Can You Add Attachments In Cold Emails?

Email in our inbox from unknown senders with attachments looks sketchy. Chances are, we sent that email straight to our spam folder and blocked that address.

But as marketers, there will be cases where attachments are necessary. So what’s the verdict? Are attachments instant red flags or are there cases where it’s a good idea?

If you’re considering adding attachments in your next cold email campaigns, stick around. In this article, we’ll be exploring:

  • If adding attachments is worth it.
  • The pros and cons of adding attachments.
  • The alternatives to attachments.
  • Best Practices used when adding attachments.

How Most Recipients View Attachments in Cold Emails

One of the fundamental cold email marketing strategies is keeping things concise. These are short and sweet emails that are straight to the point.

But short and sweet can’t possibly contain all the information we want to relay. Oftentimes, marketers attach pdf files, Powerpoint presentations, or infographics to support emails.

On the receiving end, an email from a complete stranger already raises red flags. Receivers often find themselves asking these questions:

  • Is the email source legitimate?
  • Do I have the time to download the attachment?
  • Is this attachment malware?

The truth is, most cold emails won’t be opened, especially if it’s first touch or introductory. You need to make prospects care enough about your brand to have them open an email.

Before thinking about prospects downloading your attachments, you need to build trust. Cold email outreach is meant to start conversations. They’re meant to get a response.

Even if you have all the solutions to their pain points, overloading them with information won’t help. That goes for walls of text in the email body or detailed case studies attached in PDF.

How Spam Filters React to Attachments in Cold Emails

There were 283 billion spam messages sent worldwide in 2021, out of a total of 336.41 billion. As a response to the increase in spam, email providers are constantly updating anti-spam filters.

These filters usually flag cold emails with attachments, and as a result, can put your brand’s reputation at risk. It’s enough that spam reports can flag your entire domain, not just your email accounts.

Studies show that 85% of malicious emails include attachments. Scammers can easily hide malware and other viruses within DOC, XLS, PDF, or ZIP formats.

But this doesn’t mean all spam filters block emails with attachments. Mailmodo says attachments won’t be an issue as long as the files don’t have blacklisted text or images.

Sharing files larger than 20 MB could also flag anti-spam filters of most email service providers. To address this issue, marketers can use links that redirect prospects to the download site.

Marketers should only do this when absolutely necessary. Only reputable sites such as Google Drive or One Drive should be used. Third-party links can flag an email as spam.

Final verdict: should you include attachments in cold emails?

Considering all the factors, the general answer is a solid no. Including attachment does have its benefits, but at the end of the day, the cons outweigh the pros.

Attachments affect your deliverability, sender reputation, and overall domain. Think about it this way: at best, prospects can download your attached file and get to know more about your brand.

At worst, your domain, not just an email address, can be blacklisted. You don’t want to take such a risk.

Alternatives to Attachments in Cold Emails and Best Practices

Instead of attachments, you can look into alternatives that can do a better job of relaying additional information like the ways we listed below.

Before sharing a link, make sure you’re linking to a reputable platform like Google Drive, One Drive, and Dropbox. Uploading the files on your own server is another option.

If you want to show a video, attach a YouTube link or Wistia. For audio, use platforms like iTunes or SoundCloud.

Route Them to a Landing Page

attachments in cold emails

Source: Canva

Redirecting prospects to a landing page has tons of benefits. These can be “Pillar Pages” that contain long-form content dedicated to a particular topic.

This page can contain your attachments, call-to-actions (CTA), and other sub-articles related to the main one. It’s helpful for tracking data through tools such as Google Analytics.

Routing to a landing page also helps search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. With a sharable link and quality content, prospects can easily share the landing page with their peers.

Ask For Permission Beforehand

Consent is important, especially with today’s emphasis on data and security. Before sending an email with attachments, ask your prospects for consent.

You can ask your prospects if they want additional information. This process can be streamlined through segmentation and automation. Identify groups that want the info and automate sending.

The emails should excite your prospects. In the CTA, ask if they want a report/ebook/video with further information.

This makes your email easier to respond to and increases reply rates. You can also filter out potential customers who are a few nudges away from a conversion.

Stick to PDF Files if You Must Add an Attachment

PDF files should be the standard go-to when it comes to attachments. It’s viewed as more professional than other document types such as DOC files.

Outlook Exchange Enterprise has over 60% PDF non-image attachments. This makes attaching a PDF to a cold email safer than a .DOC format.

You also get the benefit of previewing PDFs. Studies suggest that more than 80% of email users would rather preview files rather than download them.

Key Takeaways

Adding attachments to cold emails is not advisable. There are better options than attachments. Some even support other marketing efforts such as SEO.

Marketers need to start a conversation with a prospect first before considering attaching a file in an email. Intrigue your prospects, build trust, and ask for consent.

If you’re thinking of adding attachments to your cold email campaigns, take note of the following:

  • The goal of a cold email is to start a conversation, not get leads to download a file.
  • Anti-spam filters are more likely to flag your emails if they contain attachments.
  • You can add reputable links as an alternative to attachments.
  • Redirecting prospects to a landing page can increase conversion rates and support data and analytics.
  • Keeping attachments in cold emails can flag your entire domain as spam.

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