17 must have steps to successful cold email campaign

Joanna Jachuła in

Blog/Cold Mailing/17 must have steps to successful cold email campaign

Get ready to start cold email campaign

Email campaigns are still one of the most effective online marketing channels. What is more, you can start this type of campaign in a few hours – all you need is a copy, database and outreach tool. Although there are some details which decide if your campaign will deliver you hot leads or not.

Here you can find some basic information about creating effective cold email campaigns. We split our knowledge into four topics: technical issues, target audience, copywriting and dealing with leads.

Technical issues

1. Dedicated domain

If you want to launch cold email campaigns on a regular basis (not as one-time shots), you have to be ready to create a dedicated domain from which you will sent the messages.

It’s just the safety reason – such domains won’t affect each other. If your domain has some bad histories behind (deliverability problems, spam issues, etc.), with the new one you will have a fresh start. It works in the opposite direction as well – if something wrong happens during the campaign, your company’s website is safe and sound.

Remember that your new domain should be similar to the main one (e.g. your regular domain is xyz.com, so the new one might look like xyz.io). You should also make sure that there is a forward between the new domain and your main website.

2. Dedicated email account

As your email address will be connected to the outreach tool, it’s a good idea to prepare a separate email account that will be used only in your cold email campaign. Then, in the outreach tool you will be able to see the incoming leads without any other messages, so you won’t waste your time drowning in one mailbox.

Please bear in mind that such email address should represent a real person. We don’t recommend creating a fake person’s profile since it might lower your credibility – the prospects often look for the information about the sender (e.g. searching for social media profiles, checking your www, etc.).

3. SPF records

One thing you really cannot start your campaign without is an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record. It authenticates you and your domain, so that spam filters allow you to deliver the email to your recipient.

If you want to check your domain’s SPF record, we recommend using MXtool: https://mxtoolbox.com/spf.aspx

The server providers have various ways how to create/ update the SPF record. You can check the Gmail tutorial here (please notice that Gmail is the best provider when it comes to the email campaigns): https://support.google.com/a/answer/33786


Another important technical configuration is the DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail). DKIM is an email authentication method designed to detect email spoofing. It allows the recipient to check if the email that comes from a specific domain is indeed authorized by its owner. DKIM increases your credibility and decreases the probability of spam problems.

More information from Google can be found here: https://support.google.com/a/answer/174124?hl=en&ref_topic=7564555&visit_id=636704372560322527-2641169256&rd=1

5. Footer

While preparing for your email campaign, you need to remember about your footer, which should be concrete and short. Footers build trustworthiness. Thanks to the information included, the recipient knows that you actually exist and he can check in example your social media profiles.

The shorter the HTML code of the footer, the better. When it comes to the graphic elements, you shouldn’t exaggerate – they “weigh” too much. That’s why we’d recommend adding just your photo or the logotype of your company. It is also suggested putting footer only in the first message.

You can find some more information on our blog: https://righthello.com/typical-email-footer-mistakes/

Target audience

6. Portfolio review

The main rule while choosing your target audience is to check your CRM. Prepare your buyer persona based on the information about geolocation, company size, company type, market, etc. Talk with your clients to get to know why they have chosen you, what is your unique value proposition and how you stand out from your competitors. Check with whom you usually talk to about the new business – CEOs? Marketing Directors? Head of Sales? They are the decision makers you should try to reach in your campaign.

We’d recommend segmenting your prospects and creating groups according to the locations they come from. It might be very useful as you can use different email copies for various countries (e.g. while reaching Germany the tone should be quite formal, while in the US you can use more humour and follow non-formal approach).

Check our article to explore this topic: https://righthello.com/targeting-marketing/

7. Find your target audience

When the profile of your buyer persona is ready, you can just transfer it to the Leadonardo using corresponding filters and keywords.

Think about three verticals:

1.Location, company size, market – choose the company filters

filtres from app
2.Company type and technology – write appropriate keywords

tags from app

3. Decision maker – pick the right people criteria

choose holiday


8. Subject line

The perfect practice for cold mailing is changing the copy for every 500 emails sent. It doesn’t have to be a completely new one (but of course it would be the best solution), but at least a few refreshed sentences. Thanks to this anti spam filters won’t assign you as a spammer.

Your goal is to write cold emails and get warm responses. This requires both time and a bit of cunning and being mysterious. For instance – you shouldn’t write about all the fantastic features in the first email. You’d better focus on one, most beneficial feature, that really grabs target group’s attention. This is the best and the fastest way to attract them and encourage to respond.

Introduction mail is not a menu – it’s like a business card, a tasty sample, a grasping trailer. Don’t put all the information into one sales intro email. You can add more later. Trust us – if you want to see responses, you’re going to need follow-up emails.

