6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Cold Email Open Rates

Email marketing is, without a doubt, one of the strongest tools in the marketing game. It works so well because it allows you to reach your target prospects in one place they go every day - their inbox. But all that doesn't matter if the email doesn't get opened. 

Getting your prospects to open your email is the first step in generating new business from your email marketing campaign. If your cold email open rate is consistently low, there are a few things you should consider that could help you improve your stats!

1. The Quality of Your List 

It all starts with the quality of your target list. If your emails bounce or don't get delivered to the recipient's inbox, they cannot be opened and read. Whether you send your emails as an email blast or email "trickle," make sure you validate the email addresses beforehand. There are many great tools out there, such as NeverBounce, ZeroBounce, Clearout.io, and more. Many of them offer a free account with up to a thousand free credits. 

Pro tip: Only use email addresses that come back as valid. Although you have a 50% chance that your "Accept alls" will make it through to the inbox, the email servers for those domains don't provide a definitive verification response, so it's better not to risk it. In the end, you may end up with a higher bounce rate than you expected and even damage your domain health. 

2. Relevance to Your Target Audience

When crafting your cold email message, make sure the subject line is compelling to your target audience. Research the language, phrases, and the tone of voice your target persona is most likely to respond to. For this step, you will need to know exactly who your target persona is, the trends they follow, and their preferred way of communication. Include emojis if your audience is younger and more casual, but keep professional when you talk to directors or executives. 

3. "From" Name and Email Address 

The first thing people look at when a new email lands in their inbox is who it is from. You'll want to make sure that your "from" fields represent your business in the best possible light. Use a familiar name and email address that your prospects will understand and recognize - otherwise; they might ignore it or even mark it as spam. 

Pro Tip: We found that prospects are most likely to respond to a real person rather than a company name. Consider using your first and last name, as well as your company email address (not your personal), in the "from" fields. Avoid generic email addresses like info@companyname.com.

4. Concise and Intriguing Subject Line

Simply put - make it short and sweet. Your subject line shouldn't be longer than 50-60 characters. You are trying to capture your prospects' attention with a one-liner as soon as they receive the email. Subject lines that are longer can be difficult to read, and they can get cut off in the preview. 

Invest some time into crafting and testing your subject line. Unless they subscribed to it, generic lines like "Business News" or "Weekly Newsletter" might not be strong enough to urge your prospects to open the email. 

Instead, when possible, address them by their first name in the subject line. People like hearing their name, and it's personal - it shows effort, making them feel like they aren't just another name on the list. 

Another thing to think about is ways in which you can pique their interest. Consider framing your subject line as a question or an offer. You will want to create a bit of suspense or a teaser, but don't go overboard. While you want your subject line to leave your prospects curious and wanting more, more importantly, it needs to be clear and concise. 

5. The Right Timing

Before sending your first email, think about the right time and cadence. Do a quick research on some of the best times of the day/week to send your emails out, as well as how often you should be sending them (once a week, every three days, etc.). Take into consideration the industry you are sending to and the titles and seniority of your target prospects. Are those people who come to the office first thing in the morning or later in the day? What are their working hours? 

You'll want to adjust your sending times accordingly. A general rule of thumb is to send early in the morning when people are just arriving to work or later at night (as some people like to go through their emails after work when they have more time to relax and read the emails in peace). Avoid sending during lunch breaks or midday - there's a chance your prospect will miss the email, or it will get buried in their inbox. 

Pro Tip: As you start your cold email campaign, we suggest running a split test with different times and days to find what works best for you. Remember that every industry is different, so you'll most likely have to repeat the process for every new industry you send to. For example, our research shows that the best days to send to the education industry are Tuesday through Thursday, early in the morning or late at night, and over the weekends. We don't recommend sending the emails over the holidays either - the best time to get in touch with your prospects is the first Monday after the holiday. 

6. Always Be Testing

No matter how good you think your open rates are, the truth is, there is always room for improvement. That means you should always test your variables until you find a "recipe" that works best for you and your business. Besides the traditional A/B testing, you can try playing with some other variables, like the length of your subject line, punctuation, emojis, personalization, different offers, and more.  

For more tips on personalization, check out our blog post on three tips for your cold email campaign! 

If your open rates are low, take a step back and think about what your message means to the reader. Does it provide value? Is it relevant to them? Then try one of the tactics mentioned above to make necessary changes that will boost your open rates!

If you still need help, contact us today to learn how ProSales Connection can be a value-added resource to your company.

Dora Fredenburg

Hailing from Croatia, Dora is best known in the office for her deadly side-eye, her love of Instagram dogs, and her relentless pursuit to help her clients grow faster in a way that is both sustainable and good for their customers.

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