What if you could get your outbound sales emails seen by 5x more people just by making one simple change?
If you’re sending your (cold, not “opted-in”) prospecting emails using marketing automation software like Marketo, simply sending those emails with a mail merge via Gmail might increase your open rate by 5x.
One of my email consulting clients was sending their cold sales emails using Marketo, and had an open rate of about 8% when we started. Before we created the copy for their new email campaign, I insisted that they switched to sending their sales emails through mail merges instead of Marketo. They soon saw their open rates shoot up to 53-66% on average.
While I often tell people to not obsess too much about open rates and optimizing their subject lines, having open rates below 35% is a strong indicator of deliverability issues that needs to be immediately fixed. It is important to have a highly targeted email list with low bounce rates and have thoughtful subject lines. However, just changing how you’re sending your emails can dramatically increase open rates, and therefore also increase response rates by getting your message in front of more eyeballs.
I recently wrote a blog post explaining the basics of email deliverability and how to avoid going to spam. Following that post, I had some questions about switching out dirty mail server IPs for new “clean ones,” as well as other questions about services like SendGrid, and so I decided to write another post to explain more about deliverability.
Why You Never Want to “Go Cheap” With Your Mail Servers
No one wants their alcoholic uncle to embarrass them in front of their colleagues at the company Christmas party by getting plastered and making a huge scene. The reputation of your mail server’s IP is even more fragile than your own, and each time an email that’s sent from your IP bounces or gets marked as spam, your IP’s reputation and trust decreases.
If you’re trying to cut costs and send emails from an undedicated mail server IP, you’re running the risk of having your IP tarnished by any “drunk uncle” that goes on a spamming spree using your shared IP. Most users of Marketo and other marketing automation software share their IPs with the lowest common denominator of spammers. This means your good emails get to pay for their sins, and no matter how many good emails you send, that IP’s trust can be destroyed by their crummy spam.
The same goes for those who are using the cheap, basic version of SendGrid.
Notice the difference in pricing between “Essentials” and the “Pro” version?
You can send 100,000 emails with SendGrid for only $19.95 a month with no dedicated IP, or you pay $79.95 for the same volume of emails, but with your own private IPs.
The price difference is 4x higher for a dedicated IP, but your deliverability might be 5x higher or more with a dedicated IP to send from.
Why Just Buying A New “Clean” IP Won’t Fix Deliverability Problems
So you can just buy a new “clean” IP from a service like SendGrid, and you don’t have to worry about email reputation or deliverability problems anymore, right?
Every new mail server IP starts out with a neutral reputation of zero. So, even if you decide to set up your own mail server, that new server’s reputation will be much lower than if you used Gmail. This decreases your chances of inboxing.
If you are highly competent with mail servers and email reputation, you could spend months “warming up” your mail server’s trust and reputation by sending out thousands and thousands of emails that don’t bounce or get marked as spam.
So either you buy and manage your own dedicated mail server with zero reputation or you’re stuck sharing a dirty mail server with terrible reputation. In both scenarios, you won’t be able to inbox as well as Gmail can.
Because Gmail’s mail servers have an amazing reputation, sending your emails directly through a mail merge in Google Apps (or some other sales automation software that plugs into Gmail and automates this process for you) has the highest deliverability. Google does limit how many emails you can send each day through one account, but this is because they want to protect their own mail servers’ trust.
Important Information: It’s important to recognize that your reputation is NOT based on your email address’ domain, since that can easily be changed. The only thing that affects reputation is what email server you’re sending from.
Gmail Mail Merges Are The Easiest Solution And Have the Best Email Deliverability
While you might not be able to blast out thousands of emails a day through a single Gmail account, using mail merge with Gmail is the easiest way to achieve high email deliverability.
If you’re doing your outbound prospecting correctly, it should be targeted enough to get somewhere between a 10-35% response rate from your outbound campaign. When each of your salespeople gets that kind of response rate, you don’t need to do crazy volume of outbound emails in order to get a response rate.
Almost every time an organization tells me that they can’t send enough volume through Gmail to meet their sales quota, I know they’re probably doing a lot of things wrong. You shouldn’t need to send 10,000 emails in order to get 11 responses from your leads. I can send an email campaign to a list of 100 leads and easily get 20-40 responses. So in sending 1/100 of the same volume as that company, I can get 2-4x their response rate.
Part of this is deliverability, part of this is effective targeting, and part of this is having great copy in my cold emails.
What it really comes down to is taking a more careful and thoughtful approach to doing outbound sales prospecting, rather than taking a careless scattershot approach, and praying that brute-force somehow magically works. And if you’re not willing to invest the time and attention to create a thoughtful approach to outbound sales, please just do everyone a favor and stop sending email. You won’t be successful and you’ll probably just get your IP blacklisted.
For more advice on creating highly targeted cold email campaigns from email campaigns that have made fast growing SaaS companies millions of dollars in sales revenue, please check out this free guide to learn how to create highly targeted email campaigns. And if you’re serious about inside sales and would like some extra help with your cold emails, just drop us a line, and we’ll audit your existing email templates.