September 16, 2020

5 Ways To Increase Your Cold Email Open Rates

For those in sales and marketing who send any form of cold email, open rates and deliverability should be your #1 priority. This is why you shouldn't settle for anything under 60%.

Barry Moroney




 I have seen lots of companies pump huge resources into building data lists and creating content to share with them, only to have ~30% of the recipients actually open the email. Think about it, if ~70% of your list don’t even see it, you will have wasted 70% of the effort and spend to build the list and create the content in the first place. If you can double this number (60% should be the absolute minimum open rate you should settle for), you will immediately double your returns on this investment.

Mail servers are getting better at detecting spam-like activity all the time, and they are very quick to penalise accounts which they deem to be misbehaving. With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways to increase your open rates and make sure that your emails don’t go to the dreaded spam box.

Avoid Long & Generic Copy

Think about the worst kind of spammy sales emails that you get, one thing that they all have in common is that they are long and generic (“We offer XYZ blah blah blah”). Mail servers can spot a cold sell like this in a flash and will shut it down immediately.

Tip: Keep your email copy short (2-4 sentences), particularly in the first email that you send someone, and make it highly relevant to them. At the very least, it should be relevant to them as a persona (i.e. Marketing Directors in the Hospitality industry). Follow these personalization tips for the best results.

Links & Images

Spam filters love links and images, can’t get enough of them. If you are contacting people in large corporations and you have lots of links or images in your email, they will never see it, I’m afraid. Similarly, regular mail servers will penalise you for this, and the chances of your email being scrubbed or marked as spam increase exponentially with each link or image you include.

Tip: Your first email to a prospect should have no links, images or attachments. Try to work with a maximum of one of each for all subsequent emails. This includes your email signature too.

Too Many Bounces

Where did you get your data from? If you bought the list (shudder) or pulled it from a subscription based lead database, there is a good chance that you will have a high bounce rate when you attempt to contact these people. Not only does this mean that you are not getting through to these people, it also has a severe impact on your domain as mail servers associate accounts which send out lots of bounced emails with spam. Your bounce rate should never be higher than 10%, and you should be aiming to keep it below 5%.

Tip: Build your data properly, either through organic signups or using human researchers. Worst case scenario, if you are working with dodgy data, use a tool like NeverBounce to remove the bad emails before you send out any campaigns.

Irrelevant Contacts

No matter how good your copy or content is, if you are pitching to the wrong people, they are not going to engage with you and will more than likely mark you as spam if you continue to reach out to them. For example, if you are contacting HR Directors and trying to sell them a marketing solution, you’re not going to convert any of them and you’ll more than likely damage your future open rates as these contacts start to mark you as spam. 

Tip: Build all of your outbound campaigns around specific personas and write different copy for each.

Too Many Emails At Once

I have seen lots of junior sales people start new roles and immediately start blasting out 200 emails a day, every day. Imagine that mail servers are real people and think about how they would interpret that (spoiler alert: they will immediately block you).  

Tip: It is important to ramp up your outbound efforts slowly; start by sending 10 emails a day and build up towards your target daily email count over a month or so. Tools like Mailshake make it easy to do this.

Need Help?

It is one thing to be aware of the best practices when it comes to cold email and it is another thing to implement them. A lack of time and resources is usually the enemy of effective cold outreach and that is where Leadable comes in. Book a call with us today to see if we can help your sales team to consistently hit their targets.

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