We Sent Over 9K Cold Emails – Here are the 7 Key Takeaways

  Published on June 16 |   13 minutes read
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There are some tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to see success in cold emailing. We’ve sent over 9,000 cold emails for our clients and have seen an average conversion rate of 11%.

Here are the seven most important key takeaways from our experience that can help you make the most of your cold emailing campaigns.

Let’s get right into the data.

Here’s a Quick Summary of Our Key Findings:

  • Takeaway #1: Sending emails to the right prospects increased the response rate by 7% in 2022
  • Takeaway #2: Excluding URLs from the email copy increased the deliverability rate by 13%
  • Takeaway #3: Short and to the point, emails increased the response rate by 4.5%
  • Takeaway #4: Including emoticons in subject lines increased the open rate by 1.7% in 2022
  • Takeaway #5: 8 AM to 11 AM yielded the highest open rate of 15% in 2022
  • Takeaway #6: Cold emails with 3 to 5 follow-up emails got 2x higher reply rates
  • Takeaway #7: 33% of cold email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone

Takeaway #1: Sending emails to the right prospects increased the response rate by 7% in 2022

Cold emailing can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially when you’re not getting the results you want. But there’s a way to increase your response rate by 7% simply by sending your emails to the right prospects.

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not!

We started building prospects data through Ahref’s Content Explorer and Hunter (to extract the email addresses). The key here was to make a list of the right filters to finalize the right prospects. Following are some of the filters which aided our process:

For this, we used Ahrefs Content Explorer to find the right prospects and made a list of relevant keywords in the industry. This might seem like a no-brainer, but we were surprised how many people don’t take the time to do this properly.

The key here was to use the right filters to finalize the prospects. Following are some of the filters which aided our process:

  • Only live URLs
  • Language = English
  • Republished at least once
  • Domain Rating > 30 (it depends on your benchmarks)
  • Excluded homepages
  • One page per domain
  • Website traffic > 2000
  • Words > 1000
ahrefs prospecting

If you’re not sending your emails to the right prospects, you’re never going to get the results you want. It’s as simple as that!

So, how do you ensure you’re sending your emails to the right people? There are a few key things you need to keep in mind that we’ve tried multiple times:

  • Who is your target market?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What are their needs and pain points?

Once you understand who you’re targeting, you can start to compile a list of potential prospects. There are several ways to do this, but the simplest way is to use a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Once you have your list of prospects, it’s time to start emailing them! But before you hit send, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Personalize your emails
  2. Keep it short and sweet
  3. Make an offer they can’t refuse

1.    Personalize your emails

Generic emails are a surefire way to get your cold email deleted without being read. Take the time to personalize every email you send. This doesn’t mean you have to write a fiction novel each time, but a little personalized touch goes a long way.

2. Keep it short and sweet

No one wants to read a long, boring, and rambling email from someone they don’t know. Keep your cold emails, be it outreach or an announcement, as brief as possible and include only super relevant information. Try to get straight to the point and make your case quickly and efficiently.

3. Make an offer they can’t refuse

This is perhaps the most critical step of all. If you’re not offering something precious to your prospect, you’re never getting their attention. But if you can make an irresistible offer, you’re much more likely to get a response (and, ultimately, a sale).

Key Takeaway: Prospecting highly correlates with the chance of getting responses and engagement over time.

Takeaway #2: Excluding URLs from the email copy increased the deliverability rate by 13% in 2022

If you’re cold-emailing, you want to ensure your messages get through. One smart way to boost your chances is to avoid putting links in the body of your email.

We experimented and started excluding U Ls from our email copy, which surprisingly, increased the deliverability rate by 13%. So if you’re cold-emailing, it’s worth keeping your links out of the body of your message.

Source Scalable Media Deliverability Rate

We did that using a few smart ways. First off, we put the URL in the signature line or the “P.S.” section at the end of each email. Sometimes we included URLs as an attachment.

We ensured our URL is easy to spot and click on. Otherwise, people may not bother to click through our website.

Here are a few examples of how you can exclude URLs from your email copy:

  • Put your URL in the signature line or the “P.S.” section at the end of your email
  • Include your URL in an attachment
  • Make sure your URL is easy to spot and click on

Key Takeaway: If you use URLs in the appropriate places, you’ll get more clicks than if you use them randomly.

Takeaway #3: Short and to the point, emails increased the response rate by 4.5%

Yes, cold emailing can be effective if done correctly and that’s exactly how we capitalized. The first step we took was to update the email list, which is full of people who are interested in our client’s product or service.

Source Scalable Media (Short Emails)

We manually created a prospect’s database for each of our clients. Once we had a list of potential prospects, we sat down to write tailored emails.

Here are a few important things we understood:

Whenever we work on a long email, the reader has to spend time reading it, processing it, and figuring out what action they need to take next. Turns out, this can be overwhelming for some people, especially if they’re busy or not interested in your topic.

We’ve found that when we started sending short (1 paragraph) emails with a call-to-action asking for a reply, the response rate was 4.5% higher than when they sent longer (3 sections) emails with no call-to-action asking for a reply.

The bottom line is to always keep your emails short, crisp, and to the point. Include a CTA or call-to-action so the recipient knows what you want them to do next. Be clear about what you’re offering and why the recipient should take advantage of it. And finally, include a sense of urgency, so they know they need to act fast.

