The Cody Carnes Interview: A Deep Dive into Marketing Success

Created On
June 24, 2023
Cody Carnes' Cold Emailing Blueprint

Whether you are a cold email marketer, a startup founder, or a job seeker, finding out the right information about impactful cold emails is very difficult.

We get a lot of questions about the right metrics to target, personalization fields, automation, and so on. To help you step up your cold emailing skills, Cody Cranes, the legendary cold email marketer, shares his secrets to +$20,000 in MRR Using Cold Emailing to Vaibhav, the founder, and director of

You will find actionable tips on how to leverage cold emails to drive up revenue and industry insights. Let's dive in.

Q1: Why do people pay you?

Cody: "I think in terms of the target market and the problems that we solve in terms of cold emails–solving problems for businesses in the acquisition process, helping them acquire more clients, building the infrastructure inside of their business. I guess that's like the main reason people pay us is basically, you know, solving those problems, helping them bring on more clients, acquire high ticket clients, and then helping them build the system as well."

Q2: What are your thoughts there? Would you take on someone starting fresh, or is that a no-no for you?

Cody: "So usually what we do is like, in terms of partnerships with companies, we need to make sure that they're at least above 30K MRR or even 50K. For example, if a company is at around 3K, 5K, or even 10K MRR, instead of working directly with them, we usually down-sell. So, that's some coaching, consulting, or sometimes it's just giving them the systems and SOPs. But in terms of done-for-you services or partnerships, we like at least 30K or above."

Q3: You personally are very bullish on personalization, and I think you do personalization at scale extremely well. So, I would love to see if you can uncover some of that for us and give us secrets about how you do it.

Cody: "I can definitely share a couple of bits of sauce. I found the new software. If you want to personalize at scale with written text, I like to use or"

Cody Carnes further explained it with an example, "I just talked to the client, and he was setting it up where we wanted to make sure that we're either leveraging AI or very specific job titles. He actually wanted to target employee size 20 - 35 and then another variation of 50 - 100. He knows exact pain points, goals, and desires. So, that's a very easy way to personalize at scale. So you set one specific employee side set on one campaign and then on the other one, the founders."

Indeed, personalization can change your cold email game forever. In fact, a study shows that emails with personalized subject lines see 50% higher email open rates than non-personalized ones.

Just like Cody mentioned, you can personalize your cold emails with multiple personalization points such as first name, job role, company, pain points, etc. Here are a few examples of personalized cold email subject lines:

  • Hey {first name}
  • {Prospect's company} + {Your Company}
  • {First name}, nice to meet you at {event}

If you are looking for cold email subject lines to increase response rates, check out this post.

While talking about AI personalization, Cody mentioned an amazing AI tool,, that can be used for crafting follow-up emails to ensure better deliverability.

Q4: What are your top three cold emailing tools in your stack right now?

Cody: "I would say Smartlead is number one, then, and for the third spot, I would say"

On that note, here's what Smartlead offers for your cold outreach:

  • Unlimited sender accounts
  • Unlimited email warmups
  • Unibox or master inbox
  • A/B testing
  • Dynamic IP Addresses
  • Omnichannel outreach (LinkedIn, Facebook, Email, Twitter, etc.)
  • Custom conditional email-sending triggers
  • Full Whitelabel experience

Q5: Everyone wants to find out what's a good way to send emails–gaps, structures, number of mailboxes per domain, etc. What have you seen work extremely well for you and your clients?

Cody added, "So in terms of the domains and inboxes, one domain and then two inboxes slowly rounding up the volume usually around two weeks, letting it warm up and 40-60% reply rates."

Q6: When you send emails from that domain or that mailbox, do you send them every 5 minutes/every 10 minutes? How do you approach that? Have you done any beta testing to see if this works better than the other?

Cody: "I don't really do a lot of testing on things like that. I usually just set probably 7 to 8 minutes between emails."

Q7: And what have you seen to be the ideal number of emails to send that get some heat as a result of sending these emails? Like a break-even point at which you can call emailing works because I've passed a certain threshold.

Cody: "In terms of a multi-level, I usually do it in two-week intervals. It's like the first two weeks, let's say campaign launches. Usually, the first couple of weeks is a little bit slower than after a couple of months of ramping. After two weeks, once they send like 5 to 7 thousand, we can see which campaigns are working."

He further said, "But you could actually see results if you're sending, like, let's say the first month is like 10,000 emails total. I usually write that up into four campaigns. Maybe at that point, you can either turn off the campaigns that are not really seeing results or test the ones that are seeing results by just adding any sort of unique mechanism, maybe test different calls-to-action, different angles. Don't mess with the one that's working."

Q8: When you're sending out these call emails, you obviously have a follow-up infrastructure. Can you tell me what exactly your follow-up infrastructure is? How many emails do you send up in your follow-ups? What exactly is in the follow-up emails as well?

Cody: "I mean, there are so many different ways to test this. A couple of things that you can emulate are the reason you reached out, some sort of case study, a value proposition, a short video, or I've got into recently to create a free in-depth training. Write that in the cold email like 'I've put together a free training program and how you can achieve XYZ goals in Z days. Mind if I share it with you?' With this, you are giving them a lot of value, it builds trust, and you get their responses as well. Also, there are call-to-actions there."

