How to Define a Successful Cold Email Campaign Strategy

Cold email

1,83,00,00,000! That is the number of hits Google generated upon searching “cold email.” There’s a myriad of cold email material on the internet, and all that information could get you cold. This article helps clear out any confusion surrounding cold emailing and lays out an achievable plan for a successful cold email campaign.

Lead Generation

Lead generation refers to building a list of prospects. A fraction of these prospects could become your future clients.

The initiation of any sale is an integral part of lead generation. Once the seller generates a lead, it’s his/her responsibility to convert it into a deal.

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Networking refers to reaching out to prospects not aware of your product or service. For instance, let’s say someone’s looking for a SPA package in Melbourne. When this person gets served a SPA coupon or offer, the chances of a sale are quite high.

Enter: Cold Emailing

Cold emailing enables sending valuable business information while investing lesser than conventional methods. Moreover, cold emailing also helps in generating useful leads.

Cold email marketing helps you achieve lead generation and networking. The underlying benefits include a hassle-free process and humongous target audiences.

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Simple Question-Based Framework for Your Next Cold Email Campaign

  • 1. Why?
  • 2. Who?
  • 3. What
  • 4. Where
  • 5. When
  • 6. How
  • How Long?

Abraham Lincoln quoted, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” It’s crucial that you develop a comprehensive cold email campaign. Otherwise, it would result in wasted time and energy.

1. Why?

Why are you contemplating a cold emailing campaign in the first place? What are your objectives: Is it to improve sales or reach out to a wider audience? Determine your “Why.”

Every day, hundreds of emails with no clear intent or purpose flood my inbox. As a result, my response is either rage hunting the “Unsubscribe” button or deleting those emails.

Before you write a single word, ensure that you are clear on what you want to achieve. Write down your intention on a piece of paper and internalize it. Consequently, the ideas will flow.

2. Who?

Here’s an interesting fact according to a study conducted by ReturnPath. If as low as 0.1% of your recipients mark your mail as spam, your messages (to the other 99.9%) will not get delivered. What’s worse is that you might end up on a spam list. Thus, understanding your audience helps accurate customization of your content.

It’s critical that you know precisely who you are targeting with this cold email campaign. If you aren’t sure, consider creating buyer personas of your potential customers.

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Buyer personas include detailed reports encompassing various factors of your ideal customer. Demographics, motivations, behavior patterns, and goals are all constituents of a buyer persona.

Buyer Persona Elements
Image Courtesy of Influitive

Ok, let’s say that you have done that. Yet, not even the most detailed buyer persona will give you the email addresses you need.

Yes, you can get data from shady sources on the internet, but the results are usually far from high quality. It’s true that researching prospects can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. Here are a few tips for streamlining the process:

  • Start on Google/LinkedIn to identify a particular company’s POC (Person of Contact). Also, look for the decision makers (like the marketing manager or the technical head).
  • Scan the company’s website, related social accounts, and LinkedIn profiles. You could use email finding tools like SellHack, or EmailExtractor.
  • Verifying the validity of your scoured database is of utmost importance.
    • Here’s another interesting result from a study conducted by ReturnPath. It reveals that if as little as 2-10% of your emails bounce back, your messages will stop getting delivered.
    • It’s quintessential that you ensure that your prospects’ email addresses are valid. Tools like Hunter are effective before you import your prospect list into a CRM.

To read more on how you can build a rich prospects list, click here.

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3. What

The pivotal aspect of any cold email campaign is the email content itself. So, take enough time to craft a perfect message.

Your target is to create a beautiful copy that reflects your objectives. Also, the content must seem appealing to your buyer personas (from step 2).

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For instance, let’s say you aim to persuade people to click on a particular link to your company’s services. Chalking out 500 words explaining how your company started isn’t a good idea.

An effective way to nail the content as part of your cold email marketing plan is to rely on templates. So, look for high-quality templates that are concise and cut to the point fast. You don’t want readers to glance through your mail and wonder what the hell it was all about.