9. The introduction mail and follow-ups

If you think your goal is to get the highest open rate possible, you’re wrong. Stop looking at your email campaign in terms of “gaining attention by any means necessary” and as an unstoppable run. You can do a big harm to your own business.

Of course, it’s recommended to have subject lines that get your email opened, but the way to achieve this lies elsewhere.

Main cold email campaigns’ purpose, in general, is to hit the bullseye – in other words, to prepare messaging that appeals to your target decision makers.

Let’s see what patterns emerge from the example above:

  • don’t use sketchy, salesy expressions
  • don’t make false promises (you have only one first impression!)
  • don’t be too general

Instead, you should:

  • be straightforward about your offer
  • keep it short
  • try to identify what distinguishes you from the competitors in no more than 1 or 2 statements

Finding your perfect subject line is always a process. A good thing you should consider is launching A/B tests which will show you what attracts your prospects’ attention.

More information here: https://righthello.com/best-subject-line-for-cold-email/

10. Spam words

The anti spam filters are getting better and better and they detect the situation when you want to sell something instead of starting business relationship. Based on our experience we recommend avoiding words such as: check, cost, money, solution, lose, offer, price, etc. When you aren’t sure if your message contains spam words, feel free to write to us and we’ll check your copy by our dedicated tool.

11. Before final launching

When you create a campaign you’d better make sure that all the information about the targeted companies and prospects looks professional. It means that you should correct each company’s name – e.g. Innosquared – a Guidepoint company should be shortened to Innosquared. RightHello app supports this process, but it’s recommend to double check it before the dispatch. Another custom field you might use is a job title. Sometimes one person may hold two or three job positions. Please remember that it looks much more professional if you use only one in your email copy.

It is important to send a test email before launching the campaign. Make sure that every link works fine and the copy looks good (especially when you’re using bullet points).

12. First weeks of campaign

When you start your first email campaign, the number of messages that are sent each day should be really small. We recommend sending 15 intro messages during the first two weeks. After that period you can increase this number and finally reach 12 messages/ hour (8 hours x 12 messages = 96 emails per day). The higher numbers can lead you directly into spam box.

The messages are usually sent from Monday to Friday (when it comes to the intro emails it’s even better to set the dispatch from Tuesday to Thursday). If it’s possible, you should split your campaigns according to the time zones of your recipients.

Dealing with leads

13. Responses

Remember to reply to the incoming emails as soon as possible (both positive and negative ones) and stay polite even if the prospect’s message is not.

Sometimes you might receive an “out of office” autoreply. It is a good idea to send the follow-up email after the person comes back to work (the information about this date is usually included in the message).

14.Dealing with negative responses

An effective cold email campaign requires polishing, and even when the results are satisfying it will still generate a percentage of negative replies. There is no reason to get discouraged because they can actually turn out to be an opportunity.

The scariest kind of reply is the lawsuit threat. Although in most cases there is no need to worry – it’s just a passive aggressive way of dealing with a salesperson. Most sales professionals won’t write back again and that’s the whole point of doing it. But people have no reason to actually pull out the big guns (lawsuits) unless you provoke them to.

More information here: https://righthello.com/deal-with-negative-cold-email-answer/

15. Local holidays

When you send emails to the foreign country, remember that the holidays there can differ from the ones celebrated in yours. To avoid running campaigns during such days, we recommend adding to your calendar all main holidays of the country you target.

If you use gmail, the easiest solution is to add to your calendar the national holidays from the following list.

choose holiday

16. Bounces and invalids

During the cold email campaigns you may notice that some messages cannot reach the recipient’s mailbox and are marked as invalid or bounce. It’s nothing you should worry about unless this rate increases above 10%.

Bounce status stands for the message which is blocked and cannot be delivered even if the email address is correct. It may happen when the recipient either has a whitelist (so he receives messages only from defined list of people), his inbox is full or there is a suspicion that you send spam or you are listed on blacklists (there are more details below).

Invalid status means that the message cannot be delivered since the email address doesn’t exist anymore. The highest level of invalids is noticed in sectors which may change rapidly, such as startups. It can also depend on the job positions you want to target. The fluctuation of founders isn’t as high as the marketing managers.

17. Campaign alert

Another important topic is monitoring the level of open and response rate.

The yellow alert is when your open rate is below 50% (it doesn’t applicable to the production industry, e-commerce and countries like United Kingdom and United States). Then you should definitely check your subject line (more information below).

The red alert is when your open rates are below 30%. You’d better check not only the subject line, but also your technical settings related to the spam issues. Check if your domain isn’t on the blacklists (you can use MXtoolbox again: https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx), your SPF record, footer and links used in the email copy.

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Joanna Jachuła

Data-oriented person. Believes in 4 main success keys in outbound marketing: well-selected target audience, “healthy” domain, outstanding copy and good quality data.