An analysis of 12 million outreach emails was completed to find the answer to this question: “What is working in the email outreach world right now? The report looked at the subject lines, personalization, and even at follow-up sequences. These were analyzed with a data partner, Pitchbox, helping to discover many interesting findings.
1. A vast majority of outreach emails are ignored. 8.5% receive a response.
2. The outreach emails with long subject lines have a better response rate, 24.6% higher average response rate in comparison to the outreach emails with subject lines that are short.
3. Follow-up emails and sequences seem to have significantly improved response rates. The analysis shows that if you email the same person multiple times, it leads to twice the amount of responses.
4. You can also find more success by reaching out to several different contacts. When sending messages to several contacts, the response rate is 93% better than messages sent to a single contact.
5. The analysis found that subject lines that are personalized increases response rate by 30.5%. This shows that personalizing subject lines seems to have a significant impact on outreach campaign results.
6. When the body content of each outreach email is personalized, the response rates also seem to increase. Emails that include personalized message bodies have a 32.7% improved response rate than those that do not contain personalized body content in their messages.
7. The “best” day to send outreach emails is Wednesday. The “worst” day of the week to send these is Saturday. This may be the case, but the analysis did not show a massive difference in the response rates between different days that messages are sent out.
8. Another technique that seems to be leading to better response rates is linking to social profiles in the signature of emails. Instagram showed a 23.4% increase, while Twitter increased by 8.2% and LinkedIn improved by 11.5%.
9. The most successful outreach campaigns are the ones that are sent out to multiple contacts numerous times.
10. Specific types of outreach receive higher response rates than others. The outreach messages that are specifically related to roundups, guest posting, and links have an incredibly high response rate.
It has been known that it is difficult to make people respond to cold outreach emails. With the data of the analysis, it is clear that this is true – and low response rates are seeming to be regular. To be specific, only 8.5% of any outreach emails receive any response.
This rate is very similar to what numerous case studies, like one from Moz, have found previously. 91.5% of cold outreach emails are ignored, which does not seem like news to many. Generic outreach emails are prevalent and look like there was no effort at all, and it shows. The research of the analysis has found various factors that helped specific outreach emails outperform the average. We will go over these later in the post. For now, it is crucial to note that minimal outreach emails receive a response. A key takeaway for this section: 91.5% of outreach emails are ignored.
The study shows that subject lines with more length get a substantially higher response rate than shorter subject lines. To be more specific, the best response rate is achieved from having a subject line have the length if 36-50 characters. To compare subject line response rates, we sorted them into five categories: short, medium, long, very long, and extremely long. The study also found that long subject lines outperformed short subject lines by 32.7%.
This is most likely because these longer subject lines give you more of a chance to adequately describe what is going on in your message. For example, imagine a concise subject like: “Simple Question.” This is only 14 characters long, making it impossible for the reader to know what the email is about before they even open it. It could be a question about a task they are completing or just about where to go for lunch. Also, since it doesn’t say anything specific, it makes it seem like your outreach email is generic before they even try to open it. You should contrast that with a subject line along these lines: “Fast Question Concerning Your Latest Blog Post” – this way it is much more specific, so if the person decides to open your email, they will know what to expect. However, it is very likely that your subject line to be too long. For example, “Simple Question Concerning Your Last Blog Post About the Best Keto Diet Myths” is a very descriptive subject line. However, it is most likely going to be cut off by most inboxes, like Gmail.
The big takeaway here is that you will get 32.7% more responses with long subject lines in comparison to short subject lines.
According to the findings of this study, it is evident that multiple outreach messages work better than one single message. This works beautifully for people that did not reply to the initial outreach. To get the best overall response rate, you must send three or messages, but sending just one additional follow-up can boost replies by 65.8%.
Everyone gets loads of emails every day, and their inbox always has something. It was found that the average office worker gets around 121 emails each day. Since they already have to go through over 100 emails each day, the chances of your one single outreach email getting seen, but also open and even replied to is very slim. However, when you send multiple messages, you have another chance to stand out and break through the noise and clutter in someone’s inbox. And of course, there is always the right way to send these follow-up messages. Annoying messages like these can hurt relationships, lead to complaints about spam, and overall, do more bad than good. Still, calm follow-ups that bring additional context can increase conversions without burning bridges.
The big takeaway here is that follow-ups can drastically increase outreach conversion rates. A single extra follow-up message can lead to 65.8% more replies.
