2023 Cold Email Trends: What Mistakes Are Most Businesses Making?

Created On
October 5, 2023
cold email mistakes 2023

Picture this: your carefully crafted email, designed to engage and convert, lands in the inbox of someone who has no interest or need for your product or service. 

Although a common scenario, this misalignment not only wastes your time and resources but also risks being perceived as spam. 

Sending emails to the wrong audience is one of the most common cold email mistakes in 2023. Besides this, we have

  • Spam triggering subject lines
  • Generic email body
  • Not adding CTA
  • Lack of automation

Such mistakes not only lower your chances for email success, but also damage your reputation. 

Without any delay, let’s dive into the worst cold email mistakes and how to avoid them. 

#1 Targeting Wrong Audience

Cold email outreach remains a potent tool for businesses to expand their reach and nurture potential leads even in 2023. However, one of the most common mistakes many businesses make is targeting the wrong audience. 

Sending your cold emails to random recipients can directly undermine your marketing efforts and tarnish your reputation.

Find the Right Audience: Create ICP and Buyer Personas

To avoid sending emails to wrong prospects, it's crucial to identify your target audience. Create a well-defined list of prospects from Apollo.io, Clay, Listkit, etc. 

Select your potential prospects wisely, focusing on individuals who align with your ICP and buyer personas.

While making a buyer persona, try adding detailed information. Take a look at the below buyer persona for better understanding:

Conducting thorough research and building a targeted email list will ensure that your messages reach those most likely to benefit from your product or service. 

If you’re looking for B2B leads, concentrate on business owners, entrepreneurs, and key decision-makers who hold sway over the purchasing process. And, tailor your email content accordingly.

Segmenting your lead list can also help in creating targeted email lists. 

#2 Spam-Triggering Subject Lines

Crafting an effective subject line is essential to attract your prospects’ attention and make them open your emails. However, one of the most common cold email mistakes is using spam-triggering subject lines.

Spam-triggering subject lines are those that raise red flags for spam filters. 

They often contain generic, non-personalized, or overly sales-oriented phrases. These subject lines not only risk your emails ending up in the spam folder but also deter recipients from opening them.

Some of the common examples are:

❌ $$$ Guaranteed Money-Making System - Start Today!
❌ Get Rich Quick with Our Amazing Opportunity!!!
❌ Urgent: Limited-Time Offer - 90% Discount on Our Products
❌ Get Annual Subscription for free - Act Now!
❌ Congratulations! You've Won a Lottery Prize!

How to Create Effective Cold Email Subject Lines?

To create subject lines that avoid the spam filter and pique recipients' interest, follow these guidelines:

  • Personalization: Tailor your subject lines to the individual recipient. Include their name or reference relevant details to demonstrate that your message is specific to their needs.
  • Avoid Sales-y Language: Steer clear of overtly promotional language that screams "sales pitch." Instead, focus on addressing the recipient's pain points and offering solutions.
  • Conciseness: Keep your subject lines short and to the point. A concise subject line is more likely to be read and understood quickly.
  • Uniqueness: Stand out from the sea of emails by crafting unique subject lines that spark curiosity or offer something genuinely valuable.
Looking for Readymade Cold Email Subject Lines?
Read 80 Cold Email Subject Lines to Increase Your Response Rate.

Words to Avoid

There are certain words and phrases that are notorious for triggering spam filters. To prevent your emails from being flagged as spam, avoid using terms like "urgent," "free," "discount," "guarantee," and excessive exclamation marks. 

These words can raise suspicions and reduce your email's deliverability.

Use Cold Email Tool that Creates Personalized Subject Lines

Creating personalized subject lines for a long list of prospects can be time-consuming. To simplify this process, consider utilizing a cold email tool like Smartlead. 

Smartlead easily integrates with AI-email writer Smartwriter and allows you to create AI-generated email subject lines and content, enhancing your email campaigns. 

It's a great way to improve deliverability and engage your audience effectively. 

#3 Generic, Long Email Body

It’s only a few months to 2024 and people are still sending lengthy cold emails. Guess what, lengthy emails with unnecessary sales-y content didn’t work for boomers, it’s not going to work for Gen Zs either.

