Cold Email Prospecting vs. Cold Calling: Which Works Best?

You want to do cold outreach but can’t decide the best way. We’ve all been there. Should you go all-in on cold email prospecting or take a chance on cold calling? It’s an easier choice than you would think.

Being cold gets a bad rap. It’s like the villain of temperatures.

In a study we just made up, nine out of ten people prefer being warm over cold. It’s the reason why an apartment costs roughly one gazillion dollars to rent in Southern California, but you can buy a mansion in North Alaska for $150 and a jar of maple syrup.

But we’re here to tell you being cold is actually a great thing, especially for your business.

Take ice baths, for example.

Dipping your body into a freezing cold tub filled with ice water has shown to:



Now we’re no scientist, but that sounds legit. All thanks to the power of cold.

And if being cold can benefit our bodies, doesn’t it just make sense it could benefit our businesses as well? You know, transitive properties and all that jazz. That’s how science works, right?

It’s the reason why one of our mottos has always been:


TitanGrowth: We’re like an ice bath for your business.


Because here at Titan, we believe in growing brands like you do bodies — with effective cold outreach.


Well, actually, we believe in growing brands by the most effective means possible, be they warm or cold.

But cold outreach usually gets the shaft in most prospecting strategies. Yet, in our look at the differences between cold emailing and marketing emails, we found cold outbound prospecting can often produce better results than warm, inbound marketing.

Moral of the story: Don’t let your love of being warm keep you from the benefits of getting cold.

But we probably don’t need to tell you that.

You’re probably already on board with adding cold prospecting to your marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve already performed some. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.

(You also probably didn’t click on this article to learn how to improve your health by changing your bathing habits. That’s just an extra. You’re welcome. TitanGrowth: We’re like optimization for your body.)

More than likely, you’re here to find out the best method of cold outreach for your business. Are cold call showers the way to go, or is plunging into an icy cold email campaign a better approach?

Let’s strip down, dip our toes in, and find out.

Cold Email Prospecting vs. Cold Calling 101

This is pretty obvious. The difference is right there in their names. One involves sending emails; the other involves making phone calls.

That’s the difference between cold email prospecting and cold calling.

Both target people who either have no clue who you are or have yet to engage with your business. They are the first stage of lead generation when a business reaches out to a prospect without any prior contact. Their primary goals are to raise brand awareness and encourage further contact.

Though, we should note, technically “cold calling” is an umbrella term. It can involve either placing a phone call or knocking on a door.

For our purposes, let’s stick to cold calling being when you dial someone, introduce yourself, and have them promptly hang up in your face.

Why Would Someone Do Outreach via Cold Calls

Cold calling, in the eyes of many sales reps, is more personal than email. The same way calling someone is a little more personal than texting them. That’s because the act of talking person-to-person and hearing one another’s voice is more engaging than sending a message full of words.

A phone call is also harder to ignore.

Just think how easy it is to pretend you never got someone’s text.


Someone: Did you get my text?

You: Oh, you sent me a text? No, never got it. How weird. Must be my phone.


The same goes for email.

Now think about how guilty you feel dodging that same person’s phone calls, and never calling them back.

There’s a reason why face-to-face meetings are always so successful — they create a meaningful connection. While emailing is further removed from forging this bond, calling lies somewhere in the middle, and can leverage an interpersonal connection more than a mere message can.

We perhaps see this best in Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 Rule of Personal Communication, which states:

  • 7% of a message relies on words
  • 38% of a message relies on the sound of a voice
  • 55% of a message relies on facial expression or body language

By that standard, cold calling has a 31% greater chance of effectively communicating your message than an email.

Why Would Someone Do Outreach via Cold Email Prospecting

Cold Email prospecting is an inherently more convenient way to contact people than cold calling. Hands down. Here are the reasons why:

Reason #1: Emailing is easier and less stressful

You tell us, what’s easier? Calling your mom to tell her you won’t be home for Thanksgiving or sending a quick message?

Reason #2: Emailing is less intrusive

On average, sales reps feel more comfortable with sending an email versus placing a call since it feels less like an intrusion of privacy. Calling involves interrupting someone wherever they and whatever they’re doing, and then broadcasting your voice into their personal space.

Emailing, on the other hand, involves appearing before someone when they choose to read emails, in a space designated entirely for email reading.

Reason #3: People have short attention spans

Getting someone to care long enough to listen to a sales pitch that they didn’t ask for is a challenge. By emailing, you put the ball more in their court. A recipient has to first willingly read what you’ve written them, as opposed to having a bunch of words spewed at them the moment they pick up the phone.

