10 Common Mistakes in Cold Email Campaigns and How to Fix Them

Created On:
September 20, 2023
Updated On:
May 2, 2024
10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Cold Email Marketing Campaigns and How to Fix Them

Cold email marketing can be a game-changer for your business. But let's face it, crafting the perfect cold email is no walk in the park. Did you know that 72% of consumers prefer email as their primary means of communication with businesses? From catchy subject lines to personalized copy and irresistible CTAs, it's a daunting task.
And, sadly, many marketers in their initial days make mistakes writing cold emails. But fear not! In this ultimate guide, we're here to reveal the common mistakes that salespeople often make in their cold email campaigns, and, more importantly, how to turn those missteps into your outbound gamechanger. 

Read more: 10 Cold Email Practices to Achieve 40% Positive Reply Rate 

How do Cold Email Marketing Mistakes Affect Businesses? 

Cold emailing is still one of the most effective mediums for outbound lead generation. However, even the most obvious mistakes can negatively impact the performance of your campaigns. Here’s how cold email marketing mistakes affect businesses: 

1. Low Deliverability Rates

According to a Validity report, on an average 20.3% of commercial emails worldwide do not reach the inboxWhen your cold emails contain mistakes, they often end up in spam folders. This not only decreases the chances of your message being opened but also harms your domain's sender reputation. With a poor deliverability rate, it’s challenging to reach your target audience via cold email. Even those who have willingly subscribed to your list may miss out on your valuable content.

Read more: 20 Practices to Boost Email Deliverability Rate [Reputation, Content, & Tools]

2. Poor Email Open Rates

Just landing in the prospects’ inboxes is not enough; recipients must open your emails. If you make common cold email mistakes, the chances of getting lower email open rates than the industry standard is high. 

The global average email open rate is approximately 21.5% across all industries. If your email open rate is lower than it should be, your emails will remain unopened and the CTA will be unclicked. Poor email open rates, thus, results in lack of engagement, which severely impacts your sales funnel

3. Poor Quality Leads

Poorly written cold emails may land in a prospect's inbox and get read. However, quality leads (most likely to convert and match the ICP) rarely respond positively to poorly written messages. Even if they engage initially, the following sales process lacks vitality. You may find yourself investing time in leads that ultimately go nowhere, costing you valuable time and resources.

4. Wasted Time 

Time is a crucial aspect of sales, and bad cold emails can eat it up rapidly. You might be eager and hopeful after sending out your first emails, but if they contain common mistakes, it may lead to low response rates and, as a result, fewer sales. 

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Cold Email Marketing Campaigns and How to Fix Them

The goal of a cold email campaign is to increase email click-through rates. Many marketers complain that cold email campaigns don’t work for them. And there are explanations for them. Most of them are making very common mistakes. Here are the 5 common cold emailing mistakes and how you can avoid them: 

1. Not Segmenting Your Email Lists

One of the biggest downsides of not segmenting your email lists is the inability to effectively personalize messages. Sending generic emails to a diverse group of people affects the relevance of your message. 

According to research, 54% of B2B sales leaders mentioned the  lack of quality data as their most significant barrier to success. The same happens with your email list if you don’t segment your audiences based on interest – there’s a high chance of your recipients receiving irrelevant information. 

What to do Instead?

Segmentation is the secret to turning your cold email campaigns into a focused and successful outbound lead generation platform. Here's how to fix this mistake: 

Gather and Organize Your Data:

  • Start by collecting relevant prospect data. Include information like job titles, industries, company size, geographic location, and past interactions with your brand.
  • Ensure that your data is accurate and up to date. Cleanse your list of any duplicates or outdated information.
  • Clearly define Your Segmentation Criteria. These criteria should align with your campaign's goals and target audience. Common segmentation criteria include demographics (age, gender, job title, company role, etc.), firmographics (industry, company size, revenue, location, etc.), behavioral (past interactions with your emails, website, or previous purchases), and psychographics (interests, pain points, buying preferences, etc.)
  • Use your chosen criteria to divide your email list into segments. You can create segments like ‘Small Businesses in the Tech Industry’ or ‘Marketing Managers in the B2B SaaS Industry.’

