A high open rate alone is not an indicator of a successful sales email. Only when recipients either reply or click on one of the links in the email that lead to the sender's website or online appointment booking link does the probability of a successful conversion increase. However, responses to outbound emails unfortunately often fail to generate meetings. What's the reason? We've collected the 5 most common causes of low cold email response rates for you - and ways you can quickly improve them!
Even in outbound emailing, the right timing matters. Often, a well-written sales email lands in the recipients' email inbox at the wrong time and is often not even noticed or is quickly forgotten. This is because recipients often don't have time to check their emails or engage with the email content at the moment the email arrives in their inbox. The more time that passes after sending before recipients can take a look at their inbox, the less likely they are to scroll all the way to the bottom and read and respond on the outbound email carefully after all.
Put yourself in the role of the recipient: Imagine you're at lunch, rushing through the food court with your colleagues. Then your phone vibrates and you see that you've received an email with the subject line "Your sales process." Be honest: How likely are you to find a quiet corner in the restaurant at that moment and relax and read through the email? Exactly. Later, when you're finally in bed after the stressful day, you take a look at your emails on your phone. So many new emails, phew, you'd better take a closer look at them the next day...
As you can see, the worst time to send a sales email is when your recipients are in a hurry or stressed. They may open the email briefly, but the next moment they are distracted and close it again. To find out which time periods for sending you should better avoid, you should get to know your potential customers better in the first step and learn more about their everyday habits. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make a general statement about the perfect day and time for sending out your outbound campaigns, because it depends on the target group and their professional and family situation. Not so easy. But with the help of our tips and tricks for the best cold email sending time, you can define a clear time window in which your recipients can best be reached, based on various criteria such as your specific target group, their activity on your website or the sending of competitors.
Nevertheless, as with all outbound emailing, nothing beats testing, because although there are numerous studies on the ideal time to send, the results cannot simply be applied to every cold email. Therefore, especially at the beginning of your career as a sender, you should test different send times and later check the statistics to see if you can detect differences in response rates compared to previous send times. Also, when choosing your sending times, always pay attention to upcoming holidays, vacation time or children's school vacations - because these time periods can unfortunately contribute to your cold emails getting less attention.
The design and structure of a sales email can be perfectly thought out - if all that's included in the email is a tiny text link and a clear call-to-action (CTA) is missing, chances are your prospects won't respond. Especially when reading on a smartphone, it might prove difficult for your recipients to "catch" the small text link with their finger. Therefore, in every sales email, it's worth linking the link across several words, so that it prompts the recipients to click on it in a charming way. With just one click, your recipients will be taken to an appointment booking or to your website.
Many senders make the mistake of placing the CTA at the end of the cold email. If your prospects have to scroll for a long time to get to the call-to-action, there's a risk that they'll close the email before they get to it, and you won't get the response they were hoping for. Therefore, it's better to position your calls-to-action at the top of the directly visible area of the email. You can find out which CTA placement will generate the most clicks by dividing your recipient list into several groups and sending each group the same sales email, but with a different CTA position (left-aligned, centered or right-aligned, at the beginning of the mail, below the text,...). With mailivery, you can find out before sending which placement will generate the most attention.
mailivery's heatmap shows for each CTA and text link how recipients are likely to click on it. This is a good way to find out which CTA placement and label will convince more prospects.
Senders often assume that the more call-to-actions are included in the sales email, the more responses can be achieved. However, too much choice of CTAs rather leads to your recipients not knowing where exactly to click or respond. Unfortunately, this often leads to them simply abandoning it altogether. We therefore advise including only one central hyperlink with a short, easy-to-understand call to action in the sales email. Be careful with links! The more links you include in your email, the higher the risk of being blocked by spam filters.
Don't use buttons. Colorful call-to-action buttons distract from the actual content and confuse your recipients: they don't know where to click and therefore often don't click at all.
In order for a call-to-action to generate many responses, it is also important that it is not only well integrated into the email, but that the recipients can also directly recognize an added value. Thus, the CTA should be chosen in such a way that it conveys to your leads that only a short response is needed to get what they want most right now. You will also not achieve higher response rates by using spam words like "book now", "click here", "today only", etc.
Many senders often use only one recipient list to send to their prospects. This means that all leads receive the same sales email with the same content. Especially with a high number of recipients, there is little chance that the content will be interesting and relevant to all potential leads.
It therefore makes much more sense to take the time to get to know your target group and work out different persona profiles before sending out the first email. With the help of segmentation or keywords, you can then divide your leads into several subgroups and send target group-specific cold acquisition emails that convince with relevant content and motivate recipients to respond.
If you find it difficult to divide your recipients into different persona types, you can also use other ways to find out which sales email content your subscribers find exciting. For example, you can ask your customer support colleagues during the coffee break what questions customers actually ask most often. From the answers, you can then easily derive which content would help your leads further and thus automatically achieve a lot more responses.
In addition to creating target group-relevant sales emails according to persona profiles, it is also a good idea to categorize the contact list according to the following criteria, for example:
- Age of the recipients
- Place of residence
- Buying behavior
- Previous opening and click behavior with previous sales emails
Again, you can then send different content via cold email for the different groups. For example, reactivation mailings only make sense for recipients who have not opened a cold email in a while. You can also use segmentation by place of residence to send targeted invitations to events that take place in the vicinity of your recipients' homes.
If you don't regularly remove permanently inactive recipients from your recipient list, they will hurt your response rates. This is because normal emails typically have a bounce rate of less than one percent. If your lead list suddenly has a higher bounce rate, spam filters will immediately know that you are probably sending unwanted emails.
Apart from that, the non-delivery will falsify the actual response rate in terms of all interested recipients.
Therefore, make sure to check your recipient list for inactive leads at regular intervals and "clean up" the list accordingly. A regular spring cleaning is not only good for your response rate, but also for your reputation and delivery rates (as there is more interaction between the recipients and your emails in percentage terms).
If you send your sales emails from a separate email address, spam filters will quickly notice that your response rate is below average compared to normal email behavior. As a result, you will lose your reputation and it will become increasingly difficult to deliver your emails to your leads' inboxes over time. Therefore, use email warmup services such as mailivery.io to ensure that your average response rate remains consistently high and that you are as close to natural email behavior as possible. Keep the service on at all times.
When researching online, you will come across numerous cold emailing articles that give specific values for response rates that senders can follow. However, important factors such as recipient list size and quality, business sector, or cold email content are often left out of such ideal response rate statistics.
Instead, you should focus on your own cold email response rates and monitor them over a long period of time. By regularly evaluating and optimizing your outreach emails and taking our tips for higher response rates from this article by heart, you should see a positive trend in your email response rates over the long term. If a cold outreach email receives a particularly high number of responses, you should definitely take a closer look at it: How does the cold email stand out compared to previous mailings? Did you try a new topic or structure the content differently? For future outbound mailings, you can keep any points that went over well with leads in this sequence the same.
Yet, lack of responses in cold emailing cannot always be attributed to the sender's fault. In many cases, low response rates are also due to the market situation involving strong competition. Nevertheless, don't hang your head and simply stop sending cold emails. Instead, see the low response rates as an incentive to show your competitors how the ball is in your court!