So in that regard, thanks to the brilliant invention known as “subject lines,” just the mere act of opening an email acts as an opt-in.

Reason #4: Cold emails do less harm to brand perception

People can get really angry with telemarketer calls. They yell, scream, swear, and hurl insults at the stranger on the other end of that phone. Have you ever seen someone verbally insult an email?


Because cold emails tend to be less intrusive and by their very nature require a soft opt-in to read, people are more accepting when they appear in their inbox. We are also more accustomed to seeing “cold” paid and display ads appear unsolicited in our search results, Amazon product listings, Facebook pages, and webpages. This means we are less likely to form a negative perception of a brand even after receiving several emails from them.

But call one time during pizza night, and we don’t even want to know what will happen.

Which Form of Cold Email Prospecting Should You Choose

Based on the above, you might think we’re on Team Cold Email. You’d be right.

Most businesses use email as their preferred method of cold contacting. We recommend you do the same.

We’re not the only ones who have a thing for email outreach. There have been entire studies done on how email is the best way to reach customers.

When done right, it can grow your business far better than cold calling. Want to know the most common mistakes we see with cold email prospecting? Click here.

Why Cold Email Prospecting Beats Cold Calling

In the long run, emailing saves more time and money than calling.

Mostly because it’s less time-intensive, and you can do it at scale.

This means that cold emailing requires less of your time or that of your SDR (i.e., sales development representative). When your email returns a response from a prospect, they are either now a sales qualified lead (SQL), marketing qualified lead (MQL), OR want to be removed from your communication’s list.

There’s no awkward getting to know you phase. Either they’re interested or not.

You skip entirely dealing with the uppermost phases of the sales funnel that take up the majority of time in cold calling.

Similarly to warm emailing, cold calling requires nurturing leads. On the other hand, cold email prospecting’s sole objective is to qualify or disqualify prospects, immediately.

That’s why cold email prospecting is better from your business’s perspective.

From the customer perspective, it is just as beneficial.

For a customer, email is non-threatening. Unlike with a cold call, they are not required to have a conversation on the spot. They can reply whenever, if at all, to your outreach. This gives the customer more freedom. And ultimately drives better results.

Replace Cold Calling with Lukewarm Outreach

So, yes, given a choice between cold emailing or cold calling, put down the phone, and go with hitting send.

But, in reality, cold email prospecting versus cold call outreach really shouldn’t be a mano a mano, two outreaches enter, one outreach leave, battle royale.

Instead, cold emailing and cold calling can be used as tag team outreach.

It’s tough to ignore that phone outreach has a response rate of over 8%, as one study found. Or that 92% of all customer interactions happen on the phone.

So don’t.

Instead, tap into all cold calling has to offer by properly incorporating it into your sales strategy and letting it bolster your cold emailing. Start your outreach by sending a cold email first, and, in the right circumstances, then follow up with a “lukewarm” call.

After you’ve introduced yourself to the prospect in an email, the conditions will be primed to engage them further. So bridge the gap and warm them up a little more with a call, letting them know you sent an email and just wanted to follow-up.

If they don’t pick up, no worries. Leave a voicemail. Sometimes that’s even better, providing a prospect the freedom to choose the next step on their own terms.

Why follow up your cold email, with a slightly less cold call? For two very good reasons found in a study on sales interactions:

  • Cold emailing without calling is 98% less effective
  • Using multiple outreach methods simultaneously is 3X more successful

The key is that your call should correlate to your email, because the email prospecting will be the foundation of your cold outreach campaigns.

Conclusion: Take More Freezing Cold Baths

You know what stinks—clicking on a versus article, scrolling all the way to the bottom because who has time to read things, and looking for the final verdict only not to find one.

Or, worse, read the answer, “it depends.”

Well, for all you “skip-to-the-end” readers, cold email prospecting is better than cold calling.

Take that to the bank and cash it.

We advocate starting your outreach with personalized, cold emails. (If you want to bolster its chances of landing, then follow-up with a “lukewarm” phone call.)

Of course, if you really want to be amazing, try performing cold email prospecting while taking an ice bath. That’s next level.

Actually, on second thought, don’t do that. That’s probably a terrible idea.

First, send out a wave of awesome cold emails. Then jump into freezing cold water to celebrate. That’s a surefire recipe for success.

So jump on in. The water’s just fine.