Cold Email Best Practices for More Open & Response Rate

Cold Email Best Practices for More Open & Response Rate

Gowtham Raj | 10 Mins Read

Cold emailing is a cost-effective outbound sales approach to build a new customer base for your products and services.

However, it can also be used for marketing cooperation, influencer marketing outreach, hiring, and more.

If done right, cold emailing is an access card that opens the door to potential business opportunities, allowing you to initiate meaningful conversations, build connections, and bag new clients.

In this article, you will get actionable insights to get more open rates and response rates for your cold outreach campaigns with proven cold email best practices.

These cold email best practices are derived from hundreds of our cold email campaigns and insights from fellow entrepreneurs from the different business domains of the B2B industry.

Table of Contents

Quick Bytes of Cold Email Best Practices

A lot has changed since the arrival of cold emails. Here’s the fundamental formula to boost the open and response rate of any cold emailing, regardless of the niche:

  • Focus: Customer > Product. Ie., The focus of your cold email content should be completely on your customers rather than your products and their features. In other words, the cold email should be customer-centric, not product-centric.

  • Soft selling > Aggressive sales pitches. Unlike earlier stages of cold emailing, people throw stones at emails with hard selling that includes straightforward or aggressive sales pitches. Emails with hard selling backfire, resulting in spam tagging.

  • Showcase Proofs. Use testimonial reviews to build the credibility of your claim to benefit them.

  • Benefits > Features. Always include benefits in your cold email. People are really willing to know what they will be getting. Hence, brief about how your product/ service will be a solution to their pain points.

  • Keep it concise. Respect everyone’s time in this world of busy schedules just like I gave this quick bytes section for people who are busy bees.You must keep your cold email short: be it intro, value proposition part, or closing, everything needs to be concise and clear.

  • Maintain consistency. You need to maintain a consistent tone throughout your cold email from the From line and subject line to the closing line.

  • Apart from this, there is a lot more to take into consideration during the three stages of your B2B cold email campaigns.

    Let’s get into the best practices of each stage of your B2B cold email campaigns: before, during, and after cold email campaigns.

    Before Cold Email Campaigns

    Selection of the Best Cold Outreach Tools

    I should start with the selection of tools since there are a lot has changed in cold prospecting, particularly cold emailing.

    A decade ago, you must not heard the terms, such as email warmup, inbox rotation, multi-channel marketing, and liquid formulas.

    These are not just novel fancy terms introduced by cold email automation software vendors but a drastic change and the inventions of this new age of cold emailing.

    Given that the changes are drastic, you should choose the best cold outreach tool available in the market.

    To do that, you should understand the difference between cold emails and marketing emails. Following that, you should know the difference between marketing automation and cold outreach automation tools.

    Yes, you cannot use the marketing automation tool for your cold outreach purposes as the marketing automation tools possess some restrictions:

  • the usage of purchased, rented, and third-party email lists

  • the usage of unsolicited email campaigns

  • And, limitations in features, such as:

  • Smart drip campaigns, which help cold emails to send in the frequency of humans instead of bulk sending

  • Custom tracking domain for better email deliverability and to build more credibility

  • Inbox rotation for better email deliverability

  • Email warmup which builds sender reputation score and eventually guarantees better inbox deliverability

  • Even the popular email marketing automation tools lack all the features and have stringent restrictions that don’t make it an optimal tool for cold emailing.

    Hence, select tools particularly designed for cold outreach purposes for better inbox deliverability.

    If you’re considering why you might need separate tools for email marketing and cold outreach tasks, GoZen Growth offers a versatile solution worth exploring.

    It stands out as a unique software capable of handling both email marketing and cold emailing tasks seamlessly.

    It is the only software that can be used for both email marketing and cold emailing in the market. The 2-in-1 nature of Growth proved to be the cost-effective solution for all your inbound and outbound sales needs.

    Equipped with advanced AI technologies and natural language processing (NLP), it is already resonating with businesses like you:


    Usage of Personal Email or Company Email

    Selecting the right sender email address is another crucial factor in determining your open rate.

    Would you open an email that comes from mike12@gmail.com?

    Almost 98% of people will not open the mail that comes from the above mail address. The other 2% might open with a great amount of hesitation.

