Starting a cold sales email campaign isn’t as simple as opening Gmail, writing an email, and hitting send. Sometimes, emails to a friend can end up in spam. That’s what’s most likely to happen to our sales emails if we don’t follow best practices. 

When we follow best practices, we ensure the highest deliverability rates, more replies, and improved conversions. These can get technical, but it’s not rocket science. So, if you’re ready to make the most of your outreach campaigns, stick around! In this guide, we’ll go through:

  • Sales email set-up best practices (before sending to prospects)
  • Lead generation best practices for cold sales email
  • Best practices for writing sales email copy
  • Streamlining sales email using AI and automation

Best Practices Before Sending Emails to Prospects

Even the best-written sales email can land in spam folders without the proper technical setups for cold outreach. If not spam, another possibility is landing in Gmail’s promotions tab. So, before sending your first sales emails, remember to do the following:

Get Google Workspace or Microsoft 365

If you get a Workspace or 365 account, you can access the administrative settings needed to connect to a cold email software. Users also get a business domain from Workspace or 365. 

Instead of “,” users can use “,” boosting credibility when sending to prospects. However, we don’t want to use our primary domain when sending cold emails. 

That’s where alternate domains come in. 

Buy Alternate Domains

We’ll be using alternate domains to send cold emails from. For example, if your domain is, you can try:


Since these differ from our main domain, we’d need to forward these to our main website

After connecting our alternate domains, create two email accounts per domain. Each email account should be limited to sending 50 emails per day to be on the safer side.

But before sending or receiving emails, we need to authenticate our domains first! 

Authenticating Domains

Domain authentication allows our alternate domains to receive emails and signals to email service providers that your domains are authorized to send emails.  

Here’s our quick guide to domain authentication

Alternate domains protect our main domain from the harmful effects of cold email. But we can’t just buy domains and immediately run campaigns; we need to warm them up first. 

Email Warmup

Sending accounts are warmed up naturally over time through email exchanges. If we buy domains, create accounts, and send in bulk—email service providers will tag us as spam. 

Manual warmup can take a long time, especially if you want to send from multiple domains. The best solution is to use cold email software like to automate warmup. 

Leverage Automated Cold Email Software

Some cold email software can automate warmups. However, most use a per-account or per-warmup payment scheme. Instantly offers unlimited warmups free for unlimited accounts. 

Aside from warmups, email software should automate follow-ups, email sequences, or nurture campaigns. But that’s just the basics. Choose an email tool with robust analytics, A/B testing, and an intuitive learning curve. 

Lead Generation Best Practices for Cold Sales Emails

Quality leads make quality campaigns. Build your list from quality lead sources. Ensure your lead lists are verified, segmented, and qualified. Do so with these best practices:

Use Lead/EmailFinder Tools

Leveraging lead or email finder tools streamlines the entire lead generation process. It’s a direct way to find leads that fit your buyer personas and ICPs. 

Remember to validate these leads. Not every lead list has accurate information, and running a cold sales campaign with an unvalidated list can significantly damage our deliverability rates. 

Verified Leads to Ensure High Deliverability

Lead verification tools ensure that all information associated with each lead is accurate and up-to-date. Popular tools include Neverbounce and MillionVerifier. 

However, that’s another payment on top of your email finder tools. You can get both with Instantly B2B Lead Finder. Users can find pre-verified leads that match their exact qualifications. 

Qualify Leads Using These Frameworks

Not all leads are equal. Others might not even be decision-makers. You don’t want SDRs to focus too much on these leads. That’s where lead qualification frameworks come in. 

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best qualification frameworks you can try:


It helps you identify if a lead has the following:

  • Budget to purchase your product/service
  • Authority to make a purchasing decision
  • A Need for your product/service
  • Timeline for when they need a solution for their pain points


This framework emphasizes authority over the budget. It stands for:

  • Challenge
  • Authority
  • Money
  • Prioritization


It’s a method that focuses on your lead’s purchasing journey. You qualify leads based on the following:

  • Metrics
  • Economic Buyer
  • Decisions Criteria
  • Decision Process
  • Implicate Pain
  • Champion
  • Competition

Segment Leads to Streamline Personalization

Personalization is crucial to the success of every cold sales email campaign. Since we’re dealing in bulk, we can’t personalize at an individual level. However, we can segment our email list and personalize it based on each segment. 

Some of the most popular segmentation methods include:

  • Segmenting leads based on demographic
  • Behavioral and intent data 
  • Open rates
  • Customer purchase history
  • User satisfaction
  • Lead qualification 

You can also ask questions like what industry this segment leads in, how large their company is, how many employees they have, or their budget for solving pain points.

Sales Email Best Practices: Copy

Once everything is set up, all that’s left is to write a killer sales email copy that converts. As a rule of thumb, write copy that’s engaging, relevant, and offers value to your prospects. We can do just that by following these sales email copy best practices:  

Optimizing Subject Lines: Personalization + Relevance

Automated personalization in the subject line is possible depending on the email marketing tool you use. With Instantly’s {{merge tags}}, you can set variables for personalization. It can be a prospect’s first name, company, or anything relevant to them. 

