Cold Email Strategies: Maximizing Click-Through Rates

Created On:
April 3, 2023
Updated On:
March 14, 2024
Cold Email Click-Through Rates

You carefully create a cold email, probably stress over every single word you write before launching the campaign, and then? Nothing but a very few colder responses for your cold emails!

Well, it's easy to get disappointed. But, a Mailchimp study has shown that the average cold email click-through rate can be as low as 1.25%. But the silver lining is that you can increase your cold email campaign's engagement with data-driven strategies. 

Knowing what your prospects are looking for in your cold emails and what results your competitors are generating can help you set a benchmark for your own cold email campaigns. 

So, we've analyzed numerous cold emails and come up with the updated cold email click-through rates statistics you need to know. In this blog post, we've also listed the best practices, so you can create the ultimate email marketing strategy and generate the best value through cold outreach. 

What is Click-Through Rate? 

Click-through rate, also known as CTR, refers to the percentage of prospects (email recipients) who click on a link in a cold email.

For example, if a marketer sends 100 cold emails and gets a click-through rate of 10%, it means 10 out of 100 prospects have clicked on the link within the email. 

The formula for calculating CTR is as follows:

CTR = (number of clicks/number of impressions) x 100%

The average cold email click-through rate is 3.67%. However, the number can vary widely depending on factors such as the industry, target audience, quality of the email list, the intent of the cold email campaign, and the value offered.

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What Impacts Your Cold Email Click-Through Rates? 

Click-through rate (CTR) is one of the essential email metrics (besides conversion rates) for measuring the result of your cold email campaigns. Here are a few factors that negatively impact your click-through rates: 

  • Poor Subject Lines: Your subject line is the first thing your recipients see. If it is spammy, irrelevant, uninteresting, or misleading, your recipients are less likely to open your email, which can lower your CTR. 
  • Overselling: While it's important to promote your products or services, too much promotion can turn off your recipients. If your email comes off as pushy or oversells, your prospects might get repelled from the approach and never open your email, reducing the click-through rate. 
  • Lack of Personalization: If a cold outreach email comes across as generic or impersonal, even if your recipients read it, they are less likely to engage with it. Generic cold emails can drastically lower your click-through rates. Personalized cold emails get 41% higher click-through rates than non-personalized ones. 
  • Multiple CTAs: Although many marketers think that adding multiple CTAs in one single email will increase cold email response rates, it's not true. Multiple CTAs confuse prospects and take away the spotlight from the main CTA. 
  • Sending Emails at the Wrong Time: Sending a cold email at the wrong time (e.g., during the weekend or outside of business hours) can make it less likely that the recipient will engage with it.
  • Spam Filters: If you use spammy language in your cold email or don't follow the guidelines of internet laws, your emails will most likely land in the recipient's spam folder, where they may go unnoticed.
  • Lack of Value: If a cold email doesn't provide any clear value or benefit to the recipient, they are less likely to engage with it. It's important to clearly communicate the value proposition of the product or service you are offering. 
  • Poor Sender Reputation: If your emails are marked as spam or sent to inactive email addresses, it will affect your sender's reputation. Your sender's reputation can impact email deliverability and CTR. 

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Cold Email Statistics You Must Know in 2023

Cold Email Open Rates

1. The average email open rate for all industries is 21.5%

According to a CampaignMonitor survey, the average email open rate in 2021 is 21.5%. This means out of 100 cold emails, cold prospects only open 21 emails. Given that an average email user receives over a hundred emails every day, this stat makes sense. 

If you want to increase email open rates, you must launch highly-targeted cold email campaigns. 

2. Monday has the highest open rate of 22.0%

Predictably, the Campaign Monitor study has found that the first weekday, Monday, has the highest email open rate. This is followed by Tuesday and Thursday with 21.8%, respectively. 

3. Only 8% of cold email campaigns see 80% open rates. 

Are you guessing why only 8% of cold email campaigns see 80% open rates? The key is to launch ultra-personalized and highly-targeted campaigns. Sure it also depends on the industry you are working for, but you will definitely see improvement in your cold email campaigns' open rates. 

Cold Email Click-Through Rates

4. The average click-through rate (CTR) for cold emails is 3.67%. 

A QuickMail study has shown that the average click-through rate for cold emails was 3.67% in 2021. Although this number might vary based on industries, it's important to reach out to prospects who might benefit from your offerings. 

