How to Increase Email Reply Rate for Cold Email Outreach?

Email is one of the most effective ways of communication and outreach, especially for small and medium businesses. With the number of email users growing to 4.6 billion by 2025, it is clear why keeping track of and improving email metrics is becoming important for sales teams across the globe. There are several factors that a salesperson has to optimize to receive a significant rate of investment and one of the factors is the email reply rate.

Marketers and Sales teams are in constant search of techniques to improve email open rate and email reply rates. Do check our published article on  “How to Increase Email Open Rate?”. This article would give insight into improving email reply rates. And would be helpful for sales teams and lead generation agencies that run cold email campaigns.

What is the email reply rate in the context of cold email outreach?

“Reply” denotes the response received from a prospect during the campaign period and “Reply Rate” denotes the ratio of Replies to the total number of prospects contacted successfully. The higher the Reply Rate the better. 

How is the email reply rate calculated?

The email response rate can be calculated by 

 (Number of Replies received / Total number of Prospects Contacted Successfully) X 100 = Email Reply Rate

   For example, if you have contacted 100 prospects and 90 were contacted successfully and 35 prospects have replied then the response rate would be 

  (35/90)x 100 = 38.88% email reply rate

Email reply rate would vary depending upon the type of industry and email, so it would be difficult to set a benchmark. However, for cold emails, the benchmark can be set at 15-30%. 

The factors which affect the email reply rate are 

  • Email Content: Based on the type of content, the reply rate would vary. An email with a launch offer or discounts would receive a higher reply rate as compared to generic content like newsletters or any updates. 
  • Target Audience: A larger and more diverse audience may receive a higher email open rate whereas a niche and smaller audience might receive a lower email reply rate.
  • Industry Type: A B2C email campaign would receive a higher email reply rate as compared to the B2B industry.

Why is it important to track email reply rates?

Email reply is one of the important metrics for sales teams, agencies and enterprises as 

  • It helps to understand the engagement level of your prospects; which type of content interests the prospect and the way they choose to interact with your brand.
  • Good reply rates denote that the email outreach campaign delivers higher ROI. 
  • Good reply rates also indicate that the email content is well-written, the audience targeting is perfect, and appropriate use of CTAs and other elements.

What are the reasons for a low or declining reply rate?

While it can be difficult to achieve a reply rate above 20%, it is very important to understand the reasons for low replies

  1. Time of sending an email
  2. Over-promotion 
  3. Length of the content
  4. Confusing or wrong use of CTAs (Call to Action)
  5. No personalization
  6. Sent without initial test – Content seems broken
  7. No proofreading
  8. No consistency
  9. Low open rates. 

How to externally increase the Reply Rate?

Reply rates could be increased by following these simple strategies

  1. Email body content should be engaging, short, crisp and to the point
  2. Proper segmentation of prospect list – Imagine sending a proposal for accounting software to the “Head of Content”. Proper segmentation increases the chance of getting a response
  3. Discounts should be clearly mentioned
  4. Usage of a personalized video
  5. Incorporating an interactive question at the end of your email would encourage the prospects to respond. Eg: “So do you want to reduce your sales cycle? Would like to get your take on this”
  6. Business email id should be used while sending emails
  7. An email signature should be used as it makes the email look more professional and creates brand recognition. 
  8. Grammatical mistakes and typos should be avoided

SmartReach as an email outreach software focuses on email deliverability. Its key features include email validation, shared sales inbox, detailed email campaign reports, spam test reports,  prospect management, workflow automation, campaign soft start, single dashboard prospect response handling via shared inbox, Multichannel outreach (via channels such as email, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, message and call) and many more features that would help the sales team to close deals faster. 

How to increase Reply Rates within SmartReach Environment?

The reply rate can be significantly increased by following the below strategies with SmartReach:

  1. Your CTA should be clear and straightforward. It should be placed correctly.
  2. Follow up on a regular basis. Set up unlimited follow-ups with SmartReach, the follow-ups auto stops when a prospect or someone from the prospects domain responds. A gap of 3 to 5 days between follow-ups is recommended. Best to limit your campaign to 5 follow-ups. Do not ask prospects why they aren’t responding.
  3. Sending emails when the prospects are active, increases the chance of getting replies. Use our “Best time to Send” report and accordingly tweak your campaign settings. 
  4. Ensure that you add the prospect’s time zones during the upload of prospects. You should then send emails preferably during working hours. 
  5. Set up your campaign by Sending Holiday Calendar. It’s a list of days for which you do not want to send emails from your campaigns.
  6. Personalize your emails – SmartReach provides an option to create a custom merge tag. Alternatively, pre-defined merge tags can also be used as a personal touch to the email.
  7. Increase open rates.
  8. A/B test with one subject line and different email body templates. Then analyze our template report and share the working template with your team.
  9. Limit your daily email sending to 150 emails per email ID. The lesser the number of emails sent, the better the email deliverability.


Email outreach is an ideal strategy for lead generation, increasing sales and driving more revenue for your business. Analyzing email reply rates in depth can help you get closer to your sales quota. While it is very important to be careful and attentive with each prospect and it can be difficult at times, with our tips and suggestions, you should be able to boost your email reply rates. 

Pay attention and analyze every response you receive and keep making improvements. This would ultimately improve your email metrics. When it comes to finding a reliable email outreach platform that fulfills all your sales needs, is one that tops the list for a number of sales-focused teams.

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