Sales subject lines should also deliver value and make the recipients want to open them. For example, they could solve a common pain point in x industry or suggest strategies for getting x results. 

Prospects often don’t reply to our initial cold emails. That’s why a solid follow-up sales subject line is just as important, if not more important. 

Hook Prospects In With an Engaging Email Ice Breaker

You have a few lines of text to make your email stand out. An email icebreaker can do that. It keeps prospects engaged, and it's where you can let your brand personality shine through. 

Icebreakers can include questions, comments, shared interests, noteworthy observations, or jokes. You can even use FOMO or elicit a sense of scarcity here. 

For example, if you’re trying to sell SEO, you can say:

" Google’s next algorithm update is rolling out next week. How are you handling it? Here’s an overview of our plan. " 

Complementing prospects on achievements, milestones, or work online can add much personalization to your sales email. However, a lot of deeper research is required.

Try it out on high-buying-intent or high-ticket prospects. 

Talk Benefits, Not Features

Many marketers fall into the trap of talking too much about their product’s features. Instead, highlight the benefits. This shifts the focus more on the prospects and the value they can get. 

Let’s say a product has a feature that can automate onboarding for new customers.

If we reframe this to focus on the benefits, we can say:

“Our product can save you time and money on onboarding overhead for new customers".

Provide Immediate Value

To gain value, we must give value. That starts when you send your first cold email, not when prospects buy our products. 

We can provide value by teaching prospects how to solve pain points, giving free resources, or even discounts/promos. 

For example, you’re selling software that can auto-optimize copy for SEO. Providing immediate value could mean teaching prospects how to optimize their copy for SEO. 

This ultimately helps you stay top-of-mind. When prospects are ready to take the following steps, you’d be the first on their list to reach out to.

Try Using Low-Effort CTAs

Low-effort CTAs are no-brainers. This pairs well with providing immediate value. Instead of the CTA being a meeting, the CTA is another form of value. It could be a link to a case study, infographic, or tutorial on XYZ. 

You could also add something like “I’d love to hear your thoughts on. . .” You’re not gunning for a sale here—you’re hoping for a reply. That could eventually lead to prospects going further down the sales pipeline. 

And because you’ve already provided value and built a relationship, it’s easier to address objections if they appear. 

Run A/B Test to Improve Sales Email Copy

A/B tests pit one email against another. You can find out which elements of that email work best for a particular lead segment. With Instantly, users can utilize A-Z testing. 

Unline typical A/B testing that pits one campaign or email sequence against another. A-Z testing works on an individual email level from the same sequence. 

That means you can find the best-performing subject line, email copy, or CTA without creating a new campaign.

Then, you can automatically automatically auto-optimize A-Z testing to automatically send the best-performing emails to the rest of the leads in your list. Or, you can manually turn poor-performing sequences via the analytics dashboard. 

Cold Sales Email With AI and Automation

Cold sales email is a numbers game. But if we follow the best practices above, we don’t have to compromise on quality.

The issue now is how we deal with volume. We can’t craft and send out bulk emails manually. That’s why we need to leverage AI and automation. Here’s how you can do just that:


Sending duplicate emails to a couple of hundred people daily is a quick way to end up in the spam folders. To prevent emails from going to spam, personalize at scale using spintax. 

It’s a nifty feature that can help marketers create variations of their original email. It can be used on subject lines, variables, sentences, or entire paragraphs. 

You can create spintax using ChatGPT, but it’ll take some time to configure. Instantly integrated spintax into its editor, making it convenient for users to create email variations. 

ChatGPT Email

Pro tip: You can’t just go to ChatGPT and ask it to “write a cold sales email.” If you want ChatGPT to output an email that looks and feels organic, you need to learn first. 

Try using prompts like Learn from this set of cold emails. Focus on the tone, voice, and nuances. It'll output generic and robotic copies if you don’t let it learn from curated samples. 

Once it’s gotten a grasp of what a great cold sales email looks like, you can try out prompts like:

  • Generate subject lines for cold email for {{Industry}}
  • Write an intro to a cold email for {{industry}}
  • What could I offer {{Industry}}?
  • Create a one-line soft call to action for {{Industry}}}

Automated Follow-ups/Email Sequencing

Sales rarely happen in the first cold email. It could take several touch-points before a deal is closed. But we can’t keep track of every follow-up for each prospect. 

We need to leverage cold email software that allows users to automate follow-ups or email sequencing. Cold sales emails usually consist of 3-5 emails in a sequence. One for the initial cold email, follow-ups, and then the break-up emails. 

Key Takeaways

The best cold sales email campaigns are measurable, repeatable, and scalable. This can be achieved when we follow cold sales email best practices. Here are some insights you might’ve missed:

  • Buy alternate domains for sending cold emails and authenticate them
  • Warmup alternate domains to further improve deliverability 
  • Use quality lead sources or a lead finder tool that provides pre-verified leads
  • Email copy should be personalized and relevant to your prospects
  • Leverage cold email software to automate and scale sales outreach

If you’re looking for email software that can get you verified leads, automated personalization, and the highest deliverability rates—Instantly is the one for you. Try it today!