Getting people to respond to cold outreach messages 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, we’ll show you actionable strategies you can implement to improve your response rate and grow your sales pipeline using outreach.

Let's dive in.

What Outreach Response Rate 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, and it proves 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 ensure you're abiding by best practices and focused on using your outreach to deliver massive 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.

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

Auto Warmer sample

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.

Deliverability Report Image

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 potential customers and win as much new business as possible from our sales emails.

But if you keep your prospect list highly targeted to small segments of your target market, 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 positive response rate.

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

Consider selecting potential clients 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 of email recipients, 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 and 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 significant 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.

Adding social proof to your emails is the best way to do this.

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 your products or services, how long you've been in business, or even pricing.

They want to know:

  • Why are you explicitly 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 researching their background and finding ways to personalize your emails. Write a one-sentence reference to this in your Opening_Line column, and that will be how your emails start.

When creating your email template in QuickMail, add your Opening_Line attribute. When your email is sent, it will automatically populate with text from your spreadsheet.

AI email writing tools like can help you speed up the opening line writing process. These tools are helpful, 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, so use camel caps or include emojis—those will blend in with the marketing emails that your prospect is receiving.

When crafting one, you need to keep it straightforward. It will 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 {{}}?

  • Quick question {{prospect.first_name}}

  • Follow up after {{event/conference}}

  • Wondering about your sales goals for Q4?

Options like these work nicely 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-Up 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, add a new campaign step in QuickMail after your first cold email.

Choose ‘Wait,'then select the days, hours, or minutes you want to wait before sending your next email or LinkedIn step.

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

Check the ‘Include previous email' to ensure the email is in the same thread and you're ready to go.

Include previous email image

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.

inbox rotation image

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 technical limitations are not holding you back.

10. Use QuickMail for Omni-Channel Outreach

You can’t do outreach marketing and email outreach campaigns manually. It would take hours to write out each email or LinkedIn message and send them one by one.

That’s where QuickMail comes in. You can automate everything you need to in one place, from sending LinkedIn connection requests to prospects to following up through email or LinkedIn messages.

You can use it to:

  • Automate your entire process in one place

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

  • Connect with prospects on LinkedIn and follow up with an InMail message or email

  • 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 for omnichannel outreach.

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 a product or service that can solve the actual pain points of the people you're reaching out to.

Once you have that, you can follow these steps and best practices to optimize your approach and maximize your reply rate.

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

If you're ready to set up omnichannel outreach across email and LinkedIn that gets replies,click here to start your 14-day trial of QuickMail.