personalize your message to the specific reader and connect with them from the beginning. But there is more to icebreakers than just that.

Here is a cold emailing lesson that we’ve learned over the years: 

  • Most people always have their guard up when it comes to unsolicited marketing materials in their inbox. 
  • For most of your recipients, your cold emails will feel like just another pitch from a salesperson. 

So, we strongly believe in having a strong, personalized, and persuasive email opening and that’s what using icebreakers is all about. 

Using icebreakers allows us to make our emails feel less like marketing and gives the recipient something interesting to chew on or to relate to so that we can hook them before jumping into the heart of the matter. 

How do we do it? I’m so glad you asked. 

First thing about us, we don’t use client data when running lead generation or cold email campaigns. And unlike most lead generation companies, we don’t rely on data intelligence tools such as ZoomInfo or Lusha.

We don’t trust these data sources because they only aggregate technographic and demographic data. I mean, you cannot actually make your prospects feel unique with that type of data. 

For example, using these tools, it’s easy to find data regarding companies that: 

  • Are in the accounting software industry, 
  • Have 30 to 65 employees,
  • Are series B-funded companies,
  • Are in Europe,
  • Use Slack or Digital Ocean as part of their tech stack.
  • Have a ping pong table at the office. 

The problem with this data is that it can only serve to craft obvious personalized icebreakers like:

We don’t want to come across as basic or boring, so we go further down with personalization. We make use of psychographic data and other types of data. 

And that’s how we go from 

Icebreaker A: Hope this email finds you well. I know your company uses bla bla bla.


Icebreaker B: I just watched your interview with John Jane, and I love your take on how businesses can double their income by aligning the marketing and sales departments. I, too, believe the best sales happen when marketing and sales teams can get together to discuss customer needs. 

Random opening lines simply won’t cut it. Success with icebreakers lies in relevance and details. 

So, where do we get information about each prospect or member of your target audience we use for personalization?

Here is how.

  • We listen to podcasts your potential customers have been on.
  • We read blog posts they wrote. 
  • We read their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon posts.
  • We read discussions on forums they’re in.
  • We call their mom. 😂

Using this aggregated data, we find unique angles that we use to craft personalized first lines or icebreakers.

Here’s what it looks like in real life. I pitched CoSchedule’s Head of Content, Ben Sailer, and asked him if I could write for them.

Here’s what he replied 1 hour later.

Here is another successful example from a similar strategy.

As you can see from both screenshots, the cold emails sent to the prospects were so compelling that they couldn’t help but acknowledge it before offering to hire us.

We send emails that are respectful of your brand’s, and domain reputation

Simply go on Twitter and check what type of advice or strategies most self-proclaimed lead generation experts are chanting.

Most people believe that you need to create and send 1000 emails daily to get the results you want (i.e., success is a matter of volume). 

Well, this tactic probably works for some companies, but it certainly guarantees the following:

  • Both ESPs and ISPs will flag your email and IP addresses as spammers.  
  • You’ll kill your company’s reputation and get a bad rap on social media. 
  • The quality of the leads you get will be subpar. 
  • Your domain will face severe deliverability issues.

At Nerdy Joe, we spend time learning about your ideal customer profile (ICP) in and out before we send a single email.

This is because we want each recipient to feel like you know them and wonder why you didn’t cross their paths months ago.

We also do that because we don’t want to send 1000 emails to get 4 meetings booked. 

Our ideal scenario is that we send 20 well-crafted emails, get 15 replies, 10 positives, and get you 4 sales-qualified meetings.

Now, don’t get this wrong. By personalization, we mean we make each email relatable and timely. We don’t just add [[First name]] and other variables to the email subject lines. 

Just for some context on how this works for us, here’s an example of a reply I received as I reached out to a Global VP of Marketing, but the timing wasn’t great. 

Still, she took the time to reply and communicate an appropriate time when it makes sense to touch base.

Personalization is what makes people who are averse to cold outreach reply to your cold email.

Here’s an example where we reached out to a VP of Marketing who has historically blocked or reported SPAM to anyone who’s sent him a cold email.

Here’s another example where we pitched a Head of Marketing, and here’s the response. 

Contrary to what these gurus suggest, most of our cold email campaigns are run towards 10 or 15 people, not 1000.

That’s because we simply believe that the best sales strategy is to build trust and relationships. That’s why most of the responses we get are:

  • “Wow, such a nice email.”
  • “Thank you for the nice words and compliment.”
  • “Let’s catch up next Thursday.”
  • “Ernest, love your email. Can you follow up on the 25th?” 

Also, know that our email sequences are designed based on different segments and customer engagement events. (We move prospects to different segments based on their engagement with previous emails). 

We charge you for the results and don’t require you to commit to a 3-month contract

Most cold outreach agencies charge:

  • Per the number of emails they send.
  • Per the number of prospects they put on your list.
  • Based on set-up fees.

That’s because most of these agencies are not confident they will get you the results you need to break even. 

At Nerdy Joe, we believe that great cold emails should yield instant results. So we don’t ask our clients to sign a 3-month or 6-month contract. 

Our pricing structure is flexible, allowing you to pay depending on your budget and needs, and you only renew if you’re satisfied. 

Moreover, you only pay based on the number of leads you get for us. So, for instance, if you choose our Boss mode plan, we only charge you $999 for 6 meetings booked per month or 6 hot leads per month.

We have a 30-day money-back guarantee 

We’re probably the only cold email agency out there that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means if we fail to deliver on our promise, you will get your money back.

Here’s the typical scenario. If you pay $999 for 6 meetings per month, that means 1 lead = $165. So, if we were only able to get you 4 leads, you can either:

  • Get $165 back for the 1 meeting target we missed.
  • Or give us some more time to get you the remaining 1 meeting.

And if we totally fail to get you the 6 leads you signed up for, you’ll be refunded. 

Sit Back And Let Us Handle Your Cold Email or Lead Generation For You

There are tons of cold emailing and lead generation service providers out there that offer bulk email and sending volume as part of their stack. If that’s what you care for, Nerdy Joe is not for you.

But if what you want is a lead generation agency that:

  • Only charges you for results — instead of charging you for every cold email campaign or the jobs to be done.
  • Sends you high-quality leads consistently.
  • Sends email with your domain and brand reputation in mind.
  • Helps you better understand your ICP and get granular.
  • Gives you a money-back guarantee.

Then Nerdy Joe is the cold email marketing service that you need.

Get 3 – 5 meetings every week

We can fill your calendar with 3- 5 meetings every week. Just tell us who is your ideal customer, and we’ll get you meetings with them.

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