Updated September 2023
In this article, I will show you how to send cold emails without getting your email address and domain blacklisted by email service providers such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc.
If you send too many cold emails without following best practices, you will “burn” (blacklist) your domain and all of your emails will land in the spam/junk folder. Once you burn your domain, there is no fixing it.
If you follow all of the steps in this guide, you will dramatically increase the number of responses you get from your cold emails. This article is essential reading for anyone doing sales. I also recommend that you review this document from Google about how to prevent mail to Gmail users from being blocked or sent to spam.
In this article, I will cover the following:
You need to send cold emails from a business email address that is associated with a domain.
If you send cold emails from a personal email address, such as @gmail.com, @outlook.com or @yahoo.com, then you won’t get responses. People won’t take you seriously if you are sending emails from a personal email address.
An example of a business email address that is associated with a domain is [email protected] since emailchaser.com is a domain.
It is VERY important that you don’t send cold emails from email addresses that are associated with your main domain. I define your “main domain” as the domain that your company’s public website is built on.
For example, if your business’s website is https://www.emailchaser.com, then do NOT send cold emails from email addresses that are associated with emailchaser.com.
If you send cold emails incorrectly, then there is a risk that you will “burn” your domain, which will blacklist any email address that is associated with it. This will cause all of your emails to go to the spam/junk folder.
To avoid burning your main domain, you need to buy a second domain that is similar. This second domain is the domain that you will create an email address with and then send cold emails from. If this second domain gets burned, then it won’t affect your business’s main domain.
For example, if your main domain is emailchaser.com (this is your company’s website), then below are some examples of other domains that you could buy to send cold emails from:
You should avoid using hyphens & numbers in your domain names. And always get a .com domain name.
Since my name is George, below are some examples of email addresses that I could create using the above domains to send cold emails from:
Later in this article, I will show you how to 301 redirect these domains to your main domain, so that your prospects will still see your real website if they enter these domains into the browser. This would look like:
emailchaserpro.com 301 redirects to emailchaser.com
tryemailchaser.com 301 redirects to emailchaser.com
emailchaserapp.com 301 redirects to emailchaser.com
Top-level domains work best, such as .com
This is a list of domains that have the worst reputation. Do not buy these domains.
I buy my domains from Google Domains. The reason why it is best to use Google Domains to buy your domain is because when you buy your domain from Google Domains & also set up a Google Workspace account, the correct SPF and DKIM records will be automatically added to the DNS zone of your domain. I will explain more about this later in this article, but for now know that this is important.
You can buy your domain from Google Domains whilst setting up your account with Google Workspace.
To clarify, this is the domain that you will send your cold emails from. This is not your company’s main domain that already has a website associated with it.
Google Workspace is where you will create your email address. This email address will be used to send cold emails.
It is important that you use Google Workspace because I will be using Google Workspace for the rest of this guide. If you don’t use Google Workspace, then this guide will be hard to follow. Also, do NOT buy your domains and set up your email accounts with Zoho; their deliverability is bad and your emails will go to spam.
Go to https://workspace.google.com/ and sign up for an account by clicking “Get started”.
Then you can follow the instructions that are provided to set up your Google Workspace account.
These are instructions explaining how to buy a domain whilst you set up your Google Workspace account.
You will buy your domain while setting up your Google Workspace account. You will also be prompted to create your email address (username) during this Google Workspace account set up process.
I recommend that you create only one email address per domain. Some people say that you can create two or three different email addresses per domain, but this is more risky, and could get your domain “burned” (blacklisted). It is safer long term to only create one email address per domain.
It is important that you create a new Google Workspace account for each individual domain that you buy.
Below is a video showing how to buy a domain while setting up your Google Workspace account and how to create your email address:
It is very important to authenticate your domain before you send cold emails.
This will improve your deliverability, and will make your emails land in the primary inbox.
If you don’t authenticate your domain by setting up SPF, DKIM & DMARC, then your cold emails will go to spam.
It will take a few days to fully set up your SPF, DKIM & DMARC records because you need to configure your SPF and DKIM records first, and then wait 48-hours before turning on your DMARC record. Slow and steady wins the race.
If you are using Google Workspace, then you can follow this guide to set up the SPF record on your domain.
If you followed the instructions in this article, and you bought your domain through Google Domains whilst you set up your Google Workspace account, then you don’t need to do this step. The SPF record is automatically added to your domain’s DNS when you buy a domain through Google Domains when setting up your Google Workspace account.