2. Crafting lengthy Messages 

On an average, an email user receives around 120 emails in a day. Another interesting study also shows that an average worker spends no longer than 12 seconds reading an email.  

If these two data indicate something, it’s about ditching lengthy emails. No need to be Stephen King, stick to writing the bare minimum. If you want to boost your cold email reply rates, stick to short email copies. 

The ideal length of a cold email is within 50 -125 words. Start your email with a greeting/personalization point/complement, summarize your point in 2-3 sentences and lastly add a specific yet short CTA. 

Pro Tip: Plain text emails work best for cold emails. Also, one size doesn’t fit all. So, A/B test different email copy variations and see which one works best for your audience. 

Read more: Cold Email Checklist

3. Using Wrong Subject Lines

Subject lines create the first impression of your emails. In fact, 33% of email recipients decide to open emails solely based on subject lines.
Spam-trigger words in your subject lines can be flagged by spam filters, resulting in your emails landing in the junk/spam folder. Never send cold emails with spammy subject lines like “Check out our latest product” or “Double your income” as these texts are considered too good to be true. 

Instead, place your offer in the email body, in the CTA section. As mobile devices accounted for approx. 42% of all email opens in 2019, not optimizing your subject line for mobiles can be fatal for your cold emails campaigns. 

Here are a few cold email subject line best practices: 

  • Try to keep your subject line within 4-7 words or maximum 60 characters.  
  • Do not write generic subject lines. Pique curiosity of your prospect. Read the psychological principles that make subject lines more compelling.
  • Avoid spam trigger words such as “Sale”, “Earn”, “$$”. “Income”, Profit” etc., to steer cleaver from the spam filters. 
  • Add preheader text in your emails. 
  • Personalize the subject line; but do not use too many personalization points. 

Here are a few examples of cold email subject lines that work: 

  • FOMO: “Exclusive Opportunity for Early Adopters"
  • Questioning: "Is Your [Problem] Keeping You Up at Night?"
  • Social Proof: "Join 500+ Happy Customers Who Improved Their [Outcome]"
  • Curiosity: "The Secret to [Benefit] Revealed"
  • Personalization: "Your [Recent Activity] Impressed Us"
  • Reciprocity: "A Gift to Boost Your [Specific Goal]"
  • Urgency: "Limited Time Offer: [Discount/Deal] Expires Soon"
  • Pain Point Addressing: "Solving Your [Pain Point] Problem"
  • Social Connection: "We Share a Common Interest"
  • Storytelling: "From [Challenge] to [Success]: Our Journey"

Just like your email copy, it’s best to A/B test subject line variations internally to check which one works the best. 

Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Captivating Cold Email Subject Lines

4. Adding No CTA or, Multiple CTAs

Many marketers, especially in their initial days, make the mistake of not adding a CTA in their cold email. Either they add multiple CTAs or no CTA at all. 

A well-crafted CTA clarifies the desired action you want the recipient to take, which leaves no room for ambiguity. It guides them on the next steps, making it easier for them to respond appropriately. And without a CTA, the email may lack direction and fail to inspire action.

Besides that, CTAs make it easier to track the success of your cold email campaigns. By monitoring click-through rates or specific actions (such as meeting booking, webinar registration), you can measure the effectiveness of your messaging and make data-driven improvements.

On the other hand, another big mistake you might be making is adding multiple CTAs in one email. This not just confuses the recipients but also dilutes the importance of the main CTA. This phenomenon, although arguable, drastically reduces click-through rates for email campaigns. 

5. No Follow-Ups 

Did you know that 80% of the sales happen only after 5 follow-ups. That’s right. Follow-up is the key. 

According to a study, businesses that follow up within the first hour of receiving an inquiry are seven times more likely to convert the lead into a paying customer. This highlights the critical importance of timely follow-ups.

Cold emails are sent to prospects who have shown some interest in your product or service. When you fail to follow up, you miss the opportunity to nurture these warm leads and move them through the sales funnel.


Besides, Marketing Donut suggests that it takes an average of 7 touchpoints to convert a prospect into a customer. By not following up, you're losing out on potential revenue, as most prospects won't make a purchase after just one email.

