Email deliverability

How your sales outreach emails can get to an 80% open rate

Jean-Paul Klerks
CGO at Luna.ai
Posted 
April 16, 2024
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Yes, email subject lines are a significant factor in improving open rate. And, no, subject lines are not the only or the most critical factor in helping your outreach emails hit that lavish 80% open rate mark. 

What’s more important? Sender reputation, email domain ranking, and email deliverability are!

Let’s break this down. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Email health and DNS settings
  2. Email warmup and volume consistency 
  3. High-quality email content, plus a bonus (optimizing your subject lines)
  4. Is there a way to automate all of the above?

How “email health” is connected to email open rate 

Email health describes the overall performance and condition of your email campaigns and email list. Think of how you keep food in the fridge. You want the food to stay fresh for as long as possible. And if the fridge is functioning as expected, your food has a greater chance of staying fresh for several hours or even days. The fridge functioning as expected is one of the aspects of keeping the food fresh. Other aspects involve properly packaging and storing the food, regularly checking if it’s still fresh, and eventually throwing it away if it has gone bad already. 

Funny enough, email health is exactly that (but in slightly more complex terms). 

You need to take care of several things to maintain email health since it’s directly correlated to how many of your emails will hit the intended recipient’s inbox rather than the spam box. Unfortunately, many companies don’t realize the importance of email health, and most don’t even have their email systems set up correctly. 

To better understand email health, let’s take a look at a few factors that make or break it: 

Email deliverability 

This measures how successfully your emails land in the recipients’ inboxes vs. being filtered into spam boxes or blocked by email service providers (ESPs). 

Sender reputation, email authentication, email warmup, volume consistency, and content quality all play a big role in improving email deliverability or destroying it. 

Sender Reputation

Sender reputation is a score that ESPs assign to your sending domain and IP address based on your email-sending activity. You’ll find different categorizations of sender reputation scores on the Internet. But these are the most commonly used ones:

  • 80-100 score/Excellent: This range indicates high trust and emails from these senders are likely to reach the inbox.
  • 70-79/Good: Emails are likely to reach the inbox, though there may be occasional issues.
  • 50-69/Fair: Senders with scores in this range may experience inconsistent deliverability, with a higher likelihood of landing in the spam folder.
  • Below 50/Poor: Many emails will likely be blocked or filtered into spam, indicating significant issues with the sender's sending habits. 

Email Authentication

A practice known as email authentication will, in turn, have a massive impact on your sender reputation. It involves setting up various protocols, mainly SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeyws Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). 

Don’t fret - these abbreviations seem scary, but they are easy to handle. Let’s break them down:

  1. SPF lets email senders define which IP addresses can send email from their domain. Imagine it as a bouncer at a club's door, carefully selecting who's allowed to enter and who is not. 
  2. DKIM puts a unique stamp on every email, like a digital seal of approval. This ensures the email you send looks precisely the same when it reaches someone's inbox, proving it's real and hasn't been changed.
  3. And lastly, DMARC combines SPF and DKIM. It provides instructions to email servers on handling emails that fail these checks, similar to a security protocol that ensures only verified messages pass through.

Email Warmup and Volume Consistency

Many think they can start cold email outreach immediately since they have never heard of email warmups before. If you don't warm up your email address first (especially if you are a new sender), your emails may end up in the spam box. 

Let’s discuss email warmup and volume consistency. Email warmup, or IP warming, is a process of gradually increasing the volume of emails sent and received from a new email account. This is key to establishing a trustworthy sender reputation.

Imagine you are making monthly electricity payments for your household. Of course, the payments will be different month over month - you might be paying $100 one month, and for another month, it can be $115. However, the range will be approximately the same unless you change how your household consumes electric power. So, if you get a bill with $1000 on it, you’ll probably think there is an issue or something fishy is happening. 

ESPs behave just like that. If you usually send 1,000 emails a month and suddenly send 10,000, ESPs might think you are a spammer and will lower your sender reputation, eventually hurting your email deliverability. Fewer emails in recipients’ inboxes mean a lower email open rate and fewer deals closed. 

