Complete guide to B2B cold emailing with best performing templates
If you have clicked on this link, we can safely assume you have tried running email campaigns before and have basic understanding regarding email outreaches. The most important factor to focus on in any email campaign is deliverability. If your emails are not even delivered then content, subject line or call to action does not matter. Any email campaign requires volume to generate enough opportunities, and these volumes are only relevant if the prospective user receives an email first in his inbox. Industry average for email open rate is somewhere around 20% to 25% for emails in case of emails sent to opt-in list using emailing softwares like mail chimp. In case of cold email these figures nearly double if sent in the right manner. We have compiled here the very basics of maintaining a high deliverability rate for your email campaigns.
How to improve deliverability of cold emails:
In order to increase the deliverability every email needs to go past Spam Filters. Spam filters sort email into inboxes and spam folders using different algorithms. Similar to SEO, these algorithms are not specifically defined anywhere but based on experience and experiments, marketers believe that 5 key parameter effect Spam filters:
Google launched Tensorflow AI framework somewhere in 2015 and started using it in SPAM detection. After the rollout of Tensor flow, Email deliverability has significantly changed and new factors started affecting SPAM detection more like:
- New domains are heavily scrutinized: This means you need to wait after buying a new domain before you start an email campaign
- The daily volume matters: Inconsistent or very high volumes are more likely to get scrutinized now
- Email services effects the email sending: Now you deliverability will also be affected by which email service you are using
So now the question is what to do to achieve higher email deliverability? Lets focus on each everything that affects spam filters:
SPAM filters look for keywords in any email which are generally used by the Spammers. Words like free, great deal, credit card offer etc. can be considered by SPAM filters as a signal that the particular email is malicious and can therefore reduce the chances of delivering the email to inbox. A simple way to keep your email clean is to copy and paste it on any email spam detector. You can use a simple detector by Blogiestools to detect SPAMs. Also avoid writing words in all caps like DEAL, FREE etc. Avoid using lot of links on your email, a lot of links in the emails is also a signal that you are trying to trick the user.
Content is the king. People might talk about highly technical stuff when it comes to content but still it is as simple as providing value to your audience. Quality still sells and Personalization still has the same impact. In case of email marketing content variety is also very important, in simple terms it means you should be sending different email content to different prospects as much as possible to remain out of the SPAM box. So to sum it up you need to focus on Value, Variety, Keyword and Personalization while sending emails.
By volume we mean the number of emails sent per day as well as the number of emails sent per hour. Any inconsistency in these numbers will alarm spam filters. You need to keep following things in mind while scaling up your cold emailing campaigns:
- Try to send an equal number of emails per day so that SPAM filters are not allerted: We suggest keeping it between 300-500. Anything over 500 emails for cold calling from one email ID can be a trigger. The lower you go is better.
- Do not ramp up the email numbers very fast. Slowly scale with time, start with 10 emails initially and increase 20 emails per day till you reach your desired level.
- Avoid email volume spikes at any cost. In case you want to ramp up the number of emails sent, using multiple email id’s.
4. Sender Reputation
If you ask us, one thing you cannot miss focusing on while starting out with email campaigns is Sender Reputation. Sender reputation is just an indicator of how healthy is the source of email. Below are the parameters to focus on to maintain high level of Sender reputation:
a. Domain age matters:
If you are new to Email campaigning, you might not be aware about SEM-FRESH and specifically SEM-FRESH-30. SEM-FRESH-30 is a list of all domains which were created in the last 30 days and if you are part of this list, there are high chances that emails sent through your domain might be marked as SPAM. Therefore, it becomes even more important to get a domain as early as possible and then wait at least 30 days before starting your email campaigns. Also, it is better to use an older domain if you have or as a business buying domains in bulk for future.
b. Warm up matter:
It is interesting that most of the people are not aware about Email Warmup or IP warm ups before starting with any email campaign. Warming up is the process of slowly increasing your sender reputation. There are many ways of doing it, the simplest method is to send email to your friends or long time customers asking them for something so that they reply to you. I generally use this template:
Subject: did you get this?
