📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Cold Email Studio

Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Ahrefs 🙌

Ever since going through Blogging For Business, I've been a massive fan. In fact, they're one of the companies I feature in Marketing Like A Media Company with their top-notch blog, YouTube channel, media personalities, and more.

You know I'm a massive fan of SEO. It's the only source of free, recurring traffic for SaaS companies. And Ahrefs is the essential tool to build and scale SEO for your company. Even if you're completely new to SEO, you can start by creating a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account and get a full website audit that'll tell you how to improve as well as which keywords to rank for. Check out their latest keyword data update. 🤯

This is The First $1k MRR (& Beyond), a series about how founders got traction for their startups, told by the founders themselves.

Product: Cold Email Studio

Website: https://coldemail.studio

Founder(s): Andrew Pierno

Launched: November 2020

Current MRR range: $10k – $100k

What does Cold Email Studio do?

Cold Email Studio does cold email as a service. It’s a productized service for VC backed startups looking to scale their outbound cold email efforts. We either take over the entire top-of-funnel for founders or help fill out the top-of-funnel so highly paid sales people can focus on qualified leads as opposed to lead gen.

How did you get the first $1k MRR for Cold Email Studio?

There were 3 things that existed before I started trying to sell the product. The landing page, the domain, and our hook (which hasn’t changed) which is “cold email as a service”.

I made all of this copy up based on some previous experience and then created a short loom video showing me scrolling through the home page talking about the service.

Here is the exact landing page I built in about two hours.

Notice the tacky self quote… it’s somewhat compelling, but still. I didn’t have anyone to quote and so quoted myself on why I thought the service should exist 🤣.

Now that I had a “product” (again, just a landing page) I needed to figure out who to target. There was a recent list of YC companies (check out https://ycdb.co) that had just come out and so I thought, hey, 'they would be a good market for this, why don’t I try them first'. I easily grabbed 100 or so founders and just individually messaged them with a very straight forward email. I didn’t even use a tool, just gmail, and copy-paste.

I sent out 10 of these and in the first 30 minutes, I had 2 meetings booked. Yes it was for a free offer, but at least I could get people interested via cold email. Never in my life had I felt such a strong product-market fit. To this day, this service reminds me what real product market fit feels like. You know it when you have it. If it’s not abundantly clear that customers are desperate for your solution, you ain’t there yet.

P.S. I still had to hop on the phone and convince them I was the real deal.

In hindsight, this offer was compelling. There was some urgency (choosing 4 out of 10 companies), and they had nothing to lose by saying yes.

In two weeks I had a full roster of people I was performing the service for (for free). That was it. I knew I had something within two weeks. It had the right message to the right audience at the right time. Most of which was luck. Of course I had to deliver on the service (and I did a bang up job for these first customers!).

After the initial free offers, I used the same list (YC founders) and instead of doing it for free, I started charging $500, then $1,000, then $1,500. Same exact pitch, just different price. Each time I increased the price, I grandfathered in older customers. We're still in that process of raising prices and still don't have much price objection. Eventually, each customer was put on a stripe subscription to auto-renew and they were effectively buying “credits” for the number of people we’d send out to on a monthly basis.

I finally put the sequence into a tool called MixMax to enable some better metrics on our outbound campaign performance.

If your outbound campaigns don’t have these crazy high open + response rates, don’t worry, out of the 3 companies I’ve bootstrapped passed $25k MRR, none of the others even came close to this!

We rode this process of emailing YC founders with this exact email offering (just changing the prices) to $10k MRR.

How have you scaled Cold Email Studio beyond $1k MRR?

  1. Continue to send cold emails (pausing only when we hit max capacity)
  2. Started getting referrals from other YC companies. (we crushed it for several of them and brought in large customers)
  3. We were somehow featured in a course on cold emailing
  4. Had one post on Indie Hackers go semi-viral that led to a Failory interview that also got us customers.

YC is an insular group. But once you’re kind of “inner circle”, it’s just a bunch of founders down to help each other. One company in particular (unprompted by me) added Cold Email Studio to BookFace (YC’s internal group) and wrote a nice review about us. We started getting referrals like crazy. To the point where we had to stop taking new people on and staggering their start dates.

We’re now currently at $30k MRR though sometimes in a month we can collect up to $50k with quarterly subscriptions. 70% of our book of business consists of YC companies. Most of those were referred to us by another YC founder. At this point, we have so many YC logos on our site, we can almost guarantee a new YC customer can chat with someone they know or have heard of. It’s a blessing and a curse, if we do well the referrals keep coming, but if we don’t perform, our whole golden goose could be at risk.