Below is a video showing how to set up the SPF record on your domain:
You can follow this guide to set up your DKIM with Google Workspace.
This article from Google shows you how to verify if you have set up your DKIM correctly. You can verify if your messages (emails) pass DKIM authentication following the steps in this article. This is my preferred method for verifying my DKIM authentication.
Below is a video showing how to set up DKIM on your domain (and how to verify that your DKIM & SPF are set up correctly):
Important: You need to set up SPF and DKIM before you set up DMARC. After you set up SPF & DKIM, you should wait 48-hours before you set up DMARC. SPF & DKIM need to authenticate messages for 48-hours before you turn-on DMARC.
You should follow this guide to set up DMARC with Google Workspace.
You can then use this website to verify that your DMARC is set up correctly.
Below is a video showing how to set up DMARC:
Now you need to forward the domain that you bought to send cold emails from to your main domain.
I already explained earlier in this article why this is important, but long-story-short, if a prospect enters the domain that you send cold emails from into their browser, you want the prospect to see your company’s real website.
For example, if my company’s website is https://www.emailchaser.com, but I bought the domain "emailchaserpro.com" to send cold emails from, and I created [email protected], then I would want to forward emailchaserpro.com to https://www.emailchaser.com so that when the people that I send cold emails to enter emailchaserpro.com into their browsers, they see my company’s real website (https://www.emailchaser.com).
Below is a video showing how to forward your domain in Google Domains. This video may be outdated as Google Domains was recently acquired by Squarespace, meaning that you now will need to forward your domain inside of Squarespace (not Google Domains) if you purchased your domain when setting up your Google Workspace account:
Regarding email forwarding (not domain forwarding), I recommend that you don't set up email forwarding for your sending email addresses.
If you send your cold emails with Emailchaser, then all responses that you receive will appear in the Inbox page inside of your Emailchaser account.
So even if you are sending cold emails from 30 different sender email addresses, any responses that you receive will appear in the same Inbox page inside of Emailchaser, and you will then be able to respond to these responses from this single page without having to log into your individual email accounts.
You do not need to forward incoming emails to a primary email address when using Emailchaser. In fact, I recommend that you don't forward emails because it can cause issues with creating confusing email chains between multiple different email addresses and also can create deliverability issues.
It is best to keep email responses with your leads in the original email chain. For example, if I email a lead from [email protected], and they respond, I should then respond from the original email address that I sent my first email from ([email protected]) and not a different email address.
Emailchaser allows you by default to respond to leads from the original email address that you emailed them from.
It is very important that you add a professional profile picture to your email address.
Adding a profile picture to your email account will improve your deliverability, and will increase your response rate as people will trust you more.
Below is a video that shows how to add a profile picture in your Google Workspace account:
It is also important to add a signature to your emails. This will improve your response rate as it builds trust with your prospects.
You can learn how to add a signature to your emails with Emailchaser in my article How To Write A Professional Email Signature.
Finally, it is important that you log into your newly created email account and make sure that your first and last name are added correctly. This ensures that your recipients will see your name displayed correctly in their inboxes.
Before you move further ahead with this guide, let’s make sure that you have the following things set up correctly:
For your domain, check that you have correctly set up your SPF & DKIM records.
You can verify that you have set up your SPF & DKIM records correctly by following the instructions in this article from Google.
Also, check that your DMARC record is set up correctly with this tool.
For testing the spam score of your email address, you can use this tool.
If the above tools show errors, then you can fix them by going back to this guide and making sure that everything is set up as I explained above.
Now that you have set up your domain and email address, you need to find people to email.
I recommend that you focus on finding smaller lists of highly relevant leads. Some people promote the idea that you should find large lists of thousands of prospects, and then send thousands of generic emails to them.
This is a bad idea.
Firstly, you are much more likely to get your email address & domain “burned” (blacklisted) when emailing such a high volume of leads. This will cause all of your emails to go into the spam/junk folder, thus destroying any hope of having a successful cold email campaign.
Secondly, this approach doesn’t allow you to do any meaningful research or customization. Your conversion rate will be much higher if you research each prospect and send them an email that they can resonate with. Decision makers at large companies know when an email is copied and pasted and sent in mass, and they won’t respond unless they know your email was customized just for them.
The below tweet shows how the former Chief Revenue Officer at Brex ran their best outbound campaign (75% demo rate, 75% demo to close). He only cold emailed 300 companies, and closed 169 of them. This is a 56% close rate. This highlights the point that personalizing each cold email is far superior to sending thousands of generic spam emails to large lists.
