Getting people to respond to outreach isn’t easy. You need to find a way to make your cold emails stand out in your prospects’ inboxes and make it easy for them to reply.

In this article, I’ll show you actionable strategies you can implement to improve your response rate and grow your sales pipeline using outreach.

  1. What Response Rate to Outreach Should You Aim For?

  2. 10 Powerful Ways to Get More Responses to Outreach

    1. Warm Up Your Cold Email Inbox to Improve Deliverability

    2. Only Email Highly Qualified Prospects

    3. Save Your Prospect’s Time with Simple and Direct Templates

    4. Build Trust with Social Proof

    5. Make it All About Your Recipient

    6. Use Personalization to Show You Care About Each Recipient

    7. Don’t Overthink Your Subject Line

    8. Add Follow-Ups Emails to Boost Reply Rates

    9. Increase Your Sending Volume with Inbox Rotation

    10. Use QuickMail to Automate Your Outreach Process

Let’s dive in.

What Response Rate to Outreach Should You Aim For?

When measuring outreach, the best benchmark is against your existing campaigns. 

That said, here are some key metrics on response rates from 65+ million journeys sent with QuickMail.

  • The best 25% of campaigns have a 20% reply rate or more

  • Around 50% of all cold outreach campaigns have a reply rate of less than 10%

  • Approximately 25% of campaigns have a reply rate of 10-20%

If you can see a 10-20% reply rate, that’s already a good start. It shows that you’ve chosen the right people to reach out to, as well as proving that your email template resonates with that audience.

But, if you want to get to the next level and consistently get a reply rate of 20% or above, you’ll need to make sure you’re abiding by best practices and focused on using your outreach to deliver huge value to your recipients.

In the next section, let’s look at actionable tips you can follow to get more people to respond to outreach and grow your business with cold email. 

10 Powerful Ways to Get More Responses to Outreach

1. Warm Up Your Cold Email Inbox to Improve Deliverability

The first step to getting people to respond to outreach is landing in their inbox in the first place.

To ensure your emails always arrive in the primary inbox, you need to warm up your inbox. This process shows email service providers (ESPs) that you’re a trustworthy sender and ensure you don’t regularly get caught in spam filters.

The best way to do this is with email warm-up software. Most are paid, but QuickMail offers a native integration with Mailflow's free email warmup tool.

To use it, you’ll first need to sign up for an account and connect your cold email domain. Then, join the Auto Warmer group.

Once you join, your inbox will send and receive emails from other real inboxes in MailFlow's Auto Warmer network. 

If your email lands in the spam folder, it will be automatically marked as ‘not spam’ and then replied to.

You can track how effectively your inbox is being warmed up in the MailFlow's Auto Warmer reports.

It’ll show you where your emails land: Spam, Primary Inbox, or Other Folders.

When your report shows that most of your emails are landing in the primary inbox, you know your inbox is ready to start sending cold outreach emails.

Good email deliverability is the foundation for getting replies to any cold email campaign, so don’t slip this step.

2. Only Email Highly Qualified Prospects

The next key step in getting responses is to build a targeted prospect list.

It’s easy to compromise at this stage.

We all want to reach out to more prospects and win as much new business as possible from our sales emails.

But, if you keep your prospect list highly targeted on small segments of your target market, it means you can improve your personalization and make your offer as relevant as possible to every recipient.

You’ll reach out to fewer total prospects but will get a higher response rate.

When choosing your prospects, find ways to narrow your selection down.

Consider selecting prospects based on criteria like:

  • How much influence a person has on an organization

  • The size of the company

  • The number of employees a company has

  • Their open roles and vacancies

  • The technology they use on their website

The more granular you can get, the better. 

This also means you can spend more time researching each person on your list. When your prospect sees your email, they’ll immediately see that you’re reaching out to solve a pain point they have and aren’t just putting them on an email blast with thousands of other people. 

To build a highly targeted prospect list, you can use prospecting tools like:

These tools will help you identify prospects based on key criteria about them and their company, and will show you verified contact information, including an email address.

3. Save Your Prospect’s Time with Simple and Direct Templates

The people you’re reaching out to are busy. They don’t have time to read a long email, particularly if they don’t already know you.

It’s crucial that you respect their time by keeping your email focused by only including essential information.

In most cases, you can keep your email structure simple and only include:

  • A personalized icebreaker that shows you’ve done your research into them

  • A sentence explaining what problem you can solve for them

  • Mentioning some social proof, like dropping a similar client

  • A call-to-action with a clear next step

Combine this with a simple email copy, and your recipient will instantly know what you’re reaching out about.

It’ll be easy for them to reply and take the next steps.

4. Build Trust with Social Proof

One of the major challenges of cold emailing is building trust with prospects. This is because there are many scams out there, from tech support scams to people trying to steal your identity.

The best way to do this is by adding social proof to your emails.

Social proof is anything that shows your recipient that you’re a trustworthy person. This could include:

  • Mentioning a past result you had for a client

  • Adding names of one or two notable clients to your email template

  • Mentioning a mutual connection with your prospect

In an email, this might be as simple as a sentence like:

  • Our agency recently helped [similar client] generate 35 leads per month with our lead generation services

  • We helped a similar e-commerce brand increase product page conversion rates by 154% with our CRO audit

  • I put together a case study showing how we helped [similar client] grow their revenue using our recommendations – shall I send it over?

Your social proof will help quickly build trust and improve your chances of getting a response.

5. Make it All About Your Recipient

Your cold email needs to be all about the person on the receiving end. Your prospects want to know how you can help them. In your first email, they won’t be interested in learning about all the products or services you offer, how long you’ve been in business, or even pricing.