    For cold email campaigns (as well as marketing email campaigns), using a company email is generally more effective and professional than using a personal email address.

    From Line

    Like the sender’s email address, the From line of your email also gives the first impression to your prospects.

    From line of an email is the representation of the sender that contains the sender’s name. It is an important component of your cold email than you think.

    It is one of the components in the email snippet, where your prospect can see your subject line and the first line of your cold email along with your From line.

    email snippet and from line

    Senders who do not set the correct From line name will display a default From line, which could appear as placeholder text or your email ID.

    From Line Best Practices

  • Keep your From line short

  • Set your From line depending on your prospects and the context

  • Avoid frequent changing of your From line

  • Generally, a good From line can be just your name or your name along with the company name.

    For example, you can set it as:

  • Mike or

  • Mike from GoZen

  • If your tone is informal throughout your cold email, you can set the From line as “Mike”. If you prefer a formal tone for your cold email, you can set it as “Mike from GoZen”.

    Subject Line

    The subject line is the main crucial factor that influences the email open rate.

    Leaving the email subject lines empty or a vague subject line results in a poor email open rate.

    Subject Line Best Practices

  • A subject line should be in optimal length to look good on all devices. The ideal length of the subject line is less than 60 characters or 9 words. It is derived from the maximum subject line length of Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.

  • You should avoid the usage of negative words in the subject line, such as damage, cannot, fail, loss, etc.

  • Include helpful words, such as available, renew, on sale, important, and more.

  • The subject line should be optimized for scannability: write simple and clear subject lines with numbers.

  • Personalize your subject line whenever possible. You can personalize the subject line with your prospect’s first name, company name, or pain points.

  • Go with lowercase letters to look more human. I.e, sentence casing

  • Don’t be too promotional

  • Avoid clickbait at all costs. Don’t give false promises like the first example in below table.

  • Good Subject Lines vs Bad Subject Lines

    Good Subject Line ExamplesBad Subject Line Examples
    See how XYZ company reduced costs by 20% in 3 monthsGuaranteed 100% ROI in 24 Hours!
    Recommendations based on your content on {{Topic}}Quick suggestions for you
    5 quick [cold email] hacks[cold email] hacks you never know
    Solution tailored for {{Prospect’s pain point}}One size fits all solution!
    Scale [X] for your {{company name}}Greetings, {{Name}}! Scale Your Success
    How to avoid the spam folderHow To Avoid the Spam Folder


    Salutation might be a small part of your cold email that the majority of the senders overlook. It turns your prospect into a ‘not-so-interested’ party if you address and greet your prospect with inappropriate terms.

    If used correctly, the salutation can be an effective immediate icebreaker.

    Salutation Best Practices

    The B2B best practices of salutation are personalization and maintaining the balance between too formal and too informal.

    Trust me, personalization in cold email is the key to immediately hooking your prospect to read the full email.

    Here’s an example of one of our cold email campaigns with an open rate of 40% in which we have implemented first-name personalization.

    Growth salutation

    Strictly avoid “Dear Sir/ Mam” in your B2B campaigns.

    A good examples of B2B Salutation are:

  • Hey {{first name}}

  • Hello {{first name}}

  • Good morning/ afternoon/ evening {{first name}}

  • Dropping the Hey or Hello salutation is a pattern interrupt technique that makes your cold email sound more conversational and authentic.

    Cold Email Intro

    Once you have got your prospect’s attention with your From line, subject line, and salutation, you need to hook them to keep reading further down with your cold email introduction.

    The cold email intro should be about your prospect and their pain points, work, recent achievements, and their company.

    Many people start themselves and where they work. But that’s an old technique and that gives your prospects a salesy feel.

    Here’s how a cold email shouldn’t be:

    “I saw your company on LinkedIn.”

    This is one of the worst starts since it is too generic and exhibits a lack of research.

    Hence, it will fail to capture your prospect’s interest or motivate them to continue reading. So, the good alternatives of the above-mentioned email intro would be:

  • I saw you engaged with (marketing/ growth/ sales/ etc) content on LinkedIn.

  • I saw you have reached a milestone of a substantial customer base. Are there any cold email/ marketing email automation challenges I can help with?

  • Cold Email Introduction Best Practices

  • Always start the introduction with a prospect-first attitude to make them feel important.

