Cold Email as a Business Tool – Statistics and Facts

Getting people to open your cold emails is a big ask. After all, they don’t know you, they don’t trust you (yet), and they have no clue about what your business does. If no one is opening your emails, your finely crafted sales pitch and irresistible offers are going to waste. 

Before you give up on cold email as a business tool, here are a few interesting statistics and facts about cold emails you may find useful: 

  1. Adding a recipient’s name to the subject line can increase open rates by over 22%
  2. Different industries have varying open rate averages
  3. Creating engaging subject lines increases your open rates
  4. Highly targeted campaigns can improve your results
  5. You can improve reply rates with personalized emails
  6. Split testing can improve open rates by 49%
  7. Sending follow up emails can triple your reply rate

Even though it may seem like your time will be better spent elsewhere, the facts above indicate that cold email campaigns may be worth your effort. Let’s talk more about each of the above points and show how you can use them to your advantage. 

1.      Including a Recipients Name in the Subject Line Can Increase Open Rates

What’s in a name? More than a 22% open rate, that’s what. It’s such a simple thing to do, but including the recipient’s name in the subject line can have a dramatic effect on your open rates. According to this report from Adestra, [* ] a name will grab the reader’s attention and make your email stand out in their inbox. 

2.      Use Your Industry Average to Set Realistic Targets

MailChimp is a successful email service provider, and they collect a lot of data on all things email marketing. 

According to MailChimp’s research [*], open rates vary by industry and range between 15.22 to 28.46%. Why is this important? Because it provides a baseline for you to compare your results against your industry average. 

You can now set more realistic targets for your campaigns because you are no longer comparing apples to oranges. 

3.      Increase Open Rates with Catchier Subject Lines

More than 30% of email recipients will decide to open an email based on the subject line. This means you should spend some time considering what you are going to include in such an essential part of an email’s anatomy. 

The right subject line will trump the fact that the recipient doesn’t know your business from a bar of soap, and if you get it right, you can potentially increase your open rates by up to 35%.

Because many people will be catching up with their email on a mobile device, a shorter subject line may also prove beneficial. Most email marketing experts will send an email with a subject line that is 60 characters or less [*]. 

Long subject lines will get cut off because of limited screen size and will frustrate users. Keep them short, punchy, and relevant. Pique their interest by using the subject line to speak to them directly, ask a question, or create a sense of urgency. 

As a side note, Convince and Convert [*]  have also discovered that 69% of recipients will also report an email as spam based on the information included the subject line.  You can reduce the chance of this happening by avoiding language that is overly salesy, such as the word ‘free,’ for example

4.      Improve your Targeting

When it comes to cold emails, sometimes less is more. Woodpecker [*] analyzed the results from more than 20 million cold emails and discovered that if you narrow down your target group you can significantly increase your open rate. 

FastCompany [*] performed an interesting experiment by creating a campaign targeting 1,000 very successful, and very busy business people throughout the U.S. 

The average open rate for business emails sits between 14 and 23%.  FastCompany managed an open rate of 45.5% on 707 delivered emails (the remaining 203 bounced), which highlights the effectiveness of tighter targeting and increased personalization. 

When you are creating your email database with a platform like LeadLantern, an alternative to ZoomInfo, don’t add a company just because it operates in the industry you are targeting. You should set out a list of the most important criteria a business should meet. Applying stricter criteria will also make it easier to create more personalized emails. 

The most successful cold emailers keep their target lists small and tightly defined, so if your results have been lackluster lately, sending out fewer emails to more qualified prospects may be worth a try. 

You do need to monitor more than just your open rate. An open rate of 86% isn’t much good if you aren’t receiving any replies. If you notice this happening in your campaigns, it may be time to revisit your subject line rather than give up on cold emailing altogether. 

Email deliverability is a critical component to be aware of, as undelivered emails can never get read. However, they can bring your open rates down, and every email address you have in your database increases costs with your email service provider. 

There are ways you can narrow down your target list as well as verify the addresses in your email marketing database. You can read more about that at the end of this article.

5.      Improve Your Reply Rates with Personalized Emails

Personalized emails will increase your reply rate. You can use custom snippets, like {{first_name}} or {{company_name}}, for example, to ensure your emails speak to the recipient directly. 

Personalization works because it shows you have taken an interest in the recipient and that you took the time to write to them individually. 

Deliverability will also improve when you use snippets in your email copy. The subject line and the copy will be somewhat unique, which can reduce the chance that your email will fall victim to the spam filters. 

A little bit of research on your prospects will go a long way towards you being able to add highly customized snippets in your copy. Mention how much you enjoyed reading a previous article of theirs, congratulate them on the new contract they just won, or ask them a question - because people enjoy being viewed as an authority figure on a subject. 

Woodpecker [*] discovered they could increase their reply rates to 17% (up from 7%) by including advanced personalization through snippets. 

6.      Improve Open Rates with Split Testing

You can increase your open rates by a whopping 49% by using A/B split testing in your campaigns. 

Split testing is a way of squaring one email off against another to see which ones achieve the best results. When you have a winner, you use it as the new test and create another variation which borrows heavily from the winner but includes slight variations. 

When you split test your email campaigns, you will often be surprised at how changing one little word can make a huge difference. Most email service providers have features that make it relatively easy to split test an email campaign and analyze the results. 

You will need to decide on what makes a winning campaign, which could be a higher open rate, click rates, views, or replies.  

7.      Increase Reply Rates with Follow Up Emails

Regardless of how you reach out to your prospects, the follow up is one of the most important things you can do to improve results, and it’s no different for cold email campaigns. 

We refer once again to results achieved by Woodpecker [* ]. Woodpecker campaigns with between 4 and 7 emails per sequence scored 3x more responses than campaigns with 1 to 3 emails. 

Further to these results, campaigns with even longer sequences achieved a 27% reply rate. The shorter campaigns could only manage a 9% reply rate. 

Of course, you need to tread a fine line between keeping your prospects engaged while avoiding driving them crazy enough to hit the spam button. Keep your emails suitably spaced (as in not 3 in one day), so you don’t overwhelm your prospects. When a lead responds to an email, be sure to pause the sequence for that recipient. 

How to Find Email Addresses for your Cold Email Outreach Campaign

One of the biggest challenges of creating a cold email campaign is to collect email addresses in the first place. Short of searching through Google and trolling through hundreds of corporate websites, how can you create your database without spending weeks at the computer? 

Lead Lantern makes the process of collecting email addresses incredibly easy and affordable. The monthly fee is a small investment when you compare it to the amount of time you will save. 

There are over 40 million double verified records spread over thousands of different industries. You can improve your targeting through Lead Lanterns comprehensive search criteria, including Fortune 500 companies, Industry, SIC/NAICS codes, keywords, annual turnover, employee count, and more. 

There is no better tool for finding leads with pinpoint precision that will significantly increase your success rates with B2B prospecting. There’s a free demo, so why not check it out today at

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