Outreach email: How to double your response rate


Email is one of the most popular communication channels on the planet, with more than 4.1 billion email users in the world.

And it’s really effective. According to a survey from Salescycle, 59% of people claim that their purchase decisions are influenced by marketing emails. The same survey found that 50% buy directly from a marketing email on a monthly basis.

Outreach email marketing is one of the best ways to reach a large number of customers quickly and at a relatively low cost.

But it’s also difficult to get it right, and doing it badly has some serious consequences.

If too many recipients mark your email as spam, email servers will blacklist you. If this happens, the server will send your emails straight to the spam folders of all your recipients.

This article will help you avoid this fate by showing you how to write compelling outreach emails that your subscribers will love. We’ll also explain how to execute effective campaigns that reach the right audience.

But let’s start with the basics and define exactly what outreach email is.

What Is Outreach Email Marketing?

Email outreach is the practice of sending marketing emails to people you don’t have a relationship with.

The purpose of email outreach is to get your recipients to take a positive action in response to your email that will help you achieve a variety of possible business goals. Outreach emails are sometimes called cold emails.

Examples of the goals you can achieve with email outreach campaigns include:

  • Lead generation
  • Link building
  • Securing opportunities to guest post
  • Promoting a piece of content
  • Reaching out to influencers and investors
  • Pitching partners to collaborate with on campaigns

What is an outreach email marketing strategy?

Your email marketing strategy is how you go about achieving your goals. A good email marketing strategy will give your outreach campaigns direction and ensure they are successful.

Your cold email outreach strategy should include:

  • Goal: As mentioned above, what action do you want your recipients to take?
  • Customers: Which customers do you want to target with email campaigns? What do you want them to do? What are their needs/desires? When do you want them to take action?
  • Expectations: What will success look like? What return on investment (ROI) do you expect?
  • Wider strategy: How will outreach email marketing fit into your wider strategy? Is this a top-of-the-funnel play aimed at creating leads that you will nurture? Or do you want to make a sell?
  • Cadence: How often will you email your contacts? How will you approach those who don’t open/take action/respond to your email? Will you send a follow-up email?

How do outreach email marketing campaigns work?

There are six critical steps to any successful outreach email campaign:


1. Prospecting

Successful cold outreach campaigns are all about targeting the right people. By only sending emails to people who you think really want or need them, you’ll get better open rates and better quality leads.

Prospecting is about choosing which type of person or company you will target to achieve the best results. The most effective way to do this is to develop ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

💡 What is an ICP?

An ICP is a series of characteristics that make up your perfect customer—in other words, the people or companies that need your product or service the most, and are both easy and profitable for you to serve. You can have several ICPs for your business.

Your ICP will cover two types of customer data:

  • Demographic data. This is data on the physical attributes of your target audience. Examples include geographical location, occupation, marital status, gender, etc.
  • Psychographic data. Psychographics refers to the psychological attributes that influence people’s decisions. Examples include values, interests, activities, opinions, etc.

Well-defined ICPs help you make better marketing campaign decisions. For example, if your ICP is under 18, you might decide that TikTok is a better way to engage with them than email.

Here’s an example of what a typical ICP might look like:


Once you’ve decided which prospects you want to target, do research so you know what exactly makes them tick. You can use this information to craft your email content so it meets their needs and interests.

2. Creating a contacts list

Now you need to gather the email addresses of people who match your target ICP. You might already have email addresses in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, which you can then quickly download. Or you might want to buy a customer database.

However, these days, using scraping software like Hunter.io is more popular. Hunter searches thousands of web pages in a matter of minutes and looks for email addresses of people who match your ICP.

3. Writing an outreach email

This is probably the most important stage. That’s why we’ve broken it down into four simple steps. Here they are in brief:

  • Write a catchy and personalized subject line
  • Optimize the preview text
  • Keep your outreach email short and sweet
  • Personalize as much as possible

You can read about each in detail later in this article.

4. Testing

Imagine you spend lots of time and money to prepare a contacts list and write the perfect email, but the call-to-action link is broken. People will get your email, but then they won’t be able to follow through. Testing ensures your email is perfect and you don’t waste valuable time and money.

5. Follow-up emails

If you genuinely want to build a relationship with your recipients, then you should care whether or not they respond. People get a lot of emails and sometimes they just don’t have time or forget to respond. So it can be helpful to send them a friendly reminder.

It’s also important to get back to them promptly when they answer. What you need to do largely depends on the type of email. For example, if they made a purchase, then you could automate an email thanking them and explaining what happens next. But, if they asked questions about a seminar you have invited them to, then they will require a bespoke response.