Mistakes to Avoid in Cold Email Content

Your email body is the first interaction with the prospect. Here’s a list of the common email writing mistakes most marketers ignore. Read them carefully to avoid these mistakes in your upcoming campaign. 

  • Writing Lengthy Emails: Lengthy email messages exceeding 100-150 words can overwhelm and deter recipients. 
  • Long Sentences: Avoid lengthy sentences that hinder readability and aren't mobile-friendly. Keep it clear and concise.
  • Self-Centered Content: Don't focus on your company or yourself. Instead, identify the recipient's problem and offer a tailored solution.
  • Excessive Self-Praise: Refrain from listing your brand's virtues in every email. 
  • Turning Emails into Sales Pitches: Cold emails should not resemble marketing speak. Maintain a conversational tone and deliver value without resorting to sales

How to Improving Email Content

To enhance your email content and engage your audience effectively, follow the below tips:

✔️ Write Concise Emails

Keep your messages brief, adhering to the 100-150-word guideline. Get to the point swiftly to respect your recipient's time.

✔️ Address Pain Points

Explain how your product/service can solve specific pain points the recipient may be facing.

✔️ Add Value

Offer insights, tips, or valuable information related to the recipient's industry or challenges.

✔️ Use Intriguing Openers

Craft subject lines and initial sentences that grab attention and arouse curiosity.

In 2023, concision, relevance, and value are the keys to successful cold email campaigns. Long, generic emails are likely to be overlooked, while concise, personalized messages that address pain points and add value will stand out in the inbox.

#4 No CTA

In email marketing, a CTA (Call-To-Action) is your golden ticket to engagement and conversion. Regrettably, one of the glaring mistakes many businesses still make in 2023 is neglecting to include CTAs in their cold emails.

Failing to add CTAs in your cold emails is like sending Columbus to discover a country without a map with a fixed destination. It leaves your recipients unsure of the next steps and lowers your chances of receiving a response or conversion.

What is a CTA

A CTA is a clear, actionable directive that prompts the recipient to take a specific, desired action, such as scheduling a call, downloading a resource, or clicking a link. 

It's the compass that guides your prospect towards the desired outcome. In simple words, it’s the only way to conversion—taking the desired action. 

Here’s a few examples:

  • Are you available for a 15 mins chat on Aug 15 at 2 PM?
  • How about a quick 20 min call next Monday at 3 pm PST to discuss more?
  • Book a 15 mins slot at your convenience. Here is a link to my calendar.

How to Incorporate CTAs Effectively

Improve your cold email game with the following tips:

  • Simplicity is Key: Stick to one strong CTA per email. Multiple CTAs can overwhelm and confuse the prospect.
  • Meeting Scheduler: For sales teams, employ a meeting scheduling tool that simplifies the process of setting up appointments. Avoid the back-and-forth of "When are you available?" emails.
  • Use Compelling CTAs: Employ compelling CTAs like "Let's schedule a call to chat more about this."
    Make it clear and enticing.
  • Urgency: Encourage prompt action by limiting scheduling options to the next few days. Sales reps aim to secure meetings quickly.

Incorporating CTAs in your cold emails can significantly enhance your response and conversion rates. They provide clarity, guide prospects, and propel them toward taking action. 

In 2023, remember, the path to success in cold email campaigns is often paved with clear, compelling CTAs.

#5 Lack of Automation

Failing to enable automation can significantly affect the performance of your cold email campaigns. Without automation, you risk wasting valuable time, energy, and resources on manual tasks that could otherwise be streamlined and optimized. 

To stay competitive and increase the chances of success, it's essential to recognize the importance of automation. 

Why Automation Matters

Automating the cold emailing process can be a game-changer in several ways:

  • Efficiency: Automation streamlines repetitive tasks, saving time and resources while allowing marketers to focus on strategy and creativity.
  • Consistency: Automated processes ensure that every email follows a predefined sequence, maintaining a consistent and professional approach.
  • Personalization: Automation tools enable personalized outreach at scale, making each recipient feel valued and increasing response rates.
  • Scalability: With automation, you can scale your cold email campaigns effortlessly to reach a broader audience.

