Chapter #6

Analyze, Optimize, Scale

Are your emails getting opened?

Are they getting opened but not responded to?

Is your tone right for the audience?

What has been working so far?

These are all great questions that you should be asking yourself during and after your cold email campaign…


Analyze & Optimize

Once your campaign has been running for a while, or it has ran through your first batch of contacts, it’s time to figure out what’s working and what’s not working, from there you can replicate what is working and start testing new variations of that.

The first thing we all need to understand is that the most important metric of your entire campaign is the responses you receive.  It doesn’t matter if your open rates on message 3B are half of 3A, if 3B is producing 2x the amount of positive responses, that is a winner!

That being said, logic doesn’t usually work like that.  It’s rare that you find a message that has lower KPI’s than your other messages, but performs better… sometimes you get lucky and it’s a perfect storm, but this is few and far between.

Let’s take a look at what KPI’s we should be looking to optimize…

Open Rates

The first thing you want to do is set a baseline for your cold email open rates.  If you’ve sent out cold emails in the past, you’ll probably know what your average open rates were.  If you’re new to cold emailing, or have never bothered to pay attention to your open rates, it’s probably helpful to know industry average open rates, which you can find right here – courtesy of MailChimp.

As you’ll see the average open rate across all industries is only 20.81%, if this sounds low to you, you’re not the only one.  An open rate of 20% is what you can expect if you don’t put a lot of work into your campaigns… with B2b Data Guy’s data, we’re seeing an average open rate of 44.29%.

Once you have a benchmark open rate, it’s time to look at how you can improve.  We suggest you take a look at each one of your messages and map out what is working best.  Maybe it’s being funny, hyper personalized, or asking questions?… whatever it is, build off of that for your next campaign while continually testing out new variations.

Click Through Rate

This may not apply to all email campaigns, as a lot of you won’t have links within your email (remember too many links lead to the spam folder!).  For those of you that include links to show off your product and/or service, how many of those people are following your link?  Obviously, the higher the CTR the better.

If links are an essential part to your email campaign, look at your emails with the highest CTR’s.  How are you including that link?

Are you using hyperlinked text or just a raw URL (that’s a nono!)

What are the anchor words for the link?

How are you leading up to that link, what are the benefits of clicking the link?

These are all essential questions to ask yourself when looking at variants in your CTR.  Figuring out what combo is working best should give you a foundation to build off of for your following campaigns.

Unsubscribe Rate

A high unsubscribe rate means you are doing one of two things wrong: You’re being too “spammy” and forceful to your prospects, or your message isn’t resonating with your audience.

If you read your message, ask yourself if it is something you’d be happy to receive.  If it’s coming across as a sales email with no personalization, it’s probably something you’d unsubscribe from as well.

If the message seems to be easy going, personal, and brings value to your desired prospect, you need to look at switching up your audience.  Maybe you’ve written the perfect message for the industry you’re targeting, but the revenue range you’ve chosen or the title you’ve chosen aren’t a great fit for your message.

Response Rate

This is the holy grail, this is the reason why you’ve decided to start email marketing, you’re looking for leads.

It’s hard to believe that the average response rate for cold emails are only 1% (LeadFuze).

If you’re only receiving a 1% response rate, you have plenty of adjustments to make.  The first thing you’ll look at is if your emails are getting opened at an acceptable rate, if your open rates are subpar, begin by working on that.

Some questions to ask yourself to improve response rate:

  • Can your opening line be improved?
  • Is your email too long? (If you’re not sure, it probably is)
  • Is your tone resonating with your audience?
  • Is your CTA asking too much?
  • Are you conveying credibility?
  • Is it clear what you’re offering and asking?
  • Are you following up enough with them?
  • Have you used enough personalization?

This isn’t a big check list that you can go down and mark off, it’s more so of questions you should ask yourself to get in the mindset of how you can improve messages.  Messages can always be improved upon, figure out where you’re lacking the most and start there.

Closed Leads Ratio

There is no metric on what a “good” closed leads ratio is, as it is different for every industry and offering.  If you have a lower priced offering, you can expect a higher closed leads ratio… if you have a higher priced offering, you can expect a lower closed leads ratio.

Personally, I aim for a 1/4 ratio – meaning for every 4 leads we receive we plan to turn 1 of those into a paying customer.  When we’ve worked on behalf of clients in the past, the closed leads ratio varied quite widely… a client that sold high end granite products was happy with a 1/12 ratio, as his customer lifetime value was a staggering $100k+.

To figure out what a good ratio is for you, you must first know (or estimate) a customer value.  From there you can determine a profitable closed leads ratio.


Say your customer value (CV) is $2,500, and your cost per lead (CPL) is averaging around $50.  You’ll need a closed leads ratio higher than 1/50 to be profitable.  If your CLR is 1/20, this would mean for every $1k you spend, you can expect $2,500 back in your pocket.