6. Reporting

Finally, it’s critical to collect data such as open rates, click-through rates, and ROI. These numbers will help measure whether your campaign was a success and show how you could improve your next campaign.

How to Write an Outreach Email in 4 Steps

As mentioned above, good content is key to a successful outreach email.

Good content is all about putting yourself in the recipient’s position. People view cold emails as spam because they don’t know the sender. To ensure your email is not ignored or flagged as spam, your outreach email should:

  • Grab attention
  • Encourage the recipient to open it
  • Get the reader to take action

This section explains how to do that in four steps.

1. Write a catchy and personalized subject line

The first thing your recipients see is your email’s subject line. Since they don’t know you, it’s the one element that might encourage them to open your email.

That’s why you must invest time in creating a subject line that elicits clicks.

Here are a few tips on crafting outreach email subject lines to increase your open rate:

Get personal

One of the best ways to double your response rate for a cold email outreach campaign is to use personalized email subject lines. The reason these work so well is that they make your recipient view you as a connection and not a stranger.

This strategy works well; studies show that personalizing an email subject line boosts open rates by a massive 26%. A few ways you can add personalization to your subject line include:

  • Do the name drop: Name dropping can boost your credibility. Use it if you have a mutual connection or work with someone well-known to the reader—for example, an industry influencer.
  • Use your prospect’s first name: This is email personalization 101. Using a prospect’s first name makes them feel you know them. It also makes them feel valued.
  • Mention a pain point: Highlighting a pain point shows that you understand the challenges faced by the recipient. It also encourages them to open your email if they are seeking a solution.

Arouse your recipients’ curiosity

A few pointers on how you can leverage curiosity to create irresistible subject lines include:

  • Use curiosity power words: Curiosity power words are words that elicit curiosity. They evoke feelings of intrigue and play on our desire for knowledge. Examples of curiosity power words are words like “secret”, “elusive”, and “little-known”.
  • Create a knowledge gap: This refers to the gap between what your recipient knows and what they want to know. It works in a similar way to curiosity words. Creating such a gap in your subject line leaves the recipient itching to know the missing piece of information. A good example might be: “One mistake ALL outreach emails make”.
  • Ask questions: Questions either highlight a common problem the ICP faces or creates curiosity. Either way, they’ll open your email to get the answer. A good example of the former is: “Do you struggle to write good outreach copy?”

2. Optimize the preview text

The preview text is the text that appears immediately under the subject line or next to the subject line, depending on the device used and the email client.

This small piece of text gives you another opportunity to convince your recipients to open your email.

It’s therefore vital to optimize your preview text; here’s how:

  • Continue where your headline left off: It’s impossible to fully convey your message in the subject line. Use the preview text as an extension to paint a clearer picture.
  • Pitch the contents of your email: Use the preview text as a teaser of what follows in the email or tell recipients why they should read on.
  • Include a call-to-action: Consider putting a call to action in your preview text to encourage more opens. For example, the subject line “One mistake ALL outreach emails make”, could be followed by: “Dear X, Read this email to learn why most sales emails suck.”

One thing many marketers make the mistake of doing, is ignoring the preview text—doing so will result in the default preview text being displayed. Typically, this text snippet is the first few words of your email. You’d want to make them count.

3. Keep your outreach email short and sweet

For your cold email to be effective, you must get to the point quickly. People are busy. Plus, they receive over 120 business emails per day. They don’t have the time to read a novella.

That’s why you must keep your outreach email short and sweet.

Crafting short outreach emails shows your prospects you value their time. It also ensures your copy is easy to read, which keeps the audience engaged.

4. Personalize as much as possible

You’ll probably hear us say this a lot, but email personalization is key to successful outreach campaigns. And no—personalization doesn’t simply mean using your prospect’s name. You can add personalized images and include their job title, a screenshot of their website, and so much more.

Personalization is all about creating relevant and helpful content. It’s especially beneficial in your:

✔️ Subject line

✔️ Email copy

✔️ Images

✔️ Call to action (CTA)

If your prospect feels you know them and that your offer is designed to make life easier for them, the chances of getting a positive response are higher.

In the next section, we provide a case study to help you understand what good personalization in email outreach looks like.

Orca Security: Personalization in action

Orca Security is an industry-leading cloud security platform. The company wanted to improve attendance and bookings for its demo presentations by offering attendees with a free gift.

However, a text-based outreach email didn’t communicate this offer effectively.

The company decided to use Hyperise’s image personalization toolkit to help grab their prospects’ attention.

They A/B tested three different images with different levels of personalization. The most successful featured the recipient’s face, along with details of the offer and a personalized message from Orca’s sales director.

Email conversions increased by 3.1% after the personalized images were implemented.