If you want to increase click-through rates, it's important to send cold emails to people who match your ICP or ideal customer profile.

5. Personalized cold emails get 41% higher click-through rates. 

Personalization is the key to reaching your prospects' hearts. Prospects feel a human connection and associate with personalized cold emails that talk about their pain points and offer solutions.  

An Experian study has shown that personalized cold emails get 41% more unique clicks than non-personalized cold emails.

Smartead lets you personalize your cold email at scale with its AI personalization feature. You can personalize your cold emails based on your prospects' first name, job role, recent achievements, pain points they are facing, etc. 

6. The highest average click-through rate is 4.4% for the education industry, and the lowest is 0.7% for retail businesses. 

The CampaignMonitor study has also found that the average click-through rate for all industries is 2.3%. 

7. Cold email campaigns get the highest CTR of 2.4% on Tuesdays. 

Tuesdays have seen the most CTR, given that it is a weekday, followed by Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Predictably, Sunday and Saturday have the lowest click-through rate of 2.1%. 

Cold Email Reply Rates

8. The average response rate for cold emails is around 1-4%.

A study by has stated that cold emails see 1-4% reply rates out of 21.5% of email opens. However, with highly personalized email campaigns, you can see an increase in your reply rates.

The same study has also seen that highly skilled email marketers get a 15-20% cold email reply rate for their campaigns. 

9. Most people reply to cold emails on Friday. 

Contrary to email open and click-through rates, cold emails see the highest average reply rate of 20.98% on Friday. The same study has also found that the lowest reply rates are on Sunday and Saturday. 

Improve Your Cold Email Click-Through rates: Proven Tips in 2023

1. Make Sure You are Emailing the Right Audience

This sounds obvious, but many businesses take the scattershot approach to target their potential customers, ending up with a poor click-to-open rate. In fact, a HubSpot study has shown that targeted email campaigns have a 100.95% higher click-through rate than non-targeted campaigns. 

This means that prospects who receive targeted emails are more likely to click on the links in your cold email and take action, such as signing up for a free trial or purchasing your product/service. So it is important to identify your ideal customer and perform targeted lead generation to ensure you're emailing people who are likely to need and use your product/service.

You can carry out successful lead gen campaigns through various techniques such as content marketing, opt-in forms, social media marketing, referral marketing, SEO, etc. 

2. Stay Ahead of the Spam Filters

Spam filters are a literal nightmare for cold email marketers. Can you believe that emails landing in spam folders cost businesses approx $20.5 billion every year? Crazy, right? 

Well, if your emails don't land in your prospects' inboxes, you won't see a good email open rate, let alone a click-through rate. 

So, as an email marketer, it's important to stay up-to-date with spam filter algorithms and best practices. Here are a few tips to stay ahead of the spam filters and land directly in your prospects' inboxes: 

  • Use a reputable cold emailing tool. Smartlead maintains email authentication protocols and ensures high email deliverability with automated email warmups, high-deliverability IP servers, and unlimited sender accounts. 
  • Keep your email list clean by regularly removing inactive or invalid email addresses. This can improve your sender reputation and reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam. And DO NOT BUY EMAIL LISTS from third-party email list providers. 
  • Avoid using spam trigger words, such as "buy now," "free," and "limited-time offer." For example, writing your email in ALL-CAPS and using excessive punctuation can irritate your prospects. 
  • A/B test your emails internally before sending them out to find out the possible spam triggers in your emails and restructure your email content. 

Always stay in line with the internet laws like the CAN-SPAM act and GDPR to keep your deliverability rates high. 

3. Write Eye-Catching Subject Lines

The subject line is the first thing your prospects see in your email. A Superoffice study has found that 33% of email users decide to open an email based on the subject line. 

So, keep your subject line clear and concise. The ideal length of a sales email subject line is around nine words or 60 characters. According to another interesting study, cold email subject lines with the prospects' first names see 50% higher email open rates

You can also use action-trigger words such as "Urgent" or "Limited time offer," but avoid salesy (spam trigger) words to see higher deliverability, email open, and click-through rates for emails. 

Last but definitely not least, split-test your cold email subject lines to find the most effective one before launching your email marketing campaign. 

4. Send it Through Humans

What would you prefer–receiving emails from actual humans or from anonymous companies? Humans, right? 

You are not alone, as a HubSpot study has stated that cold emails sent using human names result in both higher email open rates and click-through rates. 

