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8 Cold Email Outreach Tips for Higher Open Rates & Conversions

8 Cold Email Outreach Tips for Higher Open Rates & Conversions

Cold email outreach is a lead generation machine, as it is 40 times more effective at gaining new customers than social media channels. However, this only holds true if you move beyond generic spam and take a targeted, strategic approach to your cold email outreach campaigns. Although the average cold email has an open rate below 30%, it is entirely possible to increase that percentage up to 80%. You just need to tweak the way you approach cold email campaigns. To maximize your cold email outreach success, here are eight tips from Antonio Gabrić from, to guide you in the right direction.

#1 Understand Your Audience

Most cold email campaigns are plagued by a lack of targeting. The numbers show why having a profound understanding of your audience is essential, as highly personalized emails enjoy 760% more revenue compared to non-personalized emails. 

Here are some steps to help you define your audience and to understand them better.

The first step is to find out:

You can define your target audience by certain attributes, such as:

When you define your target audience by attributes, you can craft more efficient cold emails that directly address their biggest challenges. Make it a habit to lean on personas and market research to really immerse yourself in the world of your audience.

The idea is to find the right decision makers by scraping the domains of your target audience. 

Let’s imagine you are pitching your link-building services through cold email. Your target persona should be someone involved with marketing, growth, content or SEO. 

In this case, we are looking for these roles:

Let’s plug in the domain inside Hunter’s Domain Search, and try to find the right decision-maker.

In this case, we’ve been lucky to find someone directly responsible for link building in the company. We won’t choose the co-founder here, as he probably won’t bother to answer our email. There are more relevant people to contact in the company. 

#2 Enhance the Inbox Display

Your subject line is the very first touchpoint prospects see when your email enters their crowded inbox. A weak or overly salesy subject can lead to instant deletion before they even read your message. 

Firstly, keep your cold email subject lines between 30-50 characters. Messages with clear, concise subject lines have 12% higher open rates compared to those with longer subject lines.

Craft a Captivating Subject Line

Here are some tips for creating compelling, curiosity-inspiring subject lines for cold emails:

Keep in mind that you don’t want to be too promotional with your subject lines, as this can trigger spam filters. Avoid overused terms such as “free,” “act now,” “50% off” and other frequently used promotional phrases. 

The idea is to be specific, ask questions, and focus on the needs and interests of your targeted business/client. Avoid generic phrases or plain sales language. Craft subject lines that create just enough intrigue to entice them to open your email, without giving away everything up front. 

Capitalize on the Email Opener

The subject line isn’t the only place to capture interest. It is not all your prospect sees when they view your unopened email, so don’t underestimate the value of your email openers. Having a great email opener that will be seen as the email preview text is just as important as the subject lines.

Here are a couple of tips on how to craft engaging email openers:

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#3 Personalize Email Copy

Even a great subject line loses its power if the email content feels generic and impersonal. Prospects will instantly recognize and delete bulk spam emails.

Personalization is crucial, but you need to do more than just insert the prospect’s first name. Research them online to find nuggets you can work into your messaging, like:

Then use relevant information you discover to craft targeted content.

{First Name}, as {Role} at {Company}, I’m sure you’re thinking about {Initiative}. {My Company} has experience helping implement similar initiatives. Eager to chat about this?

This demonstrates that you understand their world and goals… which shows the prospect you did your research. They will appreciate the forethought you put into your first contact and may take you more seriously.

Of course, personalization requires a hefty amount of time – so how to scale it? Here are a couple of tips.

  1. Utilize segmentation to group contacts by key attributes like industry, role, company size, etc. Then craft targeted messages and content for each segment.
  2. Use merge tags in the body of your email to dynamically populate personalized details like first name, company, and role. Don’t forget to include broader contextual content.
  3. Set up workflows to deliver a series of personalized follow-ups based on interactions, as this reduces the manual effort.

The idea is to blend personalization with automation and segmentation. This allows you to deliver tailored cold emails at scale for optimal results.