The company then made personalized GIFs. The one shown below saw the conversion rate increase to 5.7%.

Over a campaign of 7,000 messages, Orca would normally get around 120 bookings. With Hyperise it managed to book 262—and this number would have been higher except they didn’t use personalization in one of the earlier campaigns.

4 Types of Cold Outreach Email Explained

The idea of cold emailing can be quite intimidating—you’re reaching out to hundreds and even thousands of strangers.

Knowing how to approach an email outreach campaign properly can help you gain more confidence.

You can learn how to do so for different outreach campaign types here. We’ve also included example outreach templates for each campaign type:

1. Influencer outreach email


Influencer marketing is when you get well-known industry figures to talk about your product or service. It is a great way to raise brand awareness, gain customer trust, and drive sales.

Influencers are inundated with requests from companies. Here are a few pointers to make sure yours stand out:

✔️ Find the right influencer: Influencers come in different flavors. You must find an influencer that resonates with your target audience.

✔️ Let them know why you chose them: Let your influencer know why you picked them and what makes them the best person to collaborate with your brand.

✔️ Speak their language: To catch an influencer’s attention, speak their language. Study how they communicate with their audience and replicate that in your outreach email.

✔️ Create a unique pitch: Influencers receive many cold outreach emails. Make yours stand out as much as possible by being unique.


Influencer outreach email example:

Hi <First Name>,

My name is <Your Name> and I handle influencer relationships for <Your Brand>. We’re great fans of yours (as are our clients) and we would love to collaborate with you on <campaign>.

We were greatly inspired by your <video, blog/social post, talk, etc.> on <topic> and thought you’d be a great fit to help us get the word out.

We know you’ve probably not heard from us and our product. That’s why we’d love to send you some of our best stuff so you know why our customers (and hopefully you) love us so much. We’re sure your audience will appreciate knowing about <problem your product solves>.

Let me know if this sounds interesting and we can pick it up from there.


<Your Name>


2. Brand outreach email

Brand outreach involves reaching out to brands with products or services you’d like to promote because they complement your own. The hope is that they will promote yours in turn.

For example, if you sell shoes, then you could reach out to a popular clothing brand and propose a promotion where your shoes are matched with their clothing.

Here are some tips for reaching out to other brands and building solid relationships:

✔️Choose your partners well: Pick brand partners who you can create a symbiotic relationship with. Ensure there’s no risk of cannibalizing each other if it’s a brand-to-brand partnership.

✔️Reach out to decision-makers: Find decision-makers responsible for the type of campaign you want to run. Do in-depth research and get to know them well before you send them your first email.


Brand outreach email example:

Hey [First Name],

My name is [Your Name] and I’ve helped brands like [name brands] sell more products online.

I’ve been blogging for over [Years] and have grown a [size of audience] strong audience that would be interested in your product. I’ve heard great things about [product], checked out your website, social media profiles, and even tried [product]. To say that I love it (as would my audience) is an understatement.

Would you be interested in working together to promote [product]?

If you need more information on how the partnership would work, pick a date on my calendar [link] and we can have a chat about it.

Looking forward to the talk.


[Your Name]


3. PR outreach email

PR outreach refers to the process of reaching out to media outlets to build relationships that ultimately drive brand awareness.

Here’s how to boost the chances of getting a positive response:

✔️Only target relevant prospects: For example, if you sell e-commerce tech, then it’s a good idea to target technology and business media outlets.

✔️Find content gaps: Look for content gaps that you can fill for your prospects—in other words, find popular subjects or types of content that the publication doesn’t yet cover and offer to help them fill this gap. This will tremendously increase your success rate.

✔️Focus on building relationships: Get to know the individual and speak to them on the phone. Don’t pitch straight away, instead get to know them first. Ask them what content they are interested in and what they focus on. This will help you get your prospect care about what you want to pitch to them.


PR outreach template example:

Hi [first name],

My name is [your name], and I am the [position and company].

I’m a fan of [outlet name], and I loved your article on [topic] and found it really helpful. I particularly loved [point].

We recently covered a similar topic and would love to collaborate with you on similar projects in the future. We can provide deeper insights and insider tips and stats if this sounds interesting.

There’s a similar collaboration we did with [relevant outlet], you can check out one of our recent articles [link] on their site.

Let me know if you’re interested.


[Your signature]


4. Blogger outreach email

Blogger outreach involves reaching out to bloggers and asking them to write about your product, service, or brand. It’s also excellent for obtaining backlinks and boosting your SEO.

For best results:

✔️ Target bloggers whose primary audience demographics and psychographics match your buyer persona.

✔️ Ensure your offer adds value for the blogger’s audience.