That’s a pretty simplified example, but you should get the point.  If we want to look at this in real life terms, we can look at metrics from a former client of ours…  I won’t mention the company name out of respect, we’ll call them XYZ Solutions (they provide I.T. consulting for small – midsize companies).

XYZ Solutions had an average project fee of $42,000, and out of that $42,000 they would see just shy of $8,000 in total profit – for simplicity sake we’ll say their CV was $8,000.

XYZ Solutions was spending $3,500/month on lead generation services, in which they averaged 18 qualified leads per month.  This gives them a CPL of $195.

This meant that for them to break even (but who wants to do that…), they would need a CLR of 1/41 or better.

Over a 16-month period, they saw an average CLR of 1/11 – thus meaning for every $1 they spent they could expect back $3.73 in profit.  Or, in more clear terms, each month they spent $3,500 they expected to see a return of $13,050… not too shabby, right?

Also, for honesty sake, it’s important to mention their campaign was a failure for the first 3 months – barely breaking even.  It took a lot of analyzing & optimizing to get the campaign as profitable as it was.

better email as the prospect sees it

Hi Charles,

If GreenClean is like most commercial cleaners, you know how profitable it can be just pulling in 1 extra contract per month!

With LeadSend, you’re able to reach out directly to facility managers in your target market.  Our database consists of 8,000 facility managers in Minneapolis alone!

Can you write a simple email like this Charles?  If so, you’re only one step away from a handful of new contracts…

If you’re up for it, I can give you a personalized demo next Monday…

Should I call (612) 555-8945?

As you can see, a little bit of personalization in an email goes a long way… Beyond using personalization tags, keep in mind who you are sending emails to.  Whenever writing a new campaign there are some quintessential questions you should ask yourself:

  • What industry are you targeting?: Every industry is a bit different. Put some research into the pain points of that industry, let them know how you can alleviate that pain.
  • Who are you targeting?: There is a big difference in the way you’ll talk to a facility manager compared to the CEO.
  • Mention something relevant: When you know the industry and people you are targeting, it shouldn’t be hard to mention something relevant… For instance, if I was targeting owners of construction companies, I might mention something about the rising prices of material, or the insane demand for contractors during the summer months.

Using personal tags within the email, as well as writing an email that will connect with your target audience is a sure fire way to create successful cold email campaign.

Scaling Your Campaign

Once you have a campaign or series of messages that is working, it is time to scale your operations…

In other marketing mediums (SEO, SMM, etc…) scaling can be a very difficult task, not in email marketing though.

It is literally just as simple as increasing the contacts that you want to reach out to.

If you’re looking into scaling your outreach process and you run into the problem in which you don’t have enough data/contacts in which you can send to, there are a few ways around this…

Let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts:

expanding audience location

Expanding my audience loaction is the first thing I look at if I’m looking to scale.

If my product/service can be offered nation-wide, I’m going to keep the same exact audience parameters but begin targeting outside my current geographic area.

expanding job title

The job title of CEO, Founder, Owner, President, etc… I’d address them all the same.

And if these are the people you are targeting, it is likely that they all have the same job responsibilities – so opening up this selection should be find.

As long as you’re staying within the same hierarchical section of a company, your results won’t suffer.

expanding revenue

You can try going lower with your revenue range, but I’d rather go higher to start with.

As long as your product/service is still bringing value, it will still relate to a wider audience…

There will be a point in which whatever you’re offering may already be taken care of in house (at some of these higher revenue companies), so if you have knowledge of this – make sure to stay out of that revenue range.

expanding revenue range

This one is a bit tricky…

If I’m offering a on site job clock, I won’t have any problem widening my audience from just electricians to include carpenters, plumbers, concrete masons, etc…

On the other hand, I’m not going to start including owners of law firms or marketing agencies.

If you know your audience (which you’d better), you should know which other industries you can include in your targeted audience list.  There may be a few that you missed when building your audience originally, go back and make sure you are reaching out to everyone who can find value in your offering.

what to avoid

As you can see, there are options to widening your audience… but under no circumstances do you want to dilute the strength of your audience by moving to gray areas.

It can be tempting to just start expanding from the areas in which you know you can provide value to, but you really shouldn’t.  If you start reaching out to people who have no interest in your offering, it’s likely you’ll be marked as spam, or your inboxes will be filled with hateful replies.

At this point, you’re basically sending out spam mail, which is the total opposite of what a good cold email should be.

Closing Notes

Now that you’re finished with this crash course on cold email marketing, you should have a pretty good overview on what is needed to succeed.

Most important thing to bear in mind is that you’re simply starting a conversation via email; the entire objective of this is to create leads, people who are interested in learning more about your offering.

When utilizing email marketing in the b2b landscape, I’d be absolutely shocked if you don’t see a positive ROI… if you’re following our guidelines here.