They want to know:

  • Why are you specifically reaching out to them

  • What results can they expect from your product or service

  • What the next steps are

For example, take this podcast invite email template from The Top:

It’s straight to the point and mentions the prospect’s name and company name. It’s tailored to the industry (SaaS), and ideally, the recipient will have heard of the people mentioned as social proof.

If the recipient felt they were a fit for the podcast, it would be an easy email to respond to.

On the other hand, if the email was describing their podcast, past guests, and who the host is, it wouldn’t be as interesting to the recipient.

6. Use Personalization to Show You Care About Each Recipient

Your prospects know that they’re not the only person on your email list, but it’s vital that you make them feel like they are.

The best way to do this is with either:

  • A unique email opening line

  • A personalized P.S. note at the end of your email

Including either of these elements will make your email unique and show every prospect that your email is only being sent to them.

This is going to add time to your prospecting process, but the result will be an increase in response rates, so it’s worth it.

The easiest way to do this at scale is to add a new column to your prospect list titled “Opening_Line”.

Whenever you add a new prospect to your list, spend five minutes looking into their background and finding ways to personalize your emails. Write out a one-sentence reference to this in your Opening_Line column, and that will be how your emails start.

When you create your email template in QuickMail, just add your Opening_Line attribute. When your email sends, this will automatically populate with the text from your spreadsheet.

There are AI email writing tools that can help you speed up the opening line writing process, such as Lyne.ai. These tools are useful, but if you rely on them, always make sure to verify that the information they generate is factual.

7. Don’t Overthink Your Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing your prospect sees.

You don’t want it to be too formal, use camel caps, or include emojis – those are going to blend in with marketing emails that your prospect is receiving.

When crafting one, you need to keep it straightforward. It’s going to frame your prospect’s expectations for when they open the email.

If you need some inspiration, we shared 55 examples of cold email subject lines here.

Some options you could use include:

  • Solving [problem] for {{company.name}}?

  • Quick question {{prospect.first_name}}

  • Follow up after {{event/conference}}

  • Wondering about your sales goals for Q4?

Options like these work well because they frame what your cold email will be about and show that you’re a real person.

I’d recommend keeping it simple and casual. If you think your subject line is causing problems, you can always A/B test different variations in your cold email software.

8. Add Follow-Ups Emails to Boost Reply Rates

Data from millions of emails sent using QuickMail found that 55% of replies to campaigns come from a follow-up email step.

We also saw that the optimal number of follow-ups to get responses to your outreach is three.

The reason for this is simple.

Your prospects are busy, and replying to a cold email isn’t a priority, even if they’re interested in your product or service.

Your follow-up emails prove to your prospects that you have something of value. If not, you wouldn’t be going out of your way to remind them.

There’s no exact science as to what makes a follow-up effective.

But, you can use your follow-ups to:

  • Reiterate the problem you can solve

  • Bring in a case study or add new social proof

  • Try a new call-to-action that’s lower commitment

Your email will be bumped to the top of your prospect’s inbox and you’ll have an extra chance to get a reply.

For example, check out this follow-up example from RepurposeHouse

  • It brings in a case study and explains the benefits

  • The benefits are specific and timely: grow site sessions by 100% in 90 days

  • The call-to-action is simple: book a call

To send a follow-up, all you need to do is add a new campaign step in QuickMail after your first cold email.

Choose ‘Wait’, and then select the number of days you want to wait before sending your next email.

After that, add a new email step and write up your template.

Check the ‘Include previous email’ to make sure the email is in the same thread, and you’re ready to go.

If a prospect replies, they’re automatically removed from the sequence, so they won’t receive unnecessary extra emails from you.

9. Increase Your Sending Volume with Inbox Rotation

If you see good results from your campaigns, it’s time to scale up.

To do this, you’ll need to send emails from multiple inboxes at once, as ESPs have sending limits. However, most tools only let you send your campaigns from one inbox at a time.

In QuickMail, you can add new inboxes to your account and add those to the same campaign.

You won’t need to copy-paste your campaigns, risk making mistakes, or have to deal with logistical headaches.

Once your new inboxes are connected, all you need to do is select which ones you want to use in any campaign.

As your campaign runs, the Inbox Rotation tool will automatically spread your sending volume across all selected inboxes.

You can track and manage all of your replies inside QuickMail, so there won’t be a risk of replies getting lost in different inboxes.

This is a powerful way to scale campaign volume and ensure you’re not being held back by technical limitations.

10. Use QuickMail to Automate Your Outreach Process

You can’t send cold email campaigns manually. It would take hours to write out each individual email and send them one by one.

Instead, use a cold email platform like QuickMail.

You can use it to:

  • Send personalized cold emails to a list of prospects at scale

  • Automatically follow up at custom intervals if someone doesn’t reply

  • Track your campaign metrics like open rate and reply rate

The platform includes everything you need to send campaigns.

If you follow the best practices we’ve looked at for getting people to respond to outreach, it won’t be long before your inbox is full of interested leads.

You can try QuickMail for free with a 14-day trial.

Wrapping Up

The foundation for any successful outreach campaign is to have a product or service that can solve real pain points for the people you’re reaching out to.

Once you have that, you can follow these steps and best practices to start optimizing your approach and maximizing your reply rate.

When you have a formula that works and you’re regularly seeing a 15-20% or higher reply rate, you can start to scale your sending volume by adding new inboxes to each campaign.

If you’re ready to start sending cold emails that get replies, click here to start your 14-day trial of QuickMail.