3 min read

Cold Email: How to Optimize for Deliverability

Aug 4, 2019 12:51:25 AM

Email is a great marketing tool that allows you to reach hundreds or thousands of people instantly. But no matter how many emails you send each week, you won’t get any results if those emails don’t even reach your recipients’ inboxes.

Deliverability is a major pain point for many email marketers; it’s even more difficult when it comes to cold emails. Before delving into the deliverability challenges of cold emails and how to combat them, it’s important to know some facts about cold email deliverability first.

The Basics of Cold Email Deliverability

Email deliverability is affected by several factors including your sender reputation (do you get many abuse or spam reports, are you in any email blacklists), the quality of your content (are there too many links in your email, are you using spam trigger words), engagement from your recipients (do they open your emails, click any links in it, or load the images), the quality of your email list (are there many invalid emails resulting in bounces, do you send to too many at once).

Now, while cold emails are not spam, they’re not always welcome in your recipients’ inboxes because they’re unsolicited emails that you send to someone without any prior contact. This means that the chance of a cold email being marked as spam or being flagged for abuse is much higher than emails sent to contacts who have actually subscribed to your list.

When more and more of your emails are marked as spam, get reported for abuse, or received no engagement at all, your sender reputation suffers. When your sender reputation suffers, your deliverability, or your odds of reaching your recipient’s inbox plummets too.

How to Improve Cold Email Deliverability

The key to optimizing for deliverability in your cold emails is personalization. By making sure that your emails look and sound warm, sincere, and written specifically for each recipient, you minimize your chances of being marked as spam by your recipient or your email service provider/ISP while encouraging engagement at the same time.

Here are some tips on how to personalize your cold emails to improve deliverability:

  • Use a name in your From field.

The email sender plays an important role in increasing engagement. In fact, research from Pinpointe suggests that using a specific personal name as compared to a company name or a general email address can increase open rates by 15-35%.

  • Limit your links and images.

Adding too many links and images is a sure way to trigger many spam filters. This is because most spam messages contain tons of links and pictures too. To avoid this, keep the format of your cold email as plain as possible with little to no custom HTML. Add only one or two links in the email, and that includes the links in your email signature!

  • Use your recipient’s name in the subject line.

Did you know that including your recipient’s name in your cold email subject line can increase your open rate by 22.2%? PropellerCRM cited a report from Adestra saying that personalizing your email’s subject line by adding the recipient’s name increases the chances of your email being opened. This is a plus point for your engagement and deliverability too.

  • Send your email campaigns to highly targeted lists.

Personalization isn’t limited to the content of your emails; it can be applied to your lists too. You don’t want to send the same cold email template to 5,000 recipients, and definitely not all at once!

Break down your list into small groups of 20 - 50 according to their interests and create email content that will resonate with each specific group. 

Personalizing your cold emails can help you improve your chances of getting into your recipient’s inbox. One final tip if you need some help with email personalization: it also pays to get help from a full service email marketing agency with a history of creating cold email campaigns with high deliverability.

Written by Jason Boehle