1/ The best outbound campaign we ever ran at Brex (75% demo rate, 75% demo to close):— Sam Blond (@samdblond) January 9, 2023
Brex launched in 2018 as the first corporate card for startups. After launch, when we were still ~30 employees and near 0 rev, we ran the most successful outbound campaign I've ever seen.
If you have an existing large email list, then do NOT send cold emails to the entire list using mass mail services like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Mail Merge etc. This is extremely ineffective and will result in your emails landing in spam. You must send cold emails the correct way, as outlined in this article: slowly build-up the volume of emails that you send using a proper cold email sending tool like Emailchaser, this will 10x your results.
Another thing to be aware of is that you should avoid buying pre-existing lists of emails. There are companies that sell email lists, but these email lists usually have spam traps in them. Long story short, if you buy an email list and send cold emails to said list, there is a very high chance that email service providers will blacklist your domain & email address due to spam traps in the bought email list.
The best place to find leads is LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
You should sign up for LinkedIn Sales Navigator which is a paid tool that LinkedIn offers. Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can search for relevant leads in any industry globally. This is how you will find relevant people to email.
The problem with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is that most people on LinkedIn don’t publicly display their email addresses. This is understandable because decision makers at large companies don’t want people pitching them all of the time.
If you use LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you will know who to contact, but you won’t be able to find their email addresses because their emails aren’t publicly available in most cases.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator only allows you to message around 25 people per month directly through LinkedIn. This is not a lot of people, and most people don’t even check their LinkedIn messages.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem.
My company, Emailchaser, has an Email Finder tool that you can use for free to find almost anyone’s email address, even if their email isn’t publicly available.
So you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find people to email, and then use our Email Finder to find the email address of each prospect that LinkedIn doesn’t give you an email for.
The only problem with this method is that it is time consuming.
This is why we built our LinkedIn Email Finder Google Chrome extension. This allows you to export leads from LinkedIn Sales Navigator with the email address for each lead.
Using our LinkedIn Email Finder, you will be able to export thousands of leads and their email addresses at once, saving you countless hours.
Our LinkedIn Email Finder uses our proprietary email finding software so that when we export your leads from LinkedIn, their email addresses will also be exported with the leads. These are emails that LinkedIn doesn’t give you; we use our own email finding software to find the email address of each lead that you export from LinkedIn.
Our LinkedIn Email Finder will give you email addresses that you otherwise would have no way of obtaining.
The biggest mistake that people make when sending cold emails is trying to send too many emails too quickly.
You need to build up slowly.
If you send hundreds of emails immediately, you will burn your domain and email address, and all of your emails will go to the spam folder.
You should wait at least one week from the time that you create your new email account, to sending your first email. If you start sending emails immediately with a brand new email account, then your emails are more likely to go to spam.
Also, you should build up slowly. Start by sending just 5 emails per day per email address for the first week. Then 10 emails per day per email address for the second week. Then 15 for the third week, and so on until you reach the 40 emails per day per email address limit.
I recommend that you never send more than 40 emails per day per email address. If you send more, you risk burning your email and domain.
The way that you can scale your cold email outreach is by buying additional domains and creating additional email addresses. I will explain how to do this later in this article.
I recommend that you send your cold emails with Emailchaser since it will automatically do the above for you, so that you avoid spam.
When you send email campaigns with Emailchaser, it will automatically build up the email sending amounts as described above, until it reaches the 40 emails max per day per email address limit.
Emailchaser also allows you to add more than one email address to your account, so you can scale your outreach if needed.
It is also important that you don’t send the exact same email template to each prospect.
You need to change the subject line and text of your email slightly for each prospect so that email service providers don’t mark you as spam. If you send 100 emails which are all the exact same, then you will be marked as spam.
Emailchaser gives you the option to automatically change the subject line for each email. It can also use ChatGPT to change the body text of your emails slightly so that you aren’t sending the exact same email each time.
Emailchaser also allows you to use “custom variables” in your email campaigns. An example of a custom variable is First Name, Company Name etc. This allows you to add personalization to your emails, even when sending at scale through Campaigns.
If you are sending email campaigns at scale with Emailchaser, then you can use the above features to ensure your emails are not the exact same. If you are sending customized emails, one at a time, to a targeted list of leads, then you can fully customize each email to make them unique and relevant to each lead.