Hi, I need your help…
I am setting up this email. Can you please let me know if you received this email?
Also while sending your warming up campaigns focus on these 4 factors:
- More time is better: Warming up should take months and more time you take on warming up higher is your reputation.
- Start with Low Volumes: Start slowly ramping up your volumes even for warm up campaigns. As mentioned earlier any spike in email volume can significantly impact your email reputation.
- Focus on Engagement: Get replies in your warm up email campaigns. The whole idea of running a warm up campaign is to trick spam filters to believe that your emails are genuine.
- Bounces: Keep bounces less than 5%. Anything over 5% is an indication that you’re sending emails to random people who are not expecting emails from you.
c. Carefully using APIs:
An email API may reduce your deliverability but then again if you do not use one you may not be able to hit your daily volume to make enough sales. In addition to that some API services allow you to do mass personalization. We suggest that you should use Email APIs once you have warmed up your email ID.
d. G Suite is not required:
Few years ago, GSuite was your way to start a successful email marketing campaign, not anymore. It still does its job but now there is no huge benefit in selecting Gmail over other services. In fact you can use Microsoft outlook account equally well in some cases in a much better way for email marketing.
Do not use images, period. Spam filters are very harsh on images, mainly due to the fact that a lot of spammers convert their email into images to avoid getting marked spam due to use of unfair keywords. In case you need to use it, keep the size of the image to bare minimum. We also suggest not to use open tracking. Mainly due to 3 reasons it’s not 100% accurate, it’s not real time and mainly due to the fact that there is a heavy penalty as open tracking uses an image to track opening of an email.
So we have gone through the basics. Now the practical stuff, how you need to Set up your email before starting your campaigns.
Tools required for starting Cold emailing campaign
- Domain: You require a domain name to start your campaign. Something similar to your company name would be great. For example if your main website is XYZ.com then you can use XYZ.net for your campaigns. Keep in mind that most preferable extensions are .com, .net, .co. Also once you have bought your email you need to start a redirecting service from your new domain to your main domain, so that if users back track your domain they reach your parent website.
- EMail Provider: Two main email providers are Gmail and Outlook. Both have their own benefits but to sum it up Outlook is better. As Gmail has harsher sending policy and API penalties. (benefit is easier delivery to other G Suite users). Outlook is better for outbound deliverability, No clear api detection with only problem being gmail inboxing.
- Email sender: Use an email sender application. This will increase email deliverability. We suggest using Sendgrid, Postmark or Mailjet. The main benefits of Email Senders are Dedicated IP, No API detection and Average Gmail inboxing.
- Automation software: Once you are well versed with cold emailing and fully warmed up your email ID start using Automation Software. Benefits of Automation software is personalization in emails, scaling outbound efforts becomes easier as you can easily triple your volume, it saves time and helps you in staying organized.
Next step is to set up two important parameters on your domain:
a. Setup SPF:
Sender Policy framework is a framework which helps in avoiding email senders address forgery. In simple terms you need to set it up in order to avoid getting marked as SPAM by spam filters.
b. Setup DKIM:
DKIM or Domain Key Identified Mail is again an authentication method. It helps in avoiding phishing attacks or spams. You need to set it up to avoid getting marked SPAM.
We have nearly covered all aspects of Email deliverability. Now you are ready to send your first email campaign with confidence that it will get delivered. Just to help you out to important links:
- Deliverability testing: Use Mail Tester and run a test before sending any email campaign. It nearly covers all aspects of deliverability.
- Domain Testing: Use Mxtoolbox for checking the condition of your domain. This will help you in finding DMARC policy for your domain. They also have a very detailed domain analysis tool if you go for the paid version.
- Glockapps: A complete email deliverability analysis tool. They have SPAM tests, domain tests and everything required to run email campaigns. Glockapps also provide a 14 day trial, use it and decide.