Cold Email · · 13 min read

An Evergreen Email Outreach Guide From Instantly

Unlock the true potential of email outreach.

An Evergreen Email Outreach Guide From Instantly

The internet is awesome. Everybody has a story to tell, a brand to promote, or products they want to be sold.

All you need to do is to reach out. Here’s where most get it wrong. Instead of using the internet as a tool to build business, it should be used to build relationships.

If you’re reading this, know that above all else, we’re in the business of people. To build great relationships with people—we provide value. The best way to do so is through email outreach.

So, if you’re looking for a holistic approach to email outreach, stick around. In this article, we’ll be going through the following:

  • The basics of email outreach
  • How the strategy holds up against more modern ones.
  • How to start your outreach campaigns.
  • Best practices.
  • Mistakes you should avoid.
  • How to use cold email software to automate your campaigns.

What Does Email Outreach Mean?

Email outreach is the first step toward building a relationship with a person, brand, or business through email. Use it with a clear goal in mind.

Some of the most popular ways email outreach is used include:

  • Link building (for SEO purposes).
  • Promotions (brand awareness, products, services)
  • Partnerships or collaborations with influencers, industry leaders, and more.

But, with the prevalence of social media, there is a multitude of ways to reach out. Should you go for some of the more modern strategies instead?

Isn’t Email Old News? Why Bother With Email Outreach?

Despite being one of the oldest digital marketing strategies, email outreach still holds its own against modern outreach campaigns.

According to a study published in the American Marketing Association, email outreach is one of the most important communication vehicles in the early stages of eCommerce despite the prevalence of complementary channels such as social media.

Email marketing is also an integral part of several industries as well as start-up digital businesses. A study on the effectiveness of promotional email shows that start-ups from both the US and the UK are investing 8.2% of their marketing budget on email marketing alone.

You might think that 8.2% is low, but, even with a small budget share, it’s a strategy with one of the highest returns on investment (ROI).

A study published in Insider Intelligence showed that email outreach had a median ROI of 122%. To put this into perspective, that’s around $50.69 in revenue for every dollar spent.

Now that we know the importance of email marketing (especially for increasing ROI), here’s a guide on how to start your first email outreach campaign.

How Do You Start Email Outreach?

personalized email templates

Starting an email campaign is easy! Stop stressing out! No matter the industry you’re in, the principles of every outreach campaign follow these simple steps:

Create A Prospect List

The first step to any campaign is compiling an email list for marketing. If you’re doing this manually, you can create your own spreadsheet on Excel or Google Sheets.

You want to include the prospect’s name, email, CTA link (Could be an article, product page, or case study. Depends on what you want your prospects to do), and status (responded or not).

Here’s an example of what it could look like:

Contact list template

That’s simple enough to do. But how do we gather our prospects’ email addresses? You can do it naturally from your website/other channels.

You can ask your audience to subscribe to an email list or have a content wall for deeper informational articles like case studies that can be unlocked by giving a company email like this:

Source: Contentfac

If you want to be aggressive, you can use tools like Launch Gravity to help you find leads in your industry.

Source: Launch Gravity

Find and Validate Their Email Addresses

After creating your email address list, you need to verify them. This helps you eliminate dead addresses to provide you with the most accurate representation of data.

Sending to dead addresses can increase your email bounce rate. Email service providers might flag your address as spam if this is too high.

If you want to scale, you need tools to automate this process for you. Instantly leads are categorized as raw, clean, and used.

Raw leads are those you just got, clean leads are validated but not added to any campaign. Once they’re used for campaigns, they’ll be classified as used.

Here’s a massive guide to help you get over 40k leads. If you want a step-by-step approach you can tag along with. You can watch our lead strategy and mining framework video.

Use And Tweak Templates

Some marketers hate the word “template” but honestly, if it works—it works. Plus, you’re going to need templates to scale. The key here is to personalize.

You can grab templates online or use the ones you found as inspiration for crafting your own. What you DON’T want to do is use templates from the early 2000s that go a little like this:

“Hey, {{First Name}}, I’m from {{Company}}. I read your article on {{x topic}}, and I think it’s awesome. We have a similar article {{Link to Article}} that goes more in detail about {{sub topic}} that I think provides great value to your audience."

This is overused and probably on most “Link Building” videos on YouTube (You’ve probably seen a couple). It’s not that this template won’t work, the email marketing space is just over-saturated with similar emails.

Instead, try something unique and personalized. Provide value first and ask for a request later. Here’s a good example:

This email works because the complement doesn’t sound generic, it immediately provides value, and it solves a pain point (a snippet that lacks resources). More importantly, it’s personalized!

Get Personalizing

Personalizing your emails has never been easier thanks to Instantly’s merge tags. These are tags you can use to automate the personalization of your emails.

Here’s an example in action:

Hey {{FirstName | there, | friend, }}.

The “Friend” value is a placeholder if you don’t have that specific information. You can use any variable or let Instantly’s AI algorithm will choose one for you.

