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8 Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Cold Email Strategy – Part 2

In Part One of 8 Ways to Boost the Performance of Your Cold Email Strategywe covered the important role that data and marketing segments play in enhancing the performance of cold email campaigns. This week, we’ll cover the final five ways you can fine-tune your cold email strategy, and transform it into a genuine game-changer in your marketing playbook.


Isn’t it refreshing when you talk to someone and they respond in a way that lets you know they are actually listening, instead of thinking about the next thing they want to tell you? That’s the spirit of personalization that you want your cold emails to embody. You want them to sound as if you have personally considered what each recipient is interested in, and then carefully crafted an email that speaks directly to those interests.

According to Tucker Max at The Harvard Business Review, personalizing cold emails gives you a competitive advantage that is vital to your organization’s success. Some of the latest stats that showcase the amazing power of personalization in producing better marketing campaign results, include:

  • 21% is the increase in response rates when subject lines and body copy are personalized
  • 100% is the increase in reply rates when emails are personalized for each individual customer
  • 6x is the increase in transaction amounts produced by personalized emails

 Max maintains, “Personalization means that you’ve thought about who this person is, how they see the world, what interests them, and what they want — you’ve developed a “theory of mind” about the recipient. This shows them you have put work into understanding them.”

Now, before you become overwhelmed by the idea of personalizing cold email copy based on the individual preferences of every last single person on your contact list, remember that you’ve already laid a lot of the ground work so that you can do precisely that.

Preparing to Personalize Body Copy

When you set out to personalize cold emails, you want to find and establish common ground. The good news is when you segmented your emails, you did most of the work needed to identify common subjects you can talk about with cold prospects. For example, if you segmented a list based on a particular industry, you can feature an image that speaks to your understanding of that industry at the top of the email and in the body copy you can share how you resolved an issue for a company in that industry. If you segmented your list based on geography, talk to them about customers you serve in that area that are happy with your services, area knowledge, and response rates. If you segmented your list based on seasonal buying behaviors, talk to them about upcoming opportunities you have planned to make their lives easier during busy seasons.  

Implement Message Orchestration

Do you want to know the secret to delivering highly personalized messages to each and every person on your cold email list? Content automation, also known as message orchestration is the secret weapon behind very braggart that ever laid claim to a high-performance ABM strategy. Message orchestration uses an intuitive martech tool to pull content from all connected data reservoirs in your organization. It then plugs that data into the appropriate templates, which can be sent automatically or at your command. This enables the folks on your list to receive the emails that address the topics they are personally interested in reading about. More importantly, because these tools are adept at dynamically pulling and placing data, you can easily add names and titles to your templates and make your emails as personal as you like. In short, message orchestration is what makes ABM-style cold email campaigns scalable.


Jazz Age icon, Louise Brooks once quipped, “Writing is one percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.” We couldn’t agree more. In the early days of my career, I once watched in stunned horror as my woefully longwinded creative director sold a lucrative campaign to a client during a meeting. They were happy with their decision and ready to move on, but my old CD proceeded to talk so long, he talked them back out of the sale. It was an amazing display of social blindness and deafness, but unfortunately not muteness.

Short and Sweet vs. Long and Info-Packed

Ironically, I realize I just told you a rather long story to say this, don’t lose a perfectly good sale by saying too much. Be like George Costanza, hit the high note, and get out quick. Challenge your writers to consider the average results produced by the email content lengths below:

  • 3.5% is the response rate for copy that is 200 to 400 characters (30 to 100 words)
  • 7.5% is the response rate for copy that is 900 to 1000 characters (130 to 250 words)
  • 8% is the response rate for copy that is 1,400 to 1,500 characters (200 to 380 words)

If you’ve ever read anything by Ernest Hemingway, you will quickly discover that one of the reasons he is forever lauded as great is due to his ability to say in a few words, what takes most writers three paragraphs. Go and do likewise.


When personalizing cold emails sometimes it is not enough to use data to sound like you know and understand where someone else is coming from, sometimes you need a present to get you in the door. Nearly three thousand years ago, Solomon, the wisest king to ever live, said in Proverbs 18:16, “Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!” Marketing research has shown Solomon was indeed wise as:

  • 24% of companies say giving gifts opened up new opportunities or leads for them
  • 66% of people are able to recall a brand name a year after receiving a promotional gift
  • 80% of businesses report that gifts have improved relationships with clients

According to blogger, Alicia Baucom’s research on giving, “About 50% of recipients do not like the gifts they receive. Therefore, giving useful gifts is considered the best way of winning your recipient’s affection.”

Be a Good Gift Giver

Giving gifts to folks on your cold email list does not have to be a budget buster. There are lots of practical and useful things you can give that you likely already have on-hand. Gifts such as white papers, e-books, special discounts on products and/or services, use cases, case studies, and the like, are all practical and useful—especially if they address a problem or personal interest of the recipient.

Of course, an actual physical gift can work wonders if you have the budget for it. A big company I worked for back in the day once sent select prospects a nice basket of fruits and gourmet goodies. I think the cost was around $50 per recipient, and as long as the sales reps called within 24 hours of folks receiving their gift baskets, they were able to book meetings with nearly all of these tough-to-get prospects.


Despite what you’ve heard, most people do like for you to be direct when telling them what you want. At the end of every email, make sure you include (within your super-short word count) a very clear and concise call to action (CTA). If you want someone to download an e-book, invite them. If you want someone to book a meeting, include a scheduling button. If you want someone to simply respond to the email with a level of interest, ask them.

In short, always give cold email recipients something to do, because building a relationship with someone new requires give and take. If you don’t include a CTA, you run the risk that—despite liking your email and what you had to say—your prospect isn’t sure how to respond, and in 99.9% of cases, that means they won’t respond at all.  Lastly, according to a recent study, emails with a single definitive CTA enjoy a 42% increase in click-through rates. This same study found that including multiple CTAs reduces click-through rates, so think one-and-done when it comes to CTAs.


We’ve all had that experience where we liked a sales person and were ready to buy from them and then for some reason, we fell off their radar, which resulted in them losing our sale. Studies show that sending follow up emails can triple your reply rate. One of the companies in that study, called, ran a cold email campaign with a goal of acquiring 73 new leads. They cold emailed about 600 prospects and one percent of those folks responded. However, when they sent follow up emails, they were able to increase their response rate by 12.6 percent. That’s an impressive leap.

Practice Good Follow-Up Etiquette

When sending follow-up emails, the trick to getting a good response is to be brief, polite and willing to take a hint. Your goal is to be viewed as respectful of a prospect’s time and not desperate for a meeting or a sale. At Sureshot, we recommend sending a cold email nurture sequence that looks something like this:

  1. Intro — CTA usually involves a free gift (Note: If they respond to the intro, they are entered into a different sequence than the one below)
  2. Follow-Up — CTA usually asks for a response sharing level of interest
  3. Final Follow-Up — CTA usually asks if they recommend that we talk to someone else at their company

In addition, you will want to space out the sending of each of these emails by three or four days, so that recipients don’t feel stalked by your company or consider your emails spam.

Want more cold email advice? Check out our other blogs on this topic:

  1. 5 Steps for Getting Great Results With Automated Cold Email Outreach – Part 1
  2. 5 Steps for Getting Great Results With Automated Cold Email Outreach – Part 2