Note that it’s important to send fewer than 50 emails a day per email address. You can start sending 50 emails a day only after email warmup, which takes around a month, where you’ll need to start sending 2 emails a day and increase the volume of email sends by 2 more emails each day. 

However, if you need to send out more than 50 emails per day; you should buy more email addresses and, after the warmup phase, forward the incoming emails to your main email address. 

If you choose to do an email warmup with Luna.ai’s help, you’ll join a group of several people who are all sending and receiving emails to warm up their accounts. 

This way, you get about 30% response during these first few weeks, which is vital for a good domain representation. 

Another option is purchasing a secondary domain (other than your main domain) that you can use specifically for cold outreach. This will minimize the risk of corrupting your main domain reputation. Of course, if you follow the email-sending best practices described in this article, the chances of hitting the spam box will be slim; however, many cold email senders choose to purchase a secondary domain, too, as a precautionary measure.

High content quality

Cold email is not rocket science. However, it has its nuances. One key element of a good cold email is its relevance to the recipient. The more tailored the email is to the recipient's current situation and pain points, the better.

It’s important to reflect on your ICP’s pain points from their perspective, not yours.
Ask yourself: What frustrations do they have? How does your product help tackle those? Be clear on which of their needs you fulfill and which problems you solve. 

When articulating your value proposition, outline the concrete benefit or solution you provide. When possible, quantify those benefits. And most importantly, don’t rush to sell with your first email. Your initial email should be a conversation starter. Try to establish rapport with the prospect and gain their trust. Wrap up with a soft CTA that asks a simple question, like: “Mind if I share [relevant] strategies? 

Aim for a reply instead of expecting them to immediately book a meeting with you. 

Additionally, avoid attaching files, GIFs, and animations to your initial emails. Spammers usually attach harmful software to their emails. While you are not a spammer, you might be viewed as one if you keep attaching PDFs, presentations, or videos to your initial emails. You should establish contact with the recipient and get a reply, then start sharing helpful or contextual information with them. 

A bonus tip regarding subject lines.

Subject lines are another important aspect of good cold emails. Go for brevity:

  • 1-3 words
  • Try all lowercase 
  • Simple words vs. corporate jargon 

Avoid first names (e.g., James, look at this)

Is there a way to automate all of this?

If you have come this far, you are probably wondering if there is a way to automate all of the above to maintain solid email health, have a high sender reputation, hit the recipients’ inboxes, and achieve an open rate as high as 80%. 

We love this question! The short answer is yes: Luna.ai can help you achieve all of the above. 

Here is the list of things Luna.ai does automatically to ensure your outreach emails hit inboxes and engage prospects. 

Correct DNS setup

Luna.ai automatically checks your DNS settings to inform you about your email health and help you address any issues affecting deliverability. 

When you buy domains and email addresses via Luna.ai, we automatically set up the correct DNS settings for you. This ensures your emails reach your leads' inboxes and secure your communication. 

Email warmup

Luna.ai also handles the entire email warmup by automating the send-and-receive process with other verified users. 

Multiple email sending accounts

Suppose you suddenly need to increase your sending volumes. In that case, Luna.ai offers multiple email-sending domains that you can use interchangeably to distribute your email load and reduce the risk of being flagged as spam. This is key for companies looking to scale their outreach without sacrificing deliverability.

Highly personalized subject lines and email copy

With its cutting-edge AI technology, Luna.ai allows you to select who you want to target and sit back while it automatically reaches out to the right prospects at the right time. You don’t have to write emails or follow-ups, and you don’t have to optimize the content since Luna.ai learns and improves as it sends more emails on your behalf. Hence, Luna.ai provides you with:

  • Subject lines that are based on best practices.
  • Personalization of email copy vs templated emails, thus decreasing the chance of getting in the spam box.

Wrapping up

Navigating the intricate world of email can be tricky, but maintaining solid email health and hitting an 80% open rate is not a daydream. From keeping an eye on your sender reputation to automatically generating emails that spark joy, it's all about smart moves. Luna.ai is the all-in-one sales platform you need to make this happen. You can try it out for free by signing up today.

Jean-Paul Klerks
CGO at Luna.ai
Jean-Paul Klerks
CGO at Luna.ai

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