It's proven over time that even in B2B spaces, people prefer human connection instead of any random company reaching out to them. So, instead of sending cold emails from company accounts, approach your prospects from human-named email accounts. 

Smartlead offers unlimited sender accounts so you can reach your prospects' inboxes directly and build trust among your prospective customers. 

5. Offer Value to Your Prospects

A higher email open rate doesn't ensure you will get replies. If your email fails to offer value to your prospects, the chances of engagement are very low. 

As an active email user receives approx 120 emails a day, you only have a few seconds to convince your prospects to click on your link. 

  • First of all, address your prospects by their names and you can mention something specific about their business to show that you are genuinely interested in their needs.
  • Identify the pain points that your prospect may be facing and highlight how your product or service can solve them. 
  • Share case studies, customer success stories, or testimonials from previous clients who have benefited from your product or service. This helps to build credibility and trust with the prospect.
  • Consider offering a free trial, consultation, or a useful resource that the prospect can benefit from. 
  • Cold emails should be short and to the point. Avoid lengthy introductions or too much information in the first email. Keep it focused on what you are bringing to the table for them. 

6. Proofread Your Email

No matter how brilliant your cold email is, a small grammatical error or a typo can be off-putting for your prospects. So, once you complete the email body, take a short break. 

Make sure you check for grammatical errors, typos, or any redundancy. It's best if you ask a colleague or friend to proofread your email.

Even if you are using cold email templates, ensure proofreading before you launch them. 

7. Add Only One (High-Value) CTA

Just as a poorly-written subject line can sabotage your email open rates, a vague CTA can decrease click-through rates significantly. 

Many marketers make the mistake of adding multiple CTAs in their cold emails, but it doesn't work. Multiple CTAs in a single email dilutes the emphasis on the most important CTAs and often confuses prospects, resulting in lower clicks. 

Make sure you are writing a strong, persuasive, and clear CTA in your cold email. Avoid generic statements and emphasize the benefits of them taking action. 

For example: 

"Start your free trial now."

"Let's schedule a call to discuss how you can grow your business." 


Well, that's all about cold email click-through rates. If you want to increase engagement in your cold email campaigns, Smartlead is the perfect cold email software for you. 

With Smatlead, sales reps can: 

  • Create unlimited sender accounts (email address) to reach a wider audience base. 
  • Personalize your email messages with its AI personalization and with attributes like prospect's name, job role, company name, etc., at scale. 
  • Maintain an excellent sender reputation with automated email warmups. 
  • Set up custom conditional email-sending triggers.
  • Manage all your emails in the master mailbox without complex email routing.
  • Personalize your follow-up email sequences. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your 14-day free trial at Smartlead, no credit cards are required. 


What is a good click-through rate for cold emails?

The average click-through rate for cold emails is 3.67%. So, 5% or more can be considered a very good click-through rate for cold email outreach campaigns. However, this number might vary depending on the industry you are in. 

What is the open rate for cold email B2B? 

The average cold email open rate for the B2B sector is around 44%. Only 8% of cold emails see an average email open rate of 80% or more. 

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Author’s Details

Rajnish Das

Rajnish Das is an in-house writer at SmartWriter and SmartLead. She writes product-oriented, data-driven content for B2B SaaS audiences and educates them on marketing and sales topics. Her expertise includes outbound marketing techniques like cold emailing and LinkedIn outreach.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is Smartlead's cold email outreach software?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Smartlead's cold email outreach tool helps businesses scale their outreach efforts seamlessly. With unlimited mailboxes, fully automated email warmup functionality, a multi-channel infrastructure, and a user-friendly unibox, it empowers users to manage their entire revenue cycle in one place. Whether you're looking to streamline cold email campaigns with automated email warmups, personalization fields, automated mailbox rotation, easy integrations, and spintax, improve productivity, or enhance scalability with subsequences based on lead’s intentions, automated replies, and full white-label experience, our cold email tool implifies it in a single solution.

How does the "unlimited mailboxes" feature benefit me?

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Our "unlimited mailboxes" feature allows you to expand your email communications without restrictions imposed by a mailbox limit. This means you won't be constrained by artificial caps on the number of mailboxes you can connect and use. This feature makes Smartlead the best cold email software and empowers you to reach a wider audience, engage with more potential customers, and manage diverse email campaigns effectively.

What do you mean by "unibox to handle your entire revenue cycle"?

