Cold Email & followup campaign framework to increase response rate

Planning your cold email campaign requires optimization of email messaging and timely followup. First contact is very crucial for salespeople and having an effective system for it is equally crucial. This will allow you to have a sales machine which consistently generates prospects. We will suggest a framework and system which has worked for us very well in the email campaigns with 20 % response rates in the first email and further 10 % response rates in followups. At the end of the day, you have to come up with a framework/system that works for your business.

This framework will help you train your sales team & prospecting team with a system to generate prospects not just by you but also by your team.

Using metrics will help you understand the response to your cold emails & follow up emails. The email open rate will tell you how good your email subject is, the response rate will tell you how good your email messaging is. Why am I sharing this with you? As I said, you have to come up with the process that works for your business. What works for us doesn’t necessarily mean will work in your business. Data like open rate and response rate will help you optimize your campaigns and it will help you narrow down on a highly effective process which will work for your business.

Here is the framework we used:

First Email On Day 0 – Make sure you use right trigger words in your subject. Keep your messaging short, simple and text based. Ask for simple reply to email or reference to the right guy.  Don’t forget to use A/B testing feature of email campaign tool.

First Followup On Day 1 – If recipient doesn’t open your email within 24 hours, there are 99 % chances that he/she will never open it since people get so many emails on a daily basis that your email will go down in list after a day and no one has time to go back to old emails. Due to this reason you should send first follow-up email on immediate next day of first email. Try a slightly different messaging and slightly different subject but not too much different. Make sure you remove leads who responded to your first email and not send them the follow-up email. This timely follow-up got us further 5 %  response.

Second Followup On Day 3 – Send one more follow-up email simply asking if they had a chance to look at your previous and asking them to re-direct you to the relevant person but not more. Keep it simple and direct, don’t camouflage your messaging.

No More Followup..Switch to Nurturing Campaign – Don’t do too many follow-ups. Whoever will respond or open your email, they will do it in first two follow-ups. Most email opens and responses will happen in first follow-up itself. If you go beyond 2nd follow-up then you are basically losing more customers than gaining. Put them in email nurturing campaign from now on where you share the value in the form of educational content and not selling anything. Learn more about email nurturing campaigns through a concept called email drip process.

Revisit Leads – Filter out leads which didn’t respond to you in your campaign and revisit them through cold email campaign again after a certain time(Decide this time based on your business model and businesses you are going after, typically a few months). Repeat the cold email process along with follow-up with either similar messaging or different messaging. Remember, you still have these leads in the email nurturing process where you are staying in touch with them through valued educational content.

How to make follow-up emails more effective

Remarketing/Retargeting – If you have budget then you can use remarketing technique while doing followups to improve conversion rates. It will help you reach out to customers from other mediums like Facebook & websites they visit. Your lead will have higher chances to respond to you when they see your brand everywhere they go. Downside of this technique is that you will be spending too much money and it’s difficult to measure how much helpful was remarketing to get a response.

A/B Testing – Use A/B testing in your cold campaigns to optimize subjects and email messaging based on open rates, click rates and response rates. You learn and improve your email campaigns over time. For ex. I optimize best subjects based on open rates of my emails. Higher the open rate, better is the subject.


“Without data you are just another person with opinion” – W. Edwards Deming


Use Metrics – Do not forget to use metrics to optimize your campaigns. Use email tools which can give you such data like open rates, click rates and if possible response rates. Make sure you have a way to measure the data. For ex. I sometimes simply ask leads to reply to email if interested and measure number of replies to find out response rates. I sometimes have a link at the end of the email as call to action and see number of people who clicked on the link and filled up the form. This acts as measure of response rates.

I hope you have found this article useful.

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