We are back with another valuable and actionable episode of the Marketing Automation Discussion. My cohost has just returned from a vacation and is ready to provide a detailed look at setup and strategy for new cold email campaigns. The topics they cover are: 

  1. Record verification,
  2. Sender accounts,
  3. How to ensure high deliverability / open rates / click rates,
  4. And proper maintenance for cold email longevity.

We discuss the top 5 platforms specifically created for cold emailing in this episode: 

The stage is set by their reference to a specific scenario they are actually advising on this morning – In this situation the domain name they are about to send campaigns from is brand new (no emails have ever been sent). Before any emails are sent, they urge listeners to do the following:

  1. Create a Google Apps or Outlook account for this new domain.
  2. Authenticate all records (mentioned above).
  3. Send a test email to mail-tester.com to ensure all records are in place.
  4. Note – if you are risking sending through an ESP like sendgrid, you should not start cold emailing under a new domain until after you have fully-warmed up multiple IPs under the ESP and have sent a ton of warm customer emails (no unsubs/spam complaints) first. But, if you have a google apps or outlook account for this new domain, you can circumvent this.
  5. Connect said google apps account to your cold email platform. I stress ‘cold email platform’ in this statement bcs you do not want to send cold emails from a platform not created for that purpose – i.e. customer.io, sendgrid, mailchimp, yesware, constant contact….

Low deliverability can be caused by a few factors:

  1. Negative Sender Reputation (accumulates over time): Sender reputation is an indication of the trustworthiness of an email sender’s IP address and sending domain. Senderscore.org.
    • High Complaint Rates: Keeping your subscriber complaint rate low is crucial to maintaining a positive sender reputation and high deliverability rates.
    • Getting Listed on a Blacklist: A blacklist is a list of domains and/or IP addresses that have been reported to be “known” sources of spam.
    • For removal – karan will speak more to this, but here is a link: https://www.myadminip.com/
  2. Poor List Quality: Never buy a pre-developed list. We focus on ad hoc data research to ensure high-quality leads.
  3. Lack of Email Authentication: Authentication allows the receiver of an email and the mailbox provider to confirm the identity of the sender. If the identity of the sender cannot be authenticated, mailbox providers may reject the message or put it through additional filters to determine whether it should be delivered.
    • DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail, is a TXT record published in your Domain Name System (DNS). It involves something that all IT admins should learn to love: keys—public keys to be specific. DKIM uses keys to make sure an email sender is who they say they are.
    • DMARC TXT records validate the origin of email messages by verifying the IP address of an email’s author against the alleged owner of the sending domain.
    • DMARC enables the message sender to indicate that their messages are protected with SPF and/or DKIM.
    • A DMARC policy applies clear instructions for the message receiver to follow if an email does not pass SPF or DKIM authentication—for instance, reject or junk it.
    • Your CRM should suggest (if not require) you to have a DKIM record in your DNS before they allow you to send as that domain.

Low open-rate directly impact the potential of the dataset and the campaigns results. Let’s say that 10% of the targeted recipients are seeing your message then by increasing the open rate to 20-30% you can potentially increase the bottom line conversion as well.

To ensure you keep your open rates high:

  • Check your blacklist status on MXTools.
  • Bounce rate – keeping it at less than 5% is important, although less than 10% is not bad but why settle for silver when you can win gold.
    • Hard vs soft bounces.
  • Sender’s email – use a normal mailbox and not a third party server because you’re not spraying and praying.
  • Recipients’ email – target their direct corporate email, no role-based emails, no private emails (@gmail, @yahoo etc).
  • Subject line – mix it up and use dynamic placeholders, if your subject line looks like the last one they didn’t like then it’s off to the trash with it.
  • Message copy – make it valuable, personally relevant and conversational (not marketing oriented), you want to start a conversation not close a deal.
  • Target market – not much can be done here but it will partially explain the conversion rate.
  • Sending schedule – don’t send 100s of emails in a short period of time, put random intervals in-between email n and n+1.
  • Sending volume – keep it between 25-150 per day per mailbox, high conversion from low volume beats low conversion from high volume.
  • Being human – I know you are not a robot (right?), but often times when we have the ability to deploy automation the human aspect is pushed away.