Further explaining, Cody added, "And if you do give them a ridiculous amount of value, they're ten times more inclined to trust you as an expert. And then if they have that problem and they're looking to solve it, they're not going to go looking for somebody else. They're going to work directly with you. Yeah, I think that's a very good follow-up strategy."

You might be thinking, how many follow-ups do I need to get a response? An interesting study shows that 4-7 follow-up emails generate 3x responses.

You may not get a response after the initial email, but that shouldn't discourage you. Consistent follow-ups and value addition to your cold prospects can generate higher reply rates for your campaigns.

Here are few different types of follow-up emails you can schedule in a cold email sequence:

  • 1st follow-up: first follow-up message
  • 2nd follow-up: send in a new thread with value-addition (as Cody suggested)
  • 3rd follow up: rephrase your CTA
  • 4th follow-up: ask permission to further emails
  • 5th follow up: value-addition for the second time
  • 6th follow-up: final follow-up/breakup email

Smartlead lets you create the entire follow-up sequence beforehand and set custom conditional emails sending triggers to get back to your prospects at earliest.

Following up on his insights on follow-up emails, Cody Carnes also added, "Written text works. It always has worked. But maybe you want to test a small image, A/B test pitch line or videos as follow ups, not the main message. I mean, usually for the first time, I like to just make sure that we land in the inbox pretty, pretty heavily, you know, spin, text, no links, no no videos, no images, nothing like that."

Q9: Do you track your email opens? Yes/No? Why?

Cody: "So, it really just depends. If I'm doing my own campaigns, I like to do no tracking. But I do it with clients at least for the first couple of weeks. Like they like to see the numbers, right? Of course they like to see the open rates, but it's like a mental thing. So usually I have to sell them on that. But usually after the first couple of weeks I always have open tracking to make sure that we're seeing progress. Then I say to stop looking at the metric altogether."

Q10: What are some absolute copywriting no-nos?

Cody: "In terms of copywriting, don't make it too long. I would say everybody talks about it as short and straight to the point. Usually, if it's for a client, like some sort of very in-depth onboarding form, you can test the angle of going straight into their pain points depending on the specific offer. You definitely need to have some sort of market research in play."

Adding further to it, Cody explained, "You don't have to. I've honestly seen results without that, but it just helps in terms of knowing the specific audience. Usually, just keep it short, straight to the point, add a couple of personalization touch points, whether that's relevant to their specifics–job title, employee size, market pain points, niche, etc."

Cody mentioned that you can also check the spam keywords you are using on Smartlead and edit them to maintain high-deliverability. He also emphasized on A/B testing different CTAs, first lines, case studies, etc. Just don't make it super long, don't sound super salesy, and then just make the email as easy as possible for them to respond to it.

Q11: On that note, do you do hard CTAs or what's your approach for that?

Cody: "For call-to-actions, I always like to test with low friction versus direct call-to-actions. In terms of low friction, whether that's a video of mine, if I share more information or if I share free training, or even like a five minute zoom call, something like that. And for the direct CTAs, you know, a phone call or a zoom call."

Q12: Last question: what is your lead generation process?

Cody: "It just depends. It's either, you know, databases like top of the funnel would essentially be either Apollo or LinkedIn Sales Navigator or if they want to target, you know, guys that are already above 30-50K MRR, is a good one."

"That's because those companies on Clutch, are spending three to five months advertising on this specific clutch platform. So they already make a decent amount of money and they already have a marketing budget to spend just on this specific offer. Apollo, LinkenIn Sales Navigator, and Uplead are very good ones in terms of finding email addresses, NeverBounce to verify them, and Scrubby for catch-alls. That's kind of like, scraping the databases, verifying and cleaning as well. That's kind of what that system looks like, what we usually do."

Q13: If you want to give away some parting advice for people who are getting into the space, what would be that one thing you tell them?

Cody: "I would say if you're in the cold email space, leverage the cold email infrastructure, find ways to personalize at scale, using high performance scripts. And also, use the right software like Smartlead. Leverage placing a warm caller or a cold caller whether that's your business or your client's business to essentially call all leads that respond to the cold email or even open the email. That's a key thing that I think a lot of people can implement and then also leverage free training."


Throughout this insightful interview, Cody has repeatedly stressed on personalization and A.B testing several times. And we can't agree more. A/B testing is the single most effective method of figuring out the best variation of your email and it lets you personalize at scale.

Smartlead helps you perform split tests to segmented audience lists and send unlimited cold emails with unlimited sender accounts. Make sure you follow the tips from Cody Cranes and upscale your cold emailing skill.

Watch the complete interview-


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Author’s Details

Sattwik Das

Sattwik is a Digital Marketing professional at Smartlead. He is a dedicated content writer who focuses on juggling words to bring out meaningful content. He is experienced in well-researched and SEO-optimized content creation, content editing, and copywriting for various businesses throughout the globe. His expertise in SEO, SMM, and SMO with a touch of creativity helps businesses grow and maximize their credibility and sales.


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