How to enhance the performance of cold mails?

Are your cold emails not getting you the desired results? Read on to learn how to improve the performance of your cold emails.

Cold emails are 40x more effective in getting new customers than Facebook & Twitter combined. However, it's over usage and poor execution results in its poor performance. Getting the basics right will help you make the most of this high-performing channel.

So, today let us uncover the lost art of cold emails

How to convert leads through cold emails?

We break the process into three steps:

  1. Addressing email deliverability: If your mail lands in the spam folder and not the inbox, you have already lost the game. You can follow simple steps to ensure a safe inbox landing.
  2. Relevant personalisation: The bane of today's outreach is the one-size-fits-all approach to it. So, start the personalisation from the subject line, then move to the first line of the mail and finally, the mail content.
  3. Appropriate follow-ups: A single try isn't enough. Have from 3 to a maximum of 7 touchpoints with your potential customers. Not just that - also modify the content in each of these mails.

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I want to enhance the performance of my cold mails. Better open rates, more clicks and higher replies!


There are three parts to solution - addressing email deliverability, relevant personalisation and following up appropriately.

Why and when to worry about this?

a. Rationale

Cold emails are effective - about 40 times of Facebook and Twitter combined, in terms of customer acquisition. So, it is clearly an important channel to focus on.

However, as a result, it is also overused and poorly executed. Getting the basics right will help you make the most of a high-performing channel.

b. Timing

Cold outreach works best when you have good customer testimonials or case studies. This is because customers visiting your website can now see some social proof.

Therefore, it is ideal to start with your network and get initial customers. You will then be better placed to define your ideal customer profile while also being able to showcase your past success.

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Shortlisting leads by ideal customer profile

Email id discovery & check


Comprehensive CRM software


a. Realistic expectation

Perfecting your cold outreach takes time as there are many moving parts. So, persevere through it.

Also, good performance can be defined by the 30/30/50 rule - basically, a 30% open rate out of which 30% respond to your mails and 50% of them convert to customers. Of course, you can do better, but this rule helps to put your performance in perspective.

b. Process

As outlined earlier, we will break this process into three steps:

i. Addressing email deliverability

ii. Relevant personalisation

iii. Appropriate follow-ups

i. Addressing email deliverability

For your mails to be opened, it needs to reach the inbox and not the spam folder. To achieve that:

  • Ensure that you use reputed email providers
    • Low-quality IPs have poor deliverability
    • Also, authenticate your email domain
      • Each mail provider has a specific process
      • This tells providers you are indeed who you claim to be and increases your deliverability
  • Test the email ids you source
    • Email ids from tools OR through a form on your website can be fake
    • Sending mails consistently to ids that don't exist increases your spam score
    • So, always test mail ids before launching a "campaign", using tools like Hunter
  • Clean your mail list
    • Sending your mails repeatedly to people who don't open your mails, negatively affects the delivery rate
    • So, remove inactive recipients on a regular basis
  • Test email content
    • Your email content can trigger spam filters
    • Therefore, once you have your mail content is ready, evaluate it using tools like Litmus

ii. Relevant personalisation

While you need templates to scale your cold outreach, generic mails is the bane of outreach. Relevant personalisation is highly important.

  • Personalisation implies that the recipient feels that the mail has been written specifically for them. It needs to be reflected in the:
    • Subject line
      • Almost the only factor that drives open rates
      • Keep it short
      • Use their name
      • Subject should be representative of the mail content
    • First line
      • Also affects open rates, as many mail clients show a preview of the first line
      • Don't make this about you (reserve that for your signature)
      • Talk about their problem & your solution
        • Not in an one-size-fits-all fashion but one that personally relates to the person
      • Maximum customisation needs to be made in the first line
    • Mail content
      • Here is where the good gets differentiated from the great
      • So, personalisation should relate to the problem you are solving
        • Basically, don't generically talk about the individual's demographic/ professional history
        • For e.g. If you were writing to me about hiring developers from you, the mail shouldn't be randomly about my past experience in a bank. Rather it could talk about no-code tools and their limitations. Then possibly, ask me if I think the time is right to explore building a custom tool with a full-stack developer.
      • Further, use small gestures such as sending them a LinkedIn request and mentioning that in your mail too

iii. Appropriate follow-ups

  • A follow-up is a necessity because your leads might
    • Like your offering but procrastinate the reply
    • Be busy and hence not open the mail
    • Be partially convinced but need a little more push
  • So, here are some best practices for follow-ups
    • Send a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7
    • Space it out - bunching them together will only result in unsubscribes and angry recipients
    • Identify the actives times of your leads and schedule the mail accordingly
  • Content of your follow-ups
    • Don't keep sharing your pitch in each follow-up
      • Share case studies, useful industry content, a sample report made for them showcasing your solution, etc.
      • Here is a good article for the kind of follow-ups: Link
    • Segment the leads based on the activity on the mail - non-openers, opened but no response, etc.
      • Your mail to them can be tailored accordingly

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