At the moment we are cold-calling, which is working wonders, but its very slow and time consuming. Requires calling, getting to the right person, then maybe a couple calls, then bingo! Then an email in response. Looking at cost-effective options. How can we be more targeted. Email marketing is an option, but I don't want to just send a bulk of unsolicited emails (done it before, mail chimp etc..., need to add some form of value, understand our different segments). Trying to avoid to just send newsletters... what options could we try?
Your outreach is highly dependent upon your type(s) of clients; B2B, B2C, and what type of products.
Large segments of your clientele and prospects likely have a common type of psycho / demographics and behaviors. If you've identified those traits (sets of traits), there are oodles of resources to get your message in front of them through Social Media Marketing (SMM - influencers, bloggers, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), Search Engine Marketing (SEM - Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.), and EFFECTIVE direct mail (funnels) with lead magnet and call-to-action.
Once you define your goal, you can zero in on the right multi-pronged approach. Start with a small (inexpensive test) batch. Measure results. Tweak. Repeat in an endless loop until you achieve an acceptable conversion rate.