  • The email introduction should be no more than 2 or 3 sentences.

  • Show genuine concern. This can be done by conducting thorough research on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and crafting a detailed buyer persona to assist them effectively.

  • If there’s limited data for personalization and no specific assistance to offer, focus on building relationships around common interests or topics.

  • Cold Email Body

    Following a clear and concise email introduction, it’s crucial to present your value proposition and sales pitch in the email body.

    Keep in mind that your value proposition should be as succinct as your introduction, and the sales pitch should adopt a soft-selling tone.

    Here’s a good example of a cold email body:

    The above email must work and earn a response due to its prospect-first intro, relevancy, social proof element, and conversational tone.

    Cold Email Body Best Practices

  • Start with a concise value proposition that aligns with your introduction

  • Then, pitch your sales with a soft selling tone

  • Include social proof for better credibility

  • Aim for relevance. Relevancy is always greater than personalization.

  • Cold Email Closing Line

    The closing line in your cold email plays a pivotal role in boosting your response rate. Creating an effective email closing line is crucial for building relationships and getting responses to your Call to Action (CTA).

    The good email closing line can be:

    This is one of the good cold email closing lines since it used a lead magnet (the free plan) and an open-ended question which will improve the response rate.

    Cold Email Closing Line Best Practices

  • Use lead magnets as CTAs. We have analyzed the cold campaigns sent using GoZen Growth and noticed that campaigns with lead magnets as CTAs increased the response rate by 10X.

  • End your email by asking permission or open-ended questions, which increase the response rate reasonably.

  • Make it less formal. Ask your prospect if they are available for a chat/ discussion. Asking for a chat or discussion is way less formal than asking for a meeting or demo.

  • Value their time. Ask them to book a 10-minute call by including your calendar link instead of a 30-minute demo.

  • This is how you can make your cold email closing line impossible to say No.

    Cold Email Signatures

    Including an email signature is important to show that your cold email is genuine and not automated.

    It helps others see who you are, which is key for building trust.

    On the flip side, not having a signature or having a weak one can make you seem less trustworthy.

    A perfect version of a cold email signature:

    Email Signature Best Practices

    As per Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), cold emails must include all sender information, such as name, an active email address, and contact information.

    The email signature is an optimal place to include all this information.

  • A good signature must contain your first name, your designation, and the company you are representing.

  • Including a link to your LinkedIn profile and your company website would be an added advantage, as it exhibits a greater amount of trustworthiness.

  • A contact number can also be added to make the reachout more flexible.

  • Other Common Cold Email Best Practices for Before Cold Campaigns

    Add Opt-Out Option

    Since cold emailing is all about sending emails to people without their direct consent, you need to adhere to certain rules:

  • Have a solid reason to send cold emails. Though the laws and regulations of data privacy and cold emails of certain countries have allowed sending cold emails with a valid reason of being in the same business vertical or upon prospects’ indirect interest, countries such as the UK, Australia, and Canada have stringent policies that require consent from the users. So, be extra cautious while sending cold emails to people in the countries of the UK, Canada, and Australia.

  • Include an easy-to-opt-out option to comply with GDPR, CASL, and CCPA laws

  • Failing to add the unsubscribe option will lead to spam concerns and incur a hefty fine.

    Respect Email Sending Limit

    While exploring the best cold outreach software, I discovered that almost all cold email automation tool vendors suggest maintaining a daily email sending limit of 100-250.

    Exceeding this limit may put your email at risk of spam. However, GoZen Growth offers mailbox rotation that allows you to send more than 250 emails daily without worrying about spam concerns.

    growth sender rotation

    Spam Words Check

    The presence of spam words in your cold email will result in landing in the spam folder.

    Email providers have spam filters in place that actively monitor all emails for spam trigger words. An example of some spam trigger words include: buy, earn, discount, full refund, etc. Once you have written your cold email, you need to proofread it for the existence of spam words.

    Test Email Check

    Performing a test email before launching your campaign is a crucial step to ensure that your email looks and functions as intended.

    To perform an email test, you need to create a list of active email addresses. The list of email addresses can be your co-marketing professionals or employees at your office.

  • Check for Format Issues

  • Just after sending your cold email to the test email list, open it on different devices and email clients to check how it renders. Ensure that the formatting, images, links, and overall layout appear correctly across various platforms (e.g., desktop, mobile, and webmail clients).

