10 Cold Email Best Practices & Tips (2024)

Updated May 2024

If you are sending cold emails, and you want to receive responses, then you must follow best practices.

I’ve been sending cold emails for many years, and I also founded a cold email software company (Emailchaser), so I like to think that I am qualified to talk on this subject.

In this article, I will share the 10 most important best practices to follow when sending cold emails:

  1. Set up SPF, DKIM & DMARC with your domain
  2. Only send from a professional email address
  3. Don’t send more than 40 cold emails per day per email address
  4. Don’t use open tracking
  5. Use specialized cold email software
  6. Personalize every email
  7. Use a Sales CRM to track your leads
  8. Gradually build up your sending volume
  9. Analyze whether cold email is even right for your business
  10. Only send cold emails to verified email addresses

1. Set up SPF, DKIM & DMARC with your domain

When you buy a domain and create an email address to send cold emails with, you must add the correct SPF, DKIM & DMARC records.

You can add these records to your domain’s DNS settings.

The reason why you must add these records is because if you don’t, your cold emails will go to spam.

image with the text spf, dkim, dmarc

Google (Gmail) even publicly states that any email from a domain that doesn’t have these records added will go to spam.

I recommend that you read my article How To Send Cold Emails Without Landing In Spam because I show you how to add these records to your domain.

2. Only send from a professional email address

You should never send cold emails from a personal email address.

For example, any email address that ends with @gmail.com or @outlook.com is a personal email address.

Your recipients won’t take you seriously if you are sending them business related emails from a personal email address. You will have a very low response rate.

You need to send cold emails from a professional business email address that is associated with a domain.

For example, [email protected] is a professional email address because emailchaser.com is a domain associated with my company’s website.

I recommend that you use secondary sending domains to avoid “burning” (blacklisting) your company’s main domain.

image showing multiple email accounts

You can learn about secondary sending domains by reading the first 10% of my article How To Send Cold Emails Without Going To Spam.

3. Don’t send more than 40 cold emails per day per email address

If you send too many emails from a single email address, then your emails will go to spam.

You can scale your sending volume by buying additional domains and setting up a new email address with each domain.

I go more into detail on how to do this in my article How To Safely Scale Up Your Cold Email Outreach With Inbox Rotation.

thumbnail of George

4. Don’t use open tracking

Open tracking allows you to see what percentage of people opened your emails.

Open tracking negatively affects your deliverability, and also isn’t accurate.

I recommend that you don’t use it because it will cause your emails to go to spam folders and isn’t even necessary.

Check out my article Does Email Open Tracking Negatively Affect Deliverability to learn about a different metric that you can track which doesn’t hurt your deliverability.

thumbnail of George at his computer

5. Use specialized cold email software

It is very important to use cold email software, such as Emailchaser.

If you try to send cold emails with a newsletter/marketing software, such as MailChimp, then your emails will go to spam.

screenshot of mailchimp's homepage

Sending cold emails to a list of people that haven’t opted-in to receive emails from you is very different from sending emails to a list that has opted-in.

6. Personalize every email

You need to personalize each email that you send.

This will help improve your response rate and deliverability.

For example, you can add the first name of each recipient, so that they think you are specifically addressing them.

You can use custom variables to personalize your cold emails at scale. If you use Emailchaser, then you can add custom variables to your emails.

screenshot showing custom variable feature in Emailchaser

7. Use a Sales CRM to track your leads

All sales professionals should use a Sales CRM to track the status of their leads.

If you are sending cold emails to hundreds or thousands of prospects, then you won’t be able to effectively know what is going on if you are using something like Google Sheets or Excel.

I recommend that you use Emailchaser’s Sales CRM because it is specifically built for sales teams that send cold emails.

image of Emailchaser's sales crm

It also allows you to see which leads have responded, so you can quickly prioritize who to go after.

Using a Sales CRM allows your entire team to see the exact same data, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. It also ensures that your team members don’t accidentally contact leads that have already been contacted.

8. Gradually build up your sending volume

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when sending cold emails is to send too many emails too quickly.

If you create a new email address, and immediately start sending a high volume of emails, then your emails will go to spam.

You need to slowly increase your sending volume if you want to land in the primary inbox (not spam).

Emailchaser automatically increases your sending volume gradually, so you never have to worry.

screenshot showing Emailchaser dashboard

You can learn more about why this is important in my article Should You Gradually Increase Sending Volume When Sending Cold Emails?

9. Analyze whether cold email is even right for your business

Cold email (outbound sales) is not a good idea for every business.

If your average sale value is less than $5,000 USD per client, then it’s probably best that you avoid outbound sales altogether.

The time and money required to hire and train sales reps is too high if your company is selling a product or service that doesn’t generate significant revenue per sale.

There is a reason that Burger King doesn’t use cold email to acquire new customers.

screenshot of burger king's homepage

10. Only send cold emails to verified email addresses

If you send emails to email addresses that are “not valid”, then you will have a high bounce rate, and email service providers will mark your emails as spam.

This will eventually lead to you “burning” (blacklisting) your domain, and all future emails that you send will go to spam.

In order to avoid this, you need to verify that all emails in your list are “valid” before you email them.

Emailchaser’s Email Verifier tool tells you which emails are valid, so that you only cold email safe leads.

screenshot showing the email verifier tool in Emailchaser's dashboard

Frequently asked questions

What makes a great cold email?

A great cold email is personalized and relevant to the recipient. If you can deliver this, then you will have a high response rate.

What should not be included in a cold email?

You should not include links, attachments or images in your first cold email to a lead. These will negatively affect your deliverability, causing your emails to go to spam.

Final thoughts

It is important to follow all of the cold email best practices that I’ve outlined in this article.

If you miss any of them, then you are unlikely to have success with cold email.

If you’re ready to start sending cold emails, then I recommend that you read my article How To Send Cold Emails Without Landing In Spam.

picture of George Wauchope

Article by

George Wauchope

Founder of Emailchaser.

I have been working in the sales & marketing industry for nearly a decade.

When I’m not working on my business, I enjoy eating sushi & doing jiu-jitsu.

About the author