I recommend that you read my article How To Write Cold Emails That Get Responses to learn how to write effective cold emails.
It is also very important to send automatic follow-up emails to prospects that don’t respond to your first email.
Most people are busy, and won’t respond to your first email, even if they are a good potential client. If you send two or three follow up emails, over the course of a couple of months, then you will double or triple your response rate.
This is another reason why I recommend that you send your cold emails with Emailchaser. You can schedule automatic follow-up emails through Emailchaser Campaigns.
Finally, you shouldn’t send emails to email addresses that are not valid.
If you send too many emails to email addresses that aren’t valid, then you will have a high bounce rate, which will damage your sender reputation score. Email service providers track your sender reputation score, and will place your emails in the spam/junk folder if your sender reputation score is low.
If you have a list of leads that you want to send cold emails to, then I recommend uploading your list to our Email Verifier tool first. This will “clean” your email list by telling you which emails are valid and which aren’t. You should only email valid email addresses to protect your sender reputation score.
I recommend that you start by buying just one domain and creating one email address from this domain.
Only create one email address per domain. Some people say that you can create two or three different email addresses per domain, but this is more risky, and could get your domain “burned” (blacklisted). It is safer long term to only create one email address per domain.
It is important that you create a new Google Workspace account for each domain that you buy.
After you have had some success with sending cold emails from one email address, you can start to think about scaling.
Scaling involves buying more domains and creating a new email address from each new domain, which will allow you to send more emails each day.
As mentioned previously in this article, I recommend that you only send 40 emails max per day per email address. Since you should only create one email address per domain, if you want to scale your cold email outreach, you need to buy more domains to scale.
Emailchaser allows you to add more than one email address to your account, allowing you to scale your cold email outreach.
I recommend that you check out my other article How To Safely Scale Up Your Cold Email Outreach.
A lot of people try to monitor and optimize the performance of their cold email campaigns by tracking their email open rate.
I recommend that you don’t track your open rate. Tracking email open rates will negatively affect your deliverability, meaning that your emails are more likely to go to spam.
You can learn more about why open tracking negatively affects your deliverability by reading my article Does Email Open Tracking Negatively Affect Deliverability?
The only metric that matters is your reply rate (not your open rate). You don’t need to track your open rate to know your reply rate.
You can track your reply rate with Emailchaser. Emailchaser automatically shows you all of the important stats for each cold email campaign that you send.
Below are some cold email metrics you should aim for:
The subject line and the quality of your leads will be the most important factors that determine whether you achieve these metrics, so if you aren’t hitting these metrics, then look at these first. If these are good, and you still aren’t hitting your numbers, then you should re-examine your offer, as that may be a problem.
Below are some cold email deliverability best practices that you should follow to ensure that your emails land in the primary inbox (not spam):
To see my full list of deliverability best practices, check out my article How To Improve Your Cold Email Deliverability.
If you follow all of the steps in this article, you will improve your deliverability and avoid the spam folder.
Your emails will land in the primary inbox, and you will receive positive responses.
If there is anything that I can emphasize most, it is that you need to take your time and not rush into a cold email campaign. You must slowly build up the number of cold emails that you send each day until you reach the 40 emails per day per email address limit. I recommend that you use Emailchaser to send your cold emails because it was built to do all of this automatically.
I also recommend that you read my article How To Write Cold Emails That Get Responses to learn how to write effective cold emails.
Finally, if you need inspiration, check out the below Tweet thread from Nathan Barry about how he used cold email (direct sales) to grow his company ConvertKit from $1,500.00 MRR to $100,000.00 MRR in 12 months:
My software company hit $1,500 MRR and then got stuck.— Nathan Barry (@nathanbarry) October 27, 2022
...Until I pivoted marketing tactics.
Here’s the exact method I used to scale to $100k MRR in the next 12 months: pic.twitter.com/9k8V1jMkh3
Also, check out this Tweet thread about how to dramatically improve your close rate with prospects by increasing urgency:
1/ The sales tactic that allowed Zenefits to grow faster than any tech company in history (and how you can use it too):— Sam Blond (@samdblond) January 23, 2023
I met Parker for the first time at a coffee shop in the Mission in November, 2013.
If you want to learn more about cold email, then check out my other articles.
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.
Address: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Email: [email protected]
© Copyright 2023 Emailchaser
Emailchaser.com strives to make its website accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. If you have problems accessing this website, please email us at [email protected] so that we can offer the services that you need through different means.