Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Email Outreach For Higher Response Rates


Andy Cabasso

March 10th

Do's and Don'ts of cold email

Cold email is partly a numbers game; that’s why we send out mass emails. But there are plenty of cold email tips that can increase your response rate.

We’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of cold outreach, so you have a quick, at-a-glance reference for best practices for your next cold outreach campaign. 

The Do’s: Best Practices for Cold Email Campaigns

Every sales email has the same goal, to close a sale. These tips will help you meet that goal and save your sales team time. 

1. Do Spend Time Researching Your Prospects

As we stated, cold outreach email is partly a numbers game, but that doesn’t mean you should use a scattershot method. Casting your net too wide creates several problems. It necessitates a lot of follow-up emails to people who have no need for what you’re selling. 

It hampers personalization. You don’t have time to poke around in 500 LinkedIn profiles looking for details to include in that first cold outreach email. Therefore your introductory email reads like an impersonal sales pitch and nothing more. 

When researching your prospects, your goal is to understand them; what problem do they have that you can solve? 

Yes, doing this research takes time, but it saves you time in the end. You won’t be wasting your efforts by sending a follow-up email to 500 people, 300 of whom were never great prospects, to begin with. Something you’d know if you’d done your research! Doing proper research is the best cold email tip you’ll receive because it eliminates so much work. 

2. Do Insert A Catchy Subject Line

Your subject line is your first impression. It’s also your elevator pitch, your chance to grab their attention, so the person on the other end of that email address keeps reading. There is a line between catchy and spammy or clickbaity, and it can be a thin one. 

forgot email subject line finding nemo meme

You’re aiming for a personalized subject line with a good hook so potential customers know there is a real person on the other end of that email. Cold email statistics suggests that adding personalization to your subject line can increase your open rates by 50%!

3. Do Get Creative With the Sales Email

The tone of any business email should be professional, but that doesn’t mean it has to be devoid of creativity. In fact, the colder your sales outreach email, the more creative it has to be since you don’t have something like a mutual connection to give you a little edge. 

4. Do Personalize Your Cold Emails

There is nothing wrong with using cold email templates; they’re a great time-saving tool. But using templates doesn’t absolve you from doing the research required to add some personalization. If you’ve ever sent out cover letters with your resumes, you know the drill. If you forget stuff that’s okay! You can always go back to roots read up our guide on how to write cold emails.

baby seo meme

You can use the same general cover letter, but it must be customized for the reader and the company. 

5. Do Keep It Direct and Simple

We’re all busy people, and busy people don’t appreciate having their time wasted by long-winded, unsolicited emails. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t be vague. Who are you, and what can you do for them? That’s all cold prospects want to know. 

6. Do Provide More Value With Each Follow-Up Email

Like in dating, the sales process can sometimes require a slow burn. You got their attention with your initial contact, but you can’t come on too strong. A lot of people react poorly to an obvious hard sell. 

To overcome this, each follow-up email you send, and you should be sending them, must include additional value, little bread crumbs to pull them along in the direction you want them to go. 

7. Do Kick It Up a Notch With Visual Personalization

Many people respond better to visuals than straight text. Adding visuals can significantly improve your conversion rate. We are big believers in personalizing our cold emails with images and gifs.

cat image personalization

Media personalization is crushing it, crushing it to powder! Postaga makes image personalization a seamless process with Nexweave. 

8. Do Add a Persuasive Call to Action

What do you want the potential buyer to do after reading your email? I’m asking you that, but they shouldn’t have to ask themselves that! The desired next step should be crystal clear in the form of your call to action. Your CTA should be the last thing they read and the next thing they do.

The goal of your cold email has to match your CTA. But be sure your CTA isn’t overreaching. This is your first attempt at cold sales outreach to this person, so don’t demand too much too soon. 

9. Do Add a Custom Email Signature

Your email signature does two critical things; it acts as your calling card the way you introduce yourself to a stranger. And it gives the reader the information they need to contact you.

signature office meme

Your personalized signature must include your name, title, the name of your company, and contact information. A professional headshot can help to humanize you to the reader, so it is something to consider.

10. Do Keep an Eye on Campaign Stats

Creating the most effective approach is part skill and part luck when it comes to sales strategies. That means the more data you have, the better your sales tactics will be because you can refine them, keeping what works and eliminating what doesn’t. 

To that end, one of the best cold email tips is to track data. Include UTM tracking on links and emails. 

The Don’ts: Cold Email Tips to Avoid Common Errors

Sometimes it’s more important to know what not to do! 

1. Don’t Send Emails to Generic Email Addresses

Avoid sending emails to these kinds of addresses as they are likely not going directly to the person you’re targeting and probably aren’t even checked daily:

  1. [email protected]
  2. [email protected]
  3. [email protected]
  4. [email protected]
  5. [email protected]
  6. [email protected]
  7. [email protected]
  8. [email protected]
  9. [email protected]

Postaga’s email platform allows you to target the best contact based on your campaign type. For instance, our link-building campaign finds the email addresses for content managers and editors, and our sales campaigns find those of founders and marketing managers. 