So, how do you fix this?
Create a follow-up schedule with at least 5 email sequences. Make sure you are adding value to your prospects. Don’t just say “Hey, just following up…”, make sure you are sharing additional information/informative pieces/case studies/customer testimonials to help them make the purchase decision. 

It’s better to invest in a sales engagement tool like Smartlead. It allows you to create omnichannel outreach campaigns (Email and LinkedIn) and subsequences for better targeting. 

For the first follow-up email, 1-3 days after your initial email is standard. And if you don’t get replies, follow-up once a week. 

6. Not Researching the Prospects

A standard error when cold emailing that can significantly lower the likelihood of receiving a response is not researching the receiver. You risk sending a generic, impersonal message that may not be relevant to the receiver when you send a cold email without examining them. Researching the receiver will reveal more about their business, sector, hobbies, and problems.

With this information, you can create a customized message demonstrating your understanding of their particular circumstance and how your product or service can assist. It's challenging to personalize the email subject line, which is the first thing the recipient will see when you don't do your study on them. They are less likely to read the email if the subject line is generic and doesn't meet their particular needs or interests. Without due diligence, you risk assuming things about the recipient that might put them off.

They might think you need to comprehend their business, for instance, if you believe they're interested in a product or service without knowing their specific requirements. Spend some time researching the recipient before sending a cold email to prevent this error. Check out their corporate website, social media accounts, and pertinent press statements or news. Utilize this knowledge to create a message that is specific to them and demonstrates your understanding of their needs and ability to benefit their company.

7. Using Wrong or Unprofessional Email IDs

A frequent error in cold emails is using a wrong or unprofessional email address. The recipient's first opinion of you and your company will often be based on your email address. Using an unprofessional or inappropriate email address, such as one that includes slang or inappropriate language, can reduce your credibility and your chances of receiving a favorable response.

Use a professional email account instead, one that contains your name or the name of your company. The recipient may feel more confident in your abilities and be more likely to react favorably to your cold email due to this display of professionalism and attention to detail.

8. Including Unnecessary Attachments

Another typical error in cold emails is including attachments or links without giving context or an explanation. It's crucial to be clear and concise when describing any attachments or links you include in emails to persuade the recipient to access them. If not, the receiver might hesitate to click on it or not comprehend its significance to the email.

You can increase the likelihood that the receiver will interact with your attachment or link and recognize its value to them by providing context and explanation. This can increase the recipient's perception of your credibility and trust, increasing the likelihood that they will react favorably to your cold email.

9. Not Adding a Customized Email Signature

A frequent error in cold emails is using a generic email signature or not including one. Your name, position, and contact details are all opportunities to include important information about you and your business in an email signature. Additionally, it gives your email a professional feel and can foster confidence in the recipient.

You may come off as less competent if you use a generic signature or don't use one at all, undermining your email's authority. You can demonstrate your professionalism and make it simple for the receiver to contact you by adding a personalized email signature. The success of your cold email depends significantly on this seemingly insignificant element.

10. Sending Cold Emails at the Wrong Time

A cold email on the wrong day or time can significantly affect your response rate. For instance, if you send an email on the weekend or at a late hour, the recipient might not see it until the next work day, which could prolong the time it takes for you to respond. It may be preferable to send an email during business hours, especially in the morning, as this increases the chance that the recipient will see it and reply. If you are shipping an email to someone in another region or nation, it is also crucial to consider time zone differences.

It demonstrates respect for the recipient's timetable and time constraints if you send emails at the proper hour and day. It shows that you have tried to study the ideal time to contact them, which can boost the likelihood of a favorable response.

In conclusion, learn the best time to get in touch with the recipient, keep time zones in mind, and try to send emails during regular business hours to avoid making the mistake of doing so.


Email marketing, especially the field of cold email marketing, is ever evolving. Crafting the perfect cold email may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and copywriting skills, you can avoid the common mistakes and generate sales from cold email campaigns. So, seize the opportunity, avoid these pitfalls, and watch your outreach efforts transform into fast moving sales funnels.

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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.


Edited by:

Sattwik Das


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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!

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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.

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?

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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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