The study and analysis look at the effect that reaching out to numerous different contacts at the same organization had on the conversion of the outreach. The research shows that when compared to one contact, sending emails to multiple improves the response rates by 93%. The study also looked at how the outreach success rate directly correlated with the number of contacts. There was a clear pattern that found that more contacts meant more responses. Nonetheless, various contacts become valuable when contacting large websites with a lot of employees. This is because it can be challenging to know who is responsible for which task (even after checking the organizational chart and the “About Us” page). For example, you could be sending an outreach message to a big publisher as part of a link building campaign. What should you do, email the author of the article? Or should you email the editor of the blog? Or maybe you should email the person who is the head of content. It is very challenging to know without an intimate understanding of the inner workings of the organization. This is why it usually makes sense to contact a single person. Then, you can try again with another contact if you do not hear back. This way, over time, your message will eventually (hopefully) get in front of the person most likely to add your link to the post.
The big takeaway here is that you can increase your chances of getting through to your contact if you have multiple contacts. If you send your outreach emails to various contacts, you can significantly increase response rates by 93%.
An outreach best practice commonly used is personalizing emails. Although, to the best of our knowledge, no research has been done to support this strategy. This is why this analysis investigates the effect of this personalization of subject lines on outreach email replies. More specifically, the study compares the response rate between messages that either did or did not use personalized subject lines. The data shows that personalized subject lines achieve almost one-third more replies than those that do not have personalization.
Even though it is difficult to answer this from just the data alone ultimately, but our theory is that personalized subject lines are what help you stand out from the clutter in someone’s crowded inbox. For example, take a subject line that is not personalized, like “More Leads.” However, adding some flare of personalization makes for a much more compelling subject line to the reader of the message.
The big takeaway here is that messages sent with subject lines that are personalized will increase response rate by 30.5%.
As we just discussed, subject lines that are personalized directly correlate with better response rate, due most likely to an increased email open rate. Nevertheless, the study was also interested in seeing if the benefits of personalization continued to the outreach email body itself. The data from the study shows that body content personalization of outreach emails also increased conversion rates. More specifically, these messages that were personalized received 32.7% more replies than the ones that weren’t personalized messages. It is easy to spot the boring generic outreach messages, and they do not look good at all.
The big takeaway here is that email messages that include a personalized body will increase the response rate by 32.7%.
Various industry studies have tried to answer the question, “what is the best day to send emails.” however, a majority of these studies are talking specifically to newsletter messages. These studies also usually focus not on reply rates, but open rates. This is why the case is looking at how response rates are different on different days of the week that the message was sent out on.
The data shows that Wednesday has the best performance. Saturday seems to have the worst response rate, based on the study. It is important to note that the differences in each of the weekdays were minimal.
According to this data, instead of sending an outreach email on Saturday, if you did it on Wednesday instead, your response rate would theoretically boost from 6% to 7.99%. If you are a small company and only send out a few dozen outreach emails a month, this might only lead to a few extra replies or two. However, this new finding is more important if you are doing outreach at sale. This is because only 1.99% may not mean much in absolute terms, it enlarges to 33.1% larger relative response rates. This is huge for companies that send out a large number of outreach messages each month. The study also looked at response rate for messages sent in the middle of the week compared to the messages sent out on the weekend. Outreach emails sent during the weekdays had a 23.3% better conversion rate than the emails that are sent out over the weekend.
The big takeaway is that outreach emails that are sent out on Wednesday will achieve more responses than every other day of the week. However, for most smaller-sized companies don’t need to organize their sequences based on which day of the week it is.
According to this study, social profile links in the email signature can significantly affect response rates. The messages that included the social profile links inside the signature of the sender had an average of 9.8% higher response rate in comparison to messages that did not have them.
The first is that it makes you seem more personal and real like you are following the sender because you feel like you know who they are.
The second theory is that it is possible that these links to social media profiles may not have any direct impact on responses in any way. It would be because of a case of correlation, not causation.
The big takeaway here is that outreach messages that contain links to social media profiles have a higher response rate of 9.8% in comparison to those who do not include social links. It appears that the most effective platforms to link are Instagram and LinkedIn.
Follow-up messages along with sending more than one contact are correlated with increased outreach reply rates. The data of the study shows that more contacts combined with a sequencing yield that is a 160% higher response rate than sending one single message to just one single contact.
The big takeaway here is that as a whole, campaigns that include sequences that go out to several contacts perform significantly better than one-off emails to a single person.
The study looked at the reply rate for outreach messages related to:
The results showed that guest posting, link building, and roundups all had an above-average response rate. This is an interesting finding considering that a majority of content marketing and SEO experts consider guest posting and roundups “dead.”
However, based on the data from the last study, site owners are still highly receptive to pitches for guest posts and expert roundup invitations. Sponsorships was another keyword that sparked growth in replies.
The big takeaway here is that emails about roundups, guest posts, sponsorships, and links tend to get the best response rates.
What is your number one takeaway from this study?