Mastering 10 Email Strategies for a 40% Positive Response Rate

Created On:
July 28, 2023
Updated On:
March 14, 2024
Cold email practices

We launched Smartlead–a cold email tool—in May 2022 and landed our first customer in the following June.

As we marked our first anniversary, we have decided to acknowledge our day-to-day wins.  

Currently, we are sending 7 million emails everyday with an 18% average reply rate. Being one of the top three warm-up pools, Smartlead is empowering 6800 Businesses with a 42x average ROI. 

Amazing, huh?

If you want to know how we do that using cold emails, read this blog post till the end. You will find our secret cold email practices revealed by none other than Vaibhav—Smartlead founder and CEO—himself. 

Dig in to steal the secrets.

10 Secret Cold Email Practices to Achieve 40% Positive Reply Rates

Everybody knows the basic cold email guidelines but are these enough for a successful campaign? I asked Vaibhav—Smartlead founder—and the answer was NO.

Here are some of the email practices that nobody tells you, but you must know. At Smartlead, our customers have seen as high as 40% positive reply rate following the below practices.

#1 Five Mins Minimum Email Time Gap 

Sending bulk emails is always risky. For instance, sending 100 emails from one email address looks spammy. 

Many marketers use multiple email addresses to avoid that, but only a handful of them know about the email time gap. 

“Keep a minimum of 5 mins email time gap between sending emails”~ Vaibhav

If you are sending a large number (volume) of emails from one email address (within the sending limit), you can continue doing so.

However, you must maintain a minimum of 5 mins time gap between sending emails.  

#2 Maintain a DNC Checklist

DNC or the Do Not Contact (DNC) list is something that nobody tells a beginner. 

A DNC list is a list of leads or domains that you shouldn’t send your messages to. They have either unsubscribed or blocked you, or asked you to stop sending emails. 

“Maintain a DNC list for better email sender reputation”~ Vaibhav

In case you aren’t aware, sending messages to leads that unsubscribed or blocked you is violating the CAN-SPAM Act

Cold email automation tools like Smartlead allow users to create a DNC list on the software itself. So that you can exclude specific leads from receiving any further emails from a campaign, even if they are part of an ongoing campaign. 

#3 Run Campaigns with Less than a 2% Bounce Rate  

While response rate, delivery rate, and clickthrough rate are crucial, marketers mustn’t ignore the bounce rate of email campaigns

If you have launched an email campaign and you are seeing more than 2% bounce rate, then the best initiative is to stop. 

Stop the campaign, check what went wrong, and fix it before resuming it. 

#4 Stop Low Performing Campaigns

“Review the lead quality, copy, and email reputation before resuming a low-performing campaign”~ Vaibhav

Cold email automation tools come with an analytics dashboard where you can see the overall performance of email campaigns. 

The dashboard mainly shows

  • Number of sent emails
  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Reply rate
  • Bounce rate, etc.

The industry standard for the above email marketing metrics is below:

  • Open rate: >20%
  • Click-through rate: 2-5%
  • Reply rate: >10%
  • Bounce rate: <2%

Campaigns that don’t meet the above metrics should be paused immediately. Review the copy, and assess the quality of the lead list and the email reputation before resuming the campaign. 

#5 Remove Low Performing Email Accounts

A cold email campaign includes several email accounts. While some of those might perform well, some might not. 

At Smartlead, we try to filter out the low-performing email accounts after launching a campaign via the analytics dashboard. 

This is a great way to boost deliverability. It has proven to be highly impactful for us. 

#6 Check Common Spam Blacklists for Your Domain 

“Look for your domain on Common Spam Blacklist”~ Vaibhav

Are your campaigns underperforming recently? Have the open rates dropped down to 5%, and the spam rate gone up?

If yes, there’s a chance that your domain is blacklisted (blocklisted). 

ESPs (Email Service Providers) blacklist a domain or an IP address under suspicion of sending out spam emails. Sometimes, it is also because you are failing the SPF or DMARC authentication or there’s a mistake in the copy that alerted the spam filters. 

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to learn why your campaigns are not performing like before and landing in the spam folder. Is your domain blacklisted?

To know that, you can check out free blacklist checker tools like mxtoolbox.

#7 Send 50 Emails/Addresses per day

Popular ESPs—Google, Yahoo, HotMail, and Outlook—provide a daily sending limit of 500 emails per day. 

But, for a successful outreach campaign, the best practice is to set a sending limit of 50 emails per address per day.  

This has been a highly beneficial practice for us at Smartlead. The above sending limit includes the warm-up emails too.   

#8 Gradually Increase Email Sent Volume

If you are using certain mailboxes to send 10 emails per day, don’t increase the volume suddenly. 

Take a week or two to gradually increase the email volume to 50 or 60 emails per day.

A sudden increase in the number of messages sent will alert the spam filters, eventually affecting the sender reputation score. 

#9 Use Spintax To Randomise Email Messages 

“Spintax improves deliverability by increasing randomization of messages”~ Vaibhav

Spintax or Spin Syntax is a bulk emailing hack that creates variations of sentences or words by using multiple words or phrases in the template

You can add similar words such as {Hey} and {Hi}, separated by a vertical line | 

For example:


This tactic will help you generate a more personalized set of cold emails. Sending email messages with a little variation from one another increases the chances of landing in leads’ inboxes. 

#10 Inbox Rotation

“Select multiple mailboxes per campaign to send the load horizontally”~ Vaibhav

Inbox rotation means sending emails from various mailboxes instead of sending from one mailbox only. 

Here, inbox means one mailbox/email address.

So, the inbox rotation practice means rotating the sender’s account or using various sender addresses to send bulk emails. 

This is a great tactic to divide the email volume into small chunks for several mailboxes. This will help to stick to the “50 emails per day per address” limit. 

Final Thoughts!

The internet is full of cold email tips & tricks. These tips & tricks mainly include

  • Write text-based emails
  • Don’t use multiple links
  • Do A/B testing
  • No spam words
  • Personalization, etc.

While I totally agree with the effectiveness of the above emailing hacks, as a marketer, you need MORE.

You need the secret emailing practice from an experienced email marketer who has already brought the results (multiple times).

If you are reading this, get set, GO. 

Use the above game-changing tips from Vaibhav and let us know the results. If you are looking for automation tools, check out Smartlead.


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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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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"?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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!

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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.

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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?

Email automation FAQs- Smartlead

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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