Handy Tips:

  • The subject line is like a book cover. You might have an excellent piece, but without a mesmerizing cover, people won’t pick your book up. Here’s how you can write smashing subject lines.
  • KISS stands for Keep it Simple, Stupid. As per a study, Boomerang discovered that the ideal length of a cold email was 50-125 words.
  • Additionally, personalization is super important! Any mail that I receive sporting the ‘Dear Sales Manager’ look is going straight to my trash. Therefore, ensure that you impart a personalized touch to any template that you choose.
  • Spelling, punctuation, grammar, and choice of all words all matter. Yes, you aren’t preparing for an English quarterly, but some people judge heavily based on the quality of writing in an email.
    • Use a spell checker or check out Grammarly to correct all those tiny, often looked upon errors. Additionally, you could hire a professional copywriter for a fresh, new email template.


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Also, refrain from sending similar versions of your email to many prospects.

Sending identical copies to several addresses creates suspicions to anti-spam systems. So, you might get blocked right after sending a few dozen emails. Here’s how you can avoid that:

  • Prepare alternative and unique versions of a cold email copy. Now, divide your massive prospect list into smaller and manageable chunks.
  • Create a tinier campaign for each chunk and choose a different copy for each of the mini-groups.
  • You can personalize your emails for specific groups by considering their buyer personas.

The absolute worst thing that can happen to a cold email campaign is knocking on the spam doors. Certain words put anti-spam systems on high alert. Avoiding such words and phrases can help you stay in the clear and prevent the dreadful spam folders. Here’s a list of words that you must avoid at all costs.

<< 12 Tips to Optimize Your Email Calls to Action 

A cold email campaign must make people feel comfortable about your business. If a stranger out of the blue sends you tons of pictures and embedded HTML, chances are you are going to block him/her.

  • Your email copy doesn’t need fancy HTML elements, pictures, or fonts. If there’s an excess of HTML or pics compared to text, your deliverability could decrease.
  • Here’s everything you need to know about images, fonts, and HTML in a cold email.

4. Where

Well, believe it or not, your target location also has a lot to do with a cold email campaign. Although the location isn’t the most crucial factor, it’s negligence could prove costly. Is your product or service available worldwide, or are you operating in local regions? In the case of the latter, sending out cold emails to prospects from other countries is a sheer waste of time

Other tips include tailoring your content to strike audiences of specific geographies better. For example, a change from British to American English could make a world of difference. Such tiny tweaks help make better connections to your prospect base.

Ensure optimization of your cold email campaign to cater to your prospect’s location.

5. When

Well, time is always of the essence. After baking your cold email so well, you might feel tempted to smash that ‘Send’ button finally. But, wait, it’s not over yet.

Baking isn’t enough. You have to season your dish and that seasoning comes in the form of sending your cold emails at the perfect time.

Here are a few time-related factors to consider before initiating a cold email:

Time of the year

Your products might have a specific essence during a holiday or other times of the year. Harness these times to your advantage.

Your goal is to make the prospects feel attached to what you intend on selling. Try sending relevant emails during appropriate times of the year. This will improve your conversion rates.

<< 9 Powerful Email Marketing Ideas and Tips for the Holidays

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The day of the week also matters a lot. According to a study conducted by MailChimp, the ideal time to send B2B emails is during the weekdays.

Use the weekends if you are targeting C level executives or business owners. These super busy individuals might glance through your cold email during the weekends. Hence, emailing stressed-out executives during the week isn’t going to click.


Here’s another interesting research conducted by GetResponse. The ideal time to send cold emails is times of frequent inbox checking. As a result, this would usually be in the mornings and early afternoons.

Clock showing time as 11:20

Also, determining the location is crucial because of the different time zones and all. Here’s the bottom-line: Nobody knows your target audience better than you do. So, use this valuable arsenal of information and spark up a fire.

<< The Best Times to Send Emails for a Positive Response

6. How

Now that you know the essentials, it’s time to get down to the screws of sending your cold email campaign.

