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8 Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Cold Email Strategy – Part 1

According to an article by Entrepreneur the average person gets 147 emails every day and from that number they typically open and respond to just 12 emails before deleting the other 135. So how do you win one of the coveted 12 opens by the prospects you seek – especially when you have not been formally introduced? You fine tune your cold email strategy.

Let’s Be Human About Cold Emailing

If you think of cold emailing as a networking opportunity, and less as a marketing strategy, it’s much easier to connect with the human aspect of it. Cold emailing in its purest form is you reaching out to someone you don’t know via email and introducing yourself in the hopes of establishing some sort of a business relationship. Yes, there are strategic aspects of it that rely on tech more than personal charm, but if you focus on one aspect at the expense of the other, you will miss your targets altogether.

The Art of Forming New Acquaintances

Cast your memory back to the pre-COVID era and think of the last time you made new acquaintances at a business networking event. What made you take interest in meeting these people and led you to smile, shake their hands, and engage in a conversation with them? Were they funny, confident, sincere, good listeners, ridiculously attractive? Whose contact information did you keep and what compelled you to keep it? Conversely, think about the people that made you want to check your phone two seconds into the conversation and invent a reason for a quick exit? What was off-putting about them?

7 Seconds to Glory

We typically judge people visually within seven seconds, but the same timing holds true for when strangers reach out to us via email. Essentially, you want to send cold emails that demonstrate the kind of qualities you find attractive when being introduced to someone for the first time. We’ll talk more about being the kind of business you would want to get emails from throughout this post, but we’ll also share some technical details you must take care of before reaching out to anyone you don’t know.


You know what’s a turn off? Getting a cold email from someone with my name misspelled. You know what prevents that? Scrubbing your list like the family dog after it rolls in something odious. Every article about cold emailing will spout off about the amazing results you can achieve when you personalize the content according to the sender, (full disclosure: this blog will, too) BUT you cannot send a high-performance cold email campaign with old, un-standardized, incomplete and just plain dirty data.

Add Data Orchestration to the Top of Your To-Do List

The good news is data orchestration — which is controlling all data that comes in, goes out, and is shared throughout the systems in your organization — is not the cat-wrangling nightmare of yesteryear. In fact, once you integrate the systems in your marketing technology stack with vital data sources throughout your organization, you can fully automate the process of maintaining clean, complete and standardized data. As we all know in marketing, the higher the quality of data you have at your disposal, the greater the results you can expect when you send cold campaigns. From reduced bounce-backs, to increased opens, responses and more, good quality data is critical to your cold email strategy.


As mentioned earlier, personalization is THE game-changing strategy behind the impressive results experienced by those who have added cold email marketing to their marketing mix. However, before you personalize your email and enjoy the higher open rates (14 to 23 percent) targeted emails typically deliver, you need to think about who it is you want to target and what they have in common. The six most popular forms of B2B segments are: firmographics, demographics, geographics, psychographics, customer needs and customer behaviors. Naturally, you will want to choose the segment options that are in alignment with your ideal customer, but it’s also good to experiment, too.

Test the Potential of Different Segments

Many B2B marketers will create segments based on firmographics (i.e. industry, company size, annual revenue, etc.) and call it a day. However, adding variables from other data sets will not only help you develop a better view of your ideal customer, it can produce more rewarding results. If you’ve been relying solely on firmographics, choose two other types of data sets to further define your segments, such as geography (city, region, country) and features (customer needs). Creating more defined segments for your cold email lists will in turn allow your new acquaintances to feel personally understood, heard and recognized.


Did you know that 35 percent of customers open an email based on the content of the subject line? As your official introduction to a complete stranger, your subject line needs to grab their attention, pique their interest, and connect with them on a personal level. Most importantly, it needs to do all of these things in as few words as possible, ideally 10 words or less. Some statistics on the science of increasing open rates via subject lines include:

  • 22% is the increase for subject lines that include the recipient’s name
  • 50% is the increase for subject lines that feature a quick question
  • 30% is the increase for personalized subject lines (i.e. firmographics, geographics, etc.)

Applying Old School Marketing Rules to New School Cold Campaigns

Because a subject line has so much riding on it, there can be a temptation to overthink it or worse overload it with too many ideas. How often have you driven past a billboard and marveled at the waste of money someone invested in posting a novel in such a limited space? Back in the day, the rules for outdoor advertising were one idea per board conveyed in 8 words or less. These same rules are relevant for modern digital marketing.

People in our distracted world are craving simplicity, so feed that craving by honing in on one key point per subject line, and force yourself to say it in as few words as possible. Most marketers feel compelled to sell something in every piece of marketing, but no one likes to be sold to. Instead use your subject line to draw someone into a conversation. Ask a provocative question that strikes an emotional chord regarding their business. Talk to them about what they care about. Be the person at the party that leaves everyone wanting more.

Stay Tuned

Be sure to check out Part Two of 8 Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Cold Email Strategy, where we will cover the final five ways you can enhance the results you are getting from your cold email strategy.