May 10, 2023

What is a Cold Email?


Cold emailing is a powerful and cost-effective marketing strategy used by businesses worldwide. But what exactly is it, and how can you leverage it for your business? In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of cold emailing and explain how to get started, manage your email list, send your emails, and more!

What is a Cold Email?

A cold email is an unsolicited message sent to a potential prospect or client without any prior relationship or contact. The primary purpose of cold emailing is to introduce yourself, your products, or your services to a new audience in hopes of generating leads, sales, or establishing business relationships.

How do you get started with cold email?

Build your list

Before you can begin sending cold emails, you'll need a list of prospects to contact. To build your list, identify your target audience and gather their email addresses. You can use various methods, such as:

  1. Data scraping from websites, forums, or social media platforms.
  2. Purchasing lists from reputable data providers. We use to choose our audiences and pull lists.
  3. Conducting market research to identify potential prospects.

Verify email addresses

Once you have your list, it's crucial to verify the email addresses to ensure deliverability and avoid bounces. Use email verification tools like NeverBounce, ZeroBounce or Bulk Email Checker to clean your list and improve your campaign's success rate.

You have your list, now what?

Craft a compelling message

The key to a successful cold email campaign lies in your message. Your email should be concise, engaging, and provide value to the recipient. Use a catchy subject line to grab their attention and focus on addressing their needs or solving their problems.

Personalize your email

Personalization goes a long way in building rapport and increasing the likelihood of a response. Address the recipient by their name, mention their company, or reference any relevant information you've gathered about them.

Choose a reliable email provider

Select an email service provider, like Microsoft Outlook or Google Workspace. These providers are designed to handle the unique challenges of sending unsolicited emails at scale and ensure optimal deliverability.

Set up email authentication

Authenticate your emails using Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) to improve your deliverability and protect your domain from being flagged as spam.

Buy your new domains.

Purchasing new domains specifically for your cold email campaigns can protect your main domain from being flagged as spam or blacklisted. It also allows you to better track the performance of your cold email campaigns separately from your regular email communications.

Steps to buy a domain

  1. Choose a domain registrar, like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Google Domains.
  2. Search for domain names that reflects your brand or purpose. We recommend using your business name and adding extra descriptors to the end. (EX:
  3. Register the domain and configure the DNS settings as required by your email service provider.

The software you'll need

Cold email software

Utilizing dedicated cold email software like Instantly AI streamlines the process of sending, tracking, and managing your email campaigns. Instantly AI offers features like email personalization, email warmup, custom tracking domains, an amazing unibox interface to receive leads, subsequences to automate follow up and increase your chances of success, and much more. Instantly is also designed from the ground up to handle the unique challenges of sending unsolicited emails and uses advanced AI technology to ensure optimal deliverability.

Getting started with Instantly

Create your account

Sign up for an account with Instantly, a popular cold email platform. Instantly allows you to send personalized, automated cold email campaigns and track their performance in real-time.

Import your list

Upload your cleaned and verified email list to Instantly. Organize your contacts into segments based on factors like industry, job title, or location for more targeted and personalized campaigns.

Set up your campaign

Create your cold email campaign within Instantly by selecting your email templates, personalizing the content, and setting up automated follow-up emails. Schedule your emails to be sent at optimal times for your target audience.

Warm up your domain

Why warm up your domain? Warming up your domain is crucial for establishing a good sender reputation and ensuring the deliverability of your cold emails. A warmed-up domain has a history of sending legitimate, non-spam emails, making it less likely to be flagged by spam filters.

Domain warm-up process

  1. Begin by sending a low volume of emails daily to a small, highly engaged segment of your list.
  2. Gradually increase the number of emails sent each day, maintaining a high engagement rate.
  3. Monitor your deliverability metrics, like bounce rates and spam complaints, to ensure you're staying within acceptable limits.

You’re now ready to send emails and receive replies!

Schedule your emails

Use Instantly's scheduling feature to send your emails at the most opportune times for your target audience, increasing the likelihood of engagement and positive responses.

Monitor your campaign

Keep an eye on your campaign's performance through Instantly's dashboard. Track essential metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and reply rates to help you optimize your campaigns for better results.

Analyze and optimize

Review the data from your campaigns to identify areas for improvement. A/B test various subject lines, email content, and personalization tactics to optimize your future campaigns and boost your overall success rate.


Cold emailing is a highly effective marketing strategy that can generate leads, sales, and cultivate valuable business relationships when executed correctly. By following the steps outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to launching successful cold email campaigns and growing your business.


  1. What is the ideal length for a cold email? Aim for a length of 100-200 words. Keep your email concise, focused, and engaging.
  2. How often should I follow up on my cold emails? Send 3-4 follow-up emails spaced 3-7 days apart to maximize the chances of receiving a response.
  3. Is cold emailing legal? Cold emailing is legal in most countries, including the United States, as long as you comply with the regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act. Always provide a clear way for recipients to opt-out of future communications and never use misleading subject lines or false information.
  4. What is a good open rate for cold emails?A good open rate for cold emails ranges from 15% to 25%. However, this may vary depending on your industry and target audience. In Instantly, we typically get a 40-70% open rate, depending on lead quality, messaging, and targeting.
  5. How can I improve the deliverability of my cold emails?To improve deliverability, ensure your email list is clean and verified, use a reputable email service provider, set up email authentication, warm up your domain, and follow best practices for email content and design.

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