Here are a few crucial steps to follow before sending out your cold email campaign:

Separate Domain

Using an email address belonging to your main domain puts the reputation of your firm at risk. Cold emails contain a lot of experimenting. Thus, it’s important to create a new mail address from a separate domain for your cold email campaigns.

Another distinct advantage of using a separate domain is the inclusion of clarity. As a result, your sales team can deal with all cold emails on one exclusive platform. Instead of cluttering all emails in one place, using a separate email ID is better.

Warm up

Yes, you are dealing with cold emails, but your new email address needs some time to warm up. Athletes warm up before a game to ensure flexibility and agility. Likewise, your email address must warm up before blasting outbound campaigns.

Domain Reputation

Your fresh domain requires some time to chalk up a good reputation. Initiating a cold email campaign immediately could get you blocked.

·          Here’s why: Each domain has a certain reputation. The reputation, irrespective of being good, bad, or neutral takes time to form. Although new domains start as neutral, the newness sets off suspicious flags.

Spam Email

If you begin sending many emails from this new address, you confirm the host’s suspicions. Consequently, you could get listed as a malicious user, aka a spammer.

If you give the host any such signs, you are in for trouble. So, the solution is to provide your new domain and yourself ample time to work on an excellent reputation. Think of this as getting into the good books of your host.

How Long?

This duration depends on your host. Different hosts need various periods to earn a reputation and get rid of all “new” suspicions.

The longer you strive to improve your reputation, the more trust you gain in the process. Tools like SpamAssassin (famous for being the #1 anti-spam platform) flags suspicious all emails coming from new addresses on new domains (younger than two weeks). So, it’s important to reach and maintain a good reputation.

That pretty much explains why it’s necessary to warm up before sending any emails. Here’s how you can do that.

First, it’s vital that you understand what the actual culprits of a failed cold email campaign are:

  • A notorious frequency of emails sent (for instance, sending 200 emails the very first day)
  • Addressee list of poor quality (resulting in tons of bounced emails)
  • Setting up multiple email accounts (more than one)

It’s evident that bombarding your prospects with a myriad of emails and several follow-ups is a perfect recipe for bad reputation (Hey there, Taylor Swift fans.)

4 Tips to Get a Good Reputation

Relevant Domain Name

Ensure that your new domain bears a name that’s consistent with the name of your primary one. A domain name is an integral part of your email address.

An email address is a pivotal part of your message. If I receive cold emails from a random domain that’s not in any way connected to the promoting company, it’s going to the trash!

For instance, since our company is EngageBay, we could send outbound emails from a domain like It relates to our main domain –

One Email ID

Start with just one email account for your outbound cold email campaigns. Understand the sending criteria of your email provider stating how many emails you can send every day.

After 1-2 months, you can consider adding a new email address to this domain if required. Don’t rush things. Cold emailing is an art, and thus, you have to be patient enough to witness the colors blending well.

Here’s an informative article on sending limits of various email hosts.


First, you need to address the MX (mail exchange record) that helps gather replies. Set up your “from” line and signature.

From Line

The “from” line is what appears right next to the subject of your email. Don’t mistake this for the email address itself.

From lines are crucial because people often glance through their inboxes for trustable sources. If your front line has something like “marketing manager,” chances are your email won’t be read.


From line of email
Email “From” lines                                          Image Courtesy of eboostconsulting


Instead, something more personal like simply “Joshua” would suffice. You could use your name for the “from” line and a small snippet of your business in the subject line.

For example, Joshua + “Here’s how EngageBay helps you smash sales.”

In this case, the “from” line is personalized as a real person by the name of Joshua has sent the mail, and the subject line is crisply notifying the reader of EngageBay.

This explosive combination helps you add that personalized touch to your audience, thus resulting in better conversion rates.


Well, this part is a bit tricky. Many email marketers scrawl out their name in some fancy HTML hoping it will suffice as a sound signature.