I still consider us as having never done any marketing. Sure we’ve done a ton of outbound, but I think we can still double from here just using the channel we know best … cold email!

For the record, we’ve done like 100 campaigns now and I can say for a fact that cold email can still lead to sales. It’s a low response channel, but if it’s not part of your mix, you’re missing out.

p.s. do you want 2023 to be your best year of growth yet? Let's make that ARR chart go up and to the right. Check out the Swipe Files membership →

Thanks again to our featured sponsors:

  1. Agorapulse: “The Zappos of social media management platforms” helps you plan, schedule, and report on your social presence.
  2. Ahrefs: Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free SEO toolset to help you build backlinks, improve your site, and rank for keywords.
  3. The Juice: “Spotify for marketing & sales content” to discover blogs, podcasts, and videos to help you grow your business.
  4. 42/Agency: My #1 recommended demand generation agency for SaaS to help you drive demos and signups.
  5. Supermetrics: Get all your marketing data into your reporting tool of choice. Push data from 70+ integrations into Google Data Studio, Sheets, and more.

0 of 5
You're just 5 referrals away from unlocking 50% Off
Next Reward
50% Off
Share with 5 friends and become a Swipe Files member for just $150 (normally $299) or get 50% off your next year if you're already a member.
Unlocked Rewards
50% Off
Free Year
Free for Life

Key phrases

Older messages

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Reform

Friday, November 18, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Supermetrics 🙌 ​ What if I told you there was a way to get back days of work every month? Robust reporting requires an insane amount of integrations

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Transistor

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by 42/Agency 🙌 ​ ​ When you're in scale-up mode and you have KPIs to hit... the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups. And it's a lot to

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): NutritioApp

Saturday, November 12, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by The Juice 🙌 ​ You're gonna love this... The Juice is essentially Spotify for marketing & sales content. If you're anything like me and

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Outseta

Thursday, November 10, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Agorapulse 🙌 ​ You can tell a lot about a company based on its customer support practices. Zappos is famous for going to extremes for its customers,

📂 The First $1k MRR (& Beyond): Cartfuel

Sunday, November 6, 2022

​ ​ ​ Today's newsletter is proudly supported by Ahrefs 🙌 ​ Ever since going through Blogging For Business, I've been a massive fan. In fact, they're one of the companies I feature in

The promise and the peril of ChatGPT

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

The AI era is dawning — are any of us ready? PLUS: The Twitter Files ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Growth KPIs & Company OKRs: Combining The Two

Monday, December 5, 2022

Weekly Curated content from GrowthHackers Community GrowthHackers Newsletter What's new? LinkedIn Announces New Features for Company Pages Read Lensa AI climbs the App Store charts as its '

This Week at YC: Talking to Your Users

Monday, December 5, 2022

We often say "Talk to your users." But actually doing that is surprisingly tricky. This Week at YC December 5, 2022 🗣 Actually talking to users is surprisingly tricky In his talk for Startup

Top 10 Posts of 2022

Monday, December 5, 2022

Tomasz Tunguz Venture Capitalist If you were forwarded this newsletter, and you'd like to receive it in the future, subscribe here.​ ​Top 10 Posts of 2022​ These are the top 10 posts by engagement

🔥 PromptShake, Testkit, Qualetics, Klotho, Control your career

Monday, December 5, 2022

Today's Trending Products and Posts. PromptShake Seamless prompt engineering solution View Qualetics The Data Intelligence Platform for Software Applications View HIDUKO - Control your career!

💪 Day 5: Get “Buff” in just minutes a day!

Monday, December 5, 2022

Freelancember Day 5 It's the Principle of the Matter Sane scheduling means building “buffer space” into your workday. If you find yourself booking back-to-back consultation sessions... work periods

🦄 Atmos: Build your dream home

Monday, December 5, 2022

Atmos gives you the tools to plan and construct your ideal home. Its platform is an end-to-end home construction service. It starts with a land plot selector, where buyers can choose from hundreds of

Today's Digest: My Best Marketing Advice to Startups + How To

Monday, December 5, 2022

Your Indie Hackers community digest for December 5th ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Auto Intro Magic

Monday, December 5, 2022

Introducing Auto Intros on Seedscout. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

No constraints, no startup

Monday, December 5, 2022

Why there's nothing quite like working at a startup ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