Adding personalization values allows Instantly users to pre-write lines. Users can even use an AI generator for personalized lines based on an email list.

After uploading your .CSV file, Instantly will find {{Personalization}} tags. To use this feature, just add the {{Personalization}} into the body, and Instantly’s AI will cover the rest.

Find A Great Outreach Tool

Outreach tools help you scale your email campaigns and streamline your marketing team’s productivity through automation. There are great tools out there, each with its own strengths.

Some even specialize in reaching out to influencers or journalists.

The outreach tool you choose should have an intuitive dashboard, easy access to campaigns, and of course, analytics for your campaign’s performance.

Track Metrics, Then Measure And Adapt

Analytics plays a huge role in any email outreach campaign. It helps you identify strategies that work, those that need fine-tuning, and strategies you must let go of.

Before analyzing the data, you need to set your goals in order to find the email marketing metrics you should focus on.

For example, campaigns with high open rates and low conversion rates might mean that you have a good subject line with weak CTAs.

The key here is to track metrics for your specific goals and adapt strategies accordingly. With the help of Instantly’s analytics dashboard, you can find the data needed to make decisive data-driven decisions.

Source: AppSumo

Right off the bat, you can see important metrics from all your campaigns. Plus, the data is optimized to highlight immediate marketing statistics, analytics, and more.

Great! We’ve learned the basics of starting an email campaign. Next, we need to focus on the content of our email to ensure that it gets read once it reaches our recipients’ inboxes.

Crafting The Perfect Email Outreach Email

All good emails follow the same fundamentals. Whatever your campaign’s goal may be, the following are email outreach best practices you should never sleep on:

You Need A Winning Subject Line

Win the subject line and you win the email game. A study published in Standford Graduate School of Business highlighted that subject lines with personalization increased open rates by 20%.

The study further suggests that personalized subject lines also led to a 31% sales boost and a 17% decrease in the number of recipients unsubscribing from email campaigns.

To make great subject lines, follow these tips:

  • Personalize subject lines
  • Make them concise.
  • Avoid being pushy.
  • Get straight to the point
  • Add emojis (on specific instances).

According to an email marketing campaign study, using emojis on subject lines can improve customer interactions and engagement.

Visual stimuli from emojis can lead to benefits such as higher open rates and clicks to additional content in the email body.

But your audience needs to be segmented to see which group would work best with emojis. Consider the niche your business is in, the tone of the content, and your brand image.

Personalization, Personalization, Personalization

Personalization is going to be a common theme in any marketing campaign. You can find it in your subject lines, email copywriting, CTA, and much more.

Email personalization isn’t something to “consider.” It’s a necessity. In most cases, just the person’s first name won’t be enough, especially for big-ticket contacts.

Spend time researching the person you’re trying to send an email to. Stalk their LinkedIn. Try finding out more about their work or achievements. Anything to get you above the fold.

But logistically, you won’t be able to personalize each email manually. You need to segment emails to send personalized content to specific groups of people.

Statistics from Campaign Monitor show that segmented and personalized email campaigns can increase revenue by up to 760%.

Keep It Short, Keep It Concise

Do your sentences say what you mean?

“Knowing what you’re trying to say is important. But knowing what you’ve actually said is crucial”.

That’s an excerpt from Several Short Sentences About Writing. This holds true in email marketing.

Be specific in what you’re trying to ask. Don’t be afraid of being direct. Nobody likes to read walls of text in their email.

If you’re promoting an article, link to it. Don’t copy and paste a long excerpt. If you want a backlink, ask for it directly. If it provides value, you got a good shot.

Offer Value

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

If you want something from a prospect—offer immediate value. Don’t offer something that they have to download. Stop asking to click a link that redirects to a page to fill up a form.

Your emails should provide value within the email body itself. Let’s use an eCommerce store that wants to promote a new product as an example.

Sending an email to your subscribers to promote your product could work. But, you can gain more sales if you offer value in the form of discounts or coupons.

If backlinks are your goal, offer statistics or case studies that you made. Find unique perspectives for common pain points. Help rebuild broken links. The possibilities are endless.

Work To A Goal

You won’t know if your campaigns are successful if you don’t set a goal. Remember, you can do a lot with email marketing.

Are you trying to use this strategy for increased sales, brand awareness, or lead generation? Or are you using email outreach to partner with influencers and industry leaders?

Each business has its own unique needs. Identify what this is and create goals and milestones you want to be met.

Analytics plays a huge part in this. Use it to see how close the campaigns are to meeting your objectives.


Never underestimate how forgetful people can be. Getting no response doesn’t immediately mean prospects aren’t interested. They could’ve been interested but got too busy or just forgot.

Stop speculating as to why they didn’t respond and send a follow-up email. Woodpecker did a study suggesting 2-3 follow-ups are the most optimal for most outreach campaigns.

The study highlighted that in some cases, the first follow-up had a 40% higher response rate than the initial email.

