Having analyzed millions of cold emails, we've compiled the list of typical mistakes people make that usually lead to bad results.

From low-quality email lists to slipups when writing emails, you'll find everything you need in this checklist. Consider this as a resource you can ALWAYS use to identify problems you're experiencing in your campaigns.

The plan is simple. Every mistake you see below, don't let it happen to you... or your colleagues.

Building your email list

πŸ’€ You haven't set up your .csv file properly. Avoid empty spaces in column headers and check if emails have been entered properly

πŸ’€ Don't send a cold email campaign to everyone at the same time

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You didn't develop your ideal customer profile (buyer personas) prior to building a list... HUGE mistake

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You didn't invest enough time in one of the most important components of cold email outreach - research

Pro advice: Good research is 50% of the work. It will help you build relationships with your prospects, write cold emails faster and better, as well as to stop wasting time on leads that will never convert

Setting up technical components of email outreach

πŸ’€ Set up your SPF:

πŸ’€ Set up your DKIM:

πŸ’€ Don't forget to set up your custom tracking domain

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ Didn't warm up your email address before sending is a highway to hell... but not in a good, AC/DC way

cold email mistakes

How-to: Complete guide for email address warm-up

πŸ’€ You didn't verify emails before launching the campaign

cold email mistakes

How-to: Verify emails faster than Usain Bolt runs

πŸ’€ You're using a fake Gmail account and pretending to be someone else. Sales is about relationships. Never start one based on a lie

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You're emailing your prospects aggressively and sending messages every day instead of setting delays. Here's a rhythm we recommend:

  • 2-day delay between email 1 and 2
  • 2-day delay between email 2 and 3
  • 3-day delay between email 3 and 4

Writing cold emails and sequences

πŸ’€ You forgot to add the {{firstName}} tag for a prospect. This is like asking somebody if they speak English? It's not a cool-to-have, it's a must

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You haven't personalized your email and are emailing everybody the same πŸ’©

cold email mistakes

How-to: Create Harvey Specter image with a dynamic first name update

πŸ’€ You're missing follow-up emails and are just emailing prospects once, which results in a low reply rate

πŸ’€ Your call-to-action is either unclear or multiple options that are confusing your prospects

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You're not focused on building relationships and are seeing prospects as πŸ€‘ in your pocket

πŸ’€ Avoid talking about you, your product, its features, and your company. Focus on prospects and their needs

πŸ’€ There's no A/B testing which means you're in the dark about what works best

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You didn't add the opt-out link. Remember, GDPR requires you to do it

cold email mistakes

The part people tend to overthink

πŸ’€ Get lost chasing perfection (e.g. endless hours spent on perfecting the copy and not letting prospects tell you what they prefer)

πŸ’€ Worrying about what's the best time to send instead of focusing on more important things

πŸ’€ Stopped using cold emails in your sales strategy after one unsuccessful campaign

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ Not analyzing your results. Don't forget, every campaign brings a lesson

πŸ’€ Your open rate is below 50%, which is a usually a sign of low email deliverability

cold email mistakes

πŸ’€ You're focused on open rates more than you are on your reply rate, which is a big mistake. The goal is always to get a response

Bottom line

This sums up our checklist with typical cold email mistakes to avoid at all costs.

Remember, anybody can upload a list with hundreds of emails, write a generic copy, take shortcuts and blast everyone. The price of these shortcuts? Poor results.

You don't need a PhD in sales to get high reply rates and boost revenue. You just need to avoid these mistakes and you're golden. While we're on the subject, you'd also probably want to check out our email deliverability checklist and cold email tips as well.

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