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Top 4 Lessons From 290 Top-Performing Cold Emails

Colin Campbell

December 18th, 2018

cold emails for marketing and sales

What makes a great cold email? Does all the work it takes to personalize outreach really pay off? How can you craft a subject line that maximizes reply rates? We partnered up with Drift, Siftrock and Outreach, gathering nearly 300 top-performing emails and performance metrics to give you the answers to these questions and more. Without any further ado, here are my favorite takeaways from the study.

Top 4 Takeaways from What 290 Cold Emails Can Teach Us About Sales & Marketing in 2019

  1. What makes a good cold email is up for debate, so be wary of vague benchmarks. Your benchmark of great performance will depend on what your team is trying to achieve and the buyer you’re targeting. While some top-performing emails showed reply rates of just 1%, a full third of the samples in our study had reply rates of 15% or higher.
  1. Personalized emails always perform better, right? Actually, not always. The results vary, and personalization needs to be done right to make the difference. Still, you’re 2x as likely to achieve reply rates above 15% if you use personalization over pure automation.
  1. Personalization at scale works best when the scale isn’t massive. 52% of top-performing emails were sent to lists of less than 200 people. There’s also evidence that reply rates can be even higher when the groups are even more hyper-targeted down to 100 people or fewer.
  1. Shorter email copy and subject lines are always better, right? Not always. While some shorter emails do outperform others, there are plenty of examples of long subject lines and email copy working well too. According to our study, 3-6 word subject lines usually perform better.

These takeaways are fascinating, but they’re just the beginning. Find out even more about which “best practices” you can ignore in What 290 Cold Emails Can Teach Us About Sales & Marketing in 2019, here.

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