2. Don’t Abuse Your Follow-Up Email Sequence

Do you know how many customers end up at the bottom of the sales funnel after the first email? According to sales experts, a paltry 2%. Without question, follow-up is essential, but they have to be appropriately spaced to be most effective. The sequence should look like this:

  1. Initial email (Oct 11th)
  2. Four days later (Oct 15th)
  3. Another four days later (Oct 19th)
  4. Four additional workdays (Oct 25th)
  5. Six days later (Nov 1st)
  6. Five additional workdays (Nov 8th)

It’s also important to know when to quit. As brilliant as it was, your email campaign just didn’t work with a potential client. To continue sending follow-ups is a waste of your time, is annoying to them, and could get you in legal trouble. When it becomes clear that you aren’t going to get a response, remove that person from your email list.

backstreet boys cold email meme

Adding a new subject line for your follow up email removes that email from the thread. If you do add another subject line to your cold email don’t forget to add context to your email. Adding context increase the chances of getting a response.

3. Don’t Ever Make it About You

If there is a worse sin than sending boring emails to potential customers, it’s sending self-centred ones! Sorry to be harsh, but they don’t know you and don’t care about you. Cold sales are just like dating; you have to make it all about the person you’re courting. What can you do for them? How can you make their life easier? How can you get their boss off their back? 

You can talk about yourself the next time you call your mom. 

4. Don’t Sound Like a Bot

Emails to prospects that sound like they were written by aliens or bots doing their best to mimic human speech are off-putting. They’re the equivalent of robo phone calls! Did you know that Postaga is not run by robots (or aliens)? No! Our employees are really people with human emotions.

c3po robot beep beep bop bup

That’s why Postaga is so good at humanizing cold sales emails templates with image personalization and humor. 

5. Don’t Send Emails Before Proofreading

Okay, there is a worse sin than sending self-centred emails. It’s sending emails with poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We all know grammar sticklers, and your prospect might be one.

They will not give you the time of day no matter how well written your email, no matter how great your product for you committed the ultimate sin of not proofreading. They won’t even feel bad about it either! 

Use a programs like Grammarly to check for:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Tense inconsistency
  • Bold sentences
  • Overuse of signs or emojis
  • Capitalization

6. Don’t Write War & Peace-Length Emails

You are writing an email, not a blog post. Business prospects receive hundreds of emails a day. Do you think they have the time to read 1,000-word emails? Your introduction email should be an amuse-bouche, a tiny little taste that whets their appetite for more. 

Keep your paragraphs short. We’re a couple of decades into the internet age, and people are not conditioned to read long walls of unbroken text, be it email content or this article! 

Keep your email concise, not just in length but in content as well. Don’t introduce various topics in the same email. Your first cold email should be WHO, WHAT, WHERE; who are you, what can you do for them, where can they reach you. 

No one likes desperation. But follow-up emails are essential. It’s a quandary! There is a very precise rhythm for sending follow-ups. 

7. Don’t Be Overly Salesy

Look, you both know the score. You are selling something. They may even really, really need whatever that is. But no one likes a brute force approach. Whenever you have contact with a prospect, be it via email, over the phone, or in person, you shouldn’t focus on getting that sale.

Instead, your focus should be on creating beneficial relationships, a long-term business relationship. It takes way less effort to keep a current customer than to find a new one. Bad tactics will stop what could have been a mutually beneficial relationship before it even starts. 

8. Don’t Send Attachments

Stranger danger!

Do you open attachments from strangers? Of course not! Who knows what those things could do to your computer. You might end up mining Bitcoin for some crime syndicate in a country you never heard of! 

Well, you’re a stranger at this point in the game, so a prospect is unlikely to open anything from you! Attachments can cause your email to get snagged in spam filters too. 

9. Don’t Use a Generic Email Sales Template

Yes, because it comes across as generic to the reader, but we’ve covered that. But consider that you’re far from the only one searching “Best cold email templates,” copying and pasting and calling it job done. And consider the odds that another salesperson has used that very same template on the very same potential clients you’re targeting.

The odds are pretty good. Whatever business you’re in, it’s frequently a small world. Copying and pasting this way makes you look lazy. If you can’t be bothered to put in a little effort in wooing a client, how do you think they’ll expect you to treat them once they’re a client? Not a good look. 

10. Don’t Ever Purchase Email Lists

Buying email lists is like buying Mystery Boxes on eBay. Some of the things in the box are neat and useful, and some are just junk. But you’ve paid for both! You can build your prospect’s email list organically right inside Postaga! With Postaga, you can verify valid email addresses and clean up the bad ones.  

Wrapping It Up

wrapping it all up

This is a long list, but regularly following these Dos and Don’ts for your cold outreach emails will quickly become second nature. And most of them don’t require extra time on your part, and if they do, it’s mostly front-loaded, leaving you time to focus on your broader campaign strategy and other sales activities. And the increase in your reply rate will make it all worth it!

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