Here’s an example of a cold email that we often use and you can also follow as a template:


If you’re looking for a way to improve your online presence, I have the perfect solution. My company offers a range of services to help you reach your target audience and achieve your desired results.

I suggest we set up a call so I can learn more about your needs and see how we can be of assistance. If you’re interested, please let me know when would be a good time to call.

Thank you for your time.

Key takeaway: If you use long emails for cold emailing, you’ll lose out on potential prospects.

Takeaway #4: Including emojis in subject lines increased the open rate by 3.7% in 2022

It’s no secret that cold emails can be tricky to get right. You want to sound friendly and professional without coming across as a sales robot. So how can you add a personal touch that will make your email stand out from the rest?

Source Scalable Media Subject Lines with Emjoi

One way our team achieved this is to use emoticons in our subject lines. SHOCKINGLY, our email open rate increased by 3.7% whenever we included an emoticon in the subject line.

Emoticons are small images that are used to convey an emotion or feeling. They’re often used in email subject lines and social media posts to create a more engaging message.

But it’s not just about adding a smiley face – the length of your subject line also matters. We found that cold emails with subject lines between 3-12 characters had a 44% open rate, while those with subject lines between 81-86 characters had a 43% open rate. But the highest open rate of all was for emails with subject lines between 98-111 characters – 54%.

That’s huge!

So next time you’re drafting a cold email, don’t be afraid to add a few emoticons to your subject line. And if you’re looking to get even more open, make sure your subject line is the perfect length.

Key takeaway: It may sound corny, but including emoticons in subject lines draws attention and lead to more clicks.

Takeaway #5: 8 AM to 11 AM yielded the highest open rate of 15% in 2022

Like most people, you probably think that the best time to send an email is during business hours. But according to our experience, the best time to send an email is early in the morning.

Sounds weird, right? But we experimented and started sending emails between 8 AM and 11 AM and, as it turns out, we got the highest open rate, 15%. So if you want to make sure your email is seen, try sending it first thing in the morning.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. And our prospects won’t be available to read emails at 8 AM. But if you’re looking for a general guideline, early morning is the best time to send an email.

Source Scalable Media Timing and Open Rate

We also found out that emails sent on Friday afternoon are more likely than on other days of the week to be opened by recipients. But they’re also more likely to go unread altogether because people are busy preparing for the weekend or trying to clear their inboxes before leaving work early.

Interestingly, we discovered that the open rate for emails sent on Fridays between 4 and 6 in the evening was only 39%. In contrast, the average open rate across all days was 53%.

So next time you have something important to say, don’t wait until the afternoon. Please send your email early in the morning for the best chance of seeing it.

Key takeaway: Start sending emails in the morning, when users are more likely to check their mailbox.

Takeaway #6: Cold emails with 3 to 5 follow-up emails got 2x higher reply rates

Cold emails are a fantastic way to get in touch with potential customers or partners. However, one of the challenges with cold emailing is getting a response from the recipient. We’ve been there and done that! When we started sending 3-5 follow-up emails after the initial cold email, we increased response rates by 2x.

Source Scalable Media Follow Ups and Response Rate

According to our discovery, there are a few things you should always keep in mind when following up on cold emails:

  • Be polite and respectful: The recipient may be busy and may not have time to respond to your first email. By being courteous and respectful in your follow-ups, you increase the chances of getting a response.
  • Keep it short and to the point: When writing follow-up emails, keep them short and to the point. The recipient is more likely to respond if they can quickly read and understand your email.
  • Personalize each email: In addition to keeping your emails short and to the point, make sure to personalize each email you send. This means addressing the recipient by name, referencing something you discussed in your first email, or customizing the content of the email based on the recipient’s interests.

By following our tips, you can surely increase your chances of getting a response to your cold emails. So don’t give up after the first email – keep following up, and you’ll eventually get the response you’re looking for.

Key takeaway: Follow-up emails are essential for starting the customer journey and boosting drip marketing.

Takeaway #7: 33% of cold email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone

We’ve discovered and created countless subject lines to come up with a rock-solid conclusion. To write an effective cold email subject line, start by thinking about what would make you want to open an email.

What interests you? What are you looking for? Keep your recipient in mind as you write – what would they want to see?

That’s our main strategy!

Once we have a few ideas, we start testing different subject lines on a small group of prospects to see what works best. Additionally, we used online tools to find the perfect subject line for our cold emails.

We’ve realized that 33% of cold email recipients open emails alone based on the subject line. That means that if your subject line isn’t compelling enough, they’re going to either ignore your email and delete it or mark it as spam.

This doesn’t mean that people won’t respond if they don’t like the subject line — but it does mean they have less incentive to do so than if they were intrigued by what they read in the subject line itself.

With a little effort, you can write cold email subject lines that will get your messages opened and read. So don’t underestimate the power of a good subject line – it could be the difference between success and failure in your cold emailing campaign.

Key takeaway: Make the first impression count with your click-worthy subject lines.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, these are the seven key takeaways we learned from our study on cold emailing. Applying even just a few of these tactics can help increase your response rate and improve your chances of reaching your target customer.

Keep in mind that each business is different and what works for one company might not work for another – so be sure to test out different strategies to see what delivers the best results for you.


Farasat Khan

Khan is an SEO consultant with 8 years of experience. His expertise has helped hundreds of brands generate additional revenue through search traffic. He is an SEO cum Digital Marketing specialist specializing in content strategy, search intent, and the sales funnel.

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