Automation Possibilities in Cold Emailing

Here's a list of automation features to consider:

  • Email Scheduling: Schedule emails to be sent at optimal times, increasing the chances of recipients opening and engaging with your messages.
  • ESP Matching Feature: Align email delivery with recipients' Email Service Providers (ESPs) for improved deliverability.
  • Auto-adjusting Email Sending Volume: Dynamically adjust the volume of emails sent to optimize deliverability.
  • Automated Bounce Leads Detection: Automatically manage bounced emails to maintain a clean contact list and re-engage potential customers.
  • Personalization Using Spintax or Spin-tags: Create multiple variations of email content to personalize messages for different recipients.
  • Follow-Up Sequences: Automate follow-up emails to non-responsive recipients, increasing the chances of conversion.
  • Email Verification: Automatically verify the validity of email addresses to maintain a high-quality contact list and improve deliverability.
  • Omni-Channel Outreach: Reconnect with bounced leads through multiple channels, such as social media or phone calls, enhancing re-engagement opportunities.

Incorporating these automation features into your cold email campaigns can significantly enhance your efficiency and overall success in engaging with potential customers and prospects. In 2023, embracing automation is not just a trend but a necessity for businesses looking to maximize their cold email outreach efforts.

Final Thoughts!

In 2023, cold email marketing is all about staying smart. The biggest blunder you can make? 

Skipping automation. 

It's like putting 100s of hours into a task that you can do in a few clicks.

To avoid this costly misstep, try Smartlead. This cold emailing tool can automate everything from writing emails to fetching lead message history. With its powerful API, you can streamline your campaigns, save time, and engage your prospects like a pro.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

  • dfbvrsg
  • svsv

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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:


Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What are active leads?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Active leads are the contacts you upload in Smartlead, similar to contacts in HubSpot; if you upload 1000 leads to a campaign, they are considered 1000 active leads. If you upload similar leads to a new campaign, they are not considered a “new active lead” as they already exist in our system.

Do you provide mailboxes, or do I need to connect my own?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

We don’t offer mailboxes yet. You need to get your own dedicated list of mailboxes using popular providers like Gmail, Outlook, Zoho, and others that exist in the market. Once you get them, follow our detailed guides to connect them quickly.

Do you offer guides and articles on succeeding with cold emails?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Absolutely, one of our most popular guides can be found right here. It's been used by a large percentage of users to go from zero to cold emailing experts. Covering all topics from email infrastructure to copywriting and lead sourcing.

Is another tool needed for warmups?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

No, Smartlead has over 200,000 highly reputed mailboxes connected. The advantage you get along with naturalized AI conversations is access to aged domains you will never find in any warmup tool.

What is the API commonly used for?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

It is used popularly by agencies to automate their entire lead generation process as well as to connect Smartlead to external tools to push and pull data from. You can also connect to 1000s of apps using Zapier.

What type of businesses sees the most success with Smartlead?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Anyone that can close deals from demos will succeed with Smartlead. It works for Sales companies, Marketing agencies, SaaS businesses, Recruitment, and offline companies (like construction).

Do you provide me with lead sources?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

We do not provide you with leads. You will need to use other data providers. These leads can be automatically added to Smartlead using our API or bulk uploaded via our CSV upload system.

Do you integrate with any CRMs?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

We're building native integrations with Hubspot, Salesforce, Close, Pipedrive, and many more. The best part, due to our open API and Webhook infrastructure, you can connect to any CRM in the world without an issue.

How many team members can I add?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

You can add an unlimited number of team members, as well as assign them roles and authority access.

Do you have custom plans beyond the Pro plan?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

Yes, it's common for many people to move to Custom plans after a few weeks. You can view all the options for up to 10M leads on the subscription page once you sign up for free.

Powerful Automated Email Marketing that Drives Sales.

  • All Features Included
  • No Credit Card Required
  • Free Warmup Included