✔️ Offer to write guest posts for the blogger, as this provides them with free content and gives you free advertising.


Blogger outreach email template example:

Hey [First name]

I came across your article [name and URL of article] on [publication] and I must say you really hit the ball out of the park with this one.

I couldn’t help but notice you recommended [product name] in your article. [Company name] inspired us a lot with that particular product and we decided to create an even better (according to our customers) product.

We’d really appreciate it if you could help promote us in any other articles you publish.

If that sounds interesting, let me know so we can iron out partnership details.


[First Name]


How to Double the Response Rates of Your Email Outreach Using Personalization

Here are some tips to help you craft an effective outreach strategy.

Craft a compelling email and provide immense value

Once your prospect opens your email, you must give them a reason to read it and take action.

To do that, your email must provide them with value. This could include:

✔️ A special offer

✔️ Something for free

✔️ Information,  e.g. a guide on how to do something

✔️ The chance to partner on something that will benefit them

✔️ The opportunity to solve a problem

To compose a value-driven outreach email you need to understand your prospects. Your email copy should align with the challenges they face or the goals they want to attain.

You should also highlight the benefits of choosing you over competitors—remember, they receive hundreds of similar emails.

Write a personalized intro and dish out compliments

The first line of your outreach email must make your prospect feel connected to you. To do that, you must ensure it’s personalized. Some tips to do this include:

✔️ Give a compliment: Flattery will get you everywhere. Make your prospect feel good about themselves and the work they’re doing; this will endear you to them. Just make sure you’re sincere!

✔️ Mention something they have done: Mention a blog post or social media post they’ve published or an event they spoke at and highlight the value you got from it. Bonus points if it directly relates to your offer.

A personalized email intro catches the recipient’s attention, shows that your email is relevant, and proves that you have something worthwhile to say.

A/B test for optimization

To optimize your outreach email campaign, it’s good practice to A/B test them. A/B testing simply means comparing the performance of two emails that have the same end goals. These two versions are sent to two sample segments of your prospect list.

To conduct your A/B test:

✔️ Determine the metrics to track: This could be open rates, click rates, response rates, etc. Your metrics must be aligned with the ultimate goal of your outreach campaign.

✔️ Identify the factors that influence your chosen metrics: Different elements of your email are levers that trigger a response. Tie these to the metrics you want to track. For example, your subject line can be tied to your open rates. Other factors include copy, images, CTAs, etc.

✔️ Use the 80/20 rule: Make the email you think will likely be more successful, in other words the one you would normally send, the “A” email. Make your “B” email the experiment where you try a different approach or new ideas. Send A to 80% of your subscribers and send B to 20%. This allows you to reduce risk while testing out new ideas.

Once you’ve found out which email performed best in your 80/20 sample test, it’s time to send your winning outreach email to the rest of your prospect list.

Hyper-personalize your outreach email and stand out from the crowd

Human beings are visual creatures.

In fact, research shows that people process visual data 60,000 times faster than text.

That’s why adding images to your outreach email will help convey your message in a memorable way. And that’s why you must use hyper-personalized images.

Besides helping you convey your message, visuals also have the power to trigger emotions.

How is this useful to your outreach email marketing strategy?

If your email can elicit positive emotions from your prospects, the chances of you getting a positive response drastically improve.

Don’t worry, achieving this isn’t rocket science. You just need the right visual personalization tool—like Hyperise. With Hyperise, you can add dynamic personalization layers that will result in your prospect seeing an email that’s visually tailored for them. For example, you can add text layers to images. This means they will see their name, company name, or other attention-grabbing personalized text on the image.

Other ways of using hyper-personalization in your emails include:

✔️ Adding their picture or business’s logo in the email picture. This helps your outreach email stand out in a crowded inbox. The result is increased engagement rates—up to 6X higher.

✔️ Including a screenshot of their website in the email. This works particularly well if you’re discussing something related to their website.

Hyper-Personalization: The Key to Successful Outreach Email Campaigns

If you design your outreach email campaigns well, you can easily double your response rates and achieve your goals—just follow the steps and tips in this guide.

Of all the tips we listed, hyper-personalization is the most important.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our friends over at Reply.io conducted a study on personalized images in email and found that the use of personalized emails had 2X the response rate. You can read the case study here.

Here are more results some of our other partners managed to get with the help of image personalization:

  • Encharge — 14X increase in their email click-through rate.
  • Hubstaff — 4X boost in their click-through rates for opened emails.
  • Salesloft — 2X increase in their reply rates.

If you’ve run similar campaigns before, we’d love to hear your thoughts, views, and tips. Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

So go ahead, add hyper-personalization to your outreach email strategy and enjoy the results—you can sign up for a free trial of Hyperise today.