  • Custom Field Check

  • Upon finishing your cold email copy, you need to check for the personalization tokens. This is to ensure that you get the desired personalization values.

    Sometimes you’ll get a placeholder {{firstname}} instead of the actual value Mike.

  • Verify Links and Attachments

  • Click on all links and download any attachments included in the test email to verify that they work as expected. Make sure that links are directing recipients to the intended landing pages or resources.

  • Check Spam Score

  • Use email testing tools or services to check the spam score of your email. Aim to keep the spam score low to increase deliverability and avoid getting flagged by spam filters.

    During Cold Email Campaigns

    The best practices for cold email campaigns are not limited to actions taken before launching your campaign. They extend throughout the entire campaign timeline, including during and after the campaign.

    List Cleaning

    Once you have launched your cold email campaign, you must focus on the responses. People unaware of the “Unsubscribe” option might reply to you expressing their unwillingness to receive your emails.

    In those cases, you need to respond at the speed of light. Failing to respond or late response might incur huge penalties for your organization.

    You need to act and remove the email addresses from all your campaigns and the follow-up sequences.

    Follow-Up Best Practices

  • Frequency and Timing: Frequency and timing are the two most important factors to consider during the campaign.

  • Send follow-up emails promptly after the initial contact, preferably within 3-5 business days to maintain momentum.

    Avoid overwhelming. Space out follow-ups appropriately to avoid overwhelming recipients with too many emails too quickly.

  • Follow-Up Greetings: As usual, add personalization tokens to represent their name, representing any previous conversations, or specific actions taken by the recipient. Good examples of follow-up emails could be:

  • Hey {{first name}}, It’s lovely to e-meet you again

  • I’m writing to you {{first name}} to check in on…

  • Following up on our recent conversation, {{firstName}}. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to assist you.

  • Automate Follow-Ups Based on User Behavior: Manually sending personalizing follow-ups at scale is impossible. That is where the GoZen Growth, 2-in-1 email marketing and cold outreach automation software, strikes in.

  • Growth journey builder

    Growth journey builder

    Using the journey builder or pre-built templates in Growth, you can effortlessly automate personalized follow-ups based on user behavior.

    Growth pre-built templates

    Growth pre-built templates

    After Cold Email Campaigns

    There are still a few best practices after your initial contact and follow-ups. Let’s explore those.

    Track Metrics

    A good marketer should review the email marketing metrics often to fine-tune the performance of the cold email campaigns.

    Take into consideration of email delivery rates, open rates, and response rates.

    Use those insights from campaign analytics of your cold email automation tool to refine future campaigns, incorporating learnings from what worked well and what didn’t.

    Collaborate with Salesperson

    Once you move your leads and prospects to demo, you must act agile to respond quickly.

    Gather the list of prospects who have agreed to the demo and give it to your sales team for further conversation. If you have cold outreach tools that support native CRM support, this list of prospects automatically gets updated there.

    Then, you need to equip your sales team with the necessary product and prospect knowledge. What product did the prospects show interest in? What were their pain points? What were their requirements?


    1. How long a cold email should be?

    The ideal length of cold emails should be 120 words or less. However, it can be up to 200 words maximum.

    Cold emails should be clear and concise, considering the prospect’s valuable time.

    2. Can I use gender-neutral language in cold email campaigns?

    In many cases, using gender-neutral language can be inclusive and respectful, especially when you’re unsure of the recipient’s gender identity or if you’re targeting a diverse audience.

    However, it’s essential to strike a balance between inclusivity and personalization.

    If you are using gender-neutral language, consider personalizing other aspects of your email to make up for the lack of gender-specific language.

    This could include referencing the recipient’s job title, industry, recent interactions with your brand, or specific challenges they may be facing.

    3. What is an email snippet?

    An email snippet is a brief of an email that contains the From line, subject line, and the preview text, the first line of the email.

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    Author Bio

    Gowtham Raj
    Gowtham Raj

    As a content marketing specialist, Gowtham brings more than 5 years of experience in inbound marketing to GoZen. During his one year freelance stint, he strategically implemented SEO techniques in real-time, resulting in over 1 million all-time organic visits to a newly established website in a highly competitive niche.

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