The problem is, the signature isn’t primarily a signature. It’s a small hub that helps the reader connect with you or your business. It could be via social media platforms or a phone number.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you keep your signature simple, professional, and consistent.

Elements of an awesome signature:

  •        Sign off
  •     Name and surname
  •     Job title
  •     Email Address
  •     Physical address
  •     Link to your company’s website
  •     Links to blog and other relevant websites
  •     Social media handles
  •     Phone number
  •        Photo

Instead of merely writing “Joshua” at the end of an email, I can harness this space to connect with my readers better.

For instance:

Best regards.

Joshua Solomon

Content Writer at

Chennai 600 026, India

Here’s how you can step up your business

Facebook Twitter

The above example is very personalized and has a distinct CTA at the end as well.

Now comes the technical configuration in the form of SPF & DKIM records. All these little gimmicks go a long way in smooth sending and receiving mail.


SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework which is a security measure intended to prevent any malicious activity spewing out of your e-mails. It prevents other people from misusing your emails.

This image shows the decision making loops an SPF deals with to confirm the security of emails.


SPF for cold email campaign
   Image Courtesy of Postmarkapp

The SPF deals with communication within the DNS servers. Upon setting up a DNS server, the SPF takes charge by clearly demarcating specific IP addresses for sending e-mails from your domain. As a result, this definition of IP addresses tells the destination server that it was indeed you who sent the e-mail.


DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail which is a standard that adds on to the protection provided by the SPF.

The DKIM acts as an additional authentication that confirms your identity at the target DNS server.

Here’s a fantastic tool from for checking your current SPF and DKIM keys.

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Start Small and Slow

Send emails manually at least when you are just starting. You can automate the process after a few weeks.

Start sending emails in the second or third week and begin with only a few emails a day. Since the quality of your addressee list matters a lot, send your cold emails to addresses you know.

These addresses could be your email IDs or those of your friends and colleagues. Hence, send cold emails to those people whom you know for sure will reply, thus eliminating any possibility of a bounce.

Try to seem as natural as possible. Therefore, keep your frequency and volume at a logical value.

The content matters too even if it’s just your friends. Don’t copy – paste “lorem ipsum.” Keep your message reader-friendly and straightforward. Furthermore, you can also use this opportunity to get some valuable feedback from your peers regarding the effectiveness of your message.

Following Up

Follow-ups are super crucial! According to several research studies, follow-ups drastically boost the reply rates of cold email campaigns.

Cold email follow-ups are essential, and you shouldn’t ignore this opportunity. Also, while sending your follow-up emails, be wary of your host’s sending limits.

Volume and Frequency

The number of follow-ups depends on the nature of interaction you previously engaged in with a prospect. If you are contacting the prospect for the first time, he/she is a cold prospect, and you shouldn’t go beyond two follow-ups.

However, if the prospect is a warm lead (having showed some interest in what you offer), you could send multiple follow-up emails.

There is no single proven strategy to help you convert more leads via cold email follow-ups. Nevertheless, with a fair bit of experimenting, you can create a recipe that works for you.

There are a few cold email follow-up strategies like the 3-email sequence which consists of one opening message accompanied by two follow-ups. This methodology used at 52Challeges helped increase reply rates by 30%.

As per this plan, you must send your first follow-up mail after three days and the next one after seven days. Additionally, in the third mail, you could explicitly allow your prospects to opt out of your email campaign if uninterested.

What Next?

You just read a comprehensive guide on how to define a perfect cold email campaign. Irrespective of what aspect you are working on, remember this mantra:

“You are targeting people and people like people-like behavior. Personalize, incorporate a human touch, and most of all try to impart actual value: Your cold emails will ramp up the heat.”

Defining a cold email campaign from scratch might be a hassle. We at EngageBay do the heavy lifting for you by helping you automate your cold email campaigns so that you get maximum benefits with minimum effort. With an extremely easy to use drag and drop UI, you don’t need to know any coding. As a result, just knowing how to use a computer will suffice.

Hop on to our platform to check out the myriad of other ways we can help boost your business.

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