How BIG should my Cold Email Campaign be?

Running cold email campaigns are part of a marketing strategy in which one reaches out to a prospect who is neither in contact with you nor your company. If done strategically, measured and optimized over time, one can reap profitable results.

However, there is a thin line between a cold email and spam email. One of the main distinguishing features of a cold email is that it must demonstrate a valid reason for contacting a prospect.

Now that we looked into the basics of cold email campaigns, let us focus on the specifics.  Especially on the extent of your campaign. The first and the most important rule of cold email marketing is that you must never approach people who have nothing to do with your requirements unless you are asking them to guide you towards some expert. Doing so will make your email look like spam and the user might even report you.

Not Everybody Responds

With that being said, even if you only approach people who are directly involved in your field, never expect a response from everybody. This is one of the painful truths one has to accept in the marketing industry. Some people might be too busy to respond, and others might just be indifferent. A typical cold email has a response rate varying from as low as 1 percent to as high as 60 percent and this is dependent on a lot of factors. This, in turn, influences the number of people you must typically approach to get required response.

Let us take a closer look at the factors which decide the response rate and how they affect it.

Subject Line

The subject line must always convey meaning and must never be too long. A short and curiosity-piquing subject line consistently got a higher response rate than long and more detailed subject lines. In a survey conducted by journalist Shane Snow, a shorter subject line got a 52 percent click rate with a 66 percent response rate while the long and detailed subject line got only 33 percent response rate even with a 48 percent click rate.


Since you are writing to someone who doesn’t know you, make sure to introduce yourself properly. It is also strongly encouraged to make the email very personalized. This includes adding the recipient’s first name, reference to his company and even his position, and even details of where you met him, if you did.

Taking the extra effort to personalize and edit your emails according to recipients will definitely pay off. Emails with advanced personalization usually have more than twice the reply rate. The more than hundred percent growth in reply rate will surely make you work for it though.

Content of the email

The actual content of the email is what affects the response rate the most. Always try to offer something of value and avoid being manipulative. Offering something to the recipient which they cannot find in google is one huge way to increase response rates. People tend to help out others more when they think they are benefited by the exchange too. By offering them something upfront, they will take your email, and in turn you, more seriously.

Thanking them for helping you out is appreciable but don’t try to influence their decision by adding lines like “Thanks in advance for doing this” or “I know you are super busy, but this would mean alot to me”. Despite seeming clever to you, statistics show that such sentences always correspond with lower response rates. Sometimes they cause a difference as much as 45 percent.

Also, don’t make the email too long. Keep the content crisp and on point. Longer emails have a typical response rate of 27 percent while shorter emails tend to fare better around 40 percent.


The response rate of cold emails depends on a variety of factors and even with you following all the steps above, we can’t guarantee you a reply. The above data will, however, help you get a better picture of the number of people you must contact according to the predicted response rate.

The truth is important people are usually always busy. So being personal and doing your homework is the best way to go about it. The above tips can help you get a better response rate, but it ultimately comes down to you giving a convincing answer to the question “Why me?”

You can also ignore all the above tips and exponentially increase the number of emails to get the same number of responses. It depends on you, do you want to put all your wood behind one sharp arrow or a number of blunt ones?

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