#4 Offer Value, Not Just a Sales Pitch

Nobody likes a cold sales pitch. So rather than immediately launching into a product sale, first aim to provide value through your outreach.

For example, you could:

Demonstrating your value first, before making a sales pitch, helps build trust. The demonstration of value and the beginning of trust can lead to an ongoing relationship. As prospects experience your expertise and helpfulness first hand, you may find an opening to softly pitch your services or product. Your prospects will doubtless be more open to learning about your offer once you have already shown them value.

Thus, it is important to lead with relevant content and value. Save the product pitch for later.

Below is an example email utilizing the tips we shared:

#5 Keep It Concise and Clear

An inbox can quickly get overwhelming, with most people receiving 100+ emails daily. This means recipients are unlikely to read your entire cold email top-to-bottom, especially since recent studies show that many people have short attention spans these days.

Around 30% of emails get less than 2 seconds of attention. Do your best to make a scannable email that will lead your prospects to the points you want to outline.

Here are some tips on how to structure your cold email to promote quick skimming:

Avoid dense blocks of copy. Help your prospects extract value quickly, even when reviewing briefly. Never assume your email will be read from top to bottom. Facilitate skimming to achieve the most desirable results.

Let’s put these tips into practice. Let’s imagine the goal of your cold email campaign is to obtain sources for your upcoming research. Here is what a long email copy would look like:

And here is an example of a short email that outlines the same point:

#6 Ensure Your Timing Is Right

When you send cold emails, your timing can impact results as much as what you send to prospects. According to this study, you can expect the most engagement to your email campaigns if you send your emails at either 10 AM or mid-afternoon at 3.30 PM. 

As you research your prospects, you will also find where they are based. If you are sending cold emails to prospects in different time zones, make sure to match the send times from above to the time zones of the recipients.

There are a few life hacks on how to adapt to the reader’s schedule.

  1. Research the prospect’s time zone and industry norms to identify their typical working hours. Avoid early mornings and late nights.
  2. Note the timeframes when you receive quick responses vs. delayed replies to uncover their availability patterns.
  3. Use cold email software to send emails on specific dates and times that align with their normal working hours. 

Master the timing of your emails, and you will enjoy much higher open rates and replies.

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#7 Use a Clean and Verified Email List

Even the most thoughtful cold email is useless if sent to a misspelled, inactive, or invalid email address. This leads to frustrating bounces, which also hurts your sender reputation and deliverability. 

An ideal email bounce rate should be around or below 2%. If your bounce rate is above 5%, it will impact your email sender reputation negatively. This can affect your ability to execute effective email campaigns – or even cause you to get blocked by your internet service provider.

Here are a couple of tips to help clean and verify your email lists:

Maintaining an accurate, optimized list improves reach, open rates and conversions across all cold email campaigns. Don’t undermine great email content with a poor email list.

#8 Always Test and Iterate

Treat every cold email campaign as a work-in-progress, looking to continuously refine and optimize based on performance data and feedback.

Leverage A/B testing to experiment with different variables such as:

Keep in mind that you should change only one variable at a time while performing A/B testing. For example, when you change the subject line variation, ensure that all other variables stay the same. If you change more than one variable simultaneously, it will be difficult to determine which brought in the better result.

Pay close attention to the impact on key metrics like open rate, click-through rate and, most importantly, conversions. What copy, offers, and design encourage the most prospects to engage and convert? 

Depending on what performs the best, you will have an actionable plan for how to adapt your cold email outreach strategy for the maximum conversion rates that lead to better sales.

Wrapping Up

Achieving successful results with cold emails takes practice; it requires the use of a number of strategies, and often requires a combination of strategies specifically selected for a chosen recipient to be able to capture their interest. You can achieve the best results by ensuring your outreach is helpful, respectful, and brings genuine value to your prospects. 

At the end of the day, turning a prospect into a lead is about getting their attention long enough to demonstrate your value. If done right, cold email outreach can become a steady source of qualified leads to accelerate your sales pipeline.

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