But, if you didn’t get a response after sending 2-3 follow-up emails, it’s best to remove that subscriber from your email list.

This cleans up your list, allowing for better data analytics. You also avoid potentially being flagged as spam due to high bounce rates.

Following best practices gives a good starting point for your email outreach campaigns. Still, there’s no better teacher than failure.

The good news is you don’t need to fail on your campaigns to learn. Here are the mistakes you should avoid.

Typical Email Outreach Mistakes

email outreach campaign

A good email outreach campaign has a lot of moving parts. If even one of these fails, it could lead to detrimental results. Campaigns that don’t get the results you expect might be because…

You Didn’t Warm Up Your Account

Having your own email domain doesn’t automatically mean you’re a legitimate business. Especially in the eyes of email service providers.

That’s because new email accounts are still cold. Service providers look at your email account’s reputation—a clear history of sending or receiving emails.

They need to be sure that your account is real and not one specifically made for spammy emails. So, before every campaign, make sure your email accounts are warmed up.

This can be done manually. However, you need to have a couple of email addresses ready. Each one should send and receive messages several times in intervals so that it won’t look robotic.

But you can streamline your campaigns and improve your email deliverability rates through automated email warmups. Here’s how fast you can do warm-ups with Instantly.

Just add your new email addresses, click the flame icon, and Instantly will automatically warm up those addresses.

You can also adjust the setting with the gear icon. By default, warm-ups already have the optimal setting for most campaigns.

You Didn’t Set Goals

Without a clear goal, you’d be doing email campaigns blind. To help you with goal setting, you can try the SMART goal-setting strategy. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Relevant to your business.

You’re Too Wordy

Keep your long-form content for blogs, guides, and other articles. For emails, you need to be as concise as possible. According to a Hubspot study, the ideal word count for an email is between 50-125 words.

It’s also important to note that emails that are too short aren’t that effective either. If you want to go this route, you could try adding infographics or visual aids to relay your message.

You’re Too Formal

Don’t forget to add a human element to your emails. If you’re being too formal, you may sound robotic. Even if your brand image is geared toward a more mature audience, try writing emails with a positive tone. Don’t be afraid to add a joke or two. You might just make somebody’s day.

Your CTAs Aren’t Clear

Your CTAs need to be aligned with your goals. To get clear CTAs, you need to identify exactly what you’re going for. A unique selling point (USP) also goes a long way in your CTAs.

If you want your CTAs to be clear and effective, consider the following:

  • Add a value proposition to your CTAs.
  • Use words that are more engaging or enthusiastic.
  • Use command verbs to start your CTA (Buy now! Shop, Download, Subscribe, etc.)

You’ve Made Basic Errors

Mistakes happen to the best of us. But, the slightest of mistakes could lead to detrimental results in email campaigns. One of the most common ones are grammatical lapses.

Even when you do everything right, wrong grammar will make your emails look unprofessional. So, make proofreading part of your standard operating procedure (SOP).

Another mistake is misspelling the email address. This can be easily fixed with the help of validation.

You Sent One Email And Expected A Response

Email marketing is a numbers game. The more you send, the higher the chances of getting a response. If you’re following email best practices like doing warm ups, personalization, and providing value, then you’ll exponentially improve your chances of getting a response.

The key here is to keep running campaigns in tandem with analytics to help you figure out why you’re getting or not getting a response from your prospects.

You Haven’t Used Segmentation

Personalizing for each individual isn’t plausible in scaling email outreach campaigns. The secret to streamlining personalization is using segmentation.

This allows you to categorize people and send them relevant content. You can even segment your email list based on who’s more likely to engage with you and focus on them. Meanwhile, the prospects that don’t respond that often might need a different strategy.

You Only Talked About Yourself

email subject lines

Unless you’re already an established name in your industry, your prospect’s probably don’t care who you are or what company you’re working with. Most would care about what you can offer.

Stop with the long intros. Instead, focus on what you can do for your prospects. Can you help them streamline work, reduce costs, or solve a pain point?

When Should You Use An Email Outreach Tool?

Use an email outreach tool if you want to streamline and automate your campaigns. It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual looking to grow their online presence, a SaaS company looking for leads, or an eCommerce store that wants to promote products—email outreach tools benefit all.

From small start-ups looking to scale to established brands looking to expand—an outreach tool will help you reach your goals through data-driven decision-making.

Key Takeaways

Email outreach is a cost-effective marketing strategy for any business. Dominate your competition by keeping these actionable email outreach tips in mind:

  • Personalize emails. Use automation to scale personalization in tandem with templates.
  • Segment your email list to streamline personalization.
  • Always warm up new email addresses before any campaign to improve deliverability.
  • Offer immediate value to your prospects.
  • Use analytics to build effective strategies for your needs.

If you’re looking to scale your email outreach campaigns, delivery high-quality and authentic personalization, and have campaigns with high deliverability, Instantly has you covered! The best part is you can start for free today!

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