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The "unibox" is one of the unique features of Smartlead cold email outreach tool, and it's a game-changer when it comes to managing your revenue cycle. The master inbox or the unibox consolidates all your outreach channels, responses, sales follow-ups, and conversions into one centralized, user-friendly mailbox.

With the "unibox," you gain the ability to:
1. Focus on closing deals: You can now say goodbye to the hassle of logging into multiple mailboxes to search for replies. The "unibox" streamlines your sales communication, allowing you to focus on what matters most—closing deals.

2. Centralized lead management: All your leads are managed from one central location, simplifying lead tracking and response management. This ensures you take advantage of every opportunity and efficiently engage with your prospects.

3. Maintain context: The "unibox" provides a 360-degree view of all your customer messages, allowing you to maintain context and deliver more personalized and effective responses.

How does Smartlead ensure my emails don't land in the spam folder?

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Smartlead, the best cold email marketing tool, ensures your emails reach the intended recipients' primary inbox rather than the spam folder. 

Here's how it works:
1. Our "unlimited warmups" feature is designed to build and maintain a healthy sending reputation for your cold email outreach. Instead of sending a large volume of emails all at once, which can trigger spam filters, we gradually ramp up your sending volume. This gradual approach, combined with positive email interactions, helps boost your email deliverability rates.

2. We deploy high-deliverability IP servers specific to each campaign. 

3. The ‘Warmup’ feature replicates humanized email sending patterns, spintax, and smart replies.
4. By establishing a positive sender reputation and gradually increasing the number of sent emails, Smartlead minimizes the risk of your emails being flagged as spam. This way, you can be confident that your messages will consistently land in the primary inbox, increasing the likelihood of engagement and successful communication with your recipients.

Can I integrate Smartlead with other tools I'm using?

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Certainly, Smartlead is designed for seamless integration with a wide range of tools and platforms. Smartlead offers integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Clay, Listkit, and more. You can leverage webhooks and APIs to integrate the tools you use. Try Now!

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What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

No, there are no limitations on the number of channels you can utilize with Smartlead. Our multi-channel infrastructure is designed to be limitless, allowing you to reach potential customers through multiple avenues without constraints.

This flexibility empowers you to diversify your cold email outreach efforts, connect with your audience through various communication channels, and increase your chances of conversion. Whether email, social media, SMS, or other communication methods, Smartlead's multi-channel capabilities ensure you can choose the channels that best align with your outreach strategy and business goals. This way, you can engage with your prospects effectively and maximize the impact of your email outreach.

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Do you provide me with lead sources?

Smartlead distinguishes itself from other cold email outreach software by focusing on limitless scalability and seamless integration. While many similar tools restrict your outreach capabilities, Smartlead offers a different approach.

Here's what makes us uniquely the best cold email software:

1. Unlimited Mailboxes: In contrast to platforms that limit mailbox usage, Smartlead provides unlimited mailboxes. This means you can expand your outreach without any arbitrary constraints.

2. Unique IP Servers: Smartlead offers unique IP servers for every campaign it sends out. 

3. Sender Reputation Protection: Smartlead protects your sender reputation by auto-moving emails from spam folders to the primary inbox. This tool uses unique identifiers to cloak all warmup emails from being recognized by automation parsers. 

4. Automated Warmup: Smartlead’s warmup functionality enhances your sender reputation and improves email deliverability by maintaining humanized email sending patterns and ramping up the sending volume. 

5. Multi-Channel Emphasis: Smartlead places a strong emphasis on multi-channel outreach. You can reach your prospects where they are with the LinkedIn outreach feature.   With Smartlead’s cold email automation software, you're always one step ahead in your outreach efforts, enjoying the freedom to scale your initiatives and seamlessly integrate with other tools—all while maintaining a focus on maximizing the impact of your outreach.

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How secure is my data with Smartlead?

Ensuring the security of your data is Smartlead's utmost priority. We implement robust encryption methods and stringent security measures to guarantee the continuous protection of your information. Your data's safety is paramount to us, and we are always dedicated to upholding the highest standards of security.

How can I get started with Smartlead?

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Getting started with Smartlead is straightforward! Just head over to our sign-up page and follow our easy step-by-step guide. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, our round-the-clock support team is ready to help, standing by to provide you with any assistance you may require. Sign Up Now!

How can I reach the Smartlead team?

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We're here to assist you! You can easily get in touch with our dedicated support team on